Cameras and Insects and Birds – oh my!

Goodness, there has been a flurry of food related blog posts round these parts recently haven’t there?!

Time for a bit of variety I think… today I would like to talk about my photography project for 2013. To be completely honest it is the project that never materialised in 2012 because frankly, I was too busy trying to just get on with life following my dads passing… and then I got diagnosed with cancer which can really interfere with your hobbies.

Obviously I’m still dealing with this stuff but I really really want to get back into my photography this year. I have still been taking pictures on our zoo outings (we love a zoo!) but not so much day to day. I have done some personal projects previously:

52 Weeks of 2009

A to Z of Animals 2010

… and they really helped me improve and also gave a nice sense of accomplishment at the end of the year.

Having said that, I’ve got to be realistic. I don’t think I can maintain another 52, and I’m not sure I want to set myself anything too specific or challenging. It needs to be something flexible that I can fit around my treatment without feeling like I’m falling behind or letting myself down. With this in mind I have decided on a ‘Local Wildlife’ project for 2013. I feel like this can be as big or small as I want it to be. I can find local wildlife in my back garden and there are a number of nature reserves nearby that I’m sure will be full of possibility if I go looking for it.

I really enjoy taking macro pictures of insects so I’m sure that will feature heavily. I’ve been saying that I will get up super early and go butterfly hunting while they are still drying their wings for ages but I have never actually done it yet so that’s one thing for the list. I also installed a container pond in the garden last year which attracted some frogs so I’m wondering if this year we might see some frogspawn.. that would be fun!

Other subjects I think will be the waterfowl at the local nature reserves – I might even be brave and go sit in some of the hides. I actually enjoy my photography as quite a solitary pastime though so am a bit reticent to go where other people might want to chat to me. Call me anti-social but I find it relaxing to get lost in my picture taking and I don’t want other people intruding on that! I do hear a rumour that there are kingfishers nearby though so I could get serious about it and get a hide etc.

We have a lot of Red kites in the area too and so far I have failed miserably to get a good shot of one – that is definitely on the ‘to do’ list.

As I say, this project can and will be as simple or complicated as circumstances and mood dictate. The one thing I would like to end up with is a collection of photographs that I can make a photo book out of. I think the key to this is changing my ‘just go out and see what I can find’ attitude. I need to do research and learn a bit of field craft. I need to know the seasons / best times / habits for the wildlife I would like to photograph and then use this information to be in the right place at the right time.

There are no real rules to this project and at the moment the ‘brief’ is obviously pretty wide. I think I will set myself some specific mini challenges to get started and then see where this leads me. Or maybe once I’ve done a bit of research I could identify a ‘target’ species / topic for each month.

I’m not ruling out captive wildlife either – M suggested we could take a trip here which I am well up for. As long as it’s native, it counts – wild or captive… although obviously the wild photos will be more satisfying. Oh and by ‘wildlife’ I mean flora and fauna.

I think I need to start doing my local wildlife homework now…

The kit I will be using is:

Nikon D60 DSLR

Nikon SB600 Speedlight

Various Nikon AF-S VR lenses – my favourite being the 70-300.

Raynox DCR 150 & 250 close up lenses… unless I buy a lovely new ‘proper’ macro lens which is a distinct possibility!

Monopod – I never use this but maybe it’s time I started! I might get myself a good tripod too. I do have one but frankly it’s crap and heavy. Not ideal for toting around attached to my backpack.

Nothing too fancy but I think I can get some good shots with the above. Well, I am certainly going to try!




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