Odds and Ends

Camponotus novaeboracensis (Fitch, 1855), one handsome carpenter ant.

Mandatory bug shot: Camponotus novaeboracensis (Fitch, 1855), one handsome carpenter ant. Halfmoon Lake Natural Area, Alberta.

I’m back after a long absence from this blog. Besides the usual dealing-with-life issues,  I simply have not managed to get out into the field as much as I would like. During the times when I did get out, I have spent more time on videos rather than still photography, and this takes longer to edit. I hope to close the last few weeks of the season with more field trips and more bug photography before winter shuts things down. In the meantime, here are some items that may be of interest.

Focus stacking in the field isn’t easy. If the subject is moving it is practically impossible, with cameras that typically shoot only at a paltry 3 to 7 frames a second. Hand-held and if the subject is not moving,  you might do a three shot burst that’s usable for stacking.  Recently, some photographers have been praising 4K video for its ability to capture the best instant in time, because it runs at a frame rate of thirty 8 MP frames per second. It didn’t take long for someone to figure out that 30 fps would also be a great frame rate for hand-held focus stacking. Read all about it at macro-guru  Paul Harcourt Davies’ blog: Learn Macro.

◊ Every year for the last 4 years I have been invited to display my images at the Bug Jamboree at the Ellis Bird Farm. This is an event mostly aimed at kids, where Alberta entomologists and bug enthusiasts like myself share their fascination with all things buggy. Butterflies and pond dipping are the main attractions, but many people do take the time to come into the information centre and look at the images. At every event, there is at least one person who is a true enthusiast, someone who take extra time to look at each image and to ask questions. This year was almost the same. An older woman, very neat and well dressed, fit for Ascot, took some time to look through all the images. She was silent and asked no questions, and even stopped to read my biography and artist’s statement, all the way through, both pages. She then looked up to me and praised the images, and added words to the effect of, “It’s so important that people appreciate this sort of thing. Do you give presentations at schools for children?” I am glad that someone is thinking of the future and concerned that many kids today are growing up without a connection to nature. I haven’t yet given presentations to children, but I have often thought I should. But how can I make bug photography presentations as interesting to kids as live bugs? Please use the comments if you have any suggestions!

◊ I’ve started a long and slow journey into the subject into image composition–why it matters and when it doesn’t. It begins at the other blog with Photography and Composition. Most people don’t care, they just like what they like and don’t bother to analyze an image at all. This series arises out of my own experiences and observations in why certain photos have appeal and others not, including how much is dependent on the skill of the photographer, how much depends on the visual literacy of the viewer and how much is dependent simply on the basis of the subject.  I am pursuing this as a personal project to strengthen this aspect of my workshops. I am already finding that it is great fun doing the research and digging up creative common and public domain images to share.  Anyone interested in following this journey can tag along at Voyages Around My Camera and contribute in the comments. Subscribing is probably the best way to go as my posts will be dependably irregular.

Coming soon: we have had a good, moist season, which has been great for garden slugs (booo!) but even better for fungi (yayyy!) …images and technique from a short walk in Elk Island National Park.


This entry was posted in Alberta, Blog Link, Bugs, Canada, Composition, Formicidae, Insect, macro, Odds and Ends and tagged .


  1. Andrea Jackson 7 September, 2016 at 8:59 PM #

    Adrian, you could use a few LIVE bugs that correspond to your images of them. This will really put things in perspective for the kids. Both the size of the actual insect as compared to the greatly enlarged photograph, plus the animation of the live insect. This could help instill not only a love of bugs but also the art of photography as well. Win/win!!!

    • Adrian 8 September, 2016 at 10:26 AM #

      That’ a good idea, Andrea. Comparing the size and seeing how complex little bugs can be. That wouldn’t work too well in winter, though, so I may have to start doing some actual bug collecting.

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