• Jeffrey


I'm not really a big fan of zoos or wildparks, but I must admit that I spent quite some time in them. For a photographer they do have a great educational value. It is the place where animals don't/can't run from you and you get plenty of time to compose your image and even better, see how different and alternative compositions work out. It is also the perfect place to learn to see the light and experiment how you can isolate on a black background and what conditions you'll need for a high key. You can learn to do panning shots (dependent on the size of the enclosures) and what shutter speed will freeze action.

For several years now, I've been teaching workshops at one of the biggest Wildparks in Belgium; Pairi Daiza and was wondering what I could do at Parque Cabarceno, which is apparently the biggest zoo in Europe. You even need a car to get from animal A to animal B so that says a lot.

I visited the park at the start of April. During that time the weather is still a bit unpredictable and you are more likely to get clouds and sunny conditions. Some animals you want to photograph in overcast circumstances and for other techniques you'll want sun. At least I do.

The park is BIG and, if you hurry, you can do it in one day. But, as with everything, you'll have to wait and return to a lot of subjects to be able to photograph them on the right spot and in the right light. I think I've must have returned to the zebras over 15 times to be able to isolate them on a black background.

Of course this trip was a scouting for STARLING TOURS to see if it's worth while for a workshop with a group. And as I got home, I couldn't wait to start working on the images, so that's always a good sign :). 

My first (dutch) tour for 2019 is already fully booked and it is not only a workshop where I'll teach the guests how to get sharp images of animals, how to compose and how to use the light in a creative way, but also how to process the images to black and white for that extra arty feeling.

You can of course visit the park on your own:

Fly to Santander, Spain. You can get accommodation in Santander or even next to the gate but I recommend Santander; it's half an hour drive from the entrance of the park but you'll have a broader choice of restaurants and hotels. If you plan to stay for a few days, be sure to buy a pass for a year. You'll save a lot of money!

[Google Maps]  [website]

Oh...don't forget your Google Translate. NOBODY speaks english! :-) 

Enjoy and happy shooting!

Would you like to see more images? Why not head over to my gallery >>

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