This is the year penguins will fly.

Posts tagged “animal photography

A Trip to Whipsnade!

At the beginning of the week my friends from work and I went on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo!

This was the first time i’d ever been to Whipsnade, despite living in Bedfordshire for 4 years whilst at University, and I was super excited to see all the animals!

We started by stopping by for some lemur breakfast. The Lemurs jumped about everywhere and walked along the barriers at the sides of the path, often hitting us with their tails, as they munched away at their food. I didn’t really know a lot about lemurs and so was very excited to learn new things, including the fact that the smallest lemur is the same size as your little finger! How crazy is that?!?

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Afterwards we moved on to the chimps who also happened to be having breakfast! They were so cheeky and mischievous, especially one who kept stealing everyone else’s food. The dominant male got angry at the cheeky chimp for trying to steal food off him which led to a comical display from the cheeky chimp who threw himself on his back like he was playing dead. Sometimes the food would also fall into the moat next to their island and then the chimps showed off their intelligence by picking up sticks to hit the food towards them.

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Then we wandered to see some white rhinos and I learnt why they’re actually called white rhinos! It’s all to do with a misunderstanding on the Africaans use of the word ‘wijde’ which was in reference to this species wide mouth, but it sounded rather like ‘White’ and so the White Rhino got it’s name. The Black Rhino was named to be opposite despite neither being particularly different colours.

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We wandered about looking at the various animals and we’re extremely impressed with all the different enclosures, the paddocks were huge and decorated beautifully too, the illusive wolves had a gorgeous forest, the penguins had probably the best pool view i’ve seen and all the animals had lots of things to keep them busy throughout the day.

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A Mara, one of the free roaming animals in the Zoo.

We saw a brown bear go swimming which was wonderful to see. It bumbled through the forest and I was running along side ready for the perfect shot, my friend was hoping it would go in the water and so we all waited with bated breath. The bear was snuffing the air and definitely took it’s time, but eventually went into the cool waters and I got some adorable photographs of it having a nice soak.

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We also saw the sealion show, they were great at showing just how agile and amazing they are, they told us the difference between sealions and seals, how they train them for the vets and also how we can help them in the wild. It was really interesting as well as being pretty cool to watch.

We also saw the talk at the animal farm where they brought out many different cute, fluffy creatures for us all to stroke including baby rabbits, ferrets and pygmy goats! They even flew an owl around our heads which hovered right in front of our faces! It was so cool!

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We even took a stream train ride through the park! This is feel was rather overpriced for how long the journey was, but it was really rather fun! We not only learnt about the animals we passed but also about the steam engine we were riding. It’s definitely a fun way to go around and see the animals, i’d recommend it at least once, but maybe not more than that.

We carried on walking around seeing all sorts of different animals, but our feet were getting weary and it was nearly closing time so we wandered over to the gift shop. However the gift shop was closed before we even got there! We were not very impressed by that fact, but decided it was probably for the best anyway as we all needed to save money.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon at a friends house playing with her pet snake and eating far too much rubbish.

I had such a fun day, took so many lovely pictures and can’t wait to go again!

Claire x


The Importance of Understanding your Camera and Sloth Babies!

I’ve always had real trouble with photography in low light situations and always blamed it on my old camera, plus they always say that light is a photographers best friend! But sometimes good lighting is just not possible, especially when not based in a studio.

I recently took my camera to work with me to take pictures of all the cute baby animals we have running around at the moment. I was getting quite frustrated at my camera not being able to cope with the light levels in the perfectly lit room, no matter how much I changed my shutter speed and aperture I just couldn’t get a clear, well lit photograph of the sloth and its baby (see attempts below). But there was an old gentleman, and regular at the zoo, who then told me about ISO.

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Both unfortunately blurry and dark. 

I had heard of ISO but had always thought that it would seriously reduce the quality of my photographs, something which is of course true if you’re not using it properly, as I wasn’t. After hearing his brief explanation I decided to change my settings and finally got some good photographs! I just wish i’d played with it earlier on in the day.

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I did get a couple of good shots on a low ISO

Well since that day I’ve done a bit of research into ISO so I can learn exactly what it is and how to use it.

So what exactly is ISO?

ISO is the speed of the film, not to be confused with frame rate but instead it’s how sensitive the film would be to light. So a Low ISO would correspond to an insensitive film that would require more light to create a good quality image, whereas a High ISO would be a far more sensitive film needing less light for the same image quality. But even though you may need a higher ISO in certain situations, the higher ISO does also create grainier images and so it is best to keep the ISO as low as possible for the shot.

