Photo of the Week 14 - Cramer Imaging - Quality Fine Art Photography
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Photo of the Week 14

Photo of the Week 14
For this week's "Photo of the Week," we are featuring this powerful and dramatic head-shot of a lion.  There is a memorable story associated with the magic of this photograph and it starts with a free photo opportunity.  As lions are not native to this region of the world, namely Southeastern Idaho, I had to go to a zoo for this opportunity.  The local zoo of choice was the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls.

Every year, the Tautphaus Park Zoo hold a "free zoo day" where the public is invited to come visit the zoo for no charge.  As you can well imagine, this is a very popular day for people to go check out the zoo and the animal life it displays.  It is also very crowded there that day.  We try and take advantage of this event every year when the weather is favorable since there is little fun in using your camera in nasty weather and the animals are not available for viewing either.

This year, we had an appointment which precluded our enjoyment of the full day at the zoo.  We had to settle for some of the afternoon up until closing time.  It was a nice warm day and the sun was shining.  It was pleasant conditions for a family trip to the park or the zoo.  It also meant some difficult lighting conditions for any fine art or wildlife photographer as the shadows were deep and the highlights were washed out.  Needless to say, I was not having an easy time getting any of the shots I wanted thanks to the light.

I wandered around the zoo for a couple of hours or so with my spouse, snapping shots whenever it looked promising, but being somewhat disappointed with what I was getting.  As the sun was setting, we wandered over to the African and other large mammal portion of the exhibit.  This was where I was hoping to score myself something amazing and epic.

The bears, tigers, camels, and other large mammals were not turning out as I hoped because of some major sun-glare on my lens.  The photos were washed out and I was getting frustrated with the results.  I decided to try and get some last minute pictures of a snow leopard before we had to leave.  The animal itself was beautiful but it was right up against some chain link fence.  It was really aggravating.  I knew it was a matter of minutes before I would have to leave and I wouldn't have anything to show for it.

While I was thus struggling with the snow leopard, my spouse called my name several times in an effort to get my attention.  Finally, after a serious level of annoyance, I blurted out a harsh "What?"  At that point, he spoke the only word that I wanted to here: "Lions" and pointed the direction I needed to go.  The change in my attitude was immediate.  I suddenly had another chance for one of the photos I hoped to shoot that day.  I don't get to live down how immediate and dramatic my attitude change was.

Once over to the lions' den, the light was at a great angle so as to not wash out my photos.  The lions were up an a bit active.  They were expecting food in the next few minutes and were waiting impatiently for it but also expressing their boredom while having to wait.  The fence around this exhibit was large enough that I could position my camera lens though a hole and not have that horrible chain link in the way.

I got at a good angle and waited for the lions to be in a position for what I was looking for.  It took several minutes of waiting and several tries before the male lion turned around for this iconic pose and I landed the photograph I was hoping for.  The shallow depth of field was perfect and the lion's face and eyes are in crisp focus.  The composition is breath-taking but simple.  Needless to say, I left the zoo that day in a far better mood than anticipated.

Cramer Imaging's professional quality fine art photograph of a lion's head shot in the sun at Tautphaus Park, Idaho Falls, Bonneville, Idaho