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Smithsonian National Zoo

Two blog posts in a week, what madness is this? It’s the result of a burst of photographic zeal I’ve been suffering lately. While I’m still working on the website and catching up on old photos, I’ve also been back to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. It’s one of my old favourite locations for photography; many of the photos in my animals collection were taken at the zoo. It’s where I sharpened a lot of my photographic skills, and I’ve gotten some great shots there in the past. While I had a lovely afternoon out with my wife, I’ve discovered that my secondhand telephoto lens leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to sharpness.  I’ve ended up choosing black and white for most of the photos in the hope that it comes off as rustic authenticity. 

 I have somewhat mixed opinion on zoos. The Smithsonian seems to take good care of their animals, and they do a lot of excellent conservation work, but seeing animals in enclosures is just always going to make me a bit sad. But perhaps it is worth it for any good they do. You could think of zoos as a bit of a front, bringing attention and money to their larger conservation efforts. They are also great for photography: there’s no other way I’m going to be able to photograph a gorilla infant then catch a tiger going for a swim the same day.

 So, for now, I’ll just swallow my cognitive dissonance and get on with photographing. I try not to pass off the photo as being from the wild, and where I can I try and show them in their environment. It's an interesting way of humanizing the animal and making them more relatable. And without too much more ado, have look at my pics.