Bird watching in a whole new light


Ever tried bird watching?

I started bird watching almost two years back. It has been a whole lot of fun. I began to think I was getting to be quite a pro. I could spot and identify quite a few birds from around Bangalore. But just last week I had my comfortable bubble get busted!

I was a part of the Naturalist training program by S. Karthikeyan on the 8th to 10th of this month. The best way to put what I did there is this: I learnt how to observe more about the natural world. It’s been a couple of years since I decided I wanted to be a naturalist amongst other things. But where does one start? There is a crazy amount to learn about the ecosystems around us. I don’t think I can ever stop learning. There isn’t a syllabus, there isn’t a test, there isn’t even anything close to a textbook!

How closely have you watched a bird while bird-watching?

How closely have you watched a bird while bird-watching?

Karthik taught us a remarkably simple trick when I was at the training. It actually is one that others have been telling me to start doing for some time now. He says that when you go out to the field, what you see, you should write down or draw out. It helps in two ways. One, it makes you remember what you saw. Two, just because you want to fill the page up with fancy stuff, you start observing a lot more! For example, does a myna hop, or walk? Don’t worry, everyone thinks twice when first asked that question ;)

Bird watching: Once you get over the initial hesitancy, sketching isn't actually that difficult.

Once you get over the initial hesitancy, sketching isn’t actually that difficult.

The amount of difference that this made to my observational skills was incredible! I had two and a half days on this trip, and another fellow student even offered to lend me his super fancy telephoto lens to try out. But, I left my camera behind on our trips and took with me only my sketchbook and pencil.

Bird-watching: A sketch froma  photo.

A sketch from a photo.

There’s lots of learning to talk about from the trip, and I’m sure I can go on and on, but, I wanted also to tell you how this helped my photography. How does the idea of quality, not quantity affect photography? A few days after the program, I went to Hebbal lake, and spent the entire morning studying a group of cormorants.

Bird watching: How on earth could that thin bamboo hold up such a large bird?

How on earth could that thin bamboo hold up such a large bird?

Apart from learning a lot about these interesting birds, I also tried a few things with my photography. One was to visualize the photograph I wanted, and then shoot a maximum of three times before I got it. That was the image above.

Bird watching: Shooting a bird in flight

Shooting a bird in flight

I then tried shooting the bird while flying. My lens is a slow one, so I kept having trouble focusing, but I got a few neat images, and I like the feel to this one. The space makes it slightly contemplative, don’t you think?

Bird watching: Cormorants are very skilled fishers

Cormorants are very skilled fishers

The next thing I tried, was to stay put in one place for an hour or so until the birds started getting used to the idea of a human being there and came closer to where I was. This fellow started fishing just 10 feet away from the place I was sitting at. I keep wondering sometimes how long I can sit at a place and wait. While the two hours that I was here didn’t seem like any effort at all, the 6 days that Sandesh Kadur waited at a place for this footage must have been quite the exercise in patience. Can I do that? I’m not sure…

Bird watching: The sun comes up behind the birds.

The sun comes up behind the birds.


I’m looking forward to spending one day a week that I’ve promised myself out in the field. If what I’ve learnt in the brief hours I spent at Hebbal is anything to go by, I’m going to learn tons about the nature around me. Karthik, thank you for that wonderful, wonderful workshop. It was a home-coming experience. :)

If anyone is interested in more details about the actual workshop, check out Badri’s blog here.

Have you tried bird watching? Do you ever sketch birds?



Commercial photographer?


Commercial photographer, the term’s putting off.

I’m pretty sure I want photography to be bread-winning for me. I think I’ve also found out how. Am I ready to call myself a commercial photographer though?

Commercial photographer: Rolled up banana flowers in the marketplace.

Rolled up banana flowers in the marketplace at Vizag.

I did my first project as a commercial photographer for Shriram Panorama Hills, an integrated township in Vizag. What that meant was three days in a beautiful city with my camera and a license to go to every spot I want, as many times as I want. As you probably realized, I freaked out! :P

commercial photographer: They are in a beautiful location surrounded by nature.

They are in a beautiful location surrounded by nature.

