Mar 23, 2013

Macro Butterfly Photography at Magic Wings

Over the last year I developed a love affair for Insect macro photography. Insects like butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, flies or other little creatures have become a prime subject through my portfolio. In particular I am amazed by the many colors and species of butterflies. Photographing butterflies accelerated last August with a visit to Butterfly World near Delray Beach, Florida. When returning home to Boston from this beautiful butterfly paradise I was determined to find a suitable location here in New England. One location I frequently visited early fall was the Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, MA. The sanctuary has a little butterfly garden that many insects are calling their home and made for great and convenient macro photography in the field. A quick google search late last fall unveiled Magic Wings in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. It is a smaller indoor butterfly garden than Butterfly World in Florida but it sure provides me with sufficient butterflies to photograph on any given day here in New England.

"Butterflies are self propelled flowers." ~ R.H. Heinlein

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." ~ Albert Einstein

In fact it is an amazing and incredible experience and encounter with Mother Nature; what a fantastic place to escape to for a full morning or day and get lost with a camera and gear. Seeing butterflies of every type and color fluttering around the beautiful garden is simply a joy. Each visit I spent about 3 hours pursuing insect Macro Photography. At first I equipped my Camera with a Canon 100mm macro photo lens but ran into limitations of composing frame filling images since the butterflies took off when I got too close crossing the line of their comfort zone. The Canon 70-200mm lens provided a handier approach and adding a Canon 1.4x tele converter made it a much more pleasant photo experience at up to 420 mm focal length. In order to compensate for the longer lens and slower shutter speeds adjusting the ISO setting to 200, 400 or 800 is a must. A medium (f/stop, 11 and less) to large aperture setting (small f/stop, 5.6 and less) not only supported my quest for that faster shutter speed but also created the best Depth of Field results. A shallow depth of field is mostly desired when photographing wildlife, birds or in our case bugs. It supports beautiful isolation of the main macro photography subject against a blurred background. 

Unfortunately Magic World does not allow the use of tripods or monopods during normal operational hours from 9 to 5 am. During those hours hand-holding the camera gear is one option while I always try to find a replacement tripod like the arm rest of a bench, tree branches or anything that might support a quieter hand and sturdier camera for Sharper Photography results and better image quality. 

Note that a group of 4 can enter the garden from 7 to 9 a.m. before official hours of operation. The cost is $60 for all 4, hence 15 bucks each is quite reasonable compared to the normal entry fee of $14. At that time one is also allowed to bring in a tripod or monopod. So, when you are in the area and plan a 2 hour butterfly macro photo shoot in the early morning hours at Magic Wings, please Give Me A Shout to split the cost … if I am around and otherwise not busy I will join you and we can split the cost and hopefully bank some great bug pictures!


More Reading and Photo Tips you may enjoy:

12 Insect Macro Photography Tips

Macro Photo Art and Insect Quotes

Favorite Flower and Gardening Quotes 

Painting with Light like Georgia O'Keeffe 

Springtime Quotes and Spring Entertainment

Nature Fine Art on Facebook

Nature Fine Art Online Galleries

Nature Fine Art on Twitter


Mar 20, 2013

Happy Spring Everybody!

The first day of spring for 2013 has finally arrived today. It is this time of the year I so look forward to during the cold long winter months of New England. It is still a bit cold here in Boston and the heavy snowstorm yesterday sure did not help the moods, but it should not drag down anybody’s spirit today! On our last visit to Hall’s Pond, my wife and I discovered the first Snowdrops in bloom. Heron and other birds were not yet present but I am sure they sure will arrive soon. More signs of spring were evident in our driveway where Crocuses and tulips already peaked through and are ready to show off their marvelous true colors soon.

Spring is one of the four annual seasons; it is the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and springtime is often associated with rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of spring varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox or the first day of spring, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses and we march towards summer. In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt towards the Sun and the length of daylight increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to spring forth, giving the season its name. Snow usually begins to melt, and streams swell with runoff. Waterfalls are crushing and at its most impressive. Frosts becomes less severe. Unstable weather conditions may often occur during spring, when on occasions warm air begins to invade from lower latitudes, while cold air is still pushing from the Polar regions. Because of the snowmelt flooding is common in and near mountainous areas during this time of year and is often accelerated by warm rains.

