The 24th & 25th of October past saw our very first Fungi Photography course facilitated by DGPix - this was an impromptu course, requested by the participants of the Insect Macro course in the summer. They asked, and they received!!
We started out as always, reminding ourselves of our techniques for macro, flash, composition, etc with a few demo shots indoors. Then it was straight out on the reserve to find some fungus and put the techniques into practice. Most of the attendees had been on the macro course, so were pretty clued in to the flash, and DOF techniques required to capture close up textures of mushrooms and fungi - they were straight into it:
We follow the "Leave No Trace" guidelines whilst on the Oxford Island reserve for all our courses. This meant we didn't need to touch the actual fungi, and we certainly didn't pick any - we don't need to eat wild fungi from the nature reserve. ALWAYS consult an expert on mushrooms before picking anything from the wild.
The guys soon got their "eye in" for finding strikingly beautiful species of fungus and we employed some creative techniques for composition, keeping the subjects at eye level, fill-in flash, and techniques for blackening the backgrounds.
A lot of people are either scared to use flash, or don't know enough about the method to venture into using it for nature photography - on our DGPix macro courses we teach creative methods for using flashguns and even pop-up flashes to create naturally pleasing images of the natural world.
Here's a few sample images :
That's the macro courses finished for this year - hopefully we'll see them start around the spring of 2015 again. Until then, we can look forward to the Wild Bird photography course in January 2015, always a popular course, so book early when you see the adverts! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for news of up and coming courses.
Lastly, a big thank you to those who attended the course, it was a real pleasure to instruct such a willing group of individuals, and to see them realise their potential for creative photography. But the biggest reward is as always, is to see the passion ignited in them for the natural world, and a need to preserve it, which is what DGPix is ultimately all about.
Sometimes, you don't have to go stalking through the wilds to find wildlife - sometimes it comes to you....
We had a visit from a male sparrowhawk last week - not 10ft from the back door, whilst we were doing the dishes. This was our first visit from such a bird, and he sat sheltered from the wind and rain, on the feeder station happily for about 20mins as I photographed him, and Tina videoed him. He had obviously been attracted by the 30+ flock of goldfinches that visit the feeding station throughout the day:
Photographing he bird wasn't going to be easy - it was raining, overcast and I didn't want to open the door to spook him so it was also shot through double-glazing. Shutterspeeds of around 1/40 and an ISO of 800+ was called for and the good old Optical Stabilisation on the Sigma 50-500mm allowed for decent shots to be captured:
This bird was a male, known for it's slate grey colouration and smaller build than the brownish female bird. This is one of most common birds of prey and is widespread throughout the country - it is often seen in gardens with woodland nearby, and will chase small birds in and out of the trees. In gardens, they will shoot through a flock of feeding birds, singling one out as a target. They are excellent hunters, using speed and surprise as it's main form of attack.
Tina's brilliant video footage shows the feather markings well, the yellow legs and that striking, piercing eye. Look out for these birds in parks and woodland, where you find lots of pigeons or flocks of smaller birds, they really are a treat to see at close quarters:
About this blog:
Photographic adventures from from behind the DGPix Wildlife & Nature Photography lens!