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2012 Genre a month challenge: Wildlife Photography

I’m half way through my month of Wildlife and Nature Photography and I am getting better at shooting moving targets. My father grows a number of plants in the front garden which attract birds and bees. This one he calls the ‘cigarette bush’ which is not a particularly flattering name. Nevertheless, it remains enticing to bees. I had more than half a dozen bees to choose from, which was lucky, as the buggers are quick!

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Wildlife

18-55mm lens at 55mm, f/5.6 for 1/80 sec. ISO 125. Cropped slightly post production.

If you’ve participated in my Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment with a link to your efforts on this page

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Wildlife & Nature Photography Take 2

The aim of the 2012 Genre a Month Photography challenge was for me to learn and explore different styles of photography. It’s working. I’m learning already.

I’m learning that with Wildlife Photography, the subject is often just out of sight:

Subject out of sight

Uncooperative Cows

Or the sun is in the wrong place:

Black Cockatoo plays hard to get

Black Cockatoo plays hard to get in Belanglo State Forest

or it is fleeting and inconsiderately against a poor background:

Settles in the wrong spot

When it does stay still you're in the wrong spot!

or worst of all, your subject runs away and hides in a big black hole!

Runs away and hides

Echidna last seen headed this way

On the positive side, I’m delighted that I can go out and spot a black Cockatoo – thank you Andrew. Better yet, I saw my first ever wild echidna!

Given Wildlife was proving difficult, I switched to the ‘Nature’ part of the challenge.

Here too, I am learning.

Learning that flowers are too small:

Flowers too small

look too much like cauliflowers:

Looks like a cauliflower

or cause Andrew to think he’s stumbled on an opium poppy growing in the middle of nowhere (a poppy maybe but an opium one… in a gravel ‘turn-a-round’ near paddocks of cows?)

What poppy is this

Above all I learnt that if you take a 100 photos, if you’re lucky, you may find 3 you like. Here they are:

Belanglo State Forest II

Belanglo State Forest: base of tree in dappled light

The tree above is a favourite because it is simple. I like the colour on the trunk. I like the shadows from the spindly branches above. I like the ‘cross hatching’ of the pine needle carpet.

Bertha the world is slipping

Bertha the world is slipping!

The ‘tipsy’ cows just makes me laugh. I’m not sure why but in my head they have names like Bertha, Marge and Mildred.

Finally, my favourite shot of the day. A really simple photograph really. I guess I like the juxtaposition of man and nature in the one picture.

Nature meets man

If you are participating in the Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment including a link to your efforts on this page.

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Wildlife & Nature Photography

Doing a little Sunday afternoon research re: wildlife & nature photography; except it’s Wednesday. (It feels like a Sunday!) For anyone planning on joining me on the 2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge, January’s genre is Wildlife & Nature Photography. Given January starts next Monday, Andrew and I got a headstart yesterday by visiting Kuringai Chase National Park in Sydney’s north. Is this allowed? It’s my challenge, so absolutely! (As an aside on ‘rules’ there really aren’t any as this is a personal challenge. Even so, in the spirit of the challenge, which is about learning more about different styles of photography, selecting an image which you took last year, doesn’t fit the bill. This is about learning in 2012. About thinking about a style for a month and seeing what I learn at the end of it. So in that vein, I would prefer if fellow-participants – all 2 of you at this point – didn’t select old images. As for starting before the month has started… phhh… quite acceptable!)

Now, where was I? Oh yes, background research. Whatever you do, DON’T go reading the chapter in Tom Ang’s The Complete Photographer on wildlife and nature photography. The images from Stefano Unterthiner and Thomas Marent are so spectacular, you’ll be quitting the challenge before even starting. After seeing these images I realise even my BEST shots of yesterday are worse than ‘pedestrian’ which is how I described them to Andrew last night. Now, I’m not sure what qualifies as worse than ‘pedestrian’ yet my confidence that is where my pictures belong, is unshakeable. I mean really, how unremarkable is this shot?

Ant escaping

18-55mm lens at 55mm, f/5.6 at 1/800 sec, ISO 2500, ND2, Close-up +4 filter

The only thing vaguely remarkable about it, is that in the context of my shots, it wasn’t blurry! Can someone make wildlife that doesn’t move?

I’m sure that leaving my neutral density filter on the camera did not help. I forgot that it was underneath the close-up filter.

I had another go with a winged insect (yes, another challenge of Wildlife & Nature photography – I don’t know my insect names!).

Who’s stupid idea was it to put Wildlife & Nature Photography as the first subject in this challenge? January is going to be a long month. Oh well, lots to learn I suppose.

Insect Kuringai Chase National Park

18-55mm lens at 53mm, f/5.6 for 1/80 sec, ISO 250, ND2, +4 close-up filter

Before you think I’ve completely lost my sense of humour, I’ll include 2 more photos from yesterday’s excursion. Both were taken en route to the National Park (for those of you who live in Sydney, you’ll laugh knowing that we went from Redfern to Kuringai Chase National Park via Palm Beach!)

The first, tells me crows can read:

Dogs no crows ok

The second is a strange kind of wildlife. Very rare indeed. Only found in a pie shop in Whale Beach.

Oliver's Pig

If you are participating in the Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment including a link to your efforts on this page.

2012 Genre A Month Photography Challenge

365 day creative challenge? Umm… no. Postaday2012? Too adventurous. But after my moaning about my 80% completion of the Alice painting, the knitting, the sewing and many other things, I feel a target is order. I was recently reading The Complete Photographer by Tom Ang. He details a number of different photographic genres. It gave me the idea that choosing to focus on one genre each month was probably achievable. This is a personal challenge but if anyone else would like to join me for moral support, I welcome you. (Andrew doesn’t know it yet, but he’s already joining me!)

So here’s my plan:

  1. January: Wildlife & Nature Photography
  2. February: Travel Photography
  3. March: Landscape Photography
  4. April: Event & Milestone Photography
  5. May: Fashion & Nude Photography (I’m opting for the former!)
  6. June: Sports Photography
  7. July: Portrait Photography
  8. August: Documentary Photography
  9. September: Abstract Photography
  10. October: Macro Photography
  11. November: Urban Landscape Photography
  12. December: Pet Photography

If you are participating in the Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment including a link to your efforts on this page.

I almost made that last one ‘cat’ photography as they are the only pets I have!

Many of these subjects are in Tom Ang’s The Complete Photographer, a few are ring-ins.

I’m already doubting how I will achieve this. Is it ok just to have one photograph a month on topic? Yes, I will allow myself this! If I have several, all the better! I keep thinking that Wildlife & Nature Photography may not be the easiest to select in January. Firstly, it’s usually stinking hot in January (I’m in Australia) and most wildlife is well served hiding under a rock. Secondly, I’m not going to a zoo in January so that means I have to find some wild wildlife, so to speak. I made February Travel as I am going away for a short period. I could have equally made it Event & Milestone photography as it is Andrew’s 40th birthday.

The only one I think may be near impossible is ‘Sports Photography’. I really don’t do sports. When Andrew reminded me that his place is very near a football oval, I decided to retain the genre. It may be good for a laugh!

So, I think my Canon 550d is going to have a workout in 2012. Wish me luck!

January: Wildlife & Nature Photography

My first  and second efforts at wildlife lead me to pursue more of the nature route as at least it didn’t move as much (windy days aside). My three favourites for the month:

Sunset over the Redfern towers

Nature meets man

Insect Kuringai Chase National Park