With only my photography, I had to build an image contrasting things one loves about Vizag with things one would like to remove or change. SPH’s clients are mostly from Vizag, and they hold the city extremely close to their heart. I had a massive list of things to photograph. And the most difficult thing for me to do, was to shoot the unpleasant things too. Everything I saw, I’d always find something quaint about it! Had to get over that pretty quick.

Commercial photographer: If you look close enough though, everything has a dark side.

If you look close enough though, everything has a dark side.

Everything I’ve read about photo-journalism and being true to the subject came in mighty handy here. I was shooting to help brand a company; I was shooting images that will eventually help a group become successful. But, I was also shooting a city. Every photo, every new place, I checked myself and made sure to ask if I look back on this, will I be proud of it? Will I ever be ashamed about showing any of these images to anyone?

Commercial photographer: I definitely think I succeeded there.

I definitely think I succeeded there.

You know how sometimes doing anything for money can seem dirty? Sometimes we push into gray areas because we can get pretty desperate. I like how this felt absolutely clean. I did not alter what I saw in any way. When these images are used for the company, they will not be distorting reality. They will not be used to say anything more than they show. They will be used to brand a campus that is probably one of the most eco-friendly ones I have come across. (ArtyPlantz is doing the landscaping for them. So I can be sure about that!)

Commercial photographer: Kailashgiri, the hill with a view.

Kailashgiri, the hill with a view.

So, I’ve now decided on what’s going to earn my bread. If I’m a commercial photographer, I’ll be one that helps you brand yourself through visuals. I will work with you if I feel your work will benefit this world. And I will decide what I’ll shoot. Sounds extremely ambitious and maybe a tad (Ahem) over confident for a soon-to-be 18 year old?

Commercial photographer: If some of us hadn't been super confident, what would we have done!

If some of us hadn’t been super confident, what would we have done!

I have proven I can do it! Maybe I’ll even take the next month to build up a portfolio of successes. I love nature, I love telling stories, I love photography and more than anything, I love being useful to people who are working to do something beautiful. Don’t you think I’ve chosen the right thing to do? I’d love to have your feedback.

Commercial photographer: Am I biting off more than I can chew?

Am I biting off more than I can chew?

Do follow me on Facebook if you would like more updates on my adventures. I’m thinking I’ll try shooting without looking into the camera next week. It’s probably going to result in a lot of chopped heads! :P



Macro rings loud and true.


Macro ring, Colours, textures and geometry.

I have this remarkable macro ring that if I insert between my lens and my camera body, it lets me get incredibly close to my subject. That’s homeground! I love looking quite close at things, seeing patterns that we usually just take for granted.

Macro ring, Imagine all the cells that it takes to make such perfection

Imagine all the cells that it takes to make such perfection

I’ve been super busy this week planning out the portrait event and finishing up two weeks’ work, so I’m free the next week. I also figured that since I’ve been challenging myself a lot recently, I deserve a treat. This week’s challenge was to shoot one vegetable that was cut for lunch.

Macro ring : Is that beautiful or what?

Is that beautiful or what?

Can you guess what this is? If you can, I have a gift for you. Leave a comment below with your answer. I’ll randomly pick one of the right people (hopefully there’s at least one!) and they get a free portrait done next week! (Edit on July 28th: Congrats Supriya :) )

Macro ring : Wiki says: Abstract art, nonfigurative art, nonobjective art, and nonrepresentational art are loosely related terms.

Wiki says: Abstract art, nonfigurative art, nonobjective art, and nonrepresentational art are loosely related terms.

Do you know how sometimes you just get lucky? I think this was one of those days. The light was actually quite sad at 7 in the morning and I had to keep the ISO all the way at 3200! So, most of my pictures got super grainy.

Macro ring : Clue!


I like them despite that ;) And the picture above is the first significant clue! Come on, you should have guessed it by now. No? Well ok, I’ll give you one more.

Macro ring: I love the sheen on whatever's in the background!

I love the sheen on whatever’s in the background!

I feel quite happy about these! But then, it’s home turf. I’ve been doing macro for some time, and if I were to put together a list of potholes I sometimes fall into when using my macro ring, it would be this:

  • I sometimes miss on having a subject because the textures are so enticing when you get extremely close to something. As you can see below, it doesn’t really…How do you put it? Zing?
Macro ring: The drop doesn't draw enough attention to itself to be called a subject.

