Tag Archives: macro

Flutter Bys

While it’s not the primary focus of my photography, I definitely have a love for shooting macro. When one sees a close-up photo of a flower or insect they usually assume it was shot using a macro lens. While that may be true in many instances, it’s not always the case. The shots below, for example, were taken with my “super-zoom,” the Sigma 50-500mm lens. This lens certainly has no close-focus capabilities and would not fit the criteria to be considered a “macro lens.” It is possible, however, to make some nice close-up shots of small critters and flora using a telephoto lens. The fact is these were opportunistic shots. I wasn’t actively pursuing butterfly shots but when the opportunity presented its self I wasn’t hesitant to take advantage of it. When out in nature you need to be observant and willing to make adjustments when photographic opportunities knock.

Butterfly in the Croatan National Forest.

Non-macro butterly close-up

Butterfly photo taken with a Sigma 50-500mm lens

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Anole on a Cattail

The title of the post pretty much says it all.  I was working a forest road for interesting flora when I spotted this little guy perched on the head of a cattail.  I just couldn’t resist making a few images of it.  The lizard cooperated nicely and allowed me to approach closer than I expected.  Of course I started making shots from a bit of distance then slowly worked closer and closer until my subject finally got tired of me and scurried on down the stalk and into cover.  The temptation, of course, is always to move in nice and close from the beginning.  That’s a really good way to end-up without an image to show for the effort.  Slow, diligent movement while observing the animals reaction and alert level is the key to success regardless of the size of animal you’re attempting to photograph.

Green anole in the Croatan National Forest.

Green anole on a cattail head.

Green anole.

 

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Rough Green Snake

The weather broke a bit late this afternoon so I decided to venture out and see if I could find something interesting to photograph. The skies were still threatening a bit so I decided to stick to the car and explore some forest roads. That type of outing is always a bit hit or miss… with miss being the most common. I got lucky and notice a Rough Green Snake in the middle of the forest road. While they’re probably common enough their bright green color makes them very difficult to find when in vegetation. They are generally fairly tolerant of close contact with humans, seldom if ever bite so I decided to take advantage of those tendencies and used a macro lens combined with a 1.4x teleconverter and, eventually, an extension tube. For some of these shots the front of my lens was probably within 3 inches or so of the snake’s face.


A Rough Green Snake in the Croatan National Forest

Rough Green Snakes are fairly docile and approachable.

Green snakes eat primarily insects and spiders.

Rough Green Snake.

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Black Eyed Susans

I really can’t explain why it is but I really enjoy it when the Blackeyed Susans are blooming. Below are a few recent images of these bright yellow beauties.


Blackeyed Susan

Blacketed Susan growing in the Croatan National Forest.

Blackeyed Susan

Coastal Carolina wildflower

Wildflower photography from North Carolina

Wildflowers often grow along forest roads in eastern North Carolina.

Blackeyed Susan.

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American Oyster Catchers, One Banded

The other morning I had the pleasure of photographing a couple American Oyster Catchers. One of them was banded and I was able to read the markings in the photo. I then reported the sighting online at http://amoywg.org/. There’s a fairly simple online form you fill out, providing as much information as you can. Once your bird is confirmed the sighting is added to their data base. They also send you an email telling you when the bird was first captured and banded as well as listing other sightings of that bird. If you sight a banded American Oyster Catcher and you’re able to read and of the codes I encourage you to file a report.


American Oyster Catcher along Taylor's Creek.

Banded American Oyster Catcher feeding on a oyster bed in Deep Creek.

Amercian Oyster Catcher.

coastal prints

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Sometimes the “Wrong” Lens is Just Right!

