As a family we love to visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP). I love the Polar Bears, my wife loves the Tigers and the Boys love the play area. it has something for everyone.
We first went to YWP about 6 months ago and instantly fell in love with the place. I love taking wildlife shots and have spent many hours at local RSPB sites trying to get some lovely shots. This is great for me, but not so good for the whole family. I do however need to mention the RSPB site Dearne Valley - Old Moor the staff here are so friendly and the boys love to go here... yes, there is a play area!
YWP really does have it all. A clean family friendly venue, lots of animals to see and animal talks if you want some extra information. The staff are all fantastic and you can see how much the care for all the animals in everything they do. The park is constantly being updated, and there's going to be Rhinos soon. I can't wait to get the camera out to capture them.
My top tips for getting great shots whilst out and about with the family :-
1. Let the kids burn off some energy before you even get the camera out... Remember they're excited.
2. Try to break the day up with fun activities for the little ones. YWP is great for this with a giant soft play area and an outdoor play area... I've been known to have the odd spin on the outdoor fortress myself!
3. Remember how important family is, if you really want to spend hours waiting for the perfect shot then it would be best to go by yourself when the kids are at school.
4. Shoot in shutter priority mode. Pick a speed you're happy with depending on the animal, and try to stay ahead of the Reciprocal Rule. the rule is simple if your shooting at 100mm your shutter should be 1/100th of a second, if you're shooting at 500mm your shutter should be 1/500th of a second. This will help keep your images sharp when hand holding. Of cause this isn't the be all and end all, if you want to capture a bird in flight you will need to be much, much faster.
5. Its better to under expose than over expose, you can always pull some of the shadow detail out in post processing if you have a tool like Lightroom, Photoshop or GIMP.
6. Take lots of photos, if your camera has a burst mode then use it! And be ready!
7. Last tip, have fun.. you're with your family. Enjoy them!