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Archive for January, 2012

Recording the small world around us.

Over the years i can say that i developed “my photographic Eye” for finding small subjects in the natural world. When i walk in a forest my eyes are always scanning for something interesting on the ground or the trees, even when i don’t have a camera with me i’m looking at the world around me to see what i can find. Having a Macro lens or a lens that can do “close-up” is very useful for that kind of photography, i use all my Macro lenses (35mm, 50mm and 100mm) or sometimes i will use extension tubes with a 150mm or 200mm lens.

When the light is not so good you can always photograph small subjects, you can block the sun with your body or shirt if necessary. Rain is great since it adds raindrops to your subjects and the colors are more saturated. In autumn cold nights can bring frost on the ground and you suddenly have a lot of great new opportunities but you have to shoot fast before the sun melt the frost!

The advantage of that kind of photography is that you don’t have to travel to an exotic country to find inspiration, it can be done at your local Park, a nearby forest or even in your own backyard. Take your Macro lens and go outside to find new subjects and experiment some new compositions.

When i’m going to work i often take with me a camera and i stop to a local Park that i can find different subjects depending on the temperature or season. This shot was taken on my way to work, the day before it was raining and during the night the temperature dropped quickly and the raindrops were all frozen on the leaves that were on the ground.

Taken with my Sony NEX-3, SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm/4, ISO 200, at f/16,Tripod.

I found this interesting ice on the shore of a beaver pond on a cold morning at sunrise. I tried different angles but this one is my favorite.

Taken with a Pentax K20D, DFA100mm Macro WR, ISO 100 at f/16, Tripod.


Cold Week

This week of January 16 to 22 was a cold one, temperature dropped to around -25°C during the nights in the region of  Montreal. I like those kind of temperature especially when a warm day is followed by a cold night, fog and/or frost are more frequent with that combination. When it happens i look for habitat where there is free water during the winter because it’s the best places for great photo opportunities !

I took my camera with me on my way to work and took some shots during the week but my favorite came from yesterday morning at the old Canal Soulange in Pointe-des-Cascades. There is some waterfalls along the old canal, not natural ones but fun to shoot anyway. I tried different compositions and lenses but i finally like this one because it shows enough to give an idea of the place to the viewer and at the same time we can see all the details in the ice.

Taken with a Sony NEX-3, Sony SAL70-300mm/4.5-5.6 G series, ISO 200, 1/15 sec. at f/11 at 70mm, Tripod, RAW.

ZOO can deliver great opportunities

Photographing animals in a Zoo is not like being in the wild, but if you’re ready to accept photos taken in a Zoo as a chance to get close-ups of hard to find or get close to animals, then you can get some great shots.

One of the hardest thing in a Zoo is trying to compose your shots without showing the fences or other human made structures unless you want them to be part of your composition. I use a long lens near wide open aperture, i shoot with my 400mm at f/5.6 and if i can stop down when the background allow me i will use f/8 to get some depth of field.

I prefer an overcast day to shoot in a Zoo because the fences can be very reflective when the sun hit them and they can show in your photos even if they are out of focus. Sunny days can be good also if you can avoid fences and go early or late during the day. By placing your lens as close as possible against the fence and using a wide aperture the fence betweem your camera and your subject will become invisible in your photos. When doing this i use manual focus because the AF of the camera can pick-up focus on the fence instead of on your subject.

Winter is a good time to go also, snow will cover the ugly ground often found in the enclosure of the animals, your subjects will have their winter coat on as well. Falling snow can add atmosphere and give a different look to your photos.

Shoot a lot and have fun, you never know when you will get a great shot !

Both shots taken at the ZOO Ecomuseum of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue on the West Island side of Montreal.

Pentax K20D, Pentax-67 M*400mm/4, at f/5.6, Tripod.