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Photographing Ladybugs (or Ladybirds if you prefer)

To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

There are several types of Ladybugs; all of them are beetles not true bugs. They can move fast, not as fast as ants but fast. I have only once in many shoots have them fly away but they do run and hide. When flying they look flies and their red shells are hard to see. The shell divides to allow the wings to emerge. The shell is also reflective as you can see in the photo; this means you can get reflections from sunlight and flash. If you do not use flash, a high shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second is essential to get sharp photos. The closer you are the more depth of field you will need to capture the insect. Getting a photograph where you can see the eyes is not easy as they are almost always partially covered by the shell. That said these are interesting creatures to photograph, if only because of the contrast in color between the insects and their habitual surroundings.

A Quirk of Aperture (Three Photographs)

To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

Shooting with a cropped sensor (e.g. one that is one half the size of a full frame camera) has a few implications, one of which is that you need to think about apertures multiplied by the crop factor. This means that small sensors have greater depth of field at the stated aperture than a full frame camera would at the same aperture. Now if you look at the second and the third photograph, they were taken at F5.6 and F5.0 and the difference should be quite noticeable as it’s a full stop difference in full-frame terms. I hear someone say “why compare it to full frame if I am not using a full frame camera?” Because for close-up and macro photography you have the kind of flexibility that full frame cameras do not offer (and it’s a myth that you lose out on great out of focus backgrounds).

Desperation (Two Photographs)

To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

I took this Phoebe at ISO 1250 and shot at 1/1000th of a second. This was a higher ISO and higher shutter speed than the situation warranted, but I was afraid the bird would fly before I could re-adjust. Normally I shoot with a shutter speed on my 200-500mm lens between 1/500th and 1/750Th of a second and that would have meant being able to reduce the ISO to 800 or even 600. However, sometimes it’s better to get the shot and not worry. Another issue I have chosen to ignore in this photo is the bright white wood of the dead tree. Normally our eyes are drawn to the brightest thing in the photo, there are exceptions and I hope this is one of them.

 

A Couple of Things about Dragonflies (Three Photographs)

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Dragonflies often find a place they like to rest and they will sometimes come back to it, so if one flies away, wait just a bit to see if it returns. Dragonfly eyes are hard to focus on, thousands of tiny lenses, best to focus behind the eyes. The bright spots on their eyes are not created by flash, they are created by the sun, easily removed in processing as I have done here. Lastly, dragonflies when they first emerge tend to swarm, and a wide-angle lens helps capture them hanging like Christmas ornaments off the branches.

The Eyes Have IT (Two Photographs)

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I took quite a few shots of this grackle. The mirror in my Nikon camera is a bit noisy, and it’s not surprising that this has an impact on my subjects. Birds in particular can be disturbed by the noise of the mirror. In these shots, taken within seconds of each other, you will see that the appearance of being glared at, is not the same as being glared at. Taking a number of shots while waiting for just that right moment when the glare is straight on is worth it. Eyes have impact.

 

 

The Man with Two Hats (Two Photographs)

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This statue commemorates the liberation of Holland by Canadian troops in WWII. It stands on the edge of the park where the majority of the Annual Tulip Festival is held. Another copy of the statue is in Apeldorn in Holland. I am sure the statue is meant to symbolize the lasting friendship between Canada and the Netherlands but the plaque says nothing about the symbolism. However on a day becoming increasingly gloomy it reminded me of this quote by Lord Grey, UK Foreign Minister on the eve of WWI “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Eight By Ten (Two Photographs)

To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com

There are standard dimensions for photos (e.g. 8 by 10) and then there are standard dimensions for frames (e.g. 8.5 by 11), for publications it depends. Then there is shooting in portrait mode – camera vertical – (which magazines and books sometimes prefer) or landscape mode – camera horizontal – (which in a publication may mean a two page spread). Some professionals shoot in Raw and JPEG and both portrait and landscape. Now the amateur is less likely to care about these nuances, unless they want to frame their photo. More importantly these decisions on dimensions and quality have an impact on the photograph, in first case because of the overall perception of the photo and in the second, the degree to which the photo can be edited. When it comes to RAW or JPEG I shoot RAW and I shoot in the mode that captures the subject as I see it. Dimensions concern me because they are important for this blog and for my online shop (see link above).

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