Shooting through chain link fence

If you love nature and wildlife photography but cannot afford a Safari trip to Africa, shooting in a zoo is a great alternative. However the animals in zoo are often kept behind chain link fence for the safety of both visitors and the animals. Don’t give up though. Sometimes you can still get a great shot without getting any indication of the fence between the lens and the subject in your image.

The two photos above illustrated this clearly. The photo on left is what I got when the lens focused on the fence. The photo on right is what I captured when I managed to focus on the bald eagle behind the fence. The fence seems to have disappeared! Here are some tips for you.

  • Select a lens with longer focal length or zoom out as far as possible to allow the composition you want. It is difficult to avoid the fence with a wide or ultra wide angle lens due to extended DOF and large angle of view. Personally I have had good success with focal length greater than 70mm.
  • Use a large aperture to limit the DOF. and use the DOF preview button (if your camera has one) to ensure the fence is not visible.
  • Move the lens as close as possible to the fence, which means the fence is further away from the DOF range.
  • Avoid using on-board flash. The light from camera’s on-board flash may bounce back from the fence and show up as blown highlights. Use off-camera flash if it is absolutely needed.
  • If the camera has difficulties focusing on the subject behind the fence, you may need to use manual focusing, or use manual override function.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to use the comment box below.

Posted in: Tips and Techniques on August 10th, 2007. Trackback URI

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