Michael's Rediscovery of Nature

Ramblings and observations of a former biologist and a lifelong naturalist, who has recently returned to his roots in east Texas. After a many years of working from coast to coast in an industry far removed from biology, it has been a pleasant change of geography, activity, and attitude. No stressful job decked out in a three piece suit. No city living. Instead there is a rediscovery of the woods, of something scurrying through the leaves, of the clear notes of a bird call, and of reliving the joy that I had when nature was a playground and a classroom.

Yes, It's a Poor Workman Who Blames His Tools, But Better Tools Make the Work Easier and Allow More Options

You can take good pictures with just about any decent camera but having nice equipment makes the process easier, adds more options, and generally produces better results.

I started off with a fixed lens Petri 35mm film camera, then later moved to a Asahi (Pentax) Spotmatic.  With both of those I was able to take nice pictures of people and scenic landscapes.  I tried very little real nature photography.  Neither camera was really suited to any kind of closeup work.  I added a 300mm lens which helped with some types of nature shots.  But it wasn't until many years later when circumstances changed and I was able to afford much better equipment and accessories.  My interest in photography and the results of my efforts made a major leap forward. 

Then after I got busy with so many other things (work), I slowly got rid of all that equipment.  

Six years ago, I bought a Nikon D60.  It was mainly for my work involving antiques and estate sales.  Since my return to nature and to nature photography, I have added another camera and a few lenses as well as a lot of accessories.

Here is a list of my major photography equipment, much of which I use on a daily basis. 

Nikon D60 camera
Nikon D3300 camera
Nikkor 55-200mm zoom 1.4:5.6 GED lens
Nikkor 18-55mm zoom 1:3.5-5.6 G lens
Nikkor 18-55mm zoom 3.5-5.6 GII lens
Bower 500mm f8 lens
Various filters: Polarizers, UV, CS, Skylight
Nikon SB-400 flash
Vivatar DSLR 300 flash
Neike MK-14EXT macro ring flash
2 Nikon Wireless shutter releases
2 Tripods (Sunpak and Precision)
Targus Monopod
Viltrox Wireless digital timer
Pro Series Macro tube set
Goya Waterproof Sleeve (rain protection for camera & lens)
Various misc items

I know that I am very fortunate to have the equipment that I have.  It is not absolutely top of the line, but it is good, decent equipment that offers a wealth of opportunites to produce good images.  Unlike my early equipment, the limiting factor to excellent photography is the user, not the equipment.  I know that I can take decent pictures and sometimes come up with something exceptional, but I also know there is so much I can improve.  That is what I strive to do all the time.  I want to take pictures that will excite and add to the joy of nature.  I know I have a long way to go, but it sure is fun learning each day and seeing the improvement in the images I take.

An example of that is in the image below.  This is a newborn praying mantis that is about 1/2" (13mm) long.  It would have been very difficult to take this image with a general use lens and flash.  


 Hmmm....  Maybe I should challenge myself and see what kind of images I can get now with a more simple camera.  Watch for a future blog.

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018
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