Something I’ve noticed since discovering my passion for photography is that it forces you to view the world through different eyes. Suddenly you are seeing the beauty in the mundane – in the little places least expected – in places you never used to look. These small treasures also provide an opportunity to practice camera technique. You will see that many of the images below have a clear subject and a blurred background, achieved by using a wide aperture and often (but not always) manual focus. They are all shot hand held as I’m usually on the go and don’t take the time to set up a tripod.
As I browse through my collection from the past couple of years I can see certain themes emerge. Images of “little things” are prominent, and within this category there are also several sub-categories:
- grassy things
- ferny things
- wet things
- man made things
- and the occasional bug
*please note – you may click on individial images in the collages to view full size.
Who would think there to be so much variety in grasses? They all look much the same right? When you spend a large portion of time exploring in the great outdoors, camera in hand, you come to realise just how diverse the grasses can be. I’m especially lucky, living on the western fringe of Melbourne as we have many native species. I’d love to say that I can identify the examples below by name, and if they be native or introduced, but that project will have to wait for another time. Maybe retirement….. Until then I just keep enjoying shooting them.
Possibly my favourite things to look at, this is but a small selection of my images. There is something aboout the fresh green colours and the delicate construction that fascinates me about all things ferny. Not to mention that they are so often found in beautiful rainforest. To me these images conjure up memories of just how beautiful the scent of a rainforest is – I can almost smell it now……
OK, so this is probably my real favourite, and one that I have quite a reputation for – FUNGI, as you may be able to tell from this “small” selection of my favourites. There is something about fungi which captures the imagination, childhood stories of fairies living in tiny communities nestled in the undergrowth. Years ago when I was a Cub Scout leader, the kids all knew to point out any of these special treasures to Bagheera so she could capture them with her camera. A habit that is very hard to break to this day 😉
This affliction has led me to join many online fungi groups, mainly in Victoria, and to my recent purchase of “Fungi Down Under”, a field guide to fungi in Australia. Perhaps I can become better at identifying fungi than I am at grasses?
One of the best times to head outdoors with the camera is after rain. Things that may have seemed boring only a few minutes ago are suddenly transformed into exquisite displays of beauty. Little droplets of water hanging on, or reflecting scenes and turning things upside down.
Man made things
Lots of things fall into the “man made” category, but the things that catch my eye are the little things. As I mentioned earlier – these are the things that many non photographers simply don’t notice. I’m always on the look out for these opportunities. In particular I find it hard to go past a padlock – it is really surprising how many places these are hiding in. Barbed wire is often photo worthy too – in the image below there is even a tiny spider which has made its home there. You have to look very closely though.
and the occasional bug
Last but not least, there are bugs. They come in all shapes & sizes and my kids are always pointing them out to me when we’re on hikes and camps. Some move quickly and are tricky to capture before they fall off the table (as was the case with the caterpillar below). Easier to shoot are the ones which have grown out of their exoskeleton, leaving behind a nice stationery subject (such as the cicada shell below).
I see some astounding photos of bugs, spiders, butterflies etc on online photograhy forums. My own photography has a long way to go before I can compare with people who have macro lenses and are skilled at “focus stacking”, a technique which I understand but have never attempted. Perhaps another project for retirement or a rainy day.
I hope this blog inspires you to also head out, camera in hand, to seek the little things. There is much fun to be had. 🙂