I recently went to the local zoo to photograph the animals there for the colour part of the course. The criteria said to avoid taking photos of manmade colors like painted doors as all the student would be doing was photographing a ‘paint catalogue’ We were told to search for the pure natural unadulterated colours in nature, the vibrant green of foliage, the intenseness of flowers and I decided to start at the zoo. After all with creatures from all around the world there is an entire kaleidoscopic ecosystem of life to photograph.

I captured quite a few photos ranging from the habitat to the actual animals themselves, the results looked good on the lcd screen but when I opened them on the computer I was gutted. So many of the shots I was pleased with in camera were blurred due to camera shake or slow shutter speeds. Instead of hurriedly deleting this images I decided to post them up here to show my mistakes, to work out what I had done wrong and find how to correct this in the future. Especially as the student log is to show the photography evolving.


This photo of a Philippine sail lizard was taken with a wide aperture, and a ISO of 400. I used centre weighed average metering. The image background is nicely out of focus, unfortunately so is most of the lizard, not as badly as it could have been but still the eye slides because there is no focus to lock on to. The essential part of the image, the eye, is blurred so the image is ruined.

Here are several of the other images.

The next images of the lizard were more in focus so there are several reasons why the rest of them are blurred.

1. The shutter speed may have been too slow.
2. ISO too small.
3. Camera shake.
4. Even if the camera is on tripod (which is wasn’t)on remote release, the mirror flipping up can still cause a vibration which affects the image. This cam be altered by using mirror lock up so the mirror flips up before the image is taken so the vibrations aren’t noticed.
5. Focal point may be off.

So there are a lot of factors that can ruin a good image. I researched through several books and websites but this was the best one to ensure sharp images.


This is my favorite photo of the day, I think the sharpness of the image is due to stabilizing the camera against the glass. Plus I can’t get over his adorable face.



  1. It was a brilliant idea to visit the zoo Chloe and such a shame your photos didn’t turn out as you’d hoped! Good luck on completing this exercise 🙂

    1. I love visiting the zoo so much. Yeah I was disappointed but I guess this course is all about learning from mistakes and evolving 😀 Thank you and you. How are you getting on?

  2. You’re absolutely right about the learning from mistakes, during Part 2 I felt that I didn’t get a lot of the exercises quite right but I learned from that, it made me think long and hard and I am now pretty happy with the images for Assignment 2 which I will be ready to submit by the end of the weekend.

    I was away, out of the country, for an extended period with virtually no internet but studied Part 2 and took my assignment photographs over a period of 8 weeks while I was on a backpacking trip.

    Love reading your learning log you always sound so enthusiastic and inspiring 🙂

    1. The course is definitely getting harder so I can understand that. It’s really fun though isn’t it 😀 At first I didn’t put much on my learning log and my tutor pointed that out so now I’m planning to post something at least every day. I don’t want to spam everyone but I really want to do the best I can with the course 🙂

      Wow the backpacking trip sounds amazing. Where abouts did you go? Sounds like the perfect way to do the course. I”m really struggling with this colour section, it should be easy capturing a primary colour but for some reason everything I photograph (all inanimate) is being very uncooperative, from the daffodil diving off the table to water droplets landing on me instead of the flowers 😛

      Aw thanks that means so much 😀

  3. I look forward to your more frequent posts Chloe. Yes, the course is fun – I love to have my mind challenged and stretched.

    I walked the Camino de Santiago, the route ran from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, up over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. A total of 790km. It was a truly amazing experience! I have put my photos from the trip on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wild-place/sets/72157637985408173/ I will be using some of those images in Assignment 2 which I am submitting later today 🙂

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