Usually when I want to take close-up photos of plants and flowers I reach from my trusty 100mm macro lens. But recently I decided to play around with doing some close-up work with a wide angle zoom. Instead of mounting my macro lens I reached in my bag and pulled out my Tokina 12-24mm wild angle lens for the job. This lens has a very short minimal focus length allowing me to get a reasonably sized image of the subject. In the case of the images shown below the front of element of the lens was probably only 3 or 4 inches away from the subject…AT MOST! The disadvantage of this lens choice is that you have to work much closer to the subject than if using a longer lens. Honestly, I frequently use a 1.4x teleconverter with my macro lens to either allow even greater magnification or to allow me to work from further away. There is an advantage to using the wild angle lens for close-up work though. The perspective is quite different using this lens when compared to that of a longer lens. Below are the results of this endeavor. I hope you enjoy them.


Fern shot in the Croatan Forest using a 24mm wild angle lens.

Sometimes you need to think out of the box to create unique images.

Southern blue flag iris shot with a wide angle lens.

Wide angle of a wild flower photographed in the Croatan National Forest.

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Mammals Aren’t the Only Meat Eaters in the Croatan Forest!

Coastal North Carolina is a magical place in so many different ways. One of those is the presence of carnivorous plants. For example, found only within a 100 miles of Wilmingtion, NC, the Venus Fly Trap is one of the more interesting indigenous plants found on the coastal plain. But the Venus Fly Trap isn’t the only carnivorous plant found in eastern North Carolina. Others include Bladder Wart, a variety of Pitcher Plants as well as Sundew plants. I tend to be very tight lipped about where I find these plants as they are somewhat rare and there can be a problem with poaching. Below are a couple shots of a Venus Fly Trap and a Sundew taken somewhere in the Croatan National Forest.


Native to North Carolina the Venus Flytrap is an endangered plant well worth protecting.

Venus Flytrap.

The Sundew plant is another kind of carnivoruos plant found in North Carolina

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Oak Toad: Anaxyrus Quercicus

I paid a visit to one of the area’s pine savanna areas yesterday morning. I wanted to look around and see if any of the various wild orchids that grow there had appeared yet. While I didn’t find any orchids I was lucky enough to notice a couple of Oak Toads. These are considered the smallest toad in North America mesuring .75 to 1.3 inches in length. A carnivore, they primarily eat insects. Endemic to the southeastern United States, they are found from southeastern Virgina to Florida and west to the Mississippi river. Below are a couple photos of these interesting little toads.

The Oak Toad, Anaxyrus quercicus.

A common toad found in the southeastern Unitied States.

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Daisy Time!

There’s something about Dasies. They make me smile. Sorry but they just do. I was glad to find a few of these lovely little flowers in bloom this afternoon. A simple white and yellow flower I find it interesting to try to find interesting and unique compositions for these little bloom. Below are a few from this afternoons attempt.


Dasies are starting to bloom along the Crystal Coast.

Daisy, a simple yet elegant litte wildflower.

It can be a challenge to find a unique composition of such a common flower.

A wild daisy.

A daisy.

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When All Else Fails Get Creative

Yesterday didn’t go well as far as shooting days go. I forgot to set my alarm and over slept, so ended up blowing off the morning and running errands such as getting groceries and other necessities. For the afternoon I decide to head out on a section of the Neusiok Trail to see if I could find some interesting subjects. To be it was more a scouting trip than a trip where I had high expectations of getting some decent shots, but you never know. The hike was mostly uneventful without a lot of good opportunities to be found. I did, however, notice this plant with really large leaves and interesting patterns and textures in the leaf. I decided to try a few shots using my macro lens. Flat, natural lighting really wasn’t getting me the results I wanted so I decided to try backlighting it with the little LCD light panel I keep in my photo backpack. Sure enough the backlighting gave me the kind of results I had in mind. Depending on the distance I held the light away from the leaf, or the position under it, I’d get slightly different results. Below are my favorites of the leaf.

A backlit leafe makes and intersting abstract when shot with a macro lens.

Sometimes a little thinking and some creativity will result in a good image when nothing else is presenting its self.

Macro photography doesn't need to be restricted to pretty flowers.  The Croatan National Forest is full of excellent subjects.

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