« on: November 19, 2014, 02:14:39 PM »
I'm curious about these game ranches- are they the same ones that you would go to for actually hunting said animals?
I agree with what was said earlier, about having to be honest about the pedigree of a photo when it is a photo for sale. I suspect, however, that sanjosedave is in a similar situation as myself: a hobbyist with limited time and budget. photography isn't and likely never will be how I make a living, so I can't exactly pop off into the wild for days at a time stalking elusive wildlife.
my wife and I drove through the Virginia Safari Zoo last fall, which is pretty much a drive-through park with a somewhat random assortment of animals, from those normally found in the wild to those normally found on slightly-more-exotic farms: llamas, deer, antelope, giraffes, shaggy oxen of some sort, camels, elk, etc (I make it sound boring, I know, but they had some unique subspecies of each of these standard animal types). it was pretty cheap and you pay a little extra to get these feed buckets so that you can feed the animals. if I were to go back, I'd skip the feed buckets. the llamas are intelligent and aggressive, and once they realize you have food they will mob your car and box you in, until they've had their fill or get tired of licking your windows. other than the llamas it was an enjoyable experience. I didn't realize how close the animals would come up to your car (you stay in the vehicle at all times) and quickly had to swap out my 70-200 for my 24-70. not so many of those creamy-bokeh isolation shots, but some neat ones where the animal is literally a foot away from your face and curiously eyeing you. it's a nice way to get really close to some interesting creatures in a way that is safe for them and safe for you. from a technical standpoint: you have to think about your framing and background to minimize the intrusion of man-made elements (the paved road, farm sheds, etc.) in the images, and occasionally it's jarring to see a species that is typically found in sub-saharan climates framed by deciduous forest. but at least there weren't cage bars or chain link fences like you see at your typical city zoo.
all in all, my wife told me that this was pretty much the exact same experience she had at a drive-thru safari zoo in South Africa (so these seem to exist on more than just one continent), except that ostriches took the place of the llamas, with very similar behavior.
I'd be curious to learn of other places in the US that allow for pseudo-safari animal photography experiences. especially for a photography that's got kids, this is probably a much more realistic photographic option than questing through the woods for a week in search of pure, unadulterated wildlife.