I have not updated this blog in over two weeks, and in that time, a couple of things have happened. I can break them down into three main parts: 1) My mentor, T. Tim, gave me a lot of interesting information regarding birds around the lake and which ones I should specifically be on the lookout for in my catalog; 2) I met with T. Ted Lutkus who, as one of the previous heads of the science department and a former biology teacher, would take students to the North Woods and analyze one meter “bio-plots,” and; 3) I went down to the lake and had an awesome interaction with a big red-tailed hawk.
This week I did not have the opportunity to go down to the lake because I attended a Model UN conference. So, I thought this would be a good time to talk about one of the more difficult photography techniques that has been especially difficult for me: macro photography.
This week, I spent some time down in the archives to explore past cataloging efforts around the lake. When I first showed up in the archives, I was a little disappointed because there were very few hand-drawn maps that would be useful for me.
However, a few days later T. Kevin and T. Mary managed to find some immense bird lists from the past seventy years. While I had been hoping for some catalogs that contained student-created drawings, I was excited because these documents showed a rich and detailed history of a thriving group at Westtown called Bird Club.
I woke up this morning at 6:30 and walked down to the lake before the ground had been warmed by the sun. Since it was grey and damp outside with no sunshine, I was freezing. I mean, I thought I could handle going down with just my hat and jacket and boy, was I wrong. Holding a metal camera lens for long periods of time without gloves on in below freezing weather is seriously painful. But it was worth it, because when I went down I saw the largest collection of Canadian geese on the lake I’ve ever seen.
For those of you who have never read one of my blogs posts before, let me quickly give you a brief description of what the Lake Project is all about. For the past semester (and some months before) I have been photographing and cataloging species around the Westtown Lake. My goal is to be able to present a finished catalog of as many species as I can identify to the archives at the end of the year.
The last time I went to the lake, I learned an important lesson on the necessity of coming prepared whenever you are trying to take pictures of wildlife. Animals generally don’t want you to be anywhere near them, so, if they see you, you generally only have a few moments to capture an image before they are gone.
For this blog post, I am going to reflect on how far I have come with the project in relation to what I wanted to do at the beginning of the semester. In short, I am not quite as far along as I had hoped to come. I do not see this as a bad thing, I just know now how to better manage my expectations and overcome the obstacles I encounter.
Down at the lake this week there was not a lot of wildlife to photograph, but there was more fall foliage to take in than I could handle. Because of this, I focused a lot of my time on fiddling around with my camera settings. One setting in particular caught my attention: saturation. In this week’s post, I am going to delve into my use of saturation, and how I feel about it as a whole because, if I’m being honest, it embellishes pictures in a way that makes them far nicer than they otherwise would have been.
In wildlife photography, it is important to get lucky. Unlike doing photo shoots, taking landscapes photos, or working in any sort of controlled environment, wildlife is always on the move. We can do our best to minimize the amount of luck we will need, but in the end, there are still elements of the work that are completely uncontrollable. In this blog post, I will dive deeper into what that means.
I was walking around the lake with Raymond this past week and at every spot we could get close to the water we would walk down to look for frogs. While scouring the water for movement, he spotted a tiny, un-moving turtle in the water. He reached in and picked it up, and after two seconds of looking, declared that it was a toy. I asked to see it anyway and while I was examining it up close, a horrible smell of rotten fish hit my nose. It was in fact a dead baby turtle that had just been floating on top of the water.