What is a photographer to do during the summer months when wildlife prefers to bed down in the shade and is less visible than during the rest of the year? There is a whole diffferent world out there, much smaller than the world of mammals and large birds. It is the world of dragonflies and spiders, grasshoppers and bumble bees, damsel flies and other “creepy crawlies". And, during walks along beaches, one can find an entire different world there too. It all started during a trip to Wood Buffalo Park. It was a sweltering mid summer day around lunch time when I noticed some movement on the ground just below my feet. I noticed a spruce beetle was moving about the gravel and small pieces of wood. It blended right in with its surroundings. So I grabbed my camera (poor quality), laid on my stomach and shot my first picture of a “bug”. I was hooked. My next chance to photograph a “bug” came one year later on another vacation. Some kind of a fly took a liking to me and kept returning to me. Again I grabbed my camera (the same one as before) and took some pictures. And this time they actually turned out pretty nice (for the poor camera). And ever since that time I have been taking pictures of the smaller things which surround us. I used the picture of the afore mentioned fly as a screen saver on my work computer at one time. One of my coleagues spotted it and told me that he was concerned for my mental well being when he found out that I had taken the picture. Actually photographing the small things which surround us has been quite lucrative for me: a picture of a dragonfly, which I had entered in a photo contest, won first price, $1000 worth of camera gear. Unfortunately I do not posess the lens I had won in that photo contest anymore. It is on the bottom of the Willow River near Prince George along with the camera to which it was attached when my kayak overturned on another adventure I was on.
The photo I am using as a background for this story was shot during my lunch hour right in front of my home. When I arrived at my house I noticed all the “air traffic” on the flowers in the flowerbed by the front entrance. I grabbed my camera and started shooting. Ten minutes later I was done and I had some really nice shots. Then I ate lunch and went back to work.
Another time shooting was slow. The sweltering summer heat made everybody seek shelter in the shade. I was out and about when I noticed a small clump of clover was frequented by some bumble bees. I backed up, got closer to the ground and started shooting. I hope you enjoy the sequence of the bumble bee collecting nectar as much as I did shooting it.
Some other favorites of mine are spiders. I know that many people do not lke them but I find them fascinating. There is something about a spider web glistening in the light against a dark backgound. Its construction is quite a feat of engineering on the part of the spider in that world. Add some prey and the scene is complete.
Dragonflies are one of my favorite subjects to shoot. it all started when I spent some time at a small lake in the middle of the summer. It was a “target rich” environment with dragonflies zooming around just to stop in mid-air long enough to squeeze off a few frames, but one has to be extremely fast. It took about two hours to figure out the best technique to shoot them, but now I can do it almost at will.
Beach walks are also a lot of fun. One never knows what one encounters once the tide goes out. Starfish are clinging to holes in rocks, hoping that the tide will return before they dry out and die. Small crabs caught out in the open will stand their ground.look at the photo of the purple crab real close. It is missing already two legs, yet it takes up a defensive posture. How courageous. An even smaller crab is hiding amongst the barnacles, hoping not to be noticed by the larger predators like gulls and crows.
So, as you can see, I like the small world too. It might not be as glamourous as big game or large birds but it is just as interesting. And when there is nothing else to shoot it gives me something to do. And it can be lucrative too.
Thank you very much for visiting this site and taking part in my adventures. In order to facilitate faster loading times the photos on this website are low quality jpgs. High quality versions of some of the best photographs you see here are available at my online store for either download and print yourself or have them printed and framed by the nice people at Picfair. Can't find what you are looking for? Just drop me a line on the Contact Us page and I will make the photo available to you in the store.