Posts tagged “Photography(2)

Beetles (a new Gallery)

Beetle (Locust Borer)To view the gallery of these photographs please click on: Beetles

There are a large number of different varieties of beetles, they can be found in most gardens and make for great macro photography. This is a shot of a locust borer beetle, although it resembles a bee or wasp. Yellow is the natural world’s version of red, an alert to others not to mess with it. This beetle, like many others usually prefers a certain tree although I have found it mainly on goldenrod when looking for ambush bugs. They are relatively small (not more than 20cm long), slow moving and deliberate which helps in getting dramatic shots like this. My latest gallery of Beetles is up on SmugMug.

Goldfinch in the Milkweed

Gold Finch in the Milk WeedTo view more of my photography please click on

Occasionally, an animal will be comfortable enough in its surroundings that it’s reluctant to leave a choice spot or assumes you are too far away to really matter. This goldfinch was busy digging in the milkweed, and frequently popped its head up (see vestiges of weed hanging off of its head) to see if it should be wary.

I managed to take several shots of the bird. In many I was not fast enough and I have several of the bird with its head in the weed. I am not a spray and shoot photographer. I try not use the multiple shot modes instead choosing each of my shots in single shot mode, and re-focusing for each one. Cameras today can take amazing numbers of photographs at mind boggling frames per second, great for sport but I am not convinced of its usefulness in most wildlife photography. I may miss a few things, but this way I feel like I took the photograph rather than the computer/camera I am holding.

Lighting (Part 2)

Lighting 2-1To view more of my photography please visit

Last week I wrote about artificial light. I mentioned that there are a few places where artificial light (flash) is really needed. You will still have to read your manuals because my objective here is to demystify a tool that might prove useful for your DSLR. Demystify does not mean make easier and artificial light, specifically speedlight flashes can be frustrating.

Flash is mostly used in Program Mode, Aperture Mode or Manual. In Program and Aperture, your camera’s through-the-lens metering combines the flash and exposure. I suggest you start with Aperture Mode. This is because the light is far more affected by the fstop than the shutter speed. The fstop (depth of field) tells the flash how much power to use, and it needs more power the further away your subject is. The shutter speed only makes a difference if you lower it enough to let in natural light.

So assuming your flash and camera are set to Aperture Mode, you set your exposure as you normally would and take a flash assisted shot. Check the results, you will probably need to use exposure compensation (reduce your exposure) to tone down the flash. Most cameras these days permit high speed photography with flash, be warned that when you set your camera to use this mode of flash it will use a lot more battery power.

More than likely you will only want the flash to compliment the natural light, however, what you may notice is dramatic light fall off making your backgrounds go dark if not black. The flash is providing only enough light to achieve the fstop you set. Lower shutter speeds and/or cutting back the power of the flash, will allow in natural light. Also placing your subject closer to the background will capture the light before fall-off.

You may find that the light is harsh like the midday sun and not like an overcast day with soft light. There are two ways to remedy this: get the light closer to your subject (counterintuitive but it works), or better yet diffuse the light. Some flashes come with domes, you can buy other diffusers depending on what you are photographing. In the past it was suggested that you buy an umbrella and light stand. In my view, it is now a better deal to buy a small soft box (manufacturers include Westcott, Lastolite) or a robust bounce reflector (Rogue, Honl) and work with those until you have decided to go further with flash.

Lastly, flash has a learning curve, and in my own use I am constantly finding new ways to use it as well as new problems to be solved, but when it works, its great.

Just A Little Fuzzy

Just a little furryTo view more of my photography please visit

The not yet blossoming flower stands out because of the detail and soft colors. As taken it was pretty stark against the dirt background, a bit of contrast (levels) and selective sharpening bring it into focus.

This time of year we see a lot of photographs of flowers. Some are just amazing, others have potential and often what are missing are minor tweaks in post processing. It starts in the field where you see your subject, where you compose with a mind to how you will obtain a result as dramatic as it was when you saw it. Your basic tools are working the distance between you and the subject, the subject and the background, your depth of field, and working or waiting for the light you want. In post-processing tweaking the exposure and contrast (levels, curves, shadows, highlights – are examples) make your subject come alive, stand out and get noticed.

Just one word of warning, some colors like bright red and violet do not always reproduce well in digital cameras. This is aggravated by the use of color settings in camera. I always shoot with the most neutral camera settings to get the most realistic color and the greatest range of light. Nature is intense enough without my adding to it.

Signs of Popular Culture


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