The zoo. For all of us fortunate enough to have had the experience, one’s first time is not an occasion to be forgotten. Every sound and smell is guaranteed to be ingrained into your memory as your horizons are broadened by the sights of majestic Weavers and rotund Hippos. That’s how Mitzy and I recall it anyways.
It is to these feelings that we attest our visit to the Woodland Park Zoo this past Saturday afternoon. Originally formed in 1899, Seattle’s favorite local zoo stretches across 92 acres with zones varying from tropical rain forest to African Savannah and has activities that would appease even the most frown prone of individuals. ( I mean, who can resist smiling when a Sloth Bear decides to play in a plastic bathtub? Definitely not these two camera happy zoo patrons!).
From agile Colubus Monkeys to blundering Brown Bears, we spent our time being entranced by visions of what it would be like to come across these creatures in their natural habitats. Would the prowling steps of a Jaguar be fascinating or would they be purely frightening? Unfortunately, the side effect of such imaginings is the realization that the zoo is NOT these animals natural habitat and that it is a sad necessity they must be protected in such establishments in order to defend against the dangers of deforestation and poaching.
However, we did our best to not let these thoughts damper the mood and we endeavored to capture the most lively photos we could given the restrictions of the enclosures. From trying to focus out the oppression of chain link fences, to avoiding the glare of glass windows, capturing these unique specimens in flattering manners became a game of patience and luck. For some subjects such as Giraffes, it was impossible to photograph them in a way that would hide the limitations of their restrictive enclosures, so we took a different route: focusing instead on the way they appeared within the enclosures themselves; solemn and thoughtful, as if they truly understood their reality. In this way, each photograph is different; highlighting the varying emotions in correspondence with the unique natures of each animal and how they behave in their adapted surroundings.