Photo Tip: The Zoo in the Zoom

Jul 14 2015

Sharpen your nature photography skills with Heinrich van den Berg

Wildlife photographers go on safari to capture wild animals with their cameras. They use long lenses and zoom in to draw the animal closer, capture it in a rectangular cage, and bring it back home to display to their friends.

I have been one of these collectors for many years, obsessively prowling the game reserves to find perfect specimens. And like many others I constantly reached for my biggest calibre lens to capture the animal as tightly in the frame as possible.

But one day I realized that to zoom in too much results in zoo-like images. Images of tightly cropped animals resemble the zoos where they are kept in spaces far too small for them. There leopards lose their minds from boredom. There birds break their wings trying to fly.

That is why I have decided to set some of my animals free. I still capture them, but use weaker lenses to leave space around them so that they can roam freely in the frame.

If you want to see tightly cropped animals, go to the zoo.



Heinrich van den Berg

I don't want to call myself a professional wildlife photographer, because the term has expired. I don't want to call myself a publisher, because I am a professional wildlife photographer. I don't want to be only a photo trainer, or an app developer or a writer. I want to call myself an artist, but what qualifies one to become one? I don't believe I am an artist yet, but one day perhaps I would be able to create something that I am proud enough of. In the meantime I just want to enjoy what I do.

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