Monday, 12 October 2015
Tom Langlands - On the Small Side
If you ask most people to think of wildlife they will probably conjure up images of lions, tigers and elephants. Ask them to think closer to home and it may be red deer, red squirrels or golden eagles. Few people will think of anything as small as insects and yet there is a whole world in miniature that is readily accessible and just waiting to be explored. Even if it is just a corner of your own garden or in a hedgerow there is a lot going on in this small world of nature. These important ecosystems all play their part in the overall welfare of bigger ecosystems and the world at large.
I can't resist water. Water fascinates me and the banks of rivers and the fringes of ponds and lakes are great places to discover a wealth of macro material to photograph. It hasn't been the best of summers this year (probably a bit of an understatement!) and yet with a careful eye and a little patience there is a lot more going on in these habitats than may be obvious at an initial glance.
I enjoy going out and setting myself the challenge of spending a day doing nothing but macro work. It is peaceful, relatively comfortable and, with a few exceptions, things tend not to move about too fast. The photography is then easier to control. There is time to think about composition, settings exposure and to look for that different angle on everyday subjects.
When doing macro work 'in the field' I carry a cheap roll up camping mat with me and a can of my favourite midge repellant - Smidge. If you haven't discovered Smidge then you should. Its the best anti midge/mosquito repellant I have every come across and I would never do this kind of work without having it to hand - and no, I'm not on commission.
I spend a lot of time lying on the ground at this type of photography. I also find the best time is early morning. Insects such as damselflies and dragonflies have to warm up and soak in the suns rays before they dry out and start to fly. That will give you a good couple of hours to get the static shots in before things hot up.
Later in the day you can switch to the tougher action shots. Evenings can be good too but be aware that near water it is in late afternoon and early evening that the midges come to life.
If you want to experiment with wildlife photography this is a great way to either start or to try a different approach to what you may normally do. It also makes you look at the world of nature and wildlife in a completely different way.