EARLY Morning at the National Zoo!

Capture Great Early Morning Photos of the Animals at the National Zoo!

Quick Details

The very best times to capture the animals at the National Zoo in your camera are the morning hours when they come out of their cages and dens. Pet and wildlife photographer Julie Gould, who has spent years photographing animals of all types in and out of zoos, leads this morning trek to all the best photo ops.

The National Zoo is one of the nation’s premier locations showcasing many species of wild animals from around the world. The many species will keep us entertained for the entire time we’ll spend photographing them. We’ll concentrate on the animals in outdoor exhibits starting with the Great Cats—African LIONS and TIGERS—Amur and Sumatran. While we’re there, Julie will discuss how to read the light, be taught how to anticipate the best action, and learn how to create the best possible images at each exhibit. We’ll also discuss long lens techniques, selective depth of field, techniques for getting great backgrounds and the importance of patience.

Among the animals you will capture in your camera on this safari are zebras, cheetahs, turtles, antelopes, gorillas, elephants, eagles and maybe even the pandas! Julie will also offer tips on lens use, composition, ISO and white balance settings and moving quickly to get the best wildlife photographs.

What to Expect and Bring

This safari is best enjoyed by photographer enthusiasts and professionals who know their camera controls. It is also an active safari with 2-3 miles of walking on zoo grounds.

Long lenses are suggested for this class for the animals in the outdoor exhibits – a minimum of 300mm or 200mm with a 1.5x tele-extender is recommended. (Long lenses like 400mm can be rented for the weekend at District Camera (DC, VA), f8 rentals (DC, VA), ProPhoto (DC) or at websites such as LensProToGo.com, Borrowlenses.com, and LensRental.com). Tripods or monopods are highly encouraged.

Bottled water is highly recommended as we are doing a lot of walking!

VA resident Julie Gould is an avid pet and wildlife photographer whose images have appeared in recent years on our website and in prints. She knows the best angle at each enclosure within the Zoo which she learned from David Sendzul, WPS’s former instructor and avid wildlife photographer. Julie has photographed animals in Africa on safari in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa’s Kruger National Park. In Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park, she’s photographed White-faced Capuchin Monkeys and Two-Toed Sloths.

  • Chevron down What to Bring
    • Camera
    • Long Lenses
    • Extra memory cards
    • Extra charged battery
    • Tripod or monopod
    • Accessories such as filters, remote release
    • Weather appropriate clothing
    • Bottled water
  • Chevron down Where to Meet
  • Meet at 7:45 am outside front gate of Smithsonian National Zoo, at 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW in Washington DC. Closest Metros are Cleveland Park and Woodley Park on the Red Line. There is limited free parking on Connecticut Avenue.

  • Chevron down Your Instructor
  • Julie Gould grew up with dogs and taking photographs around the world with her family. She was photo editor of my college newspaper and majored in Communications with a specialty in photography. With a master’s degree in urban planning, she pursued a 30-year career in housing and community development finance.

    In her encore career, she started Bright Eyes Photos in 2015, a growing pet and their families’ photography business serving the metro DC region, to pursue her twin passions of dogs and photography! Her style is based on a documentary, journalistic viewpoint.

    On assignment for the Petco Foundation, her images of Molly, a 3-legged pit bull rescued by an Amtrak police officer who adopted her, were the centerpiece of Petco’s “Be a Lifesaver” national campaign in the summer of 2017. She is a volunteer at a local animal shelter, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA), as well as other non-profit animal rescue and training groups like Homeward Trails, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and Vets Moving Forward. She is a member of the Professional Photographers of America association and has taken extensive training since 2015.