Taking a Break

A small, slightly battered butterfly rests on a partially burned log in the woods.

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Nikon D5100 f/11 ISO 400 1/350s Nikkor 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

One small spot of sunlight picked him out, showing his beauty against the darkness beyond.

Face Off!

Tiny toad versus butterfly! Who will survive?

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Nikon D5100 f/16 ISO 800 1/180 s Nikkor 55-300@170mm – Summer 2012

Actually, the toad held perfectly still and ignored the butterfly as it walked past, picking up moisture from the mud with its proboscis. The butterfly seemed totally oblivious to the toad (which really resembled at tiny bump of mud)… If it had been a larger toad, I think the butterfly would have become dinner. Maybe.

Just in case the photo doesn’t make it plain, I want to tell you this is a truly tiny toad, around 1/2 inch long!

Don’t move

Insects often become aware of the photographer’s attention and either freeze or leave. This brightly colored little one froze, affording me the opportunity to take several shots.

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Rarely does one threaten or attack. I don’t know why some people go into a panicked, jumping frenzy when they spot an insect less than a hundredth their size!  With just a little quiet observation, a person can learn much.

Clinging!

It was a windy day. Many insects dropped out of trees, grabbing for any (hand)hold they could grasp.

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Must. Hold. Tight! – June 2012

The wind was buffeting this katydid, but it clung tenaciously, allowing me a few magical moments of shooting 🙂

The focus is disappointing, which I attribute to the windiness of the day. But one only gets a few takes before the insect gets nervous and leaves. Really, I wouldn’t eat it, but try getting it to believe that!

Hiding Place

He is nearly invisible, despite his glowing green color.

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Who Is Hiding Here? - Summer 2011

He just looks like a part of the plant on which he is resting.

It is like meditating. I go out to take photos – usually drawn out by the beckoning sunlight, sometimes driven out by a need to create something – I first take a few shots and restlessly move on. Then it captures my attention –  it varies – and my attention becomes focused on it, I change angles, or slowly move closer, or think of the angle of the light or how the background contrasts with it. Sometimes those photos turn out as I imagine them, but often, in the quiet of truly focusing, I become aware of something else that I had not seen – would not have seen at my earlier pace – and that becomes the real photo shoot of the day. This little insect was one of those, in the summer of 2011. I didn’t see him until I was focusing on a dragonfly, what I thought was it, trying to ease closer and get a shot with all the elements right, background, the glint of light on its wings, the… Oh no, the dragonfly flew away! Then I saw the bright yellow flowers on their glowing green stems – and it. When I came out of the trance and went back to my computer to look at what I got, I was pleased with this shot 🙂

Does anyone else find themselves out of the everyday hustle and bustle, almost meditating while pursuing the shot?