In this photo we go to the zoo where my imagination and camera combined the mythical with the comical.
When I was a kid I played a lot of fantasy role play games on my computer. These games were full of mythical creatures – some good, some bad. One of the most fascinating to me was the Hydra Dragon; it had one body and lots of heads with long necks.
Hydra Dragons seemed to always find employment in guarding treasure, blocking a gateway to another world, or simply harassing young princesses in need of rescue. And in some cases, if you sliced one of the heads off with your sword, in its place another head (or sometimes three new heads) would grow back. (The trick was to cut the head and quickly burn the wound, so it would seal. Valuable knowledge, that.)
So the photo above of the two Giraffes started in my subconscious when one day my wife and I went to the London Zoo and I was thinking about shooting something quirky with my camera. We ambled near the Giraffes and people were snapping all kinds of generic photos. As any photographer knows, good photography must always tell a story. Hence it’s good to have a story in your head before you shoot anything – you should always be on the look out for a unique angle.
For example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris has been photographed to death by endless photographers and tourists, but if you wanted to be original, you could shoot it from a quirky angle or add something new and thus you will create great photography that will stand out. Look for a neat weather pattern, odd light, or an angle that lines up a story you might want to express in one frame. Then you can snap a famous setting in a way that is fresh, new and different.
Back to the Giraffes.
I had an idea as we approached these magical, tall animals: I wanted to shoot the Giraffes as if they were a two-headed Hydra Dragon. With that in mind, you will notice how I adjusted my angle and cropping to make the shot look as if this could be a two headed beast. Everyone else was shoothing these animals in wide angle, I used a zoom lens to get closer and wait for the moment when they lined up. Then something great happened; the right Giraffe pulled a funny face as I was snapping.
It was pure luck. Or was it? I had thought ahead about what story I wanted to tell (a multi headed beast), had the right gear (zoom lens) and waited for my vision to line up. The funny face was a bonus, and this photo now also has a comedic element to it.
In photography, as in life, opportunity favours the prepared.
Here are some of my other shots from the natural world:
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