Thursday, August 20, 2009

The 'And More' part of Uniwolf Photography

I love my dogs. I think that pretty much goes without saying. Like most people, I do have a few other interests and yes they usually include my dogs. As you might expect, these other aspects of my life find their way into my photography. Here are a few photos I've recently taken from my garden...and lastly a little visual lesson on the importance of lighting.

I am an avid gardener. When we moved here to SC we had one huge pine tree in the front yard and one in the back. That was it. I have worked for 6 years to build my own personal sanctuary on my single acre, I'm getting very close to not seeing any neighbors at all. :) I continue to add more every year.

Obviously, along with gardening come insects. I have a fascination with bugs. I don't necessarily like most of them, but from a camera's view they are pretty cool. Ever since I was a small child I have been able to sit and watch all of nature as it has gone on around me, fascinated at the interaction. I've watched birds swoop down to grab a waddling bug in the grass with lightning speed, lizards scurry across the pavement with unidentifiable legs in its mouth, spiders weave a delicate silk cocoon with miraculous speed around a cicada and ants march in formation for hours. Truly, I am that boring. Or that calm in nature.

I have several hummingbird bushes and naturally you'd expect to see hummingbirds at them, occasionally I do. However, more often lately, what I have been seeing is what is called a "Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth"

As you can see they are rather intriguing little critters...

About 2" long, and if you happen to be wearing an orange hat, expect to get buzzed by them. Insect photographer's secret. Want to attract butterflies? Wear bright colors. Keep in mind, that also works for bees, and it can occasionally get you buzzed by an actual hummingbird. :)

Ah yes, the importance of lighting... one of these photos is not like the others... look close. The one below, you can actually see the catchlight in its eye. What's a "catchlight"? It's the photography term for the light reflected in the eyes of the subject. The 'sparkle' that makes a subject reach out and grab you.

While the other photos are pretty good. It's this last one that makes an impact. Just because I popped up the flash on my camera. A little thing can make such a huge difference!

You can click on any of the pictures to make them larger to see detail. :)

If you have a DSLR and can afford a flash unit (there are several good ones out now that are under $200) they are much better than the popup flash. But in a pinch, if you left it in the house [looking at the sky and whistling] just hit the little button that pops up the flash and use it.

That's it for now. I'm off to play with the dogs for a bit I think. Then get my fingers in the dirt... and eventually on my camera...

Uni & The Underdogs

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