January at the Zoo

I received a Kansas City Zoo membership for Christmas from my parents. I was really excited, since I have been visiting the zoo a lot recently trying to get some good, quality images for my mid-program review. The zoo was practically empty which was nice, as it allowed me to spend as much time as I wanted at each enclosure, and I didnt have to fight the crowds. I’ll upload my favorites here, and you’ll have to visit my flickr slideshow to see all the shots.

Link to the slideshow (includes many images not see here): Holly Hildreth Flickr

Anyway, here are a few of the images that I captured this last visit:

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

© Holly Hildreth 2011

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November at the Zoo

This Saturday I decided to visit the Kansas City Zoo again. I’m trying to build up a collection of work for mid-program next semester. For mid-program, you have to pick a specific area that you want to go into and then make around 25 prints of your absolute best work, and then present it to a jury of the professors of the college. From there they interview you and determine whether you can pass and stay in the program. Usually I put things off until the last second, but I didn’t want to have to make a million trips up to Kansas City in the dead of winter, so I decided to work ahead.

Initially while shooting, I didn’t think I had very many good images at all. The zoo was crowded and there were masses of inconsiderate people (lots of children) who think it’s okay to push someone with an expensive camera out of the way or body check them while they’re walking. This is why I’m not a people person! After I got home and looked at the images, I realize I had a lot better ones than I have previous thought.

I didn’t get as many images of the animals that I usually like as normal. I have a tendency to hover around the big cats. Tigers are my favorite zoo animal, so I typically spend a large amount of time at their cage as well as the leopard, lions, serval, etc. This time the best shots I got were with the birds. Normally I usually pass up birds, because I don’t find them that interesting. I usually think a roaring lion makes a much more dynamic image than some parrot sitting on a branch. It must have been my lucky day, because I got some great shots of the birds at the zoo.

I took a different route through the zoo this time. I tried to do the Africa section first this time. Usually when I get to Africa, I have been at the zoo for 3-4 hours already and my feet are tired and I’m ready to be done. I thin this new touring tactic lead me to spend more time at the animals I don’t usually shoot that much.

All in all I’m ready to go to a new zoo. The Kansas City Zoo is nice, and I’m really grateful to be so close to a zoo, but having been to other zoos, like Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, it seems really small. I would love to take a trip to Omaha or St. Louis and explore what they have to offer in the not-so-distant future.

Anyway, here are the images. Be sure to check out my flickr slideshow for all the proofs from the shoot. What’s on my blog is only a small sampling of what I have to offer.

Click Here for the Flickr Slideshow for the slideshow

A close encounter of the Feline kind

Today was one of the rare times where I didn’t have a massive amount of homework waiting for me when I got out of class. After Wedding and Location finished up at 5, I checked out a Canon 24mm Tilt-Shift lens and a Canon 580X ii Speedlite flash unit. I didn’t have anything particular in mind when I checked them out, I just wanted to familiarize myself with them more before I actually have to use them in the field or for an assignment. I went over to let Stoli out and decided that he could be my test subject. Stoli was NOT a fan of the flash and would whimper every time it went off, so that was short lived. I also had a hard time getting him to sit still long enough for me to manually focus the tilt-shift lens. After getting frustrated, I broke out my trusty 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and did some action shots. No sooner had I put on the lens then a stray cat came wondering into the yard. Stoli has never had an up-close encounter with any cats before, so he went berserk. There are a few stray cats that hang around the house every so often. The other night I let stoli out and one of them scampered out from under the deck, and he chased after it until I called him back. Well today this cat just froze and hissed, so Stoli got the opportunity to get as close as he dared. The cat didn’t have claws, so it must belong to someone. I was worried that Stoli would get hurt since the cat was bigger than him, but I figured he would learn. Stoli wanted to go up to the cat and lick it, but the cat would not have that. As soon as stoli would get close, he would swat at him and start hissing. Stoli took this as a game, so as soon as the cat swatted, Stoli took off running around the yard, doing circle laps around me and the cat for a few minutes before coming back for another attempt. Needless to say, he was pooped after it was all said and done. I brought Stoli inside for a water break, and must not have gotten the back door all the way shut, because as I was petting him, I hear a “meow” from the hallway, and there was the stray orange kitty! I felt bad for the poor thing putting it back outside. It huddled up against the house for warmth. I always feel sorry for animals in the winter. (Granted it’s not terribly cold here today, but it was only in the 50’s, and it will only get colder from here.)

Also, I want to apologize for posting so many things about Stoli. I am trying to be pretty regular about keeping a blog. I drug my feet so much with this blog for the first year of its existence, but I realize now that it can be a really powerful tool. Keeping up with the blog requires me to go out and shoot outside of class and its projects. I most often find myself shooting the dog, because he’s always there to sit for me, and his quirky personality makes me try hard to capture his goofy side. So, I’m sorry if you’re sick of dog posts, but it’s really the best way to get me into photo-blogging

Anyway, enough said. Here are some shots from the evening.

Kansas City Zoo Revisited

Last year I visited the Kansas City Zoo with my camera a few times, but I hadn’t been back in ages. I had been trying to get back for about a month, but every weekend something came up. Either the weather wouldn’t cooperate, I couldn’t get the 300mm lens checked out from the school, or I was sick. Finally this weekend I had the opportunity. I went up to Liberty to meet my family for lunch. (They were on their way back from my cousin’s wedding in Dallas.) After we had lunch and caught up, I went to the zoo for some quality shooting. I have never been to the zoo by myself before. Usually I have drug along other unsuspecting victims who had to put up with my obsessive need to stay at each cage until I get “the shot” I came for. After about 5 hours of shooting and luging around the 300mm with a monopod and a backpack full of lenses and other camera equipment, my feet were too tired to carry me anymore, and I had to call it quits. (That’s the bad thing about going to the zoo alone, I didn’t have my boyfriend to be my pack mule!) Anyway, as with my photo series of zoo animals last semester, I tried to capture the action, animals’ unique personalities and human-like emotions. I don’t think I was as successful as I was previously, but I still think I got a few decent shots.

I was truly as happy as a clam shooting today. I wish there was some way I could do this for a living–I’d never drag my feet getting up in the morning. Two of the things I love most are photography and animals, so wildlife photography works out perfectly for me! Anyway, here are some of the images that I liked the most out of the shoot. If you want to see all of the proofs from my shoot, you can visit my flickr slideshow, and there will be many more images for you to check out!

Click here for my Flickr Slideshow

Books for Sale!

As some of you may have heard, I professionally published a book of my wildlife photography. It’s a collection of images I have taken over the last two years and put together. I have put a lot of work into shooting, editing, and creating everything that went into the book, and I would love to share it with you guys. If you’re interested, you can preview the first fifteen pages. If you’d like to see more pages, send me a message and I can arrange something for you. Since I am a poor, unemployed college student, and I’m hoping to do this whole “photography” thing for a living, you can purchase your own copy! The books are nice, large 8″ x 10″ pages, and you can choose between hard cover with a dust jacket with a dedication and about the author page, or there is the slightly cheaper alternative of the soft cover. These books are perfect coffee table books and they make great gifts (Mother’s day is coming up!!) Anyway, if you could check out the link, it would be greatly appreciated.
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1273777

Thanks for all your help!
Holly Hildreth