Animal Portraits - A Day at the Denver Zoo

Picturesque Polar Bear

While taking animal pictures down in the city during the early fall, it was a delightful day at the Denver Zoo. In the cool weather and clear light the animals appeared active and contented, inspiring our creativity.

Sometimes it’s difficult to look at creatures confined to cages but during our five hour trek in the open air park, we were able to observe some exotic species that we’d never be able to see in the wild.

While strolling in such a controlled setting, it was the perfect place to practice shooting with a digital camera. Rather than just click, the challenge was to compose interesting portraits that captured the mood and personality of the engaging subjects.

Just like the spotted hyena, many of the creatures were content to bask lazily in the warm sunshine. A Dall sheep ram seemed happy while holding the high ground just above a cud-chewing, reticulated giraffe.

A banded mongoose was an innocent observer of the goings on around him while a northern white-cheeked gibbon proved his athleticism and appeared as curious about the crowds as they were of him.

As for the birds, the rainbow lorikeet was a riot of saturated color befitting his outrageous behavior. On the other end of the spectrum, the red-breasted Goose was shy and reticent but not less beautiful.

One of the more elegant waterfowl was the striking ruddy shelduck that spent most of its time out for a swim. The cinereous vulture was the lord of his domain and held his pose in a stately manner while the regal secretary bird strutted around like pure royalty.

My favorite shot was probably a picturesque polar bear who was basking peacefully along the edge of his turquoise pool. The only apparent dissenter was an armor-plated beast called black rhino as he seemed resigned to the fact of living life in captivity.

Spotted Hyena

Dall Sheep

Reticulated Giraffe

Banded Mongoose

Northern White-cheeked Gibbon

Rainbow Lorikeet

Red-breasted Goose

Ruddy Shellduck

Cinereous Vulture

Secretary Bird

Black Rhino


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