Of course if using a Tripod for a still subject it would be fine to use the lowest ISO possible, but for handheld camera work and moving objects it’s best to experiment to find the perfect balance between brightness and noise in the photograph.

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It really is so important to understand all the workings of your camera, I’ve had mine for nearly 7 years and I’m only just learning how to really get the most out of it! I plan to carry on learning about all aspects of photography and hopefully it will improve my photographs, in fact i think it already is!

But it’s not only understanding your camera, it’s also understanding your subject so I also plan to study the animals i’m wanting to take photographs of as well. There’s not all that much known about sloth babies, as they have about an 80% mortality rate in just the first week of being born, and a lot of that percentage is from the mother dropping them! I believe this is the first sloth baby in our zoo for around 50 years. So not only is the sloth baby proving to be vital research for myself into the animal kingdom, but also for the keepers who are learning new things about how they develop, grow and learn too! It’s all very exciting.

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I plan to take my camera to work again very soon and experiment more with the ISO settings, plus i want to get even more adorable photographs of various animals!

Claire x


Catch Up on the 365 Project.

I know i know, i’m terrible and haven’t updated my 365 project for nearly a month! But it’s ok, i have been taking photos so here’s a little catch up.

Warning – Going to be very picture heavy (if you hadn’t guessed)

February the 10th saw me driving up to the north with the radio blasting and ash putting in ear plugs to avoid hearing my singing.

On the 11th i saw these amazing blue orchids! My mum didn’t think much to them but I thought they were gorgeous! It’s a shame I can’t help but kill plants. 😦 I am definitely not green thumbed.

I went to go see Frank Turner with my sister and some friends on the 12th. On the way there I was reading a book on photography when a stranger asked me if I was into that sort of thing and told me to visit this gallery. I still haven’t got round to it, but the exhibition is still on so maybe i’ll go soon.

On the 13th I finally fixed one of my favourite earrings. It’s been sat on my desk for so long and I only just got round to gluing it back together. Hopefully I wont break it again!

On valentines day I spent most of the day drawing hobbits and dragons. Not bad in my opinion. I didn’t actually do anything with ash, neither of us are particularly bothered by it in all honesty. It’s a silly holiday really (we did make an excuse for some snuggle/movie time though of course).

On the 15th I moved my penguin statue, a christmas present from my mums boyfriend and just totally awesome, to a spot where he could keep an eye on my working.

My hair went crazy big and curly on the 16th as I left it in a big plait over night. It’s a shame that it’s so long and unmanageable at the moment, it just looked like a massive frizz ball! Definitely time for a hair cut.

On the 17th I really enjoyed the contrast between the moody, british sky and these stunning blossoms.

The 18th saw lots of editing work. Nearly a whole day of editing! My eyes definitely needed a rest by the end, but at least I had been very productive. These photo’s are amongst my favourites i’ve ever taken.

On the 19th I found out that I had an interview with London Zoo! I was so excited that I really couldn’t concentrate at work, not the best when working in a kitchen. I burnt myself so many times I lost count and nearly chopped my finger off! Luckily my nail stopped the cut becoming any deeper but it was still pretty nasty.

On the 20th I was starting to feel like I lived in this uniform. Working 60+ hour weeks, 6 days out of 7 most of the time and just constantly tired. I was starting to want just a day to pamper myself, wear make-up and look pretty but I just don’t have the energy even on my days off.

The 21st I was starting to feel positive. I was super excited (and nervous) about this interview and also knew it wasn’t long until Legoland wanted me back, plus i was about to drive up north for a wedding! Life was definitely about to get fun, I just had to stick it out at the pub for a little longer. This mirror is above our bed and was there when we moved in. We’re far too lazy to take it off and I actually kind of like it. It makes me smile.

The 22nd was the wedding of two very close friends! Unfortunately I forgot my camera (silly me) and my phone was dying so I didn’t take many pictures, but I did snap this cute picture of the first dance. The groom had changed into some more comfortable shoes for the party side of the wedding, as had the bride who was now wearing bright pink converse under her dress. Such a lovely day! I’m so happy for them both!

On the 23rd I went back to the south, but before I did I managed a little switcheroo at home, giggling like a naughty school girl the whole time. Mum has never got round to putting up my graduation picture (the woes of a second child!) and so I put mine in my sisters place. I don’t think she’s noticed yet, until she reads this blog post…*evil cackle*

On the 24th i received this sewing pattern I had won! I can’t wait to get stuck in!

On the 25th was my interview with London Zoo! It ran from 9-5 with lots of group exercises, presentations and other things to really get to know if we were right for the job and was such a fun day! It honestly made me want to work there even more, which I didn’t think was possible. I somehow managed to get a selfie with a penguin as well!

