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Small critter photo hunt

Photo hunting small critters is a challenge. It will test your patience and it will test your photographic abilities but, if you have the patience, you can walk away with shots like this one above.

WHAT YOU WILL BE TESTED ON

Aside from patience, this event will have you practicing and relying on your abilities such as;

• How to look and see the small hidden world of insects and other small creatures around us. This requires a sharp eye and the ability to move through the environment slowly. A good ear doesn't hurt either.

• Using telephoto and macro lenses to capture these small wonders. You will often need to rely on a long lens in order not to scare off your subjects.

• Exploring your lens' depth of field capabilities to isolate the various inhabitants. Not only the little camouflaged insects but also small birds, squirrels, rabbits and various field and pond creatures.

• Framing tight compositions to properly display your subject. Not only camera angle but also dealing with leaves, twigs and other natural elements that may get in the way.

WHAT TO EXPECT

This photo hunt is greatly dependant not only on the weather but on nature itself. The fields around the Kellogg Center span several acres that include woodlands, low lying shrubs and foliage, high grasses, wetlands and a pond. This area is teeming with life but it requires a discerning eye to spot the abundance of life there. As with nature, too much activity will drive these creatures into hiding so a "tread lightly" approach is needed.

The high grasses and dense woods are perfect for all kinds of nasties too. Make sure you come well protected against fleas, ticks, spiders, flies and other pests but not too protected. Remember that slathering yourself with insect repellant will cause your subjects to flee ahead of you and you'll end up with nothing but photos of empty leaves.

GEAR NEEDED

You don't need a lot of gear for this. A nice telephoto lens in the[masked]mm range is good. If you have macro abilities on these lenses then you've got a hand up in the game. A good working distance to many of these captures is about 18 inches. Start getting closer and you're likely to scare them off. Small mammals and birds require longer lenses in order to get in close.

If you are comfortable using off-camera flash that will help isolate your subject from the background. A small portable, hand-held softbox will help diffuse the light.

Wear comfortable hiking shoes and long pants. That will help keep ticks at bay. Neutral colors in browns and greens will help you blend in to the surroundings too but wear something you don't mind getting dirty. Many insects are found down low so getting on the ground may be the best way of getting the shot. Likewise, knee pads or a kneeling board is a must. You can even bring a small folding camp stool if you feel comfortable carrying one with you.

Don't forget a bottle of water to keep hydrated, extra batteries and memory cards and a good sun hat.

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  • liz k.

    There is a nature park in Newtown, and Woodbury , would be great if you can come on this way. I live Brookfield area.

    April 30, 2014

  • Angela

    It was a great location. Wish the "critters" had co operated a little more. I am looking forward to another visit. Thanks Duck for sharing.

    2 · April 27, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      We'll have to do it again when the weather cooperates better.

      April 28, 2014

  • Bobbie C.

    Duck, thank you for the use of the tripod. I look forward to your next meet up.

    April 28, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      My pleasure. Glad you came out to play with us.

      April 28, 2014

  • cindy

    Great shots - looks like it was fun!

    April 28, 2014

  • 'Duck'

    It's currently raining right now but according to the weather report it's supposed to be partly sunny on Sunday. That means the grounds will be spongy so wear proper shoes. The good thing is that all the small critters will be out to dry off.

    April 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    So sorry I won't be able to make this after all. But it sounds like there is a lot of interest for another one, which would be great!

    April 24, 2014

  • J

    I would love to go to this. It's exactly the kind of day I've been looking for. Unfortunately, I have a commitment I can't get out of. Hopefully, there will be other events like this.

    April 21, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      Strong possibility

      April 23, 2014

  • Edward S.

    Please do another one like this one next week or so. It's what I was looking forward to but this particular date is impossible for me. Thanks

    April 21, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      For you, Ed, I'll scout out some other areas for a round two.

      April 23, 2014

  • 'Duck'

    I added a PDF with a map and some instructions in the 'files' section. Download from http://files.meetup.com/1768219/Small%20Critter%20Photowalk.pdf

    April 23, 2014

  • Val

    Three hour ride is a bit much to be there at 8. Is a great idea. Wish I could join you

    March 12, 2014

    • Pj W.

      It's a trip for you, Duck, but have you ever been to Beckett Quarry in Beckett, Ma? You would love it. It's an old mining quarry from the 1950's. They just packed up one day and left. All the trucks, cranes, etc are still there. It's a really cool place to visit.

      March 13, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      I'm glad you mentioned the quarry,. I've heard about it before but of course, out of sight, out of mind. We'll have to get this on the schedule.

      March 13, 2014

  • 'Duck'

    If anyone knows of a suitable location that they know of that has a lot of little wildlife (bugs, birds, squirrels, frogs, etc.) let me know. Maybe we can get a second event going.

    1 · March 12, 2014

  • 'Duck'

    Sorry for the date change. It's all Angela's fault <grin> for reminding me about Easter. Just kidding Angela, you know I love ya. This is a fun activity so we'll probably do it again later.

    March 12, 2014

  • liz k.

    I have a 250 zoom hope that's good enough, I enjoy taking nature pictures.

    March 12, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      With a long lens you need to understand the "minimum focus distance" as that will dictate how close you can get to your subject. If you have macro capabilities that will allow you to get real close. But that's why we do these events, to learn about our gear.

      1 · March 12, 2014

  • cindy

    Unfortunately I can't do a Sunday - but hope you all enjoy!

    March 12, 2014

  • Edward S.

    aaggrrrhh the new date does not work for me. Maybe next time.

    March 11, 2014

  • Pj W.

    Bummer! the 20th I could do. I have to un-RSVP. I hope you will do this again.

    March 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be out of town the 27th, so I can no longer make this. Maybe you will do it again.

    March 11, 2014

  • Angela

    If you have this again on another morning I would love to come. Easter morning is a little tough.

    March 11, 2014

    • 'Duck'

      Oops, did not realize that. I'll pick a new date. Thanks

      March 11, 2014

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