Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Common Blue Butterflies

March 23, 2012 4 comments

Common Blue Butterflies

Another subject I absolutely love photographing is butterflies. Although not the most masculine of subjects to shoot, if you tried it you would realise how difficult it is and what a challenge it can be. I love a challenge!

The end of March is approaching and the weather here in the UK is starting to warm up. This means that more and more butterflies will be ‘on the wing’ in the coming months. It is true that some butterflies can be seen for most of the year but the summer months are the best for spotting a variety of species.

My favourite species that I have seen to date is still the common blue. These creatures are pretty small and don’t rest too much during the day so chances of capturing them in the middle of the day in bright sunshine is fairly slim. Early evening time is normally best for these, and their slightly sexier siblings, the Silver Studded Blue butterfly. They tend to roost up of an evening and will sit there proud on stems of plants such as heather in the softer sunlight. I find that this is the best time to photograph them because I spend more time pressing the shutter trying to get The Shot rather than running around chasing after them and waiting for them to keep still for five seconds!

Camera club competitions are fierce – especially in the ‘Nature’ category. If your photograph is composed well, technically brilliant, sharp all over, and has a suitable background (clear/diffused is normally best but environmental can be equally important), the judge may give you high marks. However your subject needs to be ‘doing something’ to get those illusive top marks. So, what do butterflies do? Basically you have three main options. They can be found mating, feeding or laying eggs. Or you may find interesting composites such as the one above.

The above image won the nature category in my camera club’s last Projected Digital Image competition.

Can you pick out the elements which you think were factors in bringing home a victory?




Competition success

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Having not attended my camera club for a few weeks due to personal circumstances I finally had the time to go this week. This week’s entertainment was the 3rd Projected Digital Image (PDI) competition. This is one of the best things for me about being in a camera club. Seeing what other photographers have been shooting and competing against them.
There were 57 images in the general section and about 27 images in the Nature section. The nature section always seems to be a lot more fierce that the general section and the quality is far superior. This sounds a bit mean but it is completely true.
The judge for the night was someone we have seen before in previous seasons. We only invite them back if they are any good so we knew we were in for an entertaining evening. It is not often the photographers agree with the judges comments but I think last night was one of those rare occasions where I felt he was spot on. I suppose I would say that because I won the Nature section! Yay!

12 months plus???

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I cannot believe it has been over 12 months since my last post. I didnt feel like i had much opportunity to get out with the camera last year and this just proves it! I started a new job which takes up a lot more of my time these days so photography has unfortunatley had to take a bit of a back seat. 😦

The last competition of the season was very fruitful for me. I managed to win the knockout competition with the following image: –

This was taken at Llandullas beach in North Wales using a 10-stop neutral density filter, which allowed me to expose the image for a good few minutes!

Camera club season is over for us at Crewe Photographic Society and the chance to go shooting instead of the weekly club meet has arisen. I have managed to get out a bit at weekends too.

I have so far been on a couple of excursions and I’m happy to report they have been quite successful. I’m really pleased with the direction my photography is going at present and I just hope i manage to capture enough material for the coming season.

You will see some new images on my website.

This Dandelion Clock was basking in the dappled sunlight underneath a tree amongst these Bluebells. I love the colours!


Prees Heath

July 10, 2009 3 comments


Wow! What a lovely little area to visit!

This place had loads of beauty to offer my ‘black box’. I arrived at about 6.45pm last night. The temperature was cooling as the sun was slowly dropping out of the sky and the Silver Studded Blue butterflies were just roosting atop the Bell Heather.

As the angle of the sunlight was getting lower and lower, I had to position my body accordingly, and ended up lying down on the ground with my ear in the heather and my legs sprawled across the rabbit holes (something you need to look out for at this spot if you don’t want to break your ankles). This position was surprisingly comfortable actually!

There were quite a few different species on the site; Ringlets, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns (where aren’t these guys!), Common Blues, and 5 Spot Burnet Moths. The different wild flowers made the place look especially beautiful. I think I will return here again soon.


Butterfly Mania

June 3, 2009 4 comments


This is my favourite type of butterfly (Common Blue) that i’ve seen to date. They are so small and really fast. They seem to hover over the smaller flowers closer to the ground. They kinda sprint up and down the meadow until they are knackered then finally perch themselves upon a flower such as the buttercup above. The suckle on the pollen for a second or three then bugger off again!

I had to act really quick whilst trying to remain stealth-like in order to capture this shot. Shooting butterflies is a lot of fun.


Loving the macro

May 25, 2009 1 comment

Another trip to meadows and fields chasing after butterflies and damselflies was how I passed one of the bank holiday weekend mornings. I think I am a bit too early to see and real action at the moment and things will heat up in a few weeks when average temperatures are warmer. I haven’t yet seen a dragonfly and most if the butterflies have been white. I have seen a couple of Peacock butterflies but not managed to capture any yet. Snails seemed to be about in abundance though, and a LOT of mating going on with other insects!

The macro lens is permanently on the camera at the moment and trying to capture the little critters has been kinda fun. I never thought I’d be that interested in insects and the like but it’s actually a skill to get all the subject sharp at such close range so there is an element of competitiveness with my own abilities as well as learning new techniques.

I’m sure I’ll also get the wide angle lens back on the camera soon to create some landscapes. But for now… Bring on the dragonflies! 🙂


More little Critters!

May 22, 2009 2 comments

It supposed to be coming up to the time of year when Dragonflies and Damselflies are ‘on the wing’ and start to emerge from the depths of ponds to flutter about and nurrish in the surrounding fields.

So last night (evening), I headed out to Sandbach Flashes to see if there was anything about yet. After scanning the water reeds and the water area itself, i soon realised that all this wet and miserable rainy weather we’ve been having this week has frightened the little buggers off! They’ve probably all decided to hybernate for another week or two!!

So, without wanting to waste a trip out with my camera, i decided to get some nice close up shots of the flowers in the field…how nice! Whilst photographing these flowers, i noticed that there were lots and lots of daddy long legs hopping floating about like they do! Trying to capture these little fellars is pretty difficult because when you get close they scamper off!

Anyway, whilst tracking down the daddy longlegs in my sights, I finally spotted something that looked like what i came for… A Damselfly!

This was a more relaxed creature who was quite happy to pose for me and my camera. Please meet the Azure Damselfly.