Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Danish Meman sent some lovely photos, many in black and white, of animals in zoos. His notes are below, and I’ve given his IDs of the animals:

All of the photos presented here come from a larger set of photos taken at various zoos in the UK and USA. I know that people feel strongly about the existence of zoos and the treatment of animals within them, but I still think they serve a purpose. Most notably, they introduce adults and children to animals they might never get to see in the wild. For instance, I don’t have the resources or ability to venture to Africa to view lions and elephants in their natural habitats. Moreover, the best zoos are invested in conservation and education, which, hopefully, helps foster appreciation for the natural world and related careers.

As far as the photography goes I enjoy trying to capture the personality of these animals, which is why the majority of these photos are in black and white. I wanted to strip away everything else and make the animal the focal point of the viewer’s attention. My hope is for people to connect with the creatures in the photos and imagine a conversation, story or encounter with them.

In my case, I saw the animals live while taking these photos so I already have a story for each of them. For instance, I recall the African Elephant looking melancholy as it was led away from the crowds after being fed. Similarly, I remember how the chimpanzee smiled at the camera, at just the right moment, as it was playing with a flower.  By contrast, I think the personality of the birds is contained in the colors of their feathers and how they brighten their surroundings.

For those interested, all the photos were taken with a Nikon D7100 and 18-140mm Nikkor lens. Also, the photos were taken at the Colchester Zoo (England,UK), Edinburgh Zoo (Scotland,UK), Jungle Island (Miami) and the Miami Zoo (Florida,USA). I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.”

African elephant (Loxodonta africana):

African lion (Panthera leo):

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber):

Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata):

Blue Throated and Scarlet Macaws (Ara glaucogularis & Ara macao):

Galápagos Tortoise (Geochelone nigra):

Green Iguana (Iguana iguana):

Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis):

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus):

Macaw (Ara sp.):

Meerkat (Suricata suricatta):

Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens):

Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata):

Sun Conure (Aratinga solstitialis):

West African Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), female:

West African Chimpanze:


  1. Posted July 30, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Very nice portraits!

  2. Debbie Coplan
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I wish there was a book of these photos.
    There are phenomenal-

    • Posted July 30, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I’ve been meaning to put a book together. Don’t know anything about publishing though or how I would sell it 🙂

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted July 30, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        I was wondering – is their a market for individual framed prints & posters? Perhaps you could knock on a few gallery doors or ask restaurants, bars, bookshops to display them with your details. I have noticed a lot of first time home owners go a bit mental buying pictures down the old IKEA to get that instant indicators-of-taste-with-no-effort look.

        You will not find a publisher who will risk their money on you as an unknown talent. It doesn’t happen these days.

        To publish a photobook as an unknown artist is tough – especially the sales part – it inevitably means self-publishing or going through an outfit who will ‘print on demand’ as the orders come in. Print on demand take a huge chunk of the profit & also you have to fork out a sizeable set-up cost to them. Not recommended!

        The secret to sales is to become a talentless celeb by marrying into a royal family or getting involved in some headline-grabbing sleaze.

        Another route is to promote yourself [& product] on social media & then self-publish via Lulu or the like. I have no idea of the economics. Here’s a couple of useful links:

        P.S. You can self-publish ebooks [& possibly paperbacks] via Amazon – they’ll guide you through the process, but as far as I can tell it’s trashy, 3rd rate writers who dominate in the usual genres where good writing is not a selling point: romance, soft porn, fantasy [dragons & swords nonsense] & sci-fi shoot-em-up galactic pot boilers. The most successful of these authors pay for hundreds of fake reviews to push their product to the top of the swill bin.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted July 30, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          re Amazon – there’s honourable rare exceptions such as Andy Weir of course:

          Not really directly applicable to you since photobooks of animals don’t have the fan base

        • Posted July 30, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          wow thank you very much for all the info. Lots of food for thought.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 30, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          One benefit could be a tax benefit. If you make at least a little money you can operate as a business. I think that would allow write-offs for equipment and materials. A friend of mine did landscape photos and sold them at shows. He didn’t become rich but I think his hobby payed for itself.

  3. Debbie Coplan
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Oops-they are phenomenal.

  4. BJ
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Wow, these photographs are absolutely magnificent! Amazing work, Danish.

  5. rickflick
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I think the black and white works well in the way you intended. It reminds me, too, of a book of African animals I had when I was a boy. I still have it.

  6. Posted July 30, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the kind words everyone 🙂
    Thank you to Prof. Coyne for posting.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I like the dignified iguana, the meerkat & the two chimps. Lovely stuff Danish.

  8. Kevin
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Those are stunning photographs.

  9. Posted July 30, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Very well done! I also see that you experiment with hints of color here and there. Very interesting.
    It is telling that the special effects you are using are having an impact, at least for me, since I spent far more time contemplating at them then if they were all in color.

    • Diane G.
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      I agree!

  10. bencbt
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos – magnificent detail! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Mark R.
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Terrific work Danish. I liked how you put me in the mood to view your photos, imagining a conversation with the subject.

    I can think of 5 or 6 ways to turn color photos into black & white in Photoshop. Assuming you use photoshop, what tool do you use.

    • Posted July 30, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Mark. I actually don’t use Photoshop at all in my photography. I only rely on Lightroom for touch ups and editing etc..

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 31, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the info. At my last job I used Lightroom; it’s a good program.

  12. Cruzrad
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photographs! Thanks!

  13. Diane G.
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photos, and I enjoyed your commentary as well.

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