The drop doesn’t draw enough attention to itself to be called a subject.

  • I don’t use dramatic lighting enough. You must have seen the picture at the very top. I find that if you get quite close to your subject, then a light in the background can give unexpected results (usually in a good way).
  • I’m getting better at this, but I still sometimes don’t play around enough with the aperture settings. The macro ring only allows me to focus a certain distance from the camera. Therefore, the only option left to control how much of the frame is in focus is the aperture.

Thank you so much for reading this! It’s your turn now, have you tried macro photography? How has your experience been? Also, guess what vegetable this is, and you might get a free portrait!



Lights camera action!


Lights, camera, action, it’s not really that easy.

This week’s experiment was the biggest yet by far! I’m almost at the end of it now and I’m really starting to feel that I’ve bitten off more that I can safely chew. First of all, last week was the first week when I haven’t blogged on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. I felt that it would be nicer to condense all my learning after the week was done rather than blog with only a couple of days’ experience.

So, here’s what I did last week. I rented out some studio lights from Toehold. I didn’t think that just one day was going to be enough, so, like the crazy person that I am, I rented them out for 8 days. Then it was lights, camera, action! Oh wait, I needed models.

Lights camera action : Crazy Janani on a mission

Crazy Janani on a mission

It took a mixture of blackmail, begging and shameless marketing before I got enough people to consent to having their photos taken. I made a page of all the Candid photography that I’ve done till now and put up event pages in different social media accounts linking to it. By the last day before the week started I had it all fully booked. Everyday at least 4 people were to come in.

Lights, camera, action; Posing!


After a humongously tiring week, 30 gb worth of photos and many new friends, I’ve learnt a lot! Here are some tips I got from some very friendly photographers who took the time to help the kid out.

Lights camera action : Aditi is glowing!

Aditi is glowing!

Lights, camera, action:

  • If you are experimenting with completely indoor photography, it makes sense to have three lights. You will need two in front and one at the back.
  • You will need to experiment with moving the lights up, down, back and front. Notice the shadows on the face and the fact that you need to differentiate the subject from the background. I have too many photos from last week with that mistake! We Indians all have hair that .is not really suitable for a black background.
  • Read the the manual for your lights.
Lights camera action : Happy, happy kuttis :)

Happy, happy kuttis :)

Lights, camera, action:

  • Make sure to review every photo you take.
  • Take a test shot and open your photo up on a computer or laptop and check the lighting, focus and white balance before you shoot. It might seem like an over-cautionary thing to do. But at the beginning, you’ll need it. (Tip from Muthukumar)
  • Make sure you have enough space in your card (Shoot in raw) and enough charge in your battery.
Lights camera action : The only "Sadhu" shot of the two of them.

The only “Sadhu” shot of the two of them.

Lights, camera, action:

  • When people get in front of the camera, they get shy and self-conscious. It’s a fact and can’t be helped. You need to help put them at ease. Talk to them a bit, tell them what to do.
  • Preferably don’t have strangers in the room when you are shooting. Give your subject some breathing space.
  • I found that when there are two or more people posing, people relax more. Get them to do some funny things, a little bit of drama. (This doesn’t always work though)
Lights camera action : Get them to do some drama

Get them to do some drama


I am super, super lucky. I have an amazing family that supported me through a week where everyday, people kept coming in and out of home and didn’t mind when I turned the whole house upside down in an attempt to learn about studio lights! Thank you Thatha and Patti for letting me use the Bhajan room :)

Lights camera action : My awesome grandparents.

My awesome grandparents.

I have so much more to share with you all! I want to make an ebook with all of the learning. Would you like to learn all that I have? I’ve made an email list for photographers who, like me, love learning new things! Do subscribe and let’s share our knowledge.

Lights camera action : Love experimenting with backlighting!

I love experimenting with backlighting!

The whole of next week’s going to go into editing. Photoshop, here I come!



Bharatanatyam poses


Lovely dancer, Bharatanatyam poses, and inexperienced photographer.

