The beginning of May I finally went to the Grand Canyon for the first time in my life. My husband and I took a nice relaxing trip down to Mesquite, Nevada and took a Grand Canyon bus tour out of Las Vegas one of the days.
Let me tell you, that bus tour was quite a days work. The bus picked us up from the Excalibur hotel at 6:15 a.m. then took us to Planet Hollywood where we officially checked in and got a little breakfast snack (pop tarts). The three hour bus ride brought us to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon which is home to the famous SkyWalk. Unfortunately they do not allow you to take any cameras onto the SkyWalk which was quite disappointing for me! So there are no SkyWalk photos but I do have many of the Grand Canyon and its greatness! We explored Eagle Point, Guano Point, and a little Indian Village.
On March 12th and 13th I took a Workshop on Wildlife Photography at the Utah Hogle Zoo. The first class was held on Friday night and was focused in the classroom on photography techniques. Unfortunately it was a bit more of a beginner workshop than I thought it would be. The first part of the class was focused on Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed settings and how each operates. It didn't help that many of the people in the class were actually beginners and didn't quite know how to operate these things. I must say though that the most frustrating part was to look at people who had amazing lenses but yet didn't know how to use their camera. But it gave me some eye candy to scope out other people's camera equipment and add to my wish list of items I want to buy.
The second half of the class started going more into things like composition, tips for approaching wildlife photography, and things to look for which is what I was really hoping to get out of the class. My dilemma with wildlife and action photography is I am so worried about missing "the shot" that I just keep on shooting away with my continuous shutter which means I sometimes sacrifice the composition with the thought that I can crop it later. I need to remember to be patient, find the right background or foreground and patiently wait for the right shot.
The second day of the class was a full day of shooting in the zoo. These shots of the male tiger, Kazek, were quite an example catching the exact right moment in wildlife photography and I am so thankful I was able to get these shots. He was ignoring us most of the time and was not too photogenic. The keepers brought some meat for him in order to lure the big guy towards the front of the cage. There were many people in the class but I managed to snag a spot by the fence that was off to the side of where he was eating. He primarily kept his head down but then (I think in annoyance at all of the clicking cameras and flashes) he started looking my way and licking his chops. Many of my photos look like he is growling and snarling at us, but I have to admit this was not the case. He was actually just licking the meat out of his teeth and off his snout, but his eyes told a different story. They had such a fierceness to them that showed his utter annoyance at our rude interruption of his meal.
Jessica Montana Ballard
Here is a closer look at my adventures in photography as I go off on my next shoot or I experiment with new techniques I am learning. I hope you can learn from some of the things I am doing and perhaps you can share some opinions and insight on my photographic work.