Photography and Flowers at Riveredge Nature Center

I’ve been working my way through learning how to make photographs. I took an intro to photography class in my last semester at college and it gave me some insights and some confidence in using the manual settings on a camera.

I’ve been attempting to capture shots of the wildlife and landscapes at Riveredge. This spring I took my first photographs of warblers that I was happy with, something I’d never attempted in the past.

I’m learning that, in general, if you can take bird or flower “portraits” often times F8 is a preferable F stop to use. That way a sufficient amount of background I know this is no great wisdom about photography, but it’s new to me as I learn it and imbibe those conclusions.

Taking photographs of flowers has been interesting, and more than anything else possible, the light is really important. Too much sunshine and most of the color will get blown out. I also learned a lot about ISO settings in photographing these orchids. For some reason, I seem to have overall neglected the ISO, maybe the cameras I’d used had it sent to auto so I hadn’t played with it much.

I took the below series with the ISO setting I’d had for quickly dashing songbirds – quite high something around 5,000 for the ISO. As you an see, much of the yellow coloration is washed out white on the surface of this orchid. This also has to do with how bright the sun was at that moment.

I realized the folly of this and went back later to take the below photograph, which I’m much happier with, once the sunlight subsided due to cloud cover. I’m much happier with the resulting detail and considerably less resulting patchy noise throughout the photo. The ISO was probably in the low hundreds for this shot.

I don’t relay these observations as some sort of especially knowledgeable person about photography, rather more as realizing my own stumbling blocks or evolution, and hopefully some of these realizations might help someone else in their own process.

This opportunity has taught me many lessons about how to capture which subject matter and I’ve appreciated the opportunity to gain these insights. Check out this recent blog of Blooming Spring Flowers at Riveredge.

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Photography Award from Milwaukee Press Club

I’m pleased to report that my article about deer poaching in Wisconsin has received a photography award from the Milwaukee Press Club (the picture below is one of several photographs included in the article). Click here to check out the full article. I won’t be too hurt if you skim it for the pictures. 😉

Prairie Crayfish at Schlitz Audubon

Recent storms have allowed Schlitz Audubon staff to see a species not often observed on our land, the Prairie Crayfish (Procambarus gracilus). Read here about this interesting native wildlife species at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, often hiding in burrows just below our feet in the prairie.

Mystery Rodent Scurrying Near the Milwaukee River

Near the Milwaukee River, we saw what I first thought was a Muskrat, my son thought was a baby Beaver.

It turned out to be a Groundhog, also called a Woodchuck. Woodchuck babes are called “chucklings.” These large rodents are native to the area, and if you’re not worried about holes in your lawn, they’re quite fun to watch.