Apparently photography is hard.

With my iPhone it wasn’t. .. well, unless I wanted to photograph something more than 2 feet away, anyway. I took lots and lots of photos with my iPhone at Zazu’s Sanctuary and did just fine. In fact, our Instagram page recently hit 10K!

I recently have gotten into the whole photography hobby. For an early mother’s day gift, I got a Nikon 3300. So far I love it, but when I’m photographing anything at a distance, I’m always fighting the auto focus. I’m not comfortable enough with the camera yet to try manual. I’m just now wrapping my brain around ISO/Aperture lingo.

Apparently the older you get, the harder it is to retain information! Honestly, I’ve read through 80% of the manual, but that doesn’t mean diddly squat when you don’t know what it’s all for, or what it means, or 2 hours after you read it.

For instance, I can read that I need a certain aperture for low light photos, but the ISO needs to be something else to capture the image but I have no idea what that means, practically speaking. I have to go and do it.

So imagine my surprise when, after “practicing” with my camera a whole two times at the sanctuary, I take my new technology to the zoo today and wound up with 5 – 10% of my pictures actually in focus and acceptable. They aren’t the crisp sharp images I had thought I captured. Even when reviewing them through the live view screen I was surprised, discouraged, and frustrated to see so many not actually turn out like I had hoped.

It was a mixed bag of emotions  because it was a fabulous day at the zoo. The hippos were out of their pond for the first time that we had ever seen!


Too bad it isn’t focused.


The lions started playing right as we took our spot behind the CLEAN glass! We got there around the same time as about 87 school field trips, so I was very keen on the fact that glass would soon be smeared with slime and boogers.


Instagram has spoiled me a bit in being able to alter the sharpness post click. I’ve been using the post production Nikon software to alter brightness and tinker with some of the very general settings, but nothing can really save an image that didn’t begin in focus.



Some of the best moments involved birds, coincidentally. Both my daughter and I got pooped on. For me it was a common cockatiel that did it. My daughter got tropical forest “bird dookie” as she exclaimed. Thankfully the people behind us had a baby, so they offered a wipe to my screeching dookie bedazzled daughter. The birds proved more entertaining than ever today, actually, poop and all.


She was freaking out when more than one would hover for the millet-sticks. Not in a good way. In a Tippi Hedren kind of way. She pulled it together kind of quick, though. I was laughing so hard, it was hard to take a good picture. That poor ‘tiel is looking at her so funny, like “Did you forget your meds today, child? You have poops bigger than me.”

In all honesty, i’ve never used a DSLR camera on my own before so I know I need to practice. It was just a skosh soul-crushing to find out that I am not, in fact, a National Geographic photographer after all. In my head the awards are prolific! Features and gallery openings, even!

I still have a bit of fantasy reality going on from my childhood it seems. I’m working on reigning that in. So now I get to do all the fun youtube tutorials and online photography lessons. SOOOO much less fun than an unseasonably warm sunny day at zoo with my kid clicking away at some eager subjects.


4 thoughts on “PhotoBomb

  1. Are you using a single-point autofocus or letting the camera select multiple points? Unless I’m shooting landscapes or groups I set my camera on single-point. That way you can focus on your subject and have a better chance of it being in focus. And a fast shutter speed helps too, especially with birds.


    1. I was using the landscape auto focus on the dial for most of the day. When I checked the pic on the display it seemed great so i stuck with it.
      I watched the user DVD and saw how to change the settings to single point and how to use the cursor/red focus dot

      Thanks so much for the comment! I can use all the help I can get 🙂


      1. You’re welcome! That should help a lot. Although you will still get some blurred shots — especially with birds who don’t like to sit still. For birds in the wild I use a 250mm zoom lens and the fastest shutter speed the lighting will allow. I set my camera (I have a Canon) on Shutter Priority and let the camera decide the aperture and ISO. I’m no expert, but this works well for me.


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