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cristinmckee

Bronx Polar Bear



Wow, I'm honored by the feature, thank you! And thank you for all the kind comments. :)

This was my very first trip to the zoo in the snow and...
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Wow, I'm honored by the feature, thank you! And thank you for all the kind comments. :)

This was my very first trip to the zoo in the snow and it was such a fun experience.

I shot him pacing around and looking longingly up at the snow covered trees. I like to think that in this shot he was looking back at me wondering why the heck I was still there.

The aperture is fairly wide to blur the background. This led to a lot of blurry snowflakes in the foreground which I tried to remove when they blocked his profile. It wasn't snowing out. The snow clumps in this image are all falling from the trees. So it was fairly bright and I got away with a low ISO.

If you are interested in this image, please consider checking it out on my Zazzle store. Thank you! http:--www.zazzle.com-cmckee_photography-gifts?cg=196756546135679745
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Awards

Contest Finalist in Bokehlicious Images Photo Contest by Lensbaby
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33 Comments | Report
edvarela
 
edvarela October 23, 2013
wow so nice
cristinmckee PRO+
cristinmckee October 24, 2013
Thanks!
steveweaver
 
steveweaver October 24, 2013
You can see what he thinks of you & your camera.
cristinmckee PRO+
cristinmckee October 24, 2013
Haha!
PhotoAlaska
 
PhotoAlaska January 03, 2014
nice
cevert
 
cevert January 03, 2014
Congratulations on your feature! Terrific shot :)
SHerrero
 
SHerrero January 04, 2014
LOve this!!!!
KarenCamilleri
 
KarenCamilleri January 04, 2014
wonderful capture !
darrentan
 
darrentan January 04, 2014
amazing shot
rmr731 PRO+
 
rmr731 January 04, 2014
Nice b/w shot! Congrats!
SahibaKaur
 
SahibaKaur January 04, 2014
awesome!
AlanJakarta PRO+
 
AlanJakarta January 04, 2014
Lovely mono shot. Congratulations.
meshersmith PRO+
 
meshersmith January 04, 2014
Great shot! Congrats on your feature!!
iceman2
 
iceman2 January 04, 2014
Wonderful shot.Congrats!
WileKyK PRO+
 
WileKyK January 04, 2014
Amazing composition and monochrome profile. Congratulations on your Feature!
SarahKeates PRO
 
SarahKeates January 04, 2014
Great B&W! Congrats!
kkat PRO
 
kkat January 04, 2014
Beautiful, esp. b&w!! Congratulations!!
sweetpea72 PRO
 
sweetpea72 January 04, 2014
Outstanding...Congrats! (:
jasonrodway
 
jasonrodway January 04, 2014
Amazing shot,brilliant !
Jewel
 
Jewel January 04, 2014
Great shot! Congratulations on your feature!
SusiStroud PRO+
 
SusiStroud January 04, 2014
Great Capture! Congrats on your Feature!
photosue50
 
photosue50 January 04, 2014
Beautiful
sarahmellis
 
sarahmellis January 04, 2014
You definitely capture the depression of a caged animal in addition to spectacular composition! 100 times *like*
beturner PRO
 
beturner January 04, 2014
Great capture. Congrats on your feature!!
drakkardarkblade
 
drakkardarkblade January 04, 2014
congrats, fantastic, please check out my works
brentmorris PRO
 
brentmorris January 04, 2014
Wonderfully done
beckywheller
 
beckywheller January 07, 2014
WOWSER!!!
kunalbais
 
kunalbais January 08, 2014
Nice
mikemalak
 
mikemalak January 08, 2014
Nice shot
anjgonon PRO
 
anjgonon January 12, 2014
seems like he is smiling at the camera
redwriter PRO
 
redwriter January 13, 2014
Great capture. Congrats. - Jake
JestePhotography PRO
 
JestePhotography February 06, 2014
Congrats! Great shot!
incredibledad
 
incredibledad February 11, 2014
nice
p_eileenbaltz PRO
 
p_eileenbaltz May 24, 2015
Brilliant! Love it. Your composition makes it look like you took this in the wild. Congratulations on your award and feature.:)
debbie101
 
debbie101 May 25, 2015
Wow,

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Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. I actually look forward to winter all year, especially snow days, because the zoo turns into a magical place. In the summer it is extremely crowded but on a snow day it is really just me an the animals with a smattering of photographers and 1 or 2 other visitors.
Time
This was actually in the middle of the day. Normally you'd want to shoot animals in the morning or evening so they don't have harsh lighting. And they are usually more active then as well. But this was a cloudy snowy day so I needed as much light as I could get. Also, sadly, zoos are not accessible during early or evening light. Another reason that winter zoos are better zoos!
Lighting
I always work with natural lighting largely because I am self trained and don't have any knowledge base for using flash or other lighting tools. Also, I tend to take most of my photos while hiking or at the zoo, so I travel light, and I like for my natural subjects to appear as they do in life.
Equipment
Canon EOS REBEL T2i Aperture: f/5.6 Shutter Speed: 1/400sec ISO 200 Focal Length: 116mm Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Oh and a cheap $5 plastic rain sleeve for my camera and lens.
Inspiration
Let's just say that normally I find the polar bear to be a depressing visit. He is usually sad and listless or pacing. But on this day, it was the first snowfall of the year and he was obviously excited. He was wandering around and around looking excitedly at the trees from which all the snow clumps were falling. He also seems more interested in his guests than many of the other animals and I was lucky enough to have him look back at me as these clumps were falling from the trees behind him.
Editing
Yes, more than normal. There were clumps falling in front of him which I removed in Lightroom. I usually increase the clarity in animal photos as well, paying particular attention to sharpening the eyes, then face and then the entire animal in a little contrast with the background. I originally shared this in color but I found the yellow in his fur, the green moss in the back, and the grey cement around him really took away from the image. Making it Black & White focuses the image entirely on the bear, snow, and water.
In my camera bag
My Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS is totally my baby. I use it as much as I can because it is such a phenomenal lens. I always have my wide angle (Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8) as well and use that pretty often. I often have my Canon pancake lens (Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM) as well since it is tiny and easy to carry. This is just in case I want to shoot indoors with lower light or have a smaller walkaround, but I hardly ever use it. These are the only lenses I use. I also carry a rain sleeve for my camera, backup battery, backup memory cards, and lens cleaner.
Feedback
Be willing to brave the elements. It isn't that hard to protect your gear and it's worth the unique photo opportunities. I took this photo on a very cold day just as a snowstorm was finishing up. I had a rain sleeve for my camera and a rain cover for my pack, and many many warm layers for myself. You stand still for long periods of time with animal photography, so you can get very cold very fast. Also, have patience. Especially with living subjects, you need to spend time with the subject and study its behavior in order to predict what they might do. I spent about 30 minutes with him to find this shot.

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