Photographers are sometimes more concerned about the material with which a photo is made, instead of looking at the picture as it is. I think this is ridiculous. I don’t care if a picture is made with an Iphone, or with a full frame DSLR. It’s the product that counts. Google on anything, and I bet that some of the pictures that will pop-up are made with a smart-phone, and some of these will be really nice pictures. Therefore, I would argue, that the best camera is the one you carry with you.
I actually noticed this last summer, when I was doing fieldwork for my PhD research. I did have my DSLR and some lenses with me in the car, but carrying around all this equipment while catching rodents is not very handy. Therefore, my camera mostly stayed inside the car, and when walking in the field and presented with beautiful light, I could do nothing more than enjoy the light, without taking any pictures (although I did take some pictures with my phone). When looking back at the pictures, I kept on wondering about what I could do with these pictures, had they been taken in a RAW file format on a camera with a better sensor, so I made the decision to buy a compact camera with the option to shoot in RAW, so I can always carry a decent camera with me.
I don’t have a special fondness for Canon, but I really liked the specs of the Canon Powershot G15, so I bought one. Next time when the light is beautiful, I will be prepared!
Yesterday, while doing fieldwork, I took the picture above, showing the sun shining through the autumn forest.
It has been rather silent on my website lately, which is mainly because I have been very busy with all kinds of stuff, but not with my website or photography. At the moment I am assisting in a course at the University, I am working on my first publication and I am very busy with giving a new impuls to the Dutch Small Marten Working Group (see www.kleinemarters.nl). Fortunately, I did go to Terschelling during the first weekend of October to enjoy some good company, birds, sea and wind. The picture above was taken just after sunrise on the Sunday at the Wadden sea coast. The only thing that pierced the silence were the many birds feeding on the mudflat.
I have some ideas to increase the amount of updates on my site, and the amount of posts on research and photography, so watch this space the coming months!
As I wrote last month, I have been working in the field for my PhD research during the summer, which meant that I did not have a lot of time for photography. By know I have just finished, and the grant result is that we caught 179 rodents in 10 areas. These 179 rodents carried a total of 3966 ticks (both nymphs and larvae), which gives us a mean tick burden of a bit more than 22 ticks per rodent. Luckily, this gives me enough data to spend the next couple of months analysing the dataset and writing my first publication on ticks!
Last week we caught very few rodents, leaving me time to start taking some pictures of the species that I study. I had one picture in mind, a wide-angle view of a rodent (either a wood mouse or a bank vole) in the forest, to show where and how these animals live. This is easier said than done, and after some attempts I got the picture that is shown above. It is still a work in progress, as I would like to have some different elements in the picture which are not there yet (and I would like to have the animal a little bit bigger in the frame), but for now I like this picture a lot, so I selected it to be this months ‘Picture of the Month’.
Last month for me was all about my research. I started a 10 week non-stop field work streak at the end of June, and I will continue it until the last week of August, so I am about half way. The fieldwork is going great, but it leaves me little to no time to take any pictures. So when the end of the month came near, I had to force myself to go out with a camera to take some pictures. Without thinking about it, I started taking pictures in the forest, as that is the habitat I have been working in for the last couple of weeks.
As I am catching rodents at the moment, I have to work around sunrise and sunset, leaving little time to take pictures during the nice golden hours. Instead, I took some pictures in the middle of the day in the hot sun with very large contrasts. This triggered my creative side, as you can’t take ‘normal’ pictures with this light, so I had to improvise to get a picture of a forest in summertime.
I have been working in the field a lot in the last month, but fortunately I had planned a one week trip to Runde, Norway, together with my father. This week was totally dedicated to photography, and we wanted to portray the island in all its forms. This meant that we did not want to focus solely on the sea-birds, for which Runde is famous. However, I did choose a picture of a puffin as my photo of the month. We spend almost every evening on the cliffs waiting for the puffins to arrive from their foraging bouts on the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast to some other puffin colonies, the puffins at Runde are not present around their burrows during the day, and they only come in, in the beginning of the evening. On this particular day, I was sitting in a small gorge in the cliff side, hoping for some shots of flying puffins. I had waited for a long time, but even just before sunset there were hardly any puffins present, so I started photographing the cliffs against the blue sky. I really liked the abstract feeling of the cliffs against the sky, but something was missing. So as soon as I saw a puffin flying near the cliff, I knew which shot I wanted to make. I waited for it to pass the cliff face I had photographed before and made this shot. I was the only puffin that evening that flew in the right place, so I was happy I made a quick decision.
Last month was totally dedicated to field work (as will be the next months). It was a very busy period with lots of blanket dragging to catch ticks for my research, and a lot of planning for the field work this summer. Fortunately, I had one day in which I had to select some new plots for a field experiment that we started, and as I wanted to have some pictures of the plots, I took my camera with me. This is a picture of one of the control plots for the experiment.
Spring time fully hit the Netherlands, everything is green again, but the weather has been changing a lot, from full rain to sunshine and back again. On this day, it was rather wet, with a lot of showers, which meant white skies on all of my pictures. In this one, I overexposed a few stops, to make the sky really white, and to show the many colours of green that were visible in the forest on that particular day.
The nice thing about going to the same place again and again to sample for my research, is that I also get to see the changes that are happening in the forests during spring. The picture above is a nice example. I have camera traps (cameras with a heat and motion detector) in 10 different areas in the Netherlands to monitor the mammal fauna in forests. These camera traps take a picture every 12 hours, for me to see if the cameras were working all the time. Four weeks ago (29 April) I placed a camera trap in a forest in the Dunes near IJmuiden, and today (27 May) I collected it. When I arrived in the forest this afternoon, I did not recognize it! The forest had gone through a whole transformation. To visualize this, I took a time lapse picture from the first day, and one from the last day, and blended them together.
Initially I intended to show some of my pictures taken during my holiday in Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise on my website, but in the end I opted for Facebook as my platform to show the pictures for the first time. Now I have finished processing the whole series, I also added it to my website. You can find it in the Portfolio section under photography: Start of Spring – Abruzzo
The picture above is part of the series and was taken in the gorge of the Fiume Sangro in between the villages of Opi and Villetta Barrea.
Last month I went on a holiday to one of Italy’s oldest National Parks, Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. We went there on a ‘family’ holiday, so it was mainly walking in the mountains and through the villages, and taking it easy. On the other hand, we heard that seeing bears in this national park is relatively easy, so we spend a bit more than half of our evenings in places where there would be a chance to see bears. Unfortunately, we never saw a bear, but we did see some of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. This months Picture of the Month was taken on our last evening on a look-out point in Gioia Vecchio, which was actually the parking lot of an old church, overlooking a valley. The combination of the setting sun, the dark clouds, and the many hills, made the picture, all I had to do was press the shutter button.
The coming days I will show a series of photos taken during my Holiday in Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. When we arrived on 10 April it was still winter in the region, but when we left no 22 April it was spring! With this series I hope to show the transition from winter to spring.
This first picture is taken at Lago Vivo, the only natural lake in the area. When walking up to the lake you are greeted with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains (Monte Capraro, M. Petroso, M. Tartaro & M. Meta)