Here comes the rain again…

tiny fuchsia flower with dew drops

It’s that time of year in Victoria – the rainy season has arrived, the days are getting shorter and everything is covered in water drops. There are two things you should take with you when going out for a walk…

First, paper towels in case you plan to sit down anywhere from now until next May, and a second, a camera – that should go without saying!

This is the perfect time of year to practice your macro photography. Tiny water drops on flowers are an irresistible subject and early morning is the best time to capture them.

Fortunately, in Victoria, the flowers bloom year-round. Here is a November Rose… Do you like that name? I just made it up!

I rarely know the names of these tiny flowers, but the one below is called a Calendula.

and the next one, I have no idea… Leave me a comment if you know. I can only say that it’s roughly the size of a dime.

My macro photos tend to have an extremely shallow depth of field – meaning almost everything will be blurry except for the subject. The idea is to have a central point of interest that is clearly in focus, and then have everything else within the image just fade away. This isolates the subject from the background and helps make it pop.

Do you enjoy macro photography? What’s your favourite subject to shoot? Let me know in the comments below.

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A Backyard Birding Setup

I just love a natural looking photograph, and if necessary, I’ll go to any lengths to fake one! When it comes to bird photography, I would rather capture a photo of a bird perched on a branch than on a fence or a bird feeder. In this post, I show a simple bird ‘setup’ that I constructed in my backyard for the purpose of capturing that perfect, out-in-the-woods bird photo.

Nikon D750, 1/1000s f/6.3 ISO1600 600mm

A bird setup is something you build combining food and water to attract the birds, and a branch or other natural item for a perch. The general idea is to put food out below the perch and hope that the birds will land and pose for you before hopping down to feed. If you use a small enough container for the food, the birds may find things a little crowded, and they will sometimes line up on the branch and take turns feeding!

Above: A male Oregon Junco. I thought the setup in the photo above looked a little sparse. Somehow the single moss covered branch seemed unnatural – where are all the other branches we would expect to see if this were the forest? I set about gathering rocks and moss-covered branches to build a new setup. My idea was that by including a bunch of random stuff, any place the bird landed would have some branches or something authentic looking in the scene. I would then zoom close in and make that perfect shot. The Cedar hedge across the yard would blur out once I was zoomed in on the feeder, and it would make a nice background.

This was all fine and dandy until the lens got heavy…

It soon occurred to me that if I could control the precise landing zone for the bird in advance, I could use a tripod and have the camera zoomed in close and pre-focused. I could even use a remote to trigger the camera! After I lined up the perfect blurry background and framed a precise ‘stage’ for the birds, I sat back with the camera remote control and a good book to read. Four hours later, this little fellow flew in.

Nikon D750, 1/160s f/6.3 ISO1000 600mm

So how did I manage to predetermine the exact spot the bird would perch on? Simple. I hid some bird seed in the moss on the branch where it hopefully could not be seen in the photo. Once the Junco landed on the little stage I had prepared, he stayed around long enough for me to capture the following twenty-three shots which I have combined into a gif file. If you look very closely, you may spot a bit of bird seed in the bird’s mouth at one point. Enjoy.

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It’s A Boy!

Finally, a male Anna’s Hummingbird came to the bird feeder. I had seen one earlier in the morning when I was outside with a coffee – but no camera! Following this, I grabbed the camera and spent another half hour outside waiting. No bird. Only after I gave up and went back inside did the male Hummingbird return and linger at the feeder while I shot these photos through the glass door.

A pair of these gorgeous Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) are nesting in a cherry tree in our yard. The next photo shows a female, puffed up to stay warm.

And finally, a baby Hummingbird in the nest at the top of our cherry tree…

Do you enjoy nature and wildlife photography? Please stick around and follow me for more!


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