At the Zoo

This was originally going to be my ‘positioning the point’ exercise but then I realised the ‘points’ were far too big. But I decided to publish it anyway as part of my photography learning journey.

I went to the local zoo intending to take photos of the wildlife for this exercise. Everyone always seems to race straight to the impressive animals, like the tigers and the lions and usually there are so many people crushed against the windows you can hardly see the glass let alone the animal. So I went to some of the quieter parts. Everyone always seems to overlook the ducks and geese that have made their home at the zoo so I set up there. I had decided to leave my tripod at home so used a fence post to stabilize the camera. I placed the bird so its head was on the intercrossing lines following the rule of thirds.




In the second photo I chose a penguin as my subject. I loved the backdrop of the turquoise waters contrasting against the black silver and white of the penguin. I like this composure better as if the penguin’s head was positioned on the left side then the line of the beak would lead the eye off the photo. Whereas positioned on the right, the direction of its head and beak lead the viewer off across the turquoise waters.

I decided to try a bull’s eye composition placing the subject dead centre, though I don’t think this is as effective as the other photo. It seems a bit standard and unimpressive and though it is sometimes used in nature photography I don’t feel it worked here.


decided to experiment with placing two points. There were two penguins sitting on the rock so I used a telephoto lens to get as close as I could.


In the first photo the penguins are both facing the left, there is nowhere for the viewers eye to follow and the rock seems unimportant and negative.


The penguins stayed in the exact spot, though one fell asleep. I like this photo better as the penguins lead your eye across the photo, the rock is an interesting foreground and there is a strong contrast with colours. Though I would have liked to get at their eye level to create a sense of their world. But that would have involved actually climbing into the water and I don’t think the zookeepers would have approved. There was a small glass window but it was a bit grubby and distracting.


For the third and final photo I wanted to make the composition really different. The penguins were still in the exact position but all my photos before looked like they were in a natural habitat, apart from the tags and coloured water. I wanted to include the zoo environment but without distracting from the penguins. Several people were leaning over the barrier watching so I took the photo vertically and used a wide aperture to blur the people out.

I am now going to start work for positioning a point.


  1. I really like the last photo here – the out of focus people put the whole image into perspective.

    1. Aw thank you 😀 I was quite pleased with that one too. How are you getting on with the course.

  2. I have just discovered your photo blog and I am amazed by all this great pictures you’ve published. Well done Chloe!

    1. Thank you Kamil, and thank you so much for all your kind words and support through this course. 😀

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