Saturday, October 27, 2007

Common Sandpiper

Photograph of a Common Sandpiper, a Migratory bird. Generally seen in shallow waters foraging small food items such as insects, crustaceans and other invertebrates.
In a photograph containing water and land bodies together, it always looks beautiful when one of the two is given only one third coverage. Like in the above photograph, the land covers 1/3rd of the picture and the water the remaining 2/3rd.
Photograph detail: f/4.5 , shutter 1/800 sec , Center weighted average metering.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Undewater Expedition at Pattya

Photograph of a 'Scarlet Reef Hermit crab' , Hermit crabs are not true crabs, and they use empty shells as their homes. A hermit crab even fights with other hermits to acquire their homes. They are the scavengers of the ocean and live on dead material and algae from the bottom of the ocean floor.
Above photograph of the Japanese Koi fish. These are ornamental fish and their colourful bodies make them ideal candidates for Japanese tea gardens.

Muraena Helena eel, once considered by the ancient Romans as the greatest delicacies.

'Striptease' above photograph of some unidentified striped coral fish, would appreciate if any ichthyologist could identify them.
The underwater world is beautiful, filled with vivid colours, but photographing marine life is the most challenging aspect for a photographer.
The biggest problem is Light, the basic ingredient of photography is almost absent underwater and camera flash does not travel far and gets scattered underwater. Using tripod is not possible and since the animals are constantly swimming, getting a steady photograph is extremely hard. All the above photographs were clicked with maximum aperture and with a higher ISO (400). ( When Photographing in aquarium or underwater be prepared to face that only 2 to 3 percent of the photographs will come out nice, hence click as many as possible).
I found the following ideas helpful when photographing underwater creatures:
1. Noon is the best time for underwater photography.
2. Use ISO of 400 and white balance cloudy (to offset the blue underwater tone)
3. Shoot on Aperture priority with Max. aperture (Lowest Aperture number)
4. Some fish tend to swim in a pattern, if you can identify this, then prefocus and be ready in that area, but better is if you can practice panning the camera.
5. Preferably Use manual focus.
6. If shooting in an aquarium, then use slower shutter speed, the blur of fish moving can give a sense of action to the photograph.
7. Strictly no Camera Flash when photographing in an aquarium. Try to make best use of the existing light.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Indian Cormorants

Two 'Indian Cormorants' Photographed on the banks of Nethravathi river. I was in a dilemma when taking this picture, the water background was very bright and the subjects under lit. If i Increased the exposure time it would have over exposed the water surface, killing any details that were present, if I reduced the exposure then it would have killed the details on the birds.
Well since I did not have much time to keep adjusting the shutter speed, I opted for the most under used feature of today's cameras, taking a series of photographs with increasing Exposure values. I selected Pattern metering and the camera took a series of photographs, with a increment of 0.3 EV. The underexposed photographs turned out better than the correctly exposed ones.
P.S. : I had Initially identified these birds are Little Cormorants. Thanks to Prasanth Narayanan for pointing it out as Indian Cormorants.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Common Jezebel

Photograph of a Common Jezebel Butterfly.
The wings of this butterfly are pale white at top, but underneath, its coloured bright yellow and red. Its serves two purpose, to stay inconspicuous with wings open and if a predator has set its sight , then its closes the wings exposing the bright colours of its undercarriage. In nature bright coloured creatures are always associated with toxicity.

Three-Striped Palm Squirrel

Photograph of a ' Three striped palm squirrel' (funambulus palmarum). It was trying to climb from underneath this palm leaf to its top, which it did manage after a little struggle. You can see it finally sitting on top of the leaf, with a satisfied look on its face (probably pleased with its climb)
When it comes to wildlife photography, investing in a little time and patience can earn rich dividends, like this.
Photograph detail: f/4.5 , 1/125 sec

Bulbul Airborne.

Photographing birds airborne is pretty tiring and requires a lot of patience. The best idea is to focus on a perched bird and wait for it to takeoff, generally nectar eating birds don't sit for long, but are swift to take off, while birds of prey can sit for long periods at a place, but they show signs prior take off and hence one can get time to click on the shutter.
Using a faster shutter speed can freeze the action, while slowing down the speed will give you a chance to photograph the movement.
Photograph details: f/4.5 , shutter speed 1/1000 sec.
Even with a shutter time of 0.001 sec you can make out a slight movement of the bird, this goes to show how fast these wonderful birds fly.