Not the ideal combination, huh? Well, I wanted to give it a try. Bharatanatyam poses are so beautiful that anyone will want to!

My cousin Jahnavi is a beautiful dancer and her Arangetram is coming up soon. Preparations for it are going full swing and I’m going to try my hand at making some videos of all the backstage escapades that’s going into it.

Last Thursday, I went on a saree shopping expedition to record some footage. It took us close to seven shops and three hours to get the perfect two! Lots of excitement and super fun. :)

These are photos I took the next morning at her class.

Large spaces and graceful movements make bharatanatyam poses

Large spaces and graceful movements

I had never done any dance photography or any “movement” photography for that matter. I had no clue what I wanted to do or what to expect. I didn’t even have time beforehand to do the research that I usually do before I go on my crazy experiment for the week. I took with me my tripod and my 18-55 lens.

Bharatanatyam poses- Silhouettes and pirouettes.

Silhouettes and pirouettes.

The problem that presented immediately was the fact that she was almost completely backlit! So, this coupled with the fact that she hadn’t tied her hair up that day, made this shot.

Bharatanatyam poses, Beauty in lines

Beauty in lines

Here’s what a dance photographer says in one of his blogs:

“Daylight from the wrong direction…barely illuminating the dancer in the foreground…Can the dancers rise above these indispensible clutter of our day to day interior residential environments for the benefit of the camera?” – Purple Ganesh

I think it’s definitely possible.

Bharatanatyam poses, Experiments with slow shutter speed.

Experiments with slow shutter speed.

I had dreams of beautiful blurs, of perfect expressions while hands make elegant swirls and pretty soon realised that that, was simply, a dream. Not impossible to achieve, but it’s going to take a couple of more tries and lots of planning. Most of my tries just aren’t viewable, this is one of the more decent ones.

From the research I did, I now figure that it needs proper lighting, preferably a dark background, and planning to get it right.

Bharatanatyam poses, Stretches as the class start.

Stretches as the class starts.

I love how all dance classes have such elegant exercises too! I had a very brief stint in a dance class when I tried to overcome my two left feet. Coming from a background of martial arts and tomboy play, trying to do exercise gracefully sort of pushed it. Just a little ;)

Bharatanayam poses, elegance and poise

Elegance and poise

Janu, it was a real treat to come watch you :) I can’t wait to see you at the Arangatram. You are going to be awesome.

Bharatanatyam poses, She has a super, super teacher

She has a super, super teacher

Thank you so much ma’am for putting up with the crazy girl whose hair refuses to look presentable! Thank you for letting me in on that beautiful class!

Hopefully I’ll finish that video soon. Have just gotten the software installed. It’s going to be another wonderful adventure.

Now it’s your turn! Have you ever tried shooting photos of dance? Is there a dance photographer who impresses you? I hope you liked the blog! Do follow me on Facebook for more updates.



The best photographers in India give me advice


Best photographers in India - Crazy notes I made at the symposium

Crazy notes I made at the symposium

Wouldn’t you like some advice from the best photographers in India?

I came home a month back with my head buzzing with ideas on what I wanted to do with my photography.

For a month or so, I had been toying with the idea of taking up photography full time. The problem with that was; I didn’t know how to decide exactly what to do. There were so many options! Was I going to be a nature photographer? Macro? People? And even if I knew what genre, how do I make a name or a living?

Just then, I saw a post on Facebook about a Symposium here in Bangalore where best photographers in India from different genres were going to speak. That sounded ideal. I felt that if I listened to all the different kinds of work one could do, I might know what I want.

So, I (very wisely) bought the tickets. Listening to all those amazing people that weekend blew my mind. Two people would state things that were exactly the opposite of each other and yet they both would make complete sense! I heard talks on fashion, people, travel, wildlife, nature, wedding and even fine art nature photography. (The last one was especially fascinating. If you haven’t yet, do check out some of Ganesh Shankar‘s fantastic work. If someone were to ask me who I thought the best photographed in India was, I’d probably say him.)

After two whole days and nights (yes I even dreamt of photography) of listening to, laughing with, and admiring a whole panel of brilliant photographers, I am still not sure of what my niche is, or how I’ll make money. What I am sure of however is how to go about finding that. I have four pages of crazy, weird notes that only I can understand and a head full of ideas on what I should do to figure out where I’m headed.

