Zoo Photo Shoot

January 3, 2012

Yesterday we headed to the zoo on Sam’s last vacation day. I took my 18-55mm telephoto lens in hopes of getting some practice in with a whole different setting. Bella loved seeing all of her animals, and it was gorgeous out. Sunny, which was strangely harder to take pictures in than the dark cavern setting.

With a toddler, it’s difficult to remember to get all the manual modes set, the lighting right, hit their face, get a blur, and find a great angle while still getting the shot quick enough. Sometimes it comes out a bit blurry or bright, but the only way I’m going to get better is practice.

Right? So here’s our day:


Watching the giraffes.
Jumping to Daddy.
Running back to me.
We have plants here. And they are pretty.
Loving Daddy.
Sitting on the tiger outside the carousel.
*sigh* I love this shot. Blurry and all.
Kisses for Mommy.
Just us.

I’d love to hear places you go to take interesting shots and practice. Give me some ideas besides my house and the park. Or maybe in them – just things I’ve never thought of.


  • Robnelp

    January 5, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I have a few suggestions for pic locales…

    Scenic Drive
    Homes along Rim Road
    Downtown buildings
    Memorial Park
    Municipal Rose Garden (seasonal)
    The Missions (we have 3)
    Hueco Tanks State Park
    McKelligon Canyon
    Wyler Tramway
    Old Mesilla Plaza in Las Cruces
    Stahman Farms (best in the spring/summer)
    UTEP Campus
    Red Sands Dunes
    White Sands National Monument (good day trip)
    Sunland Park Race Track (now is a good time with them running the horse races)
    Some of these might not be “Bella Friendly” but most are.
    If you need more info on some of these locations feel free to send me an email, I’ll be glad point you in the right direction and fill you in on any details.

  • Cindy

    January 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Love the photos 🙂 Sometimes I am in love with the blurry photos also… like my current FB profile… LOVE it blur and all. I like to be outside taking photos, or by a window with nice lighting and my fixed 55 🙂 blurring out the handprints on the window, LOL… I would second botanical garden, but ultimately your best lighting is in the afternoon before and at sunset… so maybe set up some practice dates at the park with Bella! 🙂 Have fun!

  • Janelle

    January 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I have no tips – not a clue what I’m doing yet! But I found this post really helpful – you may be beyond this, but ’twas great info for me…


  • Daneilia

    January 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    The pictures are sweet and I’m glad you all are having a good time in El Paso. It makes it easier to live there when you know the good places to go 🙂

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    January 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I love the shot of her running.

    Shooting in the sun is a PITA! Everyone is squinty and you can get hot spots on your subject. I find that it’s best if I’m facing the sun and the subject has its back to it.

    My favorite time to shoot is early, early morning (sunrise) and late afternoon/early evening. The light is so beautiful at those times. I also like to shoot Sophia in her bedroom because it has the best natural light in the house and her curtains can soft the light if I need to. The local park is also a great location, you can get some many vantage points. I even climbed a tree to get a shot not too long ago.

  • Veronica

    January 3, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Looks like a blast. Excellent job with the kit lens! Better than me : ) zooming freaks me out. How weird is that? Love the shot of you guys kissing. Precious.

  • t.bird

    January 3, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    old buildings. i’m sure there must be plenty in your area…cause the desert has those, right?

  • Branson

    January 3, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I would be curious to see your settings on the blurry ones… In bright light you can get a fast shutter speed which is important with toddlers 🙂 Open shade is always going to be your best friend on sunny days. I looove that giraffe photo, and you are doing a GREAT job!

  • Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

    January 3, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Such great pictures! Love the ones of Sam and Bella and you and Bella on the tiger. For me it was easier at first to leave my camera in Auto mode and work on framing and composition. Once I felt I had that handled I started working on aperture and ISO and shutter speed. There are some really great tutorials on my ‘Aspiring Photog’ board on Pinterest.

    But you’re right bright sunny days without clouds make shooting really really hard. And personally I like to take pictures of Cedella doing things I want to remember. LIke the way she focuses on a puzzle or helping me with cooking or being silly. But gardens and brightly colored parks will give you some nice backgrounds too!!

    Good luck! Enjoying the progress so far!

  • Jen

    January 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I love these! And you are right, bright mid-day sun is the HARDEST situation to shoot in, unfortunately. The shadows are ugly, the light is uneven, and it is hard to expose for the right place. But you did good! I LOVE the giraffe picture so very much. A part of way these aren’t super sharp in focus is the lens, that is a tough one to make work the way you want.

  • Kim

    January 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Great pics! I love nature photography and used to do a lot more of it when i had time. I love to photograph water … waterfalls, lakes, streams, ponds, ducks… And around here a lot of landscapes in the fall because of our beautiful leaves/trees. I’d love to get out to a zoo and do some like that — maybe in the spring when it’s not 10 degrees outside! 😉 I have a few of my waterfall and duck shots up on my wall. They’re my faves!

  • Amber

    January 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Playgrounds often have nice color to work with. Indoors in front of a window will give you an opportunity to play with your manual settings and understand light.

    Those are two big ones I use with the kid. 🙂

  • Anne-Marie

    January 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

    So pretty! I die for shots of kids looking out windows, sorta back lit. I’m not a photographer, but I’ve taken a couple really precious photos like that. Also, I have a beloved photo of me and my dad at a botanical garden. He’s helping me stay standing while I sniff a red flower. (Standing and sniffing at the same time can be very difficult when you are under 2!)

  • Good Girl Gone Green

    January 3, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Grest shots, D!!! 🙂 is there a botanical garden in El Paso? I have got sone great shots at the one in fort worth! 🙂

  • Jen

    January 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Great pics, you should see if there is a botanical gardens or maybe a pond or river, those would make cute pics with Bella.

    1. Good Girl Gone Green

      January 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

      Great minds think alike!!! 🙂

  • Teresa

    January 3, 2012 at 7:24 am

    You have a beautiful family!!

    1. Diana

      January 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Aw!! Thanks. I think so but I tend to be on the biased side. 🙂

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