Active Animals with Enrichment
Russia’s Grizzly Coast

We invite you to a truly enriching experience, photographing animals at the Zoo’s Russia’s Grizzly Coast. Learn how to best shoot through glass and prevent reflections in your photographs, then go above the glass to practice photography from a new perspective: on the rooftop of the brown bear exhibit! Talk with animal care staff for some firsthand knowledge about the animals you photograph and watch how these animals interact with their environment and the enrichment items (like balls, sticks, and scents) they will be given prior to your visit.

This class will combine classroom learning time, photography practice, and, if time allows, the chance to receive feedback about your photos in class. With both a photography expert and Zoo naturalist by your side, you will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions, practice new skills, and learn about the animals you photograph.

Bring your camera along with any accessories you have (tripod, lenses, filters, flash); nothing but your camera is required, but you may find additional accessories useful. Items not brought on the trail can be locked in the classroom. The instructor(s) may also demonstrate additional equipment relevant to the class.

Due to the special nature of this program, we will run this class in Russia’s Grizzly Coast rain or shine, so please plan accordingly with your equipment. There is some overhead cover on various parts of the trail.  Note: climbing a flight of stairs and ducking through a doorway is required to access the brown bear roof.

Ages: 16 and up
Time: 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Fee: $64/person for Zoo members; $70/person for non-members

The Minnesota Zoo’s photography programs include sessions perfect for photography beginners, professional photographers, and everyone in between. Learn tips and tricks-of-the-trade from a photography expert, and take advantage of the chance to see and photograph the Zoo’s animals without the crowds. Every class will include time in one area of the Zoo when the Zoo is closed to the public. A Zoo naturalist will also be present at each program, to answer all of your animal questions and share fun facts and insider stories about the trail of the day!

Each session offers a new focus and the chance to visit a new area of the Zoo – bring your cameras and come back often!

Photography at the Zoo is a partnership with District 196 Community Education.

Your photography teachers:

Gil Dignen has over 30 years of photographic experience. He has worked as both a studio and commercial photographer, including 18 years as a travel photographer for Northwest Airlines. Gil has experience teaching photography classes at various colleges in the metro area and has a studio in Northeast Minneapolis where he does portraiture and commercial photography. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others through Community Education and at the Minnesota Zoo.

Dr. Asha Lalla is a photography instructor with Minneapolis Community Ed and ISD 196, and enjoys sharing her passion for photography with other hobbyist photographers. Her love for animals brought her to the Minnesota zoo and its unique program. She enjoys seeing the personalities of the animals come out when they are being photographed, and learning more about their stories! She also enjoys travel and macro photography.

Lia Huemoeller is a Graphic Designer, Photographer, and Licensed Drone Pilot Photographer.  The majority of her work focuses on commercial architectural photography, but in her free time, she enjoys food, travel, wildlife, and night photography.  She enjoys exploring new places and new photography techniques with fellow photographers and she loves sharing her knowledge of photography with others.

How to Register

Register Online

Questions? Email or call 952.431.9390.

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