Sunday, March 30, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
If the feeding time is advertised then you need to be in place at least half an hour before, because:-
- The animals tend to be moving about in anticipation
- It will get really busy around the enclosure and you need to have selected your place.
- After feeding the animals usually retire for a sleep
If the cage has a glass viewing panel as well as mesh then I sometimes choose to shoot through the glass if the mesh is double or triple and quite small.
If it is a fairly large mesh I will shoot so that the links do not obscure an important part of the animal such as the eye or ear setting. I will also kneel or bend so that I shoot on eye level with the animal to reduce distortion.
I shot this cheetah through mesh, it isn't a good photograph but plenty good enough for me to use as a reference. His face was at a slightly odd angle which I have straightened a little.
If I choose to photograph through the glass, the first thing is to pick a spot which is reasonably clean, I usually use a tissue to give it a quick rub.Then put the lens right up against the glass, this will reduce glare and reflection. Again try and take the photograph at eye level for the animal unless you want to paint a different viewpoint.
Wherever you choose to stand, you will have to be patient and take an awful lot of photographs. Most of them will not be that useful, but patience usually pays off if you watch the animal to see which area of its enclosure it prefers. You can sometimes see a path worn in the grass where the animal often walks.
If you are photographing an animal which is either allowed to roam free or has no mesh then patience is the only requisite.
I sat and watched the Meerkats at Edinburgh Zoo for an hour before this one came and sat right in front of me.I live reasonably near the Wildlife Park in the Lake District which has several species of free roaming lemurs, wallabies, ostrich, etc. The photographs can be taken with any size of camera, my son takes excellent photographs with a small digital that cost less than £100. Do not be put off by thinking your camera is not good enough.
In the last post I will consider what to do with the photographs once you get home.
Just to show that you can take good underwater shots putting the lens against the glass. I took this photograph in the Aquarium in Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada.
Friday, March 07, 2008
So first things first, you have decided you need some reference photographs to help with painting an animal(s), what do you need to think about.
- What species of animal do you want to paint
- How far are you able to travel
- How much time and money do you want to spend.
So I decide I want to photograph a tiger. I'll then use the internet to come up with a list of Zoo's or Wildlife Parks within the area I am willing to visit. I will look at the list of animals each facility keeps and make a short list of which ones have tigers. At this point I might look at which subspecies are kept or how far away each place is.
I might find that the best choice is a photographic day which several facilities offer, these are obviously much more expensive than a visit to the Zoo or Wildlife Park.
So now I know where I'm going I need to decide when I'm going. I would avoid:-
- School Holidays/Weekends if possible
- The middle of the day as I find the animals are most active early morning or late afternoon.
- Very cold or very warm weather (this depends on the species to some extent)
I'm now ready for my trip, packed the camera and put on some comfortable shoes, and clothing suitable for standing still for long periods of time.
In the next part I will discuss what to do when faced with your model, especially if it is a speck on the horizon.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
There have been two changes which have caused much discussion amongst prospective entrants.
The first is that the artist must have taken any photographs used for source material. Now obviously copyright laws must be respected, but this means that even if you have permission to use someone else's photograph, your entry would be ineligible. I have no problem with this being a condition of entry, but it has caused some artists serious problems with work already partly completed.
I have used photographs taken by other people, always with permission, but have been working hard at taking my own. Meet my latest film star, Harry Mouse. I'm wanting to paint some cat and mouse pieces and spotted a little mouse living under the waterfall in my garden.So I've been feeding him in orders that I can obtain my own refernece material. Please all keep your fingers crossed that my neighbours cats don't spot him.
The second condition which is more concerning to me, is that, work is excluded which has been displayed as a 'step by step' exercise over the internet, on forums where other artists comment and make suggestions.
This may well stop a lot of artists putting work on art forums, or at the very least asking that no one make suggestions. This will then have a detrimental effect on the usefulness of such posts for people wanting to learn from them. I find this to be hugely different from making work ineligible which has been completed in a learning environment and I cannot see how it can be enforced. Even if it is not displayed on the internet, would a comment from family or friends which is acted on render it ineligible?
I rgreatly espect the UKCPS Executive, but I think they will have to resolve the huge confusion that has been created in some way.