Photography Day – Howletts

Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, offers a number of experience days for visitors, including keeper days, animal encounters and photography days.  Thanks to a very generous Christmas present from my parents, I was recently able to take part in a photography day at the park.

The four of us in the group that day were guided around the park, and in our photography efforts, by Dave Rolfe, official photographer for Howletts and Port Lympne.  Dave has many years’ experience and his advice was invaluable; he was able to help us set our cameras up appropriately, showed us how to reduce reflections when shooting through glass, gave some composition tips, and of course shared his knowledge of the animals.

Although I have been to both Howletts and Port Lympne before, usually with my camera, I have found it difficult to get good shots of the animals because of the enclosures between us.  This time, however, and with the assistance of a number of the keepers, we were able to get one-step closer to the animals, sometimes very close.  This doesn’t mean that my photos are perfect – far from it! – but it certainly gave me a better chance of walking away with a decent set of images.  And whilst this is not the kind of photography I do a lot of, some of the usual principles applied – think about the background, about the position of the subject in the frame, about depth of field.  I made some mistakes – sometimes, as with street photography, I was worried about missing the moment and took the shot a little too quickly – but also learnt a lot.  Many thanks to Dave and all at Howletts for the experience.

Here are some of my images from the day… but why not also check out Dave’s website.