First, let me say that I love that pic! Yea, the DOF is certainly an issue...that's gotta be a real bugger to deal with on such extreme macro shots. Otherwise though, that image definatly falls under the "Wow" catagory...excellent work!
"But you make it sound easy to get close to wild insects -and it's not. I've never shot at a zoo or arboretum, so when I get within five inches of a dragon fly it's not because he's tame... "
You're absolutly right...and I am sorry to make it sound otherwise. I've tried shooting dragon flys with only very miniscule success (LOL) and certainly not at the macro level you're shooting at. I've hung out around small inland lakes where the dragon flys are like mosquitos and walked away without a single shot. If you even just think about taking a picture, they seem to be able to read your thoughts and head the other way! LOL!!! This is about the best I've ever managed with dragon flys...and I think the only reason I got this shot is I think the sucker was actually dead! LOL!!!
(just for the record, that one was shot with my old Olympus C-4000...read the EXIF data for the details
With that said though, for me at least it's still a lot easier to find dragon flys in the wild then it is to find a fox or coyote...or an African lion....
I have to be completely honest here...even if I could find some sucker to fund a trip to the African Savanna for me and foot the bill for some serious pro-level equipment, it would be the wildest stroke of luck for me to walk away with this image. I really think the odds are probably better for me hitting the Super Lotto. And no...that shot is not massively cropped...I pretty much just took in the edges to create the 8x10 on this one. This image was also shot thru a window to boot. As with most of my images, a little saturation boost here, a levels adjustment there and a tad bit of sharpening.
There was a time that I really used to believe that taking pics at the zoo was cheating, but the results I get are far far better then anything I could achieve in the wild...even if I did have the money, the equipment and the means.
"But I do think that most nature shooters would go out into the woods with a huge telephoto lens and take the shot in the wild."
I've thought about buying or building a hide...take some food/bait out into the woods and parking myself inside the hide for an afternoon to see who/what shows up. There's even a local wildlife santuary that has a hide in front of the lake for people to do just that...sit there and watch the critters. I've been there a couple of times now...haven't walked away with a single shot worth printing. Call me lazy, but for the work I do (at this point at least), it's just soooooo much easier to go to a zoo or a nature center...and I get much better results! I guess this is probably where the artist in me comes in to play...I'm not trying to "document nature", again I'm just trying to create some pretty pictures
. "Like shooting fish in a bucket baby!" LOL!!!
Thankyou for the kind words on the fox image. I really still consider that one to be a "work in progress" as I'm still not happy with it. The lighting of the background versus the lighting on the fox just isn't right (yet)...I still need to go back and tinker with the saturation and such a tad too. I actually have -much- better comp's then that, but I don't have any of them prepaired as a "side by side" comparison shot (at least nothing for the internet). For my graphics portfolio, I usually have the full "before" shot and the "after" shot. I guess one of my big goals as a graphic artist is to have people look at my work like that and say "wow...you really can't tell it's a composite". In this fox photo...I can still tell.
I don't have the "before" shot up on the internet, but this is more typical of the quality I expect from myself as a graphic artist...
In the original, there's a nasty looking wire fence in front of the horse and there's a big self-storage facility with a large, ugly RV in the background. Personally, I like this shot much better. A good 8 to 10 hours went into this one, but I'm still very proud of the results. To me, he looks like he's about to romp right off into that field back there LOL! I honestly believe that most people really wouldn't know this shot wasn't taken "as is" if I didn't actually say something...and that's how I know I'm doing something right. As I've often said before, what I lack as a photographer, I can usually make up for as a graphic artist. BTW...in case anyone wonders, yes, I did have a sliced apple in my hand when I took the original shot
I won't go so far as to say that "honesty in photography is a myth" but let's face it; folks have been "creating" good photo's long
before Photoshop was around. You'd be hard pressed to find a published fasion photo that hasn't been retouched and airbrushed to some degree or other (take my word for it...most of those center fold models aren't -that
- flawless! LOL!). It's been many many years, but I do remember my days in a dark room and all the things a person good at processing was capable of...IMHO, Photoshop is nothing more then a virtual extension of those tricks and techniques (and a pretty kick-butt extension at that!).
Anyways...need to run out and pickup some groceries