5Q4 An Australia Zoo Photographer
News Source: The Edge, page 4, June 18, 2005
At Australia Zoo, things are always happening and are kept exciting by the owner-operator, Steve Irwin. Capturing this action with his camera is Ben Beaden, roving photographer at the zoo.
What does an average day for you entail?
As a roving photographer, my job is pretty exciting, and I spend most of my day photographing Australia Zoo’s guests with our “wandering wildlife,” which includes an amazing array of animals, including wedge-tailed eagles, koalas, snakes, alligators, wombats, Tassie devils, dingoes and tortoises to name a few. Some of the most exciting photographs I take are at the saltwater crocodile demonstrations. The most explosive shots are when Steve Irwin has the crocodile striking from the waters edge!
What are our favourite animals to photograph?
I love photographing pretty much every animal at the zoo, but one of my favourites would have to be birds. With many different environments throughout the zoo there is such a great variety of birdlife, and getting good photos can be challenging! The birds I photograph range in size from tiny finches to majestic wedge-tailed eagles and tall emus!
3. What sorts of places have you visited with you work?
I’m based at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. As you can imagine, working in this zoological facility, my work can take me to a variety of different places every day from one enclosure to the next. I could be taking photos in any of the many mammal enclosures, safari-type parkland or natural wetlands. I love to spend time inside the rainforest and birds of prey aviary. My work place is so diverse; I can go from being in a temperature-controlled room with newly hatched baby alligators, to the operating theatre and rehabilitation centre at our Koala and Wildlife Hospital.
4. Have you met many famous people as a result of your work at the zoo?
Yes – Famous people visit Australia Zoo all the time – and I am privileged to be able to meet and photograph them from time to time, and help create some lasting memories that they can take home with them!
5. How did you go about getting a job like this?
I used to work as a website developer, and also did a bit of freelance photography. I wanted to pursue photography further, so applied to join the photography team at Australia Zoo. I started off in the photo studio, before moving into the roving photography section – which I absolutely love! Australia Zoo also gives me Saturdays off to go to church, which is a real blessing. It’s great to work in such an awesome environment, and be part of such a dynamic team (now over 500 staff). It’s a great opportunity to use my talents to help educate people about wildlife conservation!