On this upcoming Saturday, October 8, 2011, I will lead a program at Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams (Massachusetts, for the uninitiated) that I am calling Cameras and Critters: An Introduction to Close-up Nature Photography. To participate fully, you will need a digital camera. Now, it is highly preferable to have a macro function (usually there is a button or option with a little flower icon to indicate “Macro Mode”), and most cameras come equipped with this feature. If you are unsure, please check your instruction manual and/or contact me as per the info in the flyer image above (click on the image for a larger, easier to read version); or you can contact me through this site. If you have a D-SLR or other more advanced camera, it will probably be a good idea to contact me ahead of time as well, since additional equipment may be required. I hope to help push the door open for people who have an interest in capturing the smaller but ever beautiful, awing and intriguing side of Mother Nature in photographs, but are new to the whole adventure. (If you are not new, but would like to exchange notes, talk shop, etc. with a fellow macro-nut, you are welcome, too, of course!) We’ll figure out things such as how to best get a subject, like the camouflaged cicada pictured below, into focus:
The cicada image is highly cropped so you can easily see the focus, which to my chagrin is not on the bug, but on the tree bark just beneath it. The challenge here lies with the Depth of Field factor which will be one of the main topics of the program. Another challenge the cicada image illustrates, is the challenge of seeing critters that do not want to be seen — my friend spotted the cicada which I had completely overlooked; multiple pairs of eyes help (so bring a camera-toting friend!). We’ll learn about the specific challenges of finding and photographing bugs and other subjects.
An Important Note: Tropical Storm Irene came through and was not kind to Natural Bridge State Park. The park is beautiful and has some great spots for bug-hunting, and in general, great opportunities for photographers with its quarry, natural marble bridge, white marble dam and the surrounding hills and mountains; it is a great place for this kind of program, but — the storm washed out the access road to the upper parking lot.
What This Means: To access the park, you will have to park outside the gate and walk up the road (notice the parked cars in the first image in the background). I promise you won’t fall in the river; there is plenty of room to get through, just stay inside of the orange poles. The walk is uphill, but I can vouch that it makes for a very peaceful and pretty little jaunt!
As for the rest, I hope you can make it, and we find plenty of critters! It is getting later in the year, which means less bugs, but the flora often make for just as compelling close-up subjects, so fear not entophiles (and especially you entophobes), we’ll get something good! Below are some pictures I took at the park earlier in the summer (all photos in this post, with the exception of the butterfly image in the flyer, were taken at Natural Bridge State Park). I’m especially looking forward to “wrangling” (photo-wrangling, that is) a Bald-Faced Hornet!