It’s now been almost three months since I got started with my bug photography. A lot of photos of various critters has been taken and I’d like to think that I’ve raised the bar quite a bit compared to when it all began.
Take a look at this photo of a very common fly that I shot this weekend (as always, be sure to view the larger version on my flickr, link at the end). When the bugs had just started crawling out after winter and my fingers were itching to give my new macro lens a run for its money, I would try to shoot anything that moved, quite literally. If I saw a fly I would try to get a shot not matter what the rest of the frame looked like. This resulted in some shots with nice detail but that otherwise weren’t all that interesting. Sure, I still managed to get the occasional great shot but that was more dumb luck than anything else – that’s not to say that I don’t still rely on luck, dumb or otherwise, I do, it’s just that I feel I’m a lot better at maximizing my chances of getting lucky (hmm, that could be interpreted the wrong way…oh, you don’t see it? Never mind then).
I really like this fly shot, not so much because of the fly itself (I’ve certainly shot enough of them) but because the image as a whole is esthetically pleasing to me – others are free to disagree, the pleasingness of a fly’s facial features is certainly debatable. The fact that focus is pretty much perfect definitely helps as well. The thing that drew me to this fly and the reason I wanted to shoot it was the leaf it was sitting on. I like both the colour and the shape of the leaf and the way it was positioned also meant that there wasn’t much clutter in the immediate background. The fact that the background came out almost black is completely down to the available light; had the sun been brighter the background would have gotten more colour but it would still have been completely blurred because of the distance, hence it still wouldn’t cause any distraction.
This spider was another neat find on the same expedition that yielded the fly. Normally I wouldn’t be much interested in shooting a spider this small (I like them big and hairy…wait, that didn’t sound right) but again the composition it offered me was too good to pass up. There was pretty good light so the background ended up with some nice, soft colours. My favourite aspect of this photo (apart from the spider) is the way the grass arches through the frame, leaving it on the same side it came in – I think it gives the image a graphic quality that’s very nice and lets the eye travel in a natural way. Of course, finding the spider sitting on such nicely shaped grass was just pure luck but the point I want to make is that I wouldn’t have bothered shooting it if it had just been sitting on my wall at home, or some other equally drab place.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve gotten better at the technical aspects of shooting bugs but I’m now starting to see improvement on the artistic side as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not singing my own praise here, I still have a very very long way to go before I’m even remotely close to the best photographers out there. However, I’m definitely seeing a higher rate of “post card worthy” shots than I did just two months ago and I’m sure that’s in a large part due to the fact that I’m now looking for more interesting compositions. Put in other words: the novelty of just capturing a bug has worn off, now I also want to capture good images. I’ll still take any shot I can get if I find a bug I haven’t shot before though, or if I feel there are angles I haven’t tried yet that might be interesting.
Enough rambling for today, more to come.