EOS Professional Gin Tay is a passionate photographer who started shooting landscapes five years ago. Today, she writes about how to take impressive, detailed photographs of animals in the Fragile Forest at the Singapore Zoo. 

Before We Start

The Fragile Forest at the Singapore Zoo is a bio-dome, which mimics a tropical rainforest habitat. It allows visitors to experience an up-close encounter with furry and feathered inhabitants. To shoot at the Fragile Forest, the gear I prepared were the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF50mm f/1.4 USM.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | f/4.5 | ISO 1000 | 1/160s

Don’t forget to plan for your shoot by researching your venue, looking at the weather forecast and preparing your camera settings!

Take Advantage of the Natural Light

Capture the details of the animals – furs, scales, feet and more by making use of the natural light in the environment. The Fragile Forest is the best place to practise photographing your subjects at a close range. That being said, do not be afraid to increase the ISO as the lighting in the bio-dome keeps changing.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | f/5 | ISO 1250 | 1/320s

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | f/5 | ISO 1250 | 1/500s

It’s All in the Details

Besides taking a full body shot of the animals, consider capturing other parts such as the tiny feet of the bat in the following image. Take a look at the claws that are clinging on the tree branch.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | f/5 | ISO 1000 | 1/80s

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | Canon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | f/4.5 | ISO 1000 | 1/320s

Observe the movements of your subject and you might capture precious moments such as when a baby bat makes its way towards its mother. Anticipate movements made by your subject and always be prepared to photograph!

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM | f/4.5 | ISO 200 | 1/1000s

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF50mm f/1.4 USM  | f/3.2 | ISO 800 | 1/250s

Use a Telephoto Lens for Close Up Shots

Using a telephoto lens such as the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is useful in capturing subjects that are unreachable or are sensitive to movements.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | f/3.2 | ISO 1250 | 1/1250s

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM | f/3.2 | ISO 1250 | 1/400s

The EF50mm f/1.4 USM is a standard and medium telephoto lens that works well in capturing close-ups of your subject!

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF50mm f/1.4 USM | f/3.2 | ISO 1250 | 1/1250s

To sum up the article, remember the following five tips: plan your shoot, look out for details and compose your shot, prepare your camera settings in advance, increase the ISO when necessary and anticipate movements of your subject.

Marvel at Gin Tay’s work at  https://www.instagram.com/gin.tay/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/36932249@N07/albums/72157684950251022.