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On Sunday I am off to the Toronto Zoo. Any tips out there for best way to deal with the issues of cages, glass underwater shots and any other issues I may come across? According to the zoo, cooler weather is a better time to see the animals out and about. Hoping for some good human shots too.

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The biggest issue in shooting in zoos is understanding what Alamy's position is on our doing so. I'd like to explain, but I don't really understand it. 

 

The Toronto Zoo in winter? Clearly you are of an optimistic nature. The best time to shoot in any zoo is spring, when the animals move outdoors and they have young ones. 

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The biggest issue in shooting in zoos is understanding what Alamy's position is on our doing so. I'd like to explain, but I don't really understand it.

 

The Toronto Zoo in winter? Clearly you are of an optimistic nature. The best time to shoot in any zoo is spring, when the animals move outdoors and they have young ones.

 

I didn't know Alamy had a position on zoo photography.

 

I will probably go in spring as well. Considering becoming a member and going often. Hoping for some nice polar bear and grizzly bear shots. There is a great glass enclosure where you can see the polar bears under water. Might stick to the Canadian Zone where the snow (if we have any on Sunday, but supposed to have some flurries tomorrow) looks more natural. Lynx, moose, cougar are all Canadian citizens, so will probably focus on my own country's inhabitants, and wander farther if I have time.

Edited by Jill Morgan

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Alamy's position on zoos is that it has far too many.  Not a good choice if you want to make sales (even assuming any buyers get that far after trawling the micros).  People relating to animals (or vice versa) will be your best option. 

 

Having said that, I did make some sales of a polar bear in Belgrade zoo, but that was all about the cage.

 

http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/386662/view

Edited by Robert Brook

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What a sad sad picture, that big white bear in that tiny space. I want to hurt somebody.

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Sold this as an image of a smiling animal -- Denver Zoo.

 

BD117N.jpg

 

BD117N

 

I must say I always seem to do best with animals doing something -- especially if it is something unusual.

 

Paulette

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Take the longest zoom you got (eg. 80-400mm) as many of the animals will be too far away, and a fast wide lens for those indoor enclosures (Aquariums & Monkey or Reptile house). A polarizing filter will come in very handy for getting rid of reflections on glass or glare from fur and foliage.

Find out the times for any open-air bird flight displays as you don't want to miss them.

 

Parm

Edited by Bhandol

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My longest lens is my 55-250. But took Keith's advice and got myself a 50mm 1.8 for those more challenging light shots. Going to take my tripod, but it is a heavy mother, so will decide when I get there if I will take it in. Are monopods really helpfull? Have considered getting one.

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Jill, call ahead and find out if they allow tripod use. My guess is they don't.

 

I love that smiling lion, Paulette . . . but he doesn't make up for the treatment of those bears. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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And when you call about the tripod, ask if you can take pictures for commercial sales, not just personal use and if you need permission to do so. Some zoos allow it, some don't and if not then they would be Editorial only.

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I went to Edinburgh Zoo, took over 200 pics, some went up to Alamy. Not one searched for on Alamy. I won't be going to the zoo again. 

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I went to Edinburgh Zoo, took over 200 pics, some went up to Alamy. Not one searched for on Alamy. I won't be going to the zoo again. 

 

I think zoo photography is something that is going to require a lot of patience. The pics need to be something a little different, like Paulette's smiling lion. I am also hoping to get some human/animal interaction. And of course, I love to go anyway. The Toronto Zoo is 710 acres, so it will take a few visits to cover it, and I love animals and walking, so its a pleasure as well as a task. And a little sunshine would be nice too.

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I went to Edinburgh Zoo, took over 200 pics, some went up to Alamy. Not one searched for on Alamy. I won't be going to the zoo again. 

 

And yet my limited number of animal images from Marwell Zoo here in Hampshire do get views every month, some zooms, and I have sold from them. Marwell are OK with tripods, and photographs being used for stock - although they do charge a fee for "commercial photography" onsite which is more like for example a model shoot where it would disrupt the flow of visitors.

 

I'm yet to put up images from Berlin zoo, these are less natural and more about the environment - pretty poor in comparison to the wildlife parks I'm used to. But I will do them, Vancouver Aquarium just passed QC and are in my queue for keywording. But I am realistic about how many others are already in the library from there.

 

I guess it depends entirely on the images - mine from Marwell are mostly portraits without any cage/unnatural items visible - what I would say is that most of my views are from people searching on the Latin names for the species, not the generic name which of course I have also keyworded.

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Ranked #23 of 289 attractions in Toronto on Tripadvisor.

Maybe read the comments people write and look for shots that would illustrate the things that stand out.

