Portraits at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Bringing a heavy telephoto zoom lens is something I have only done at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a couple of times. In fact, the last time was back in 2013. Looking through these, I will be bringing it again.

The lens I am talking about is the Nikon 80-400mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AF VR Zoom lens. It is a large and heavy lens which is hand-holdable even on a bumpy Kilimanjaro Safari truck as long as you use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second.

Grant’s Zebra

Grant's Zebra photographed on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Grant’s Zebra portrait taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/500s, f/5.3, ISO 2500, EV +0.3, 250mm Focal Length.

Bongo

Bongo Antelope photographed on the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Bongo Antelope portrait taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV 0.3, 400mm Focal Length.

Once the safari was over, I walked the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and photographed a very accommodating male Silverback Gorilla. At 400mm, the lens really pulled in the animal’s character.

Male Silverback Gorilla photographed on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Male Silverback Gorilla portrait taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV 0, 400mm Focal Length.

After hanging out with the animals in Africa, I walked over to Asia to photograph one of my favorite subjects on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, the Komodo Dragon.

Komodo Dragon on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Komodo Dragon portrait taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 2200, EV -0.6, 400mm Focal Length.

In the old Flights of Wonder show (replaced by UP! A Great Bird Adventure show since), this beautiful Great Horned Owl posed for me (and the other guests watching the show at the time).

Great Horned Owl on stage during the Flights of Wonder show at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Great Horned Owl portrait taken at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 5000, EV 0, 400mm Focal Length.

Remember, when you carry heavy photography equipment at Walt Disney World, you may want to rent a locker where you can keep such things such as a large lens or tripod until needed.





Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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