Brookfield Zoo staff photographer captures animals' best moments

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -- A Brookfield native is fulfilling his passion for animals and photography by working for the Brookfield Zoo and igniting conservation efforts.   

With every click of the shutter, staff photographer Jim Schulz freezes a moment in time with an animal he knows by name. 

For decades, he’s worked quickly and tirelessly taking tens of thousands of pictures for the zoo. 

“I’ve seen many of them born,” he said. “I’ve seen many of them go out to other institutions and you kind of form bonds. 

The first photo he took for Brookfield was a cow back in the 1980s. Since then, his photography skills have grown. 

The emotions tend to come out the most, Schulz says, at the moments during, and right after, an animal birth. 

“Those are the kind of things that just – you don’t get to experience very often,” he said. “And that’s what I try and bring to the photos.”

Before he was a photographer, Schulz worked with the animals. The time he spent caring for them in the past is paying off. 

He says he has a sense of how the animals feel. 

“I try to be as non-invasive as possible,” he said.

Schulz says he hopes the photographs have a deeper meaning by preserving the life of each animal and helping ignite conservation efforts. 

“There are a lot of animals out there that are highly endangered, and need to be recognized, and need to be brought up,” Schulz said. “There’s just something about them, their innocence, their amazement. Every animal is different.”