I’m going to experiment with lots of different things, try them all out. I’m starting tomorrow! Plan for this weekend is to go on a wildlife photography workshop with Amoghavarsha. Hopefully, the service centre I’ve given my lens to will return it today and I’ll be back on Monday with a story to tell. See ya then!



Sky photography and it’s infinite possibilities!

Reaching for the sky in photography

When people think of photographing the sky, we think of sunset, sunrise, maybe even night sky photography? What about in between?

It’s been a whole 2 months  since 50mm photography, and while there are many legitimate excuses, (Neralu, Bangalore’s tree festival and ArtyPlantz’ new website being a few) it feels incredible to be back to blogging again! I noticed something today while choosing the photographs for this blog; I am always trying things out with my photography nowadays. I don’t need to say that I’m going to experiment today for experimentation to occur. It feels great to realise that.


All right Janani, back on track. What could you do with “the region of the atmosphere and outer space seen from the earth” in a photograph?


Sky photography; When the mood possesses, the drama can be great!
When the mood possesses, the drama can be great!

1. Sometimes, you don’t need to do any work. Look at the photograph above. When the clouds are feeling so benevolent, sky photography is a piece of cake! Especially when the sun is also not getting in the way. All one has to watch out for is the exposure. If I had wanted the rock in full detail too, I might have had a problem with getting the sky with the same palette. Under-exposing the foreground gave my real subject the stage.

Sky photography, Watch out for the sun!
Watch out for the sun!

2. Usually, if you want a deep blue sky, you should try the sky at 90-120 degrees from the sun. But if, like me, you get incredibly lucky on some particular day, watch out before you try this shot. There are two things that could get damaged by direct sunlight. One is your sensor. The other, your eye. If the sun is too bright to look at, don’t!

With sky photography, if you have a DSLR, and you are shooting the sun (whether in live mode or not) the sensor will not get affected with short exposures. The digital camera, on the other hand, would not be advisable for this kind of mischief.

Sky photography; Use what's in the sky!
Use what’s in the sky!

3. I’m sure you have seen a bunch of optical illusions with the sun and clouds. Vapour rising from a cup or a person eating the Sun? No matter how many times someone has done it before, it’s always fun to do, and you’ll be surprised at the trickiness of getting the exposure right! Give it a try.

Sky photography: Nothing like the sky to give you a plain background.
Nothing like the sky to give you an uncomplicated background.

3. I struggled like crazy in my experiment with studio lights to get a non-crinkly unembellished white background! If you can work with a silhouetted look or a fill flash, there’s nothing like the sky to give you a simple and yet non-boring background.


Sky photography: Ever lay down on the ground and looked up?
Ever lay down on the ground and looked up?

4. I think it was in my 5th standard that we had a poem called the Cherry Tree by Ruskin Bond. There was this one verse that caught my attention:

I lay on the grass, at ease,
Looking up through leaves at the blue
Blind sky, at the finches as they flew
And flitted through the dappled green

The “dappled green” always makes for some beautiful depth to photographs.

Sky photography: A commonly breathtaking sight.
A commonly breathtaking sight.

5. If you’ve been to the Western Ghats, the sight of a forest skimmer doing its balancing act will be an everyday routine! Actually, more like hundred times a day routine, but let’s get back to the point. These fellas and many more such insects, which perch out in the open like this, make particularly intriguing subjects to capture with bokehs in the background.

The trick to making this is use a wide aperture, make sure there is some distance between the subject and the background. And of course, make sure the sky is dappling the background!

Sky photography: The most perfect sunset, is a doorway to another world!
A perfect sunset is a doorway to another world!


6. The magic hour is most aptly named! Ever had those sunsets where, the sun is beautiful, the light is beautiful, and a compelling cloud pattern there too? You get that one perfect shot, where you capture all that beauty and the you are left wondering what now.


Usually, one would move on to a friend’s portrait, or should I say Guinea pig? ;) Anyway, here’s another way you could take advantage of those crazy colours! Let that aperture enlarge, and the colours wash together, to become the perfect background drama.

