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Early Morning at the National Zoo

at Washington Photo Safari - Northwest Washington

Course Details
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Northwest Washington
3001 Connecticut Ave NW
At Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20008
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 12
Teacher: Julie Gould

What you'll learn in this travel photography class:

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.

While not guaranteed, it is possible that we will get Panda Passes on site the day of our safari!

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,, and Tripods or monopods are highly encouraged.

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

  • Camera
  • Long Lenses
  • Extra memory cards
  • Extra charged battery
  • Tripod or monopod
  • Accessories such as filters, remote release
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Bottled water

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Full refund if cancellation is received 7 or more days prior to the start of class.


Google Map

Washington Photo Safari

All classes at this location

Meet 15 minutes before the safari start time, outside the 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.

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Reviews of Classes at Washington Photo Safari (6)

School: Washington Photo Safari

Washington Photo Safari

Washington Photo Safari teaches the techniques of photography by taking visitors and local residents on half-day and full-day photo shoots around key sites of the nation’s capital and other cities, while an accompanying professional photographer offers participants extensive tips in camera use, image...

Read more about Washington Photo Safari

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