Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for the ‘Animals and Bugs’ Category

My Close up rig…

Posted by Mike on January 31, 2013

Update June 2016. The is my new rig for light in 1:1 close ups. It doesn’t work for everything but it is pretty good. Go here to see some very satisfactory results:  and



It is certainly possible to go to a camera store and spend hundreds of $$ on stuff…. I made my diffuser from a $1.89 milk jug. And I put the pieces together from other stuff lying about which I use for lots of other types of photography…. The ETTL extension cord is one of the most handy accessories you can own. A bracket to hold your flash over the camera (vertical or horizontal) is deemed necessary by many photographers for candid and wedding work. (there is nothing worse looking than a vertical photo with a flash shadow beside the head on the wall behind the subject… a sure sign of poor amateur technique).

A $1.89 half gallon of milk (empty container) and a small slice of velcro and you are in business.  The photos below are from a 1Ds Mk2 with a 100mm macro lens ISO 100, ETTL Flash through the milk carton (set on minus 1/3 stop). Camera was manual f 16, 1/125th. I go back and forth on the auto focus thing….  I cannot see as well as the camera can so for still stuff one shot…. for bugs continuous servo focus…. expect a lot of failures…. There is no depth of field at 1:1 close up focus distances…  Any closer (bigger) and you will need a camera mount (stand or tripod) and a rack to move the whole camera back and forth for fine focus….

_R7F0472_R7F0450 _R7F0466 IMG_7076

Posted in Animals and Bugs, Photojournalism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Skagit river in the winter

Posted by Mike on February 1, 2010

Posted in Animals and Bugs, Landscape Photography | Leave a Comment »

Thousands die eating YOUR trash….

Posted by Mike on October 29, 2009

If you go here:

You will find the final resting place of your trash… Tens of thousands of birds are eating plastic because it  “looks like” food. They die. The Midway atoll is covered with their bodies. As they decompose the contents of the stomach does not. Plastic is forever, apparently.  Anything you discard that finds it’s way to the ocean ends up here… If you’re a litterbug you did this.


Posted in Animals and Bugs, Photojournalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

San Juan Fox

Posted by Mike on May 11, 2009

If this guy hadn’t wiggled an ear as I drove by I wouldn’t have noticed this reddish ball of fur sleeping on top of a rock out in the open…

He waked up, looked at me, stretched, and then walked over to stare at me me up close and he eventually walked away with a blue berry bagel… hope he liked it.

He probably does OK since this island is over run with rabbits… but he has to compete with eagles who like them too.

6AM with a 300mm on a 5D.  Do you think the last fox is part Black Lab?

Posted in Animals and Bugs, Photojournalism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Seattle Center… for an hour or two.

Posted by Mike on February 22, 2009

After getting robbed at the Lucy exhibit ($25 to see what looks like a poorly lit plastic skeleton kit) I wandered around a bit to see what else I could find at this otherwise aging left over from the 1962 World’s Fair.  I saw a good architectural photo and some nice butterflies…

Posted in Animals and Bugs, Architectural Photography | 1 Comment »

Nature Photography, freezing rain…

Posted by Mike on December 29, 2008

Anyone who thinks making photos of wildlife in a natural settings is the way they want to make a living should rethink that idea.

To help you along… perhaps going out for the afternoon and sitting in freezing rain will stimulate your processes.

These guys landed in my backyard and I have always wanted a good photo of Snow Geese so I put in 4 hours Sunday to see if I could get a good photograph of them.

Basically, for all that time nothing happened until sunset when they got nervous and made plans to head for wherever they were going to spend the night.

Then you better be ready… ISO 1600, 300mm lens, f2.8, and make sure your hands will move after freezing in the rain for hours…. or the batteries haven’t died.

So… 4 hours and 600 shots nets one photo worth a poop… no client to cover it all… only a good investment if you like the solitude and beauty…

Posted in Animals and Bugs, Landscape Photography | Leave a Comment »

Winter’s tough guys

Posted by Mike on December 21, 2008

These guys are tougher than you are…  These were made where Sunset Road crosses the Samish River in the Skagit River Delta.

It was 20 degrees F. They live out here and I could only stand it for a few minutes. My hands go first…

Posted in Animals and Bugs | Tagged: | 1 Comment »