Sky photography: Speaking of drama...

Speaking of drama…

7. This was taken at Vizag. It might not be the most artistic photograph, but, it does tell the story doesn’t it? Watch out for the drama! In sky photography, it’ll happen when… Well, I’m not terribly sure…

Last tip? Shoot in RAW! Exposure can be super tricky here, and you don’t want to look at your LCD screen, think it all looks top-notch and then come back to find that giving the photograph correct exposure makes you lose out on quality.

Do you have some tips to share? Or some photographs maybe? Comment here or find me on Facebook. It’ll be lovely to chat.





50mm photography

50mm photography, challenging and easy.

If God came to me today and told me I was going on a long trip with him/her/it, and I could take only one lens and a camera with me; I’d surely go with my trusty 50mm!

50mm photography is awesome because:

  1. It challenges you as a photographer:  A 50mm prime lens can’t zoom either in or out. If you want to change the composition of your frame, you need to move yourself. Even then, it isn’t guaranteed to help too much. Having that restriction makes you look for frames that aren’t usual, images that need not show the ordinary.

    Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

  2. You have super night vision: The basic 50 mm lens, allows you to go down to an aperture of f1.8. Compared to a usual kit lens’ minimum (at that focal length) of 5.6, this gives you 3 stops or 8 times more light! Imagine all that possibility! Faster shutter speed, lower ISO, nothing is going to stop you from capturing the fascinating stories at those quiet after food moments on the porch.

    50mm photography: Take advantage of those candlelit moments

    Take advantage of those candlelit moments

  3. You don’t need to be a millionaire: 50mm photography can be started for as low as 7-8k! This is what I use, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens. And you might be able get it at a bargain somewhere too.
  4. The best travel companion ever: Like I mentioned earlier if I had to go anywhere, even heaven, this guy would be high on the list to pack. Not only is it ultra light, the 50 mm goes into a decently large pocket too! (Though maybe, not with the amount of other junk that I throw into mine.)

    50mm photographyLight enough to not be a bother while trekking

    Light enough to not be a bother while trekking

  5. Gives the fanciest bokehs ever! Have some foliage or some faraway lights in the frame and you have magic!

    50mm photography: Orchids in a Shola forest

    Orchids in a Shola forest

  6. Killler kuality: To paraphrase Jayanth Sharmathe lens was made for one thing and one thing only, to shoot at 50mm. Doesn’t it stand to reason that it’ll do that exceptionally well?
  7. A Pukka all-rounder: Portraits, macros, street and travel. You name it, you got it. Anything that one can do at that focal length, this lens will be good for. Add a 50mm to a cropped sensor body, and it’s just long enough to remove any distortion to a persons face, giving you a greater chance to score that beautiful shot.

    Portraiture is a great part of 50mm photography

    Portraiture is a very enjoyable part of 50mm photography

  8. (And my all time favourite) Can add on a macro ringJust one little tube that goes between the lens and the camera body. This fella will transform 50mm photography forever if you like detail as much as I do. 

    50mm photography: The magic of backgrounds

    The magic of backgrounds (taken with a  macro ring)

The biggest draw of 50mm photography could also be its drawback. Having a fixed focal length of 50mm, can make hard for those landscape shots or the group photographs.

One also has to be careful while using the largest aperture setting; f1.8 will give you a very shallow depth of field. While that can give you a beautiful blurry background (how alliterative ;) ), it can also give you a not so pretty blurry ear ;)

Have you ever done 50mm photography? Share some of your pictures on the Facebook page, I’d love to see them.



Aperture in photography

Aperture, in photography, plays the function of the eye

An aperture in general means an opening; an aperture in photography specifically refers to the opening in the lens that controls the light that hits the sensor. In many semi-manual to manual cameras, the size of this hole is one of the things you control.

The controlling of aperture in photography does two things. One is similar to the way our pupils work. Do you remember the trick with the light that doctors in Munnabhai MBBS used to figure out if the paralyzed guy was alive or not? The bright light made his pupils contract.

You would use an aperture in photography the same way. If there is too much light, make it smaller, and if there is too little, make it larger.

Aperture in photography: I wanted to focus only on the head of the butterfly.

