Sunday, October 4, 2009

Captive Wildlife Photography

"Captive Wildlife Photography" is a sensitive issue for Wildlife Photographers.

I stumbled on a good blog entry by Wildlife Photographer Paul Burwell today on this particular issue:

On the blog, he questions the integrity of photographers who claim to shoot in the wild, but actually shoot animals in captivity (zoos and wildlife parks).  He proposes that "captive wildlife photographs" should include a disclaimer or a designation that indicates its "captivity" origins.

My comment on the Blog:

"I agree with you 100%.  I photograph captive animals for my Fine Art work, and I am very grateful to be given a chance to shoot these beautiful creatures upclose.  I love the trend in Zoos and Wildlife Parks towards giving the animals a more natural habitat within their enclosures... It helps give my photographs a very natural look, but I have never claimed in public or even privately that my pictures were taken in the wild -- In fact, I take great pride in telling people how I made a "zoo photograph" look like the real thing (plus I never take out walls, but enhance them instead).

As a photographer and filmmaker myself, I have the greatest admiration and respect for "field" (wilderness) wildlife photography and filmmaking, which I consider to be the hardest field in both disciplines -- waiting for days, sometimes weeks hiding in the bushes, tolerating heat and cold as well as insects requires a special breed of men and women.  Their dedication to their craft and art certainly deserves a recognition above and beyond those of us who photograph animals in captivity because we have it easy."

Here is a selection of my "captive wildlife photographs" from my FERA I & II Series.  They were taken in various Zoos and Wildlife Parks in the U.S.: 

These photographs are available as Limited Edition Fine-Art Prints on my gallery site:

--Photos taken with Canon 1Ds Mark II bodies with 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS or 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lenses (sometimes w/ 2x Extender II).

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