Yes, sometimes your photo journeys don’t always turn out as planned. I went out the other day to find some migrating ducks and other water fowl to photograph. Walked through the park land, down to the river, and did not see a single avian species. No mink, no ducks, not even a Canada goose. So, since it was nice day, I decided to challenge myself to find interesting things to photograph within 30 feet of where I stood. This really is a great way to challenge yourself to see things that are generally overlooked. So, okay, challenge yourself to find something interesting that is worth a single click. This is what I got. Subject matter is totally different than my usual animal and action photography – with the exception of the chipmunk…
To me, this was a stair leading up to “nowhere”. Reminded me of the song, “stairway to heaven”. No, there is no critter in the shot and the light played in the background.
Light and colour
It is all in how you see things and everyone sees colours and light differently. The following images are examples of keeping the background somewhat out of focus and having the foreground crisp and clear. The human eye sees white and bright first, then sharpness. The forest floor photo shows how to get these different definitions. To de-focus the background, set the camera aperture to the setting that is about a third of your total aperture range. If you have a preview setting on your camera go ahead and use it as it will show you want is and is not in focus once the shutter is pressed. Keep the image focus area sharp and the contrast will be fantastic.
Common Stuff That Is Usually Overlooked
Sometimes it is the simplest things that you can find that really end up being the best photograph. I love this shot because it is a glimpse into the forest floor and ecosystem. We walk past rocks and trees like this every day and rarely stop to really look at the delicate leaves, the saturated colours, and the actual rocks.
Add in the critters and there real trip is to get down to eye level with them if at all possible. Focus on the eyes and try to drop your regular exposure by at least one third of a stop. This gives greater definition and contrast – just look at the black on the chippy in comparison to his white abdomen. If you can add a bit of colour – like the pine needles, and defocus the background, the subject (the chipmunk) will stand out a bit more than if the whole image was in complete focus.
Woodpecker damage to a pine tree. Just look up when you walk around a forest!
Chipmunk with defocus on everything except the chipmunk head. Use the widest open aperture that you have. If you are shooting with a sum lens, zoom as close as your can to the head and eye. That will help to defocus the background and foreground.
Challenge yourself to see something differently every day. You may just get the image of a lifetime!
More images can be found at: http://www.lindymartin.com/