San Francisco Zoo Wildlife Photography Workshop - October 10th, 2021

San Francisco Zoo: Introduction to Wildlife Photography Workshop - October 10th, 2021

Wildlife Photography Workshop Students with Aperture Academy at the San Francisco Zoo

On this Fleet Week Sunday, our group of photographers met near the entrance to the San Francisco Zoo. We were hoping that large crowd drawing events like the Blue Angels would allow us to explore the zoo with fewer people.

After a brief orientation, we headed to the back of the zoo. We know that feeding time of the grizzlies is right around this time. We got there just in time to watch the keepers throw lettuce and apples throughout the exhibit. Once they cleared out, the grizzlies were released to enjoy their breakfast. The photographers got shots of the grizzlies meandering through their area and gobbling up the apples. Shooting through the plexiglass divider was tough but there were some great sights to see up close on the majestic bears.

We wandered in this area a little bit and saw some beautiful wolves and bears. Then it was a nearby stop to see penguins swimming, preening and warming in the sun. From there, we went uphill to the big cats who were mostly sleeping but seem to be having some good dreams in their sleep.

After working up an appetite, we headed to the Lemur Café for lunch. We enjoyed our food at a large outdoor picnic table and discussed various types of photography that the students have done including, circus photography and underwater photography. Great conversations!

Following the nourishment, we are headed to the lemurs. Our timing was perfect. Just as we got there, a keeper was treating them to lettuce, carrots and grapes. This food got them more active and we were able to shoot them in various positions, including some great face shots with their eyes lit up by the sun.

Next stop was the flamingos. Though a little stinky sometimes, they make great photography subjects. They are great for close-ups with the eyes and beaks, and great for abstract images by focusing on just their feathers with unique colors and textures.

Primates were next for us, where some of the orangutans seemed to be posing for our shots. As we made our way towards the African Safari area, we had some good talks about photography. We were able to see birds, giraffes and other animals of the plains and we worked our way towards the Silverback Gorillas. These gorillas are always impressive and sat stoically as we captured images of them. There were also a couple yawns which showed their impressive and dangerous teeth.

As the afternoon wore on, we decided to head back to parts of the park we already visited where the animals were not active. We saw a rhinoceros that was milling around this time and then back to the big cats. The tiger was pacing and there were some great images of its face surveying the area. Next door were male and female lions. They were fun to watch! They were looking around, yawning with very wide mouths and even played with each other a bit. The yawns of big cats and their big teeth were impressive sights!

Suddenly, I looked at my watch and it was already after 3 o’clock. Our workshop ended in what felt like just a couple of hours. I have no doubt that everyone went home with images they can be proud to share with friends and family or on their walls as art.

The SF Zoo was not too crowded at all today. It was a beautiful and warm day at the zoo. Looking forward to seeing the students again a future workshops.

Until next time,

Kevin and the rest of the Aperture Academy team

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