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.
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.