Amur Tigers – Blackpool

Originating in Northern Asia, the Amur Tigers are endangered – quite why anyone would want to kill these animals is beyond me, but having the opportunity to photograph them, albeit in captivity has been on my “to do” list for a while.

There are 2 major obstacles to overcome when trying to photograph them – firstly being able to spot them when they are not asleep! My previous 2 visits to the zoo were pretty unsuccessful but I was lucky enough to see them wide awake and very active on a recent visit to Blackpool Zoo.

The other challenge when photographing animals in captivity is the fence between you and the animal. Obviously there for very good reason, but a headache when trying to get clear shots of the animals.

The work around for this is to get the camera setup as best you can for the circumstances. I used the widest aperture I could – in this case f2.8 using my Canon 70-200 zoom lens, with an ISO of 100 and a shutter speed around 1/320 to capture a sharp image. You need to try and get your lens as close as possible to the fence and if possible aim through one of the holes, and if your camera has good quick focusing, you can usually get away with the mesh of the fence being so out of focus, that you don’t actually see it.

The other thing you need is a lot of patience waiting for the animal to go where you want it to be so be prepared to spend a bit of time waiting and also getting quite a few shots that are out of focus or blurred.

These are amazing creatures and a real pleasure to watch although getting on the wrong side of one is probably not such a good idea 🙂


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