The Nature of Nature Photography

A confession: I am not now or have ever been what most people would consider a nature photographer. But living here on Daisy Hill sometimes nature comes to me.

Nature photography is a wide-open field that encompasses different kinds of images of the natural world ranging from landscapes to wildlife. Along the way there are subspecialties such as bird and insect photography or mammal photography of everything from prairie dogs to elk. There are even sub-sub specialties such as moth and butterfly photography and these pursuits all have several things in common: They may require specialized equipment but always demand lots of patience.


The bee above was photographed with a Canon EOS 50D and EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. I would have liked to have used a ring light but didn’t have one at the time and instead fired the camera’s built-in flash. Exposure was 1/250 sec at f/16 and ISO 400. A plus one-stop exposure compensation was used because I checked my histogram while photographing the flower. The bee just came along at the right time. Sometimes, it’s good just to be lucky.


If you can’t afford a “real” ring light for close-up photography, you can use an attachment such as ExpoImaging’s Ray Flash that was used to make this butterfly photograph. When photographing small objects, such as insects, longer than normal focal lengths are a good idea allowing you to fill the frame without getting too close and disturbing the subject. Before I had a 100mm macro lens, I used a Canon 50mm EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens with 2X teleconverter attached to photograph this butterfly. Exposure was 1/30 sec at f/13 and ISO 400. The butterfly was photographed at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado, which is a great place to photograph nature during our snowy winters.

Tip: The specific equipment mentioned here is what I use for some of my personal photography. You should use whatever camera brand and model you prefer but these tips work equally well for Nikon, Pentax or Sony  SLRs.

Author: Joe Farace

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