Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos

This subject often comes up when I talk about taking pictures at the zoo.  It never fails that someone will ask how I got shots of the animals without the fence in the picture.  The answer is that I didn’t, you just can’t see the fence due to one specific thing I did when selecting my exposure.  Actually it is a couple of things but primarily it has to do with aperture and depth of field.

f/22 @ 1/160 sec 300mm lens

f/5.6 @ 1/1600 sec 300mm lens

You probably already know that using a very large aperture results in a very narrow depth of field, rendering objects behind and in front of your subject out of focus. The key to shooting through a fence is to use as large an aperture setting as possible so that objects such as fences are so blurry, that they are basically invisible.  Of course I said there were a couple of reasons and the other has to do with distance.  Not the distance from you to the subject but the distance of your lens from the fence. When combined with a large aperture and a close proximity to the obstruction, you can get photos that will look like you were standing in the clear with nothing between you and your subject.

Of course this won’t work for every fence or obstruction but you certainly should get some decent results by following these simple rules.

  • Rule 1 – Shoot wide open.
  • Rule 2 – Get your lens as close as possible to the obstruction.
  • Rule 3 – Use a long focal length lens.  Wide angle lenses have a large depth of field making it harder to blur objects in the foreground.
  • Rule 4 – Try to find an open spot so that you getting as little of the fence as possible in the center of the lens.

f/18 @ 1/100 sec 300mm lens

f/5.6 @ 1/800 sec 300mm lens

f/25 @ 1/10 sec 300mm lens

f/5.6 @ 1/320 sec 300mm lens

Comments

  1. This is a great post… printing this one out.

  2. Great info in this post.
    It’s content like this that make this blog worth the subscription fee:-)
    Seriously, though, great stuff.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 1 votes vote Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos This subject often comes up whenever talk about taking pictures at the zoo.  It never fails [...]

  2. Simple and effective technique RT @Photowalkpro: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos http://bit.ly/cFIgK2

  3. Jeff Revell says:

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  5. Dave McLean says:

    Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos http://shar.es/m5CPL Great tip

  6. Alex says:

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  8. TLWH says:

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  9. Pin Lim says:

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  10. Ah. that's how you do it. | RT @fotozine: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos – http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  11. RT @fotozine Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos – http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  12. Alex says:

    Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos — http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  13. Bryan Eggers says:

    RT @fotozine: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos — http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  14. Ben Zvan says:

    I love the way the fence patterns effect the bokeh – RT @fotozine: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos — http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  15. RT @VegasNews: RT @fotozine: Shooting better photos through zoo Fences http://bit.ly/aPqrCI // great reminder of classic photog's trick

  16. RT @VegasNews: RT @fotozine: Shooting better photos through zoo Fences http://bit.ly/aPqrCI // great reminder of classic photog's trick

  17. Paula Francis says:

    RT @VegasNews: RT @fotozine: Shooting better photos through zoo Fences http://bit.ly/aPqrCI // great reminder of classic photog's trick

  18. RT @fotozine: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos – http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  19. ccvision says:

    Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos – http://bit.ly/aPqrCI RT @pixfan @fotozine

  20. RT @fotozine: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos – http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  21. Greg says:

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  22. Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos – http://bit.ly/aPqrCI RT @pixfan @fotozine @ccvision

  23. Dudi Gura says:

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  24. Kim S. says:

    RT @fotozine: Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos — http://bit.ly/aPqrCI

  25. parade says:

    Shooting Through the Fences – Better Zoo Photos http://cot.ag/cQJQsS (really cool article found via @photoasia)

  26. Julie ray says:

    RT @paradepro Shooting Through the Fences –Better Zoo Photos http://cot.ag/cQJQsS (really cool article found via @photoasia) thx!

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