Talking about animals, that is something that I would like to discuss. Of course, I am always up for discussing animals.
God, I love animals. Always have, always will. And still, I consider it a curse sometimes. Animals come with so many emotions, so much love, so much at stake, so much to lose. I really do think that having animals as your biggest passion is the worst, because you can never just take a break or let things go. Emotionally, you are connected forever and it can be completely exhausting at times. At the same time though, it is the best. I wouldn't have loved my cat unconditionally for 13 years, ridden horses for 15 years, or for that matter educated myself to become an ethologist during the last 4 years if it all wasn't worth it in the end.
This is why we do it
This is worth the pain
This is why we fall down
And get back up again
This is where the heart lies
This is from above
Love is this, this is love
Love is why we do it
Love is worth the pain
Love is why we fall down
And get back up again
Love is where the heart lies
Love is from above
Love is this, this is love
This = Love, The Script
So, it was always natural for me to start photographing animals. And since I live in Sweden there weren't that many wild animals up for modelling (yeah, I've had herds of moose on my porch during my childhood, but for some reason they weren't always visiting to have their picture taken), which is why I turned to zoos. Photographing at zoos is a bit controversial in some forums, I've noticed. I can't for my life understand why. Zoos are perfect! The role of zoos and their existence is a different discussion, what I mean is that they are perfect for practising animal photography.
If you are like I was, a 15 year old kid who wants nothing more than to photograph beautiful animals, I see no reason not to visit the zoo where they are offered right before your eyes. It was not like I could just grab all my savings and travel around the world, so I visited zoos. Many times. I spent hours there each time, both because I just couldn't stop staring at the animals and because photography became really darn fun.
As I said before, some of my best animal pictures are photographed at zoos and I really cherish the opportunity to bring your camera there with free access to the animals. I see nothing wrong with it, even though I would never claim that my pictures show wild animals. It's captive animals in the pictures, of course, and for some people that might make them not as good. I don't spend much time thinking about that. It's still live animals and they are still good pictures. And zoo visits have basically become the very best thing I know, nowadays. That is what matters to me.
At least one can't argue against the nice looking backgrounds and good light, right? Joking aside, that is often a huge problem with zoo settings but part of the fun is to try and overcome those difficulties. Below I picked out some pictures with backgrounds and light that I think work just fine. The third one is even photographed through a glass window!
Bought a new lens. The Sigma 18-250mm 1:3.5-6.3 MACRO HSM. Even though I've always been a sucker for low-light lenses and those extremely shallow depths of field, this time I couldn't ignore the fact that the focal length of this one is simply unbeatable when you don't want to carry all your lenses with you. Which I never do. I'm lazy. This is a lens for lazy people, I think.
It's a DC lens, so I'm going to use it on my junk camera, the D5000. Yeah, I call it the junk camera. It's not junk at all, it's actually pretty good in terms of what I use it for, which is putting it into my handbag whenever I'm going somewhere where there might be something to shoot. And it's not like I could just throw my precious FX camera, "the King" over my shoulder like that, no, that one travels first class. So for shooting everyday life and just being there, at the bottom of my bag in case I would need it, the junk camera is perfect.
And I think this lens will be perfect for that, too. I mean, imagine going to the zoo. Many of my very best animal pictures are photographed at zoos, so if I'm going for serious photography I might bring the King and a better lens instead. But since I spend so much time at zoos these days, this lens attached to the junk camera might be the perfect companion for capturing rare moments, which zoos offer quite regularly if you spend some time there.
Also, I'm impressed with it so far. I have just tried it out at home in my apartment, but it is much sharper than I expected after reading reviews. I will bring it when I visit my parents in Luleå later during the spring and come back with pictures then. Should be easy to take great pictures there; Luleå is beautiful.