The Lesser of Two Weevils.

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Browsing through the garden I happened on this brief moment of bug passion between a couple of consenting Weevils. OK so felt a tad voyeuristic as I snapped away but hey, it’s all a part of the rich tapestry of wildlife photography. I mean let’s face it, there are only a few times when animals actually do something worth recording. like humans they spend a lot of time doing, well nothing really exciting. Look at all aspects of wildlife photography. OK there are a few nice portrait shots as it’s nice to look at the detail of an animal but for the most part wildlife photography is best encapsulated when the subject is feeding, fighting, hunting, dumping or bonking.

As I was shooting the Canon MPE65mm with the crazy shallow depth of field, at ISO160 my aperture setting was f6.3 and a shutter of 1/200th combined with the MT24EX Twin Flash at power setting 1/16th due to the light colored background I found the best result by focus stacking four shots each focused on different areas of this amorous couple.

Sadly I guess the flash put them off of their amorous intentions and no sooner had I finished the sequence of shots they decided to part ways. The larger of the two making a hasty getaway leaving me with the opportunity to snap another selection of images, this time a collection of ten, with the remaining subject, the lesser of two Weevils.

EverLessWeevil

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The Impressionist Aesthetic

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Hunting through a viewfinder at 3:1 macro ratio, meaning everything is magnified three times life size, with a depth of field liken to the proverbial razors edge makes me feel as if I’m flying over the surface of an unknown environment. Blurred shapes, shades and shadows scroll past my view, tones of earthiness in the vegetation interpreted as summers days. There was no sunshine here this morning but this shot where I looked to focus on the very cusp of a blade of grass, and given it’s slightly overexposed result leads me back to my childhood. If I close my eyes with this image retained in my mind I hear us kids playing in the meadows that bordered my childhood home, I feel the warmth penetrating the long grasses, the sun casting a yellow glow inside my eyelids. I hear the bugs thirsting for the beads of sweat that rest on my brow.

For photography is like that. It allows the mind to interpret the shadows and light in a way, at times, unique to the viewer. It is my escape, if for just a few fleeting moments in the day, to explore the recognized world around me, and turn it into a riot of impressionist enjoyment.

I’ve been bugged!

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“Arghhhhh, there’s a bug on my screen” and quite rightly so. For those who may want this image as a screen saver simply click on it to see, and save, a 1600 x 1067px version of it as a .png file, great for screen display. This is my #NatureInADay shot for today, what’s yours?

Cheers.

The Venus Trap

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Venus Still

I was a tad skeptical the first time I took this glass out but now I’m 100% sold on this amazing Macro lens. Made by new lens manufacturing company ‘Venus Optics‘ who have since changed their name to Laowa and are based in China. That is why I was reluctant, not to knock all Chinese products but they don’t have the strongest of track records when it comes to build and strength quality. I’m floored.

60mm f2.8 (to infinity) 2:1 Macro capability is just awesome. The above image is a still taken from some video footage shot yesterday on my day out to find nature in the middle of Tokyo. The lens itself takes some getting used to as there is no communication between it and the camera. Both Iris and Focus are manual, a la cinematography and cameras of ‘old’, love it. The results are fantastic and for less than US$400 it sure gives its closest competitor the Canon MPE65mm f2.8 at US$1400+ a run for its money. To be fair though the Canon does go to 5:1 Macro ratio, that is five times life size magnification on the sensor. I’ve got both these lenses in the kit bag and for ease of use up to 2:1 I think I’ll find myself reaching for the Venus at any given time from here on in.

If as a macro or product photographer you are contemplating this lens I’d personally say go for it. If you really want to get funky on the magnification side of things you can always clip on a Raynox DCR-250 Macro Lens and you’re into the world of crazy achromatic macro at a fraction of the Canon price. Go for it and don’t forget to share you images on Twitter with me. Use #NatureInADay for any shots taken that same day and if I see them I’ll retweet out to my humungous and wonderful Twitter following.

Naturally Brief

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Natures Day

Most folks tend to think a blog needs to be a long winded account of an adventure or experience. Far from it. Blogging should be something that can go into as little or as greater details as the writer has time for. Let’s face it, we all have tough schedules these days so finding time to blog is often the first casualty of a day without enough minutes.

On my film trip yesterday I managed to encounter lizards, ducks, pollinators of many different guises, unknown number of bugs including a hunting spider with its recently caught lunch. Birds, Terrapins, Koi Carp and a whole host of flowers. For someone in the middle of Tokyo, the Worlds most populous metropolis, the excuse of not having enough time to see nature only bears true, when we don’t open our eyes.

A short video is currently being prepared to highlight this quick trip into a green space surrounded by concrete…

The Nature of things…

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A stacked focus image takes a few seconds to shoot, I’ll be blogging about that in the future. It takes a few minutes to edit and maybe ten minutes to write the back story. A blog doesn’t have to be a long winded link rich account of your day, simply a log of a moment in time. Cocooned in our modern day lives we tend to increasingly miss out on the things that surround us, nature has been replaced with networking, moments of appreciating our natural history taken a back seat to facebook updates whilst the only tweets many of us seem to ‘hear’ are those derived from Twitter.

A Safari is not something to be confined to the wild open African plains. In fact the Swahili word ‘Safari’ was originally taken from the Arabic word ‘safarÄ«yah‘ which means ‘Journey’. Whenever we travel to visit nature we are therefore traveling on a journey, we’re on Safari when walking through our gardens in Japan to marvel at wild flowers refracting through dew drops in the early hours or when seeking out bugs in a compost heap in Southern England, watching pollinators servicing our window boxes from Moscow to Anchorage, these are all Safaris, our own respective journeys.

If we are to reignite our connection with nature we need to take these few minutes each day to seek out these amazing instances that happen right before our eyes. Whilst we all carry cameras with us these days, in smart devices or in their intended form, many use them to feed the narcissistic monsters of social media, those ever demanding public profiles that simply have to be cooler than the next. Maybe it’s time to leave that selfie stick at home, turn the camera around and share the nature that surrounds you, for it is there that we find the real beauty.