Fiddler on the roof.

Animals tend to follow certain patters, Like this magpie Robin, I had observed that he visited this particular area on the rooftop every morning around 08:30. So today I lay waiting for him at a vantage point to get the best and closes photograph. Soon enough he arrived, I clicked and here is the result.
Photograph details: f/4.5 , 1/60 sec. ISO 80

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Coppersmith Barbet

A Coppersmith Barbet or Crimson-breasted Barbet, is a pretty common bird, but when you spot one in a city, then its time to cheer and bring out your camera.
The call of this bird is a loud rather metallic tuktuktuk (or tunk), reminiscent of a copper sheet being beaten, giving the bird its name. Not very vocal in cold weather - a spell of rain or cold immediately silences them, but it is "one of India's most familiar sounds in the hot season.

Photograph details, f/4.5, 1/100 sec.

This post was linked by N8 from The Drinking bird

Red whiskered Bulbul

Photographed this Bulbul carrying a cherry early in the morning, Wonder where did it find the fruit?
A Red whiskered Bulbul, sits on a ' Averrhoa bilimbi' tree. These song birds feed on fruit, nectar and insects. The loud and evocative call is a sharp kink-a-joo, and the song is a scolding chatter. Its voice is similar to a cheerful human whistling. In fact: a human whistling into bulbul nest will provoke a positive reaction from young chicks if present in the nest.

Photograph details: f/4.5, 1/80, ISO 80, pattern Metering.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Up Close and Personal

A male rose-ringed parakeet, Photographed in macro more. Photograph taken with 5mm Focal length or half a centimeter, that is how close he let me come near him. Tried to focus on the eye and hence the nostrils and the feathers above the beak have come a little out of focus.
The pupil of the bird, constricts when he is irritated or angry, as is apparent here.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Porcupine Fish

This dead Porcupine fish, was awash on the sands of the Panambur beach in Mangalore. The fish is not commonly found in the the waters of the Arabian sea, and is mostly native to the tropical areas of Atlantic and Pacific ocean's.
When threatened, the fish inflates rapidly with outward facing spines. This causes eaten fish to become lodged in the throat of predators. The porcupine fish hunts over the ocean floor at night, using tiny jets of water to uncover prey.
Photographed at f/2.7 aperture to blur out the background and compensate for low light.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Seven Year Itch

When your claws don't reach you, you have to improvise with the available resources. That is exactly what this sparrow did , when it had to scratch under its wings.
Photographed at aperture priority, f/4.5 shutter speed 1/40 sec. ISO80

Mirror, mirror upon the wall, Who is the fairest fair of all?"

Photographed this female sparrow, looking on its reflection outside my house (Probably getting ready for a date!). I was always taught that animals don't have self awareness, other than the odd dolphin and apes. Well are we wrong? The male Sparrow has darker hues, compared to the female and is easy to identify.
f/4.5 , shutter speed: 1/500 sec. ISO 80, photographed on aperture priority.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Flying Dragon Fly

Photographed at Shutter speed of 0.0125 sec. In spite of such high speed you can make out the flapping of the dragonfly's wings. This shows how fast it was flapping and flying. In order to freeze the dragon flies flight I had to reduce the shutter speed to 0.00125 sec (1/800th of a second) as shown in the 3rd sequence below.
If you look closely, you will see that a dragonfly has two wings on each side of its body a long front wing and a slightly shorter back wing. During flight, small but powerful "tornadoes" of air move along each of the dragonfly's front wings. These tiny tornadoes help the dragonfly maintain its lift and stay airborne. A dragonfly's back wings help keep the "tornadoes" from breaking up.
With a shutter speed of 1/800th of a second i was able to freeze the dragonfly midair. Well with this I conclude that the insect flaps its wings at a rate of 700-800 times per second. This was my observation, any entomologist please correct me,if i am wrong.

The best time to photograph dragon flies mid air is during its mating season. The male fly to show its skill to a potential mate, hovers midair for a while. Though the flight is not absolutely stationery, photographing becomes a little easier. Specially because you can preset the focal length and be ready. Because of the creatures size, auto focus does not work, and manually focusing once the subject is framed is quite impossible.
I was unable to get a crisp close up image of the dragon fly, today. Keep watching this page, with improved skill and better equipment, that day is not very far.