The same with the regular travel guides.

That's my MO when I have no idea about the destination and only short time to get some info: tripadvisor works on a phone and guide books are usually everywhere when I'm traveling.

 

wim

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My longest lens is my 55-250. But took Keith's advice and got myself a 50mm 1.8 for those more challenging light shots. Going to take my tripod, but it is a heavy mother, so will decide when I get there if I will take it in. Are monopods really helpfull? Have considered getting one.

If you need extra stability, I find there is always something to lean your camera on like a fence post, railing, or wall.  A small mini tripod can come in handy if they get shirty about you using a big tripod. I'd only use a monopod if the lens is to big and heavy to hold, though it can get a bit awkward if your trying to shoot birds flying (for that i find hand holding with VR/IS turned on makes it much easier to track birds across the sky).

Good luck. 

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Just a heads up, if you are licensing the images via Alamy on a commercial basis, you are required to get a property release/permission from the zoo.

 

This is the zoo's policy - http://www.torontozoo.com/cateringandgroupevents/Policies.asp

 

"The commercial use of photographic, video and film images of the Toronto Zoo is strictly prohibited without the written consent of the Zoo."

  • Upvote 1

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Out of my 170 final sales in the last year, no fewer than 15 have been from zoos, which is a high propotion relative to my portfolio; two have been from Edinburgh Zoo (one does not show any animals or indeed any part of the zoo people would recognise); several have been from zoos where commercial photography is not allowed, but they have been very editorial shots - not images of animals in their own right by any means. I  regularly make zoo sales and with the exception of the one-a-day meerkat calendar shots, they are hardly ever animal shots, always human interaction or environment or architecture.

  • Upvote 1

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What really matters in a simple practical test is whether or not the particular zoo puts pressure on Alamy to enforce the zoo's policy. London Zoo and Whipsnade are under the control of the Zoological Society of London and they most certainly do make strong efforts to keep photos taken on their property off stock sites. Toronto and many other zoos may have a restrictive policy but do they enforce it?  Hauling a heavy tripod around and setting it up causing inconvenience to other visitors is asking for trouble.

 

I have a rather nice shot of an elephant stretching it's trunk across the moat to get nibbles from eager visitors at London Zoo. It was removed from Alamy after is was spotted by the Zoological Society. I wasn't best pleased, but hey, life's too short!

 

Robert

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Although that policy line is associated with corporate events, I think they use the same boilerplate for everyone: they're allowed to take and use our picture, but we can't take and use our own pictures.  But Robert is right, I've not seen this enforced.  In fact, I don't have trouble with tripods outdoors.  That doesn't go for the more cramped indoor spaces.  I have  sold many Toronto Zoo pictures.  That reminds me I should go back there when we have a clean coating of snow.

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I fought for my right to keep Whipsnade images on Alamy and got some of the policy changed along with permission to keep the images there, as editorial stock. It was not easy and involved a lot of writing but in essence, I cited the long history of RZS benefiting from press and magazine images taken at press calls and by freelances going back 100 years, and did they want all the archives of Victor Blackman and countless other pressmen all declared off-limits? I let them review my Alamy images, they decided that nothing was inappropriate and their request that they be removed from sale was withdrawn.

 

I do not make a habit of trying to freeload on zoos or historic properties but I stand against censorship of photography when journalism, sound recording or artwork is not similarly restricted. I believe that organisations which impose these restrictions do themselves damage and remove their history from the view of the future, and I don't mind explaining that position.

  • Upvote 2

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I take my hat off to you David, too many of us assume the profile of a doormat too often. I don't want to open the whole restricted "commercial photography" tin of worms, but year by year, it gets a little worse. I always remember a particularly loathsome politician who floated the idea of copyrighting the skyline of London a good few years ago.Thankfully that one didn't float.

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Well, had a great time at the zoo yesterday.  Took 700 shots and uploaded 48 last night. I was there for 5 hours and still only covered about a quarter of the zoo. Put about 5 miles on my feet with the walk down the the Canadian Domain a half mile steep hill each way. Needless to say, not many people wandered down yesterday to see the Grizzly Bear. Their "Zoomobile" doesn't run in the winter, so can't hop from exhibit to exhibit.

 

The while lions were wonderful but those polar bears were determined to hide at the far end of their 5 acre enclosure, so didn't get any great shots of them. Next time. A quick stop to see the Giant Pandas, but they were both sleeping so I will catch them next time as well. They are here for 5 years.

 

Be posting a couple of pics I have questions about. 

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Zoo sale at $176 came in this afternoon just to emphasise the point. And no, not an inmate. Environment and visitors.

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