Already the 4th of July weekend for a good part of you participating in the 2014 PhotoChallenge. Having participants from all over the world, with varying climates and apposing seasons, makes these Nature and Wildlife PhotoChallenges a real Challenge for me. I don’t want to exclude anyone, but while summer is in full swing in Los Angeles, people are coping with winter in Cape Town. I figured a good way to integrate 4th of July Weekend in this week’s theme would be to apply the colors that most closely signify this National Holiday, RED, WHITE and BLUE.
I don’t expect everyone to find all three colors at once in nature. Even these mating Rainbow Lorikeets from Down Under are lacking the basic white. This week’s challenge is to focus on one, two or all three of these colors in one nature or wildlife image. No man made object or purely domestic animal such as a cat or dog.
Try and isolate your subject so that the color/colors you choose for this week’s challenge are predominant in your image. The Northern Cardinal above is a good example of using the RED for the subject while complementing the image with the WHITE snow.
A Blue Morpho Butterfly on REDdish flowers. The Blue Morpho also has a touch of white along the top of its wings. Be attentive with butterflies as they may appear to have dull colors when their wings are closed. However, once they open their wings, their’s a good chance you’ll find a totally different colored butterfly.
You can find Dragonflies in RED, WHITE or BLUE, maybe all three together. This Ruddy Darter is just what we’re looking for. Insects come in a multitude of colors. They can also be there one day and gone the next. It’s not because you don’t find them on a specific day that they won’t be there the next.
A good tool to use for this PhotoChallenge may be a Polarizer Filter. It will enhance contrast between colors and may reduce unwanted reflections over water or on your subject. If you’re going for BLUE Skies it will give you Rich BLUE Sky when used properly. Here’s a quick link on Wikipedia regarding the use of Polarizer Filters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarizing_filter_%28photography%29
Remember to respect nature and not to disturb any animals or destroy their habitat in any way during your quest for the perfect image. Please be extremely considerate of nesting birds and their nests. Keep a good distance away, not to overly stress the birds. The birds choose their nesting area carefully. Breaking and removing branches to take a better picture will only render the nest more vulnerable to predators.
Also take time to familiarize yourself with local wildlife and plants. Some animals can present a danger, especially if protecting their young. Spiders and Snakes, especially hard to see baby snakes can present a great danger due to their venom. It’s always better to keep a safe distance from any wild animal no matter how sweet and innocent it may seem. Animals should not be fed. Feeding animals often encourages them to approach humans, increasing the risk of injury from individuals who may appreciate them less than you might. Most animals in rescue centers get there due to an encounter with humans.
Get acquainted with plants like Poisson Oak and Poisson Ivy or any other dangerous plants in your area. Some plants not only represent a risk of skin irritation but can also kill you if touched or ingested. Learn to identify the dangerous plants in your area.
The sky’s the limit for this week’s challenge. Get out there and show us what Mother Nature has to offer you! Nature and Wildlife photography can be a great family activity
As this is Nature and wildlife, try to keep human objects such as houses, bridges and fences out of your images as much as possible. There’s often a way to compose an image to give the illusion of complete nature without using Photoshop.
To fully take advantage of the sunlight, early mornings and late afternoons will provide a lower angle and softer light to work with.
The rules are pretty simple:
- Post one original (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+, Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org. or #photochallenge2014.
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2014 Photo Challenge is fun and easy.