We do get a decent variety of butterflies in the warmer months here in New Jersey, but I always get jealous of the vivid tropical butterflies that I see from the warmer states and tropical countries. I was fairly successful in shooting some of my target species in Florida, and so here is a Julia, one of them:
Photo taken handheld with the Tamron 90mm VC macro lens mounted on a Canon T2i Rebel camera. An aperture of F/8 yielded very high sharpness, and acceptable depth of field for a fairly flat subject.
I have no problem photographing the ordinary and trying my hardest to make it look flattering, but every once in a while you stumble upon an animal or scenic opportunity that you feel very lucky to have encountered. That’s how I felt when I discovered a group of young American Alligators calling for their not too distant mother. I assumed I would have plenty of opportunities to photograph adult Gators on my Florida trip, but didn’t dream of a golden chance like this.
Young American Alligator
I typically shoot landscape/scenic photos with pretty wide lenses (somewhere between 10mm and 40mm), but in this case the stand of trees I wanted to isolate was a bit too far away for lenses of that category. Having a lens arsenal that includes a medium telephoto helped eliminate most of the distracting foreground foliage, and halted the need for walking through mud and swampy areas.
Morning Fog at Big Cypress
This particular shot was taken with a tripod mounted Tamron 70-300mm VC lens, zoomed to 200mm.
I think there really is no such thing as “bad light” in nature photography, as long as you are able to think outside of the box. This recent photograph of an Airplant in Florida was taken while the sun was fairly high, and also a bit behind the subject. Typically, this is an undesirable ambient light angle as the illumination of a subject is very uneven and will cause high variations in dynamic range, which in turn will probably blow out some of the highlights and block up the shadows.
Manatee River Airplant at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
I find this lighting angle difficult to utilize, and implausible in some scenarios. However, it can yield some nice dramatic photos with a little experimentation. In this instance, the sunlight has “kissed” or highlighted mainly only my target subject but caused most of the frame to fall into shadow. Perfect for an isolating effect.
I just flew back home to NJ from Florida yesterday morning and I have lots of files (hopefully good ones to sift through. I will be uploading new images from the trip regularly to http://flickr.com.com/davidraymond but I hope to provide some commentary and technique on individual photos on here as well.
Here’s one sample landscape image from the trip to take a look at it, meanwhile I’ve got to get back to the RAW file processing!
Sunset over Wetlands