Last week I spent a great day at the Tierpark Friedrichsfelde with my colleague Dave Hone (him of Archosaur Musings‘ fame – he is currently posting about his Berlin trip, so head over there, too).It was a cold day, snow on the ground and a complete cloud cover. Dave is a zoo connoisseur par excellence, having worked at London Zoo, and has seen somewhere between 25 and 30 zoos by his own estimate. Despite all his experience he was still amazed by the cool selection of animals on show – but I will let him tell that story Suffice to say that he keeps a mental tally of animals he has seen, and that list got quite a bit longer, even if the aardwolf was a no-show, due to the cold and snow.
But as the photo above shows there are quite a number of animals that do not mind the cold, nor the snow. Obviously, a sunny and warm day is the best weather for a winter zoo visit – which I have raved on before), but a good snow cover has its advantages, too. For one thing, the small amount of light is reflected back, not swallowed up by the ground, and taking photos is a lot easier, provided you know how to deal with a light background (great tips at those links!). Also, the snow simply makes the animals stand out more, it isolates it, because it provides a uniform background of a colour most animals do not have – important if you are not as close as I got to the wild boar (Sus scrofa) above, or if you photograph a herd.
And then there are a lot of animals that you often can’t get good photos of in summer, simply because people flock to the enclosures and the animals don’t like the noise – for example, the Tierpark tigers (Panthera tigris altaica)! They will pace around in summer in plain view, obviously. But if they rest, they usually turn their backs on the visitors. Shots like the one below are hard to get – this time I got a variety of expressions and poses within three minutes!
and then there are the always-active animals that in summer are always pestered by humans, so that you can’t get nice photos of them without a human hand somewhere in the frame…..
what was I saying….
Dave in love with a procupine!