Our Zoo is doing the annual event of letting photographers in at 6 am for the opportunity to take animal pictures in the wonderful morning light. There is a significant premium for doing this (like 4-5 times the price of regular admission) plus a whole bunch of forms to sign prohibiting commercial use of photos taken during the photoshoot.
I was thinking of doing this but I am questioning the value of this venture. You can get in at normal hours and take all the pictures you want without having to pay extra for anything and without having to sign any forms.
#2. "RE: The Value of Morning Light" In response to Reply # 0 Fri 14-Jun-13 01:13 AM by mklass
Well, if you planned on shooting pictures to sell, then clearly it's a bad deal. Otherwise it might just be a nice opportunity to shoot in light that's normally not available.
You also might want to look at the fine print on their regular ticket. If they are prohibiting sales on images taken during this special event, they likely also prohibit images taken at any time from being used for anything other than personal use.
#5. "RE: The Value of Morning Light" In response to Reply # 0
Aside from the preferred lighting most animals are more active in the early morning. If the stock is in good physical condition this might be a nice opportunity. My experience with a lot of zoos and wildlife parks is the animals often are suffering from a poor diet/appetite and some amount of stress, this is especially visible with furred animals as their coats are usually spotty and dull. Then a lot of them have ear tags or collars ruining the whole experience. Lastly, shooting in zoos can be difficult because of the unnatural surroundings - you will have to definitely watch your DOF so you can blur out all the man made objects that inevitably impose themselves in your shots.
#6. "RE: The Value of Morning Light" In response to Reply # 0 Sat 15-Jun-13 01:04 PM by ericbowles
Not all zoos have scenes that produce good images early in the morning. I think you'll have to think through which animals will be out and what images will be truly excellent with early light. The zoo contact might not know about photography and what makes a good photo composition.
I'd be more interested in attending if there are going to be specific animals handled for photos. For example, at feeding time they are highly animated, but they may also just crowd around the place where they are fed. I was at ZooAtlanta recently and 45 minutes before the end of the day, the gorillas were crowded around the door to their indoor cages where they would be fed. There was no photo opportunity.
I'd probably pay a premium, but I'm not sure whether I'd pay more than $50 or so. I might pay $75, but I'd expect to have some compelling reason to pay that much. I'm not sure what zoo entry and membership costs. I pay $80 for an annual photo pass to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm that includes early entry at peak times. I pay $25 for a captive raptor shoot at a local nature center. My local Botanical Garden has a free early entry event each year for members. Paying more than $50 would be hard to justify.
#7. "RE: The Value of Morning Light" In response to Reply # 0
San Diego, US
My thought process:
Can't sell images - so is my "experience" going to make it worth the price of admission?
Assuming I can get some great photos - because if I didn't, the answer is already a 'no' - what will I do with them? Do I need some gifts for friends or relatives? Do I have a space on my wall that needs some fresh shots and the lady of the house is 'zoo friendly'?
If I cannot see a worth while use of the result - then why spend the premium to take them?
And, if I had any connections at the zoo, I would encourage a photo contest where results could be shown (in print or on line) which would serve to promote the zoo itself and raise a few bucks (as there would be an entry fee).
I have a few photos on my office wall of zoo subjects including the panda, gorilla and a parrot. Even an odd shot of an elephant 'catching' the water from a keeper's hose in his trunk. All 'opportunity shots' - but everyone who sees them knows from where they came.