Go See Do Photography

The Photo Blog of Mowers Photography, LLC

Tag: Detroit Zoo

Finding Inspiration in the Changing Seasons

Tiger

I don’t know about you, but this time of year, I always lose motivation. The trees are bare and the temperatures are cold. I’ve been making a point to take my camera with me when I go out and I don’t even pick it up. I have been using this lack of inspiration as an excuse to organize my lightroom catalog. I’ve been going through my old photos and making sure everything has a star rating and proper keywords. One good thing about doing this is I stumbled upon some good shots I didn’t know I had. This shot of a tiger is one of those I discovered. How have I not posted this before? Hopefully, soon I will be snapping pics of the Christmas tree and holiday festivities, but for now, rediscovered old photos is keeping me occupied.

About the Photo:
As this shot was from 2 summers ago, I really can’t tell you much about my thought process when I took it. It was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens handheld

Date Taken:
July 22, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Wordless Wednesday: Butterfly on Branch

Butterfly on a Branch

Wordless Wednesday: Hoppin’ Kangaroos

Hoppin Kangaroos

Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Penguin Friend

I’m sure by now I have expressed my love of the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo a lot, but every time I visit, I am blown away! I don’t know if its because this is still a relatively new habitat for the penguins, but they actually seem interested in the people they see on the other side of the glass. During this visit, a child had a stuffed penguin and the live penguin was fascinated by it. Wherever the the toy went, the real penguin followed. I don’t know how that family was ever able to leave their new penguin friend.

About the photo:
What I love most about this photo is the story it tells. Its not the most artistic picture, but it highlights what goes on between both sides of the glass. The toughest thing about this photo was framing in a way that I didn’t get the children’s faces.

Photo Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
August 11, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your trip to the Detroit Zoo, visit Detroitzoo.org.

Wordless Wednesday: River Otter

River Otter

Kangaroos

Kangaroo PortraitDuring a visit to the Detroit Zoo this summer, I asked one of the volunteers at the Outback Adventure when the Kangaroos are the most active because I ever time I visit in the summer, the kangaroos are all asleep in the shade. What she should’ve said was come back in the fall. We visited the zoo again this past weekend so Chris could experience the new penguin exhibit. We got to the river otter and he was swimming around and having fun. I knew this was a good sign because in the heat of the summer, I never even saw him. So, as we walked towards the back of the park, my hopes were rising that I might get some interesting kangaroo photos. I love the Kangaroo (and wallaby) exhibit, The Outback Adventure, because once you enter the exhibit, there are no cages, no big ditches separating you from the marsupials. They ask you to stay on the path, but the kangaroos can hop right up to you. Have you ever seen a kangaroo hop? I never knew their tail was involved, but it seemed like that’s where they get the power for their long hops!

About the Photo:
If you’re new to photography, a trip to the zoo is a great, low stakes, time to learn to shoot in manual. After shooting my first wedding (an outdoor ceremony with changing light conditions), I realized that I should not always be relying on Aperture Priority mode. So, I used this as a time to practice shooting in manual. I knew I would need a fast shutter speed to be able to freeze any kangaroo movement (1/320) because of that, I had my lens as wide as it would go and I still had to up my ISO to 800 even though it was the middle of the day. I kind of wish I could’ve kept those fast lenses we rented for that wedding.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
October 15, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your trip to the Detroit Zoo, visit DetroitZoo.org.

Wordless Wednesday: Penguin

Penguin in the Light

Lets Talk Editing!

Butterfly House

Over and over on the blog, I preach that the gear does not make the photographer. One simple way to elevate your photography is by upgrading your photo editing software. When I got started in photography, I used Google’s free editing software, Picassa. Its inexpensive and enables the photographer to make very simple changes to a photo (i.e. exposure, contrast, simple color adjustments, crop). It is good for basic snapshots, but doesn’t really do what a serious photographer needs. Photoshop is expensive, so my first upgrade was to Photoshop Elements ($74 on Amazon). While it is a step in the right direction, it is not easy to use. And, like Picassa you have to save a copy of every photo you edit which takes up a lot of space on your hard drive, not to mention its a pain when you want to re-edit a photo. Then, I hear about Adobe Creative Cloud, a $9.99/month subscription service in which you get Lightroom and Photoshop. I signed up for a 30 day free trial and never looked back. Lightroom is so much more user friendly than Elements and its Library function is a godsend in photo organization. All three of these programs have RAW editors, but I definitely recommend Lightroom. If you’re not interested in a subscription service, you can purchase Lightroom 6 on Amazon. Of course, you do need Photoshop for more advanced edits. I’ll have Chris write on that later.

About the Photo:
This was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom. In a future post I will detail what I mean when I say “basic edits”.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 3, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page.  I have started my summer photo a day project again this year. To make sure you don’t miss a single day, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Who Says Penguins Can’t Fly?

Swimming Penguin #7

Last summer I visited the Detroit Zoo for the first time in 13 years (and wrote an article about my experience, which can be read here). While I was there, I saw a new building being erected with the sign saying “Future Home of the Polk Penguin Coservation Center” and I could not wait to check it out! I literally checked the zoo’s website monthly, waiting for an opening date! Penguins are one of my favorite animals to photograph and it was so hard to do in the old penguin house (which was the first ever building built for specifically for penguins) because the glass was so smudged and it was so dark (not to mention the smell). I finally got to check it out and I was impressed! It was a much more immersive experience; you don’t just look at penguins, you are transported to Antarctica. And the coolest part, you go in a glass tunnel at the bottom of the tank (I don’t feel like I’m describing this well, photo below) and you can see the penguins zoom around above you!

About the Photos:
This was a single RAW exposure edited in Lightroom with the Improve Photography 2016 preset B&W Light. While the new exhibit seems lighter with all the blue lighting, it is still pretty dark from a photography perspective, meaning you’re going to have to open up your aperture and push your ISO to be able to get fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the penguins’ motion. I had my kit lens as fast as it will go at f/4.5, my ISO at 800 (I know my camera does not have great noise performance any higher than that), and I was able to get the shutter at 1/125, which was fast enough to make the penguin look like he was flying! Also, by converting the shot from the blue color cast, that no amount of editing was able to tone down, it almost looks like he’s not flying through water, but through the air.

The bottom photo was a JPEG taken with my iphone and uploaded to Instagram. This is not an art photo, I just want you to understand this exhibit.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 3, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page.  I have started my summer photo a day project again this year. To make sure you don’t miss a single day, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To plan your visit to see the penguins, visit DetroitZoo.com.

Detroit Zoo

Chimp in a Tree

This summer I took a trip to the Detroit Zoo. This was my first visit to the zoo in 13 years and wow has it changed since my last visit! One of my favorite parts was the new (at least new to me) Australia exhibit. You walk into the Australia area and there are no cages, no glass separating you from the animals. The kangaroos are able to hop right up to you! How cool is that?

They are also building a new penguin area that I cannot wait to see! The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is the largest project the zoo has ever undertaken and will feature a 326,000 gallon tank. Check out this video of the new penguin project! Did you know that the current penguin house was the first even space built specifically for penguins? What history we have in Michigan!

What I love about this shot is with the chimp hugging himself and the bare trees behind him, it looks so cold. It was in the seventies that day! A picture really is worth a thousand words!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To plan your visit to the Detroit Zoo, visit DetroitZoo.org

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