Colchester is bursting with photographic opportunities, including surprisingly exotic wildlife, not all of it on show at 2am in the High Street on a Saturday night. A day at the renowned Colchester Zoo, one of the best and most respected zoos in the world, always gets some good shots and is a great day out for all ages.
The regal lion is the proudest and most photogenic of animals, and it baffles me how in recent times a humble domestic cat was mistaken to be an escaped lion by the residents of nearby St Osyth, a story which made the national news over the August bank holiday. So, for the benefit of those who remain unsure of the difference, here is our very own Essex Lion.
Animals are the most unpredictable of subjects - on a par perhaps only with children. You always need to keep a camera to hand as the type of shots are so random and you don't want to miss anything. Animals have a habit of displaying really affectionate touches that we also associate with human behaviour.
But it is not simply the big or notorious animals which are interesting to capture in a photograph, the more unusual and less popular exhibits at the zoo are the ones I frequently get the most atmospheric or interesting images.
Animals are a fantastic opportunity for the aspiring or professional photographer. It is not just the subject being so interesting, it is the depth of textures, colours and emotion visible in the animals which gives reign to so many opportunities
This majestic elephant conveys these opportunities, the eyes emanate a sense of wisdom and understanding, while the texture of their immense frame is intensely photographic; in this case black and white simply emphasises the beauty of this mammal.
I have noticed as I write that the use of familiar photography language doesn't mix well with the wildlife arena, references to 'shooting', 'shots' and 'capturing' are therefore unfortunate; no animals were harmed during the taking of these photographs...
Since reigniting my interest in photography, I have had to learn to balance my desire to take photos at any time with the need to remember why we are there in the first place, fortunately my family has a way of keeping this in perspective so I get to enjoy the day and not spend all the time taking pictures at their expense.
Sometimes it is the groups of animals which are more visually stunning than when they are captured alone. The flamingos captured below are not a species I have photographed before but there is something about the photo I love, which completely surprised me when I got back and reviewed the shots from the day.
Should you be interested in any of these images, some will feature in the shop in due course, or as always if interested in a particular piece please do not hesitate to contact me. All of these photographs were taken on location at Colchester Zoo, my family and I can not recommend it highly enough; if you have never been, you really should.