I wanted to focus only on the head of the butterfly.

But, nothing is ever that simple, is it? Like all tricky mechanical stuff, changing the aperture’s size has a side-effect. It affects something called the depth of field. Depth of field is the distance between the nearest and furthest point that is in focus in your frame. The diagram captures the general gist of it.

Aperture in photography

Found this useful infographic online, but can’t figure out who to credit!

Now that we’ve’ve got the theory out of the way, here are some interesting ways I’ve used aperture in photography!

Aperture in photography: It helps you focus on what you want to show.

Large apertures can be amazing tools when shooting macro.

When shooting macro, you usually try to let one subject take centre stage, in this case, the anthers of a flower. The larger aperture allowed me to make a beautiful background for this fellow.

Aperture in photography: Small apertures can also make for interesting images.

Small apertures can also make for interesting images.

The smaller your aperture, more distance in focus right? In actuality, this cup is only a couple of inches tall, and my sister is most assuredly taller than that ;)

Aperture in photography: Bokehs give such dreamy depth to a photograph.

Bokehs give such dreamy depth to a photograph.

How to get a bokeh pattern is a whole blog by itself, but the key points are you need a large aperture, preferably f2.8 or under; and a decent distance between your subject and the background.

Aperture in photography: How does one know which direction the sitting bird will fly?

How does one know which direction the sitting bird will fly in?

If you aren’t sure where the subject you are focusing on is going to be when you release the shutter, it makes sense to keep a larger amount of your frame in focus (more depth of field). That would mean that a lot of the background would be clear and could distract you from the subject. I got over that here by panning so that everything except the duck was a motion blur.

That was the crazy experiment for the week! :) What have you been trying out recently?



Insect photography

Insect photography is a super convenient project of the week!

There’s absolutely no excuse. I did have a whole bunch of technical problems, but mostly, I’ve just been lazy. So I now have four weeks worth of photography experiments to upload. Insect photography is the first one.

Insect photography is a super convenient experiment

It’s just a super convenient experiment.

1. Watch out for the right moment.

You find insects and bugs in every corner and many of them are so beautiful too! Take this spider for example (I know, not technically an insect :P) I was just walking about one day and i realised it was sitting on my camera bag. Out comes the camera and the photography commences! What made me choose this shot over the others was that light in the eyes that came everytime he looked up.


Waiting, deadly and beautiful.

2. Insect photography is usually easy, so make your shots stand out by choosing the right angle.

I was on a walk with a few other people and three of us were shooting this same spider. My lens was giving me trouble so I couldn’t have hoped for a crystal clear shot that would showcase the spider’s beauty. So, I went instead for a shot that showed the atmosphere. I first looked for an angle that gave me some bokehs in the background. When that didn’t show either, I moved around looking for a dramatic angle. Would you say I found it?



Manual focus, patience and lots of space on the memory card got this one.

3. Capture some movement in your insect photography

I must have taken some 30-40 shots of this butterfly in flight before I got this one. It’s still not perfect, but I think there’s some eloquence to it, don’t you? As a photographer, I’m always looking to tell a story with my photos. What better way to tell it than using movement.

Insect photography should be about the insect, shouldn't it?

Insect photography should be about the insect, shouldn’t it?

4. Insects are just amazing by themselves.

Sometimes you don’t really need to do anything. Just show them as they are. Of course, it helps when you have a macro ring ;) This Lemon pansy sat on our butterfly book and was super patient with us.

Insect photography

Brilliant blue!

5. Be prepared to get down and dirty.

Insects are found everywhere and the most convenient place to look for them is on the ground. So if you want to do insect photography, be prepared to chase something on your knees! Every time I got close to this beauty, it would take off! I took a whole 5 minutes to get this one shot.

insect photography: Expose for the wings or the eyes?

Expose for the wings or the eyes?

6. Watch out for that exposure.

Mostly, you’d want to show detail on an insect right? Things that usually go unnoticed. Well, it won’t help you at all if your picture is exposed wrong and the details get blown out or too dark. There’s a certain amount oh help that shooting in RAW will give, but if you can, why not get the perfect shot?

So what are your tips for insect photography? Have you ever tried it? Tell me!