Entering New Ground

Just a quick update,

I have recently got a new lens, a canon 400mm f5.6 which I intend to shoot birds with. As you know from my last posts I am mainly a macro photographer so this is new to me. I did indeed have a 70-300mm lens but I just loved macro too much! Now all the insects are either dead/hibernating/larvae/eggs they have become considerably non-existant. Plus many of the photographers I know are into bird photography and I now know why, it is brilliant. Now I have also found some resident owls and kingfishers so my efforts will be put into getting some shots of those elusive birds which won’t be easy.

I did go to the London Wetland centre the other day and was glad too see some grebes swimming around, so I turned my lens to them, got down low and got some shots.

Max Brown (www.500px.com/max_wildlife)

Autumn magic

Continuing with the autumn theme that has dominated the last few posts here on the blog, I thought I’d post some images of fungi I took earlier this month. I love autumn and in my opinion there is no better place to be at this time of year than in the woods. The air is rich with the smell of decomposing vegetation and splashes of fiery colours spill from the canopy. Crisp leaves and fallen acorns crunch underfoot making it impossible to pass through unnoticed. High-pitched alarm calls ring from the branches. The squirrels struggle keep pace, frantically digging holes in which to bury their stash for the winter. Jays squabble in the tree tops, dropping acorn missiles that bounce to the floor then come to rest among the leaf litter for another creature to find. Tree creepers inch their way up the rough grey bark of old oaks. Knarled, wrinkled and rough like the  skin of an elephant.

The woods is also a great place to go looking for fungi. This year there has been a good crop of fly agaric fungi (Amanita muscaria) across my local patch. Though many of them appear to have gone mouldy or otherwise been eaten before they have managed to reach their best. Leaving me with about four decent specimens to photograph. Here are some images taken a couple of weeks ago……

Pumpkins and Portraits


Forgive me for having very sparse posts lately. Over the past month I’ve had some amazing photographic experiences and have been exceedingly busy. Two weeks ago I was able to attend Scott Kelby’s Light It Shoot It Retouch It seminar and yesterday I had the exhilarating opportunity to visit one of the greatest places in the world to learn photography: The Hallmark Institute of Photography.


 Here are a few images I’ve recently gotten by taking advantage of the last fall colors in Michigan. The top image was shot as soon as I returned to Michigan from Massachusetts. The tree in my front yard finally has some pleasing colors so I used it as a soft painterly background for this pumpkin.  I shot at 300mm at f/5.6 to get the shallowest depth of field possible. It was lit using the nice ambient lighting. After taking this image I realized that my Nikon D200’s sensor was getting quite dirt. To remove these specs I used the healing brush tool and clone stamp tool in Photoshop. The dust spots are starting to get to evident so I’m having my sensor cleaned at the local camera store.  This will save me a lot of time in post processing. One last image is not technically a nature image but it is a nice photo which incorporated Michigan’s beautiful fall colors. I great way to improve your portrait photography is including the fall colors in your background. Also adding fill flash to get a nice catch light in your subjects eyes will greatly improve your portrait and wildlife images. Keep shooting!

 – Ryan Watkins (to read more how to articles and see more of my photography visit my website ryanwatkinsphotography.com or find me on flickr)

Post Processing Tutorial

B&W At the Swamp

B&W At the Swamp

I put together a short post processing tutorial to show you how I process my images. I edited the image shown above, so it should be interesting to see how it started. Enjoy!

To view more of my work, please visit my personal blog at www.jlounsburyphoto.com


REMINDER: It’s the last day to start an entry in the Best Backyards Photo Contest! Start an entry before midnight tonight, Monday, October 24. Anyone who has signed up will still have one more week to complete uploading your best photographs taken in your yard, garden, or parks. Judging will start in November. Winning shots will appear in the next Spring/Summer issue of Nature’s Best Photography.

Off-Camera Flash

 Alright technically this isn’t a nature image but it can help teach some off camera flash tips. Most people think of using flash for portraiture or study work, but it really improve our nature images as well. Without adding flash to this still life the cross would have been completely black. My adding a bit of fill flash it made the image engaging and detailed. Adding flash to a variety of subjects – macros, intimate landscapes, or even foreground elements in wide vistas – can add emphasis to you nature images. Keep shooting!

– Ryan Watkins (to read more how to articles and see more of my photography visit my website ryanwatkinsphotography.com or find me on flickr)

Fall Colors- Kent, CT.

God Beams

God Beams

First off, I’m sorry for the lack of a post for me this week. Between school work and other work with my business and chores around the house, I had little time to have the camera in my hand, more or less type up a post! I did get to go to Kent, CT. to photograph the fall colors this weekend. The colors were less than spectacular with only a couple of areas showing their full potential. I also think some of the leaves suffered from Hurricane Irene. Nonetheless, I did get some amazing photo opportunities. One of which was the God Beams shown above. I had been longing for a shot like this,and when I saw those fingers reaching down, I knew that was exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t able to recover any detail in the foreground, but decided I still liked the silhouette look just because of the drama in the sky.

Kent Falls

Kent Falls

I also visited Kent Falls. The cloudy skies were perfect for lowing down the shutter speed and blurring the water. I was generally shooting at 1-2 seconds. I have found that range to do the trick. It was just a matter of framing it up and pressing the shutter! Well, its time for me to get back behind the camera! There are pictures to be taken!

To view more of m work, as well as some more photos from Kent, please visit my personal blog at www.jlounsburyphoto.com

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