After the long interview and then rushing off to work for a close, I wasn’t feeling very awake on the 26th and drank far too much coffee.

On the 27th I got the news that I got the job!! I was so excited and i’m pretty sure I asked the person on the phone ‘Really?!’ several times. I celebrated with a glass (or two) of Merlyn, it’s like Baileys but so much better! I’m still convinced they’re going to ring up and tell me they made a mistake, but It’s quite honestly a dream come true!

On the 28th I started counting down to my start. I wrote it on my calendar and was still bouncing off walls.

On the 1st of March I received a congratulations card from my mum, complete with penguins of course!. How lovely 🙂 And yes, still bouncing off the walls at this stage.

On the 2nd there was a gorgeous rainbow! I could see the whole thing (I haven’t got round to editing those pictures yet though). If only I could find the pot of gold at the end…*sigh*

So that’s me all caught up to this week! I will be posting these weekly as usual from this sunday.

February was most definitely a very exciting month and I’m sure that March will be just as exciting!

Claire x


Photography Adventures

As the title might suggest, this post will be very picture heavy. You’ve been warned!

I always believe that you should make your life an adventure and I often take the time to notice the random things going on around me, making even a trip to the shops an exciting experience. Because of this I usually find I notice things that I would love to photograph but never seem to have my camera on me,  such as the time I saw cows crossing a motorway bridge with the words ‘Rural Revolution’ graffitied below.

I have decided that I need to take advantage of these moments and so, not only am I going to make an easy to carry camera bag, i’m setting aside time every now and again to go on a Photography Adventure. Just me, my camera and an adventure!

Ok so maybe Ash can join on a few adventures. 😉

Not only do I believe that this could result in some great fun and photographs, but I am also hoping that it will improve my photography skills as I challenge myself with shooting on Manual settings and in lots of different lighting and situations.

I went on my first official Photography Adventure on monday. I decided just explore my area, we’ve only just moved here (although it’s not that far from our old place) and I thought it would be a good way to learn about where I actually live.

The area we live in is called Muswell Hill in North London. It quite posh and full of crafty and vintage shops. I should’ve taken some photo’s of the highstreet but I forgot to get my camera out until I had passed the high street and saw this amazing view from a car park just 10 minutes from my house!

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I had to stand on top of a pretty precarious wall to get this shot and I knew that I could get better elsewhere and so I moved on.

I found some amazingly steep and quiet streets and just had to text Ash as they would be perfect for practicing slides and cornering on when long boarding (with a spotter of course). A lot of the houses I found must have had incredible views from their back windows and balconies. I saw so many houses I would love to live in! There were loads of the old Tudor styled houses, the type of house i’ve always dreamed of!

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I wandered along these back streets for a while until I happened upon Alexandra Palace (Ok so I followed the BBC tower as I knew there were good photo’s to be took here). The views from Ally Pally are amazing, it also has an ice rink, a boating pond, Fallow Deer and regular gigs. Plus it’s only a 5 minute walk from my house now!

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I sat for a while, eating a breakfast bar, admiring the view and taking a few photo’s

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Now available on my Etsy! Click for the listing 🙂

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Soon though, my bum became too cold and so I moved on. Wandering down to the paddocks to see Alexandra Palaces Fallow Deer Herd. I only learned they had a deer herd recently despite visiting often, but now I make sure to visit them each time I go.

On the way to the deer I noticed a squirrel sitting in the grass. I love squirrels (yes, even the grey ones) and so I had to take some photos!

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Another that is available on my Etsy! Click the image for the listing!

For these shots I played around with a very shallow Depth of Field and feel it really adds to the shots making the foreground out of focus and so the squirrel is the main point of interest.

Next I found the Deer. They were quite far away from the fence to begin with but soon started travelling towards the right hand side of the paddock. I ran over (yes I actually ran) so that I could get some good shots of them walking towards me. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I forgot about the manual settings and so a lot of the photos came out too dark, even for editing. I did manage a few good shots once i remembered though.

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Again this one is available on my Etsy! Click the photo for the listing!

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Whilst taking these images I got talking to a man who was walking his dogs. We both agreed that these deer were just beautiful animals!

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Click the image for the Etsy listing of this adorable buck and fawns!

Soon my hands we’re feeling frozen and so I had to tear myself away from these beautiful animals. I decided it was time to go home as I already had a pretty bad cold and didn’t want to get any sicker.

On my way back home I passed the boating lake where this coot was hunting for food. I took a few pictures of it diving under the water before finally heading home to see the spoils of my adventure!

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I really hope to do another adventure soon and already have a few places in mind!

Anyone else been on an adventure lately?