There are times when I am glad that this column is based on wildlife photography! Mainly because, for the most part, the cycle is fairly predictable. Every year Spring turns to Summer, Summer to Autumn, Autumn to Winter and so on. Yes, there are the occasional glitches, like the week of snow in the spring this year that killed off the regularly featured kingfisher on ePHOTOzine but generally, life in the countryside has a well-defined pattern. I would hate to be trying to predict what the human population would be up to over the next month considering the extreme highs and lows of the last few weeks!
And it doesn’t stop with news stories! With a test series against South Africa going on during the month, the type of cricket you photograph may well depend on the kind of lens you possess as much as the preference you have. If you have a (very) long telephoto you may wish to spend a day at one of the Test venues, or even a county match but if you only have a macro lens, then the insect variety is likely to be of more interest.
The reason there are so many insects around at this time of year is pretty simple. It is all part of that predictable cycle that I mentioned. The young birds, along with their parents and the same generations of reptiles and mammals need to be able to feed up and put on weight for the harder months ahead. And insects are at the lower end of the carnivorous food chain.
They also make a fascinating photographic subject. Although it can be extremely frustrating at times, with the subject disappearing in the blink of an eye just as you are about to press the shutter, when you do get it right it can be just as extremely satisfying!
Small apertures are the order of the day, to enable enough depth-of-field so that the subject remains in focus over it’s whole body length/width. Fast shutter speeds are also required to avoid camera shake or subject movement. With modern digital cameras, the best way to achieve both is with higher ISO settings and if necessary, a little play with noise reduction software afterwards.
There are other ways, such as capturing your insects and refrigerating them for a short while before placing them in an ideal setting and photographing them while they warm up, but you don’t get quite the same satisfaction from these methods!
Landscape and Habitat
With this paragraph, I could almost copy and paste last month’s version! Very little has changed, with the woodland canopy still in full leaf. The flowers are still plentiful even though the species may have changed, but you will still need to get down low to make the most of them.
If you are holidaying near a coastal resort, don’t forget the beach is a prolific habitat that may well provide some different subjects.
Out and About
With the children breaking up from school to terrorise parents for six weeks, getting them outside for a while is a good way of burning up some energy. Whatever you do, take a camera. As I said last month, you never know what you are going to see and this includes the antics of your children. Candid work often comes out better if the subject doesn’t know they are being photographed and if they are used to seeing you with the camera, they will soon forget t is there and increase your chances of catching them unawares!
EPZ Meetings and Events
There are a small number of meetings being organised around the country this month and a look in the Members Meetings section of the site is highly recommended to get the latest news on short notice one’s near you.
For this month, the best tip I can give you is to keep a polarising filter handy, especially if you plan to go anywhere near water. They not only improve the saturation of shots, but cut down on annoying reflections that can also fool metering systems!
Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.co.uk