Animals in Focus: Photography Classes

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Animals in Focus: Photography Classes

Animals in Focus: Photography Classes

Have you ever wondered how the Phoenix Zoo photographers get all those cool, detailed photos? Now you can learn our secrets by taking part in Animals in Focus: Photography Classes. 

Long-time Zoo volunteer, Dave Seibert, conducts a 90-minute walk around the Zoo grounds where you will learn the basics of photography: composition, lighting and capturing emotion. On our walk we will cover how to photograph through fences, windows and foliage in addition to learning more about Zoo habitats, our animals and the overall history of the Zoo. And as a special bonus, you will learn the secret night of the season to get the most incredible photos…

There is quite a bit covered on the walk so it may not be the place to learn how to operate your camera due to the amount of material we need to cover in 90 minutes. However, please reach out in advance if you’re having problems and Dave can recommend a tutorial video for your specific camera. While we recommend a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a telephoto lens, a phone is an option for some limited, wide angle work.

This fall there are 11 dates for the walks including two special night events! On Tuesday, November 29, we will do a course on photography at dusk on our Dinosaurs in the Desert Trail. This is a fantastic opportunity see the dinos in a variety of subtle lighting and learn about slow shutter speeds, open f-stops and using ISO to capture the most details at the highest quality. A tripod is recommended.

Then on Tuesday, December 6, Dave will host a class during ZooLights. In fact, Dave has covered more than 20 ZooLights going back to the beginning in the early ’90s. There are several new features in this year’s show which will offer great opportunities. As with Dinosaurs, a tripod is recommend and safety glow lights will be provided for the legs.

It can be a fun experience to repeat as no two walks are alike. One of the favorite parts of the walk is a short review and critique of your photos at the end. Dave will also cover how to share your work with the Zoo’s social media. 

Class Descriptions

(Questions? Contact Dave Seibert.)

Tips, tricks, and technique guidance abound in this casual walkabout program led by one of the Zoo’s expert volunteer photographers.

Duration: 1.5 hours (9:30 – 11 a.m.)

Cost: $30 (Zoo admission not included)


Saturday, October 1 | Sunday, October 9 | Friday, October 21 | Thursday, October 27

Saturday, November 5  | Sunday, November 13 | Saturday, November 26

Saturday, December 3 | Sunday, December 11 | Saturday, December 17 | Wednesday, December 28

Maximum Group Size: 6

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Learn how to shoot in the golden hour of dusk working with our collection of Dinosaurs in the Desert. This course deals in long exposures with a variety of lens focal lengths and a tripod is highly recommended. Learn about different color temperatures, balancing natural light with exhibit light and how to just add a “kiss of light” as appropriate. The Dinosaur in the Desert trail is a trail winding thru the area just below the Papago Buttes with our desert bighorn sheep in the background. This two-hour class meets at the bridge gate at 5 p.m.

Date: December 6

Learn the best camera settings on DSLR and mirrorless cameras and iPhones including review of a couple favorite Apps, use of RAW format and when is the best time to shoot. Also covered is how to shoot lanterns and short video clips. Use of a small fill light for photographing faces to avoid the dreaded silhouettes is also covered. Tripod or monopod strongly encouraged. This two-hour class meets at the bridge gate at 5 p.m.

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