Mar 19, 2013

14 Easy to Implement Spring Flower Photography Tips


Despite today's snowstorm, tomorrow spring starts and soon flowers in all colors will be spreading the joy across New England and Boston. Temperatures will be on the rise and it is that time of the year that I look so much forward to during the cold long New England winters. It is exciting and inspiring to come across the first snowdrops; crocuses bloom shortly thereafter in flashing yellow, purple and white. It is this beautiful reawakening of nature when I get exited about and ready for outdoor photography. This blog post compiles 14 spring flower photography tips explaining how to photograph flowers in spring, summer, or all year round. The tips are easy to understand and implement, photos inspire for your own quest for those precious spring and floral moments around your house, garden, parks and arboretums ... Good luck and Happy Shooting!

Photo Tip #1: Don't stay inside because there is an overcast sky present. Cloudy skies are ideal for flower photography and provides the preferred soft lighting for exceptional flower photos.

Photo Tip #2: Get outside early ~ Make your way out of bed early, wind is less problematic in the early hours of the day. On the flip-side, don't be discouraged by wind later in the day and keep shooting for interesting abstract compositions where some blossoms may be in blurred motion while others may be in focus.

Photo Tip #3: Add more interest ~ after rain showers or early in the morning when flowers are covered in raindrops or dew drops head out to explore your local botanical garden, park, or arboretum thereby adding more interest to a floral photography composition.

Photo Tip #4: Maximize image quality ~ Choose the lowest ISO settings like ISO25, 50, or 100 to capture maximum detail and minimize noise in the final floral image.

Photo Tip #5: Simplify your composition ~ Shoot with large apertures (small f-stop numbers like f/2.8, f/5.6, or f/8) for a shallow Depth of Field and to simplify composition and solely steering the intention on the main subject within your flower photography picture.

Photo Tip #6: Increase color saturation ~ Use a Polarizing Filter to easily minimize glare and saturate colors.

Photo Tip #7: Steady your camera ~ Use a Steady Tripod or fast shutter speeds to maximize image quality and minimize camera shake.

Photo Tip #8: Get in close ~ Ensure you are close enough to obtain a frame-filling capture of the blossom.

Photo Tip #9: Pin point your focus point ~ Switch to manual mode and use the camera magnification feature to precisely focus on the floral distinctive point of visual interest, e.g. petal, stamen, pistil, insect on flower.

Photo Tip #10: Be creative ~ Frame the main floral blossom with out-of-focus surrounding blossoms and flowers, thereby conveying a 3 Dimensional Feeling and pleasing composition.

Photo Tip #11: Use your camera features to the fullest ~ Eliminate distracting elements in the background. Use your camera depth of field preview feature to ensure the background is blurred out and does not contain any distracting elements, consider a tighter composition, or re-frame the image.

Photo Tip #12: Lighten Up ~ Use white cardboard or reflectors to improve detail in shadowed and darker areas of the floral.

Photo Tip #13: Avoid blurriness in your pictures ~ Use the camera self timer, a cable release or remote release to trip the shutter. If not using live view use mirror lock up to minimize camera shake and blurry pictures.

Photo Tip #14: Get creative ~ Push the envelope by exploring Abstract Compositions and different, unusual perspectives, e.g. low camera angles, get in real close with a macro lens, or use a very shallow depth of field.


Now it's your turn! Tell me what photography tip you liked best, which one you implemented or share your best flower photo tip with my readers. Feel free to share a link to your online galleries and I am happy to check them out ... if I really like them I might share them with my twitter community @NatureFineArt

More Reading and Photo Tips you may enjoy:

Jigsaw Puzzles and flowers? 

Favorite Flower and Gardening Quotes 

Painting with Light like Georgia O'Keeffe 

Springtime Quotes and Spring Entertainment


Mar 14, 2013

Landscape Photography as Decoration

Landscape and seascape photography is a permanent quest for exceptional lighting and scenery that seems never ending. Here in New England we are often rewarded with special light after those rain and snow storms. Anywhere in the world it is a good time to head out after a storm and take advantage of the amazing lighting condition that occurs after clouds open up and the sun peaks through. In this blog post I share some of my award winning and most favorite photography images that make for beautiful home, studio, restaurant, hotel or office Wall Art Decoration. Additional photo tips and reading can be found in an article at Apogee Photo Magazine: Photographing Light.

"It is the photographing of ordinary things, in extraordinary light, which results in extraordinary photographs" ~ David Young

"To learn the #magic of light, get up before sunrise ... and watch." ~ Ted Grant

"Nothing is repeatable especially the light." ~ Bob Croxford

More Reading and Photo Tips you may enjoy: 

Love Jigsaw Puzzles and flowers? 

Favorite Flower and Gardening Quotes 

Painting with Light like Georgia O'Keeffe 

15 Flower Photo Tips and Photography Inspiration