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Pet and wildlife photography thread

Harbinger

The Last of Us.
Saves me keep spamming new threads every now and then, plus it would be interesting to see everyone elses photography.
So does anyone have any photo's of weird or interesting pets or wildlife?
Is it a constant thing you do or just a spur of the moment thing?
I take photo's of all my pets all the time, constantly documenting their progress and development through photo's. And when nothing has grown, hatched, mated, or fed i go outside and see what i can find, although admittedly most English wildlife is boring in comparison :/

Anyway i'll start with some recent-ish exotic pet bug pics of mine.

Orchid mantis

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Hooded leaf mantis.

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Indian grass mantis

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Exotic stag beetle

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Malaysian katydid

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Tanzanian lynx spider

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Domino cockroach

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Anyone else?
 

Kangamutt

Well-Known Member
Got a few of my dogs.
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Pretty much what I've got in the ways of animals for now.

EDIT: A lot of my animal/wildlife stuff is pretty much on hold right now. My best lens for the job isn't in the best working condition right now for shooting. Oddly enough, it got that way when I was out, well, trying to shoot nature photos.
 
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Harbinger

The Last of Us.
Nice, im still trying to get into DSLR photography but keep running around in circles over which lens to use. Im probably better off to just sell it and stick with my digital camera.

Also here's some recent shots of my mini zoo.

Malaysian leaf frog.

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Australian huntsman spider.

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Fire millipede.

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Kangamutt

Well-Known Member
Honestly you won't need much for the DSLR. The camera's standard lens with a good prime macro screwed to the front would do you best, judging from the photos you've put up here. Even for my SLR, All I have is the packed-in 49mm, a 55mm macro zoom (the one that doesn't work too well--aperture sticks), a 2x telephoto converter, a series of 3 49mm prime closeups, a 55mm wide-angle prime that converts to 72mm on the business end, and a few odds and ends, hoods, stepping rings and such. And all that does me good for all kinds of shooting.
 

powderhound

Active Member
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Your photos are very good. The Indian Grass Mantis is my favorite.

Why are you thinking of getting rid of your DSLR? What lens choosing problems?

For macro a compact digital can do quite well but the DSLR will grow with you. What DSLR are you shooting? The nikon f2.8 60mm 1:1 macro is a wildlife killer. You can shoot both tele and macro equaly well with it. Both the toads and the owl were shot with that lens. It is my favorite on land and underwater. It has much better depth of field at 1:1 than a 105mm lens but the lighting can get hard very close at 1:1 and you will need an external flash. Good wildlife photography is all about understanding behavior and getting close. A cheap 60mm will do everything a $10k telephoto will do and more, you just have to get right up there. When I'm out working with critters its often the only lens I take.
 
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Harbinger

The Last of Us.
I thought of cutting my losses and getting rid of incase i never learnt how to use it, was worried i would never get the jist of it, like i said on the other thread, as much as i massively need it for everything i do i have no patience >_<
And yeah understanding the behaviour shouldnt be problem, been keeping an all manner of animals for years now, bug hunting 24/7 outside before that. Those photo's are stunning by the way, are those frogs pets or wild?
 

powderhound

Active Member
I'm an insainly busy guy and thus also somewhat impatient. Everyone wants the best results right off the bat. Do not dispair. Looking at your shots you have nothing to worry about. Your going to have it dialed in pretty quick. Macro is the easiest to learn and with interesting subjects like you have it produces great shots. Plus you seem to have an eye for behavior/ composition already.

Those photo's are stunning by the way, are those frogs pets or wild?

They are actualy very tiny, and very poisonous, newly metamorphosed toads. Most people dont know it but California is home to the most toxic amphibians on the planet. Some of our amphibians can kill 56k mice vs the golden poison frogs ~20k. Unlike the dart frog your lusting after some of ours actually become more poisonous in captivity.

The photos are in the wild but they are sort of my pets/babies. I raise endangered amphibians by the thousands. It started as a hobby, then a research project and has now ballooned into a pretty lucritive large scale operation. It makes for a lot of confusing looks when your classmates/ coeworkers ask what you do in your spare time. I'm starting to realize I can do just as well financially playing with herps as what I'm in school for now. It's a gold rush that haden't happened yet. Unless the government runs out of money. Which may happen.
 

Harbinger

The Last of Us.
Damn, and there i was thinking they were some kind of harmless fire bellied toad. And yeah breeding exotics can earn you a fair bit, although you usually seem to put in a lot just to keep them going, and any earnings you make are spent on getting the next species on your wishlist, well thats my case anyway :p

As for my camera been playing around for it a bit, think i could get some better shots with a flash or tripod or both, keep shaking ever so lightly. Here's my latest shots, with the two stick insects i had them on a piece of bark on my sisters bed, she wasnt in there at the time, hope she dont mind bits of moss everywhere :p
The morning sn was hitting is just right and i could kneel and rest my camera almost motionless, let me put the apertue up a bit.

Bent Twig insect (Stick insect named due to its resting position)

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Wood nymph

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Regal jumping spider male.

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powderhound

Active Member
Getting better. I like your instinctively going for the low perspective. The iridescence of the regals chelicerae photographs well. If you can catch them with their fangs down, pedipalps out of the way and front legs out it makes for a scary picture. They have a lot of attitude, try and figure out how to capture that. Those huge shiny fangs get people's blood going.

You should be able to use down to 1/60 sec with image stabilization without much quality loss. Slower if your really careful. Honestly I don't like a tripod for macro. For wildlife the perspective makes the shot and it limits your creativity and slows you down too much. I feel it doesn't add sharpness with the faster shutter speeds I can use with the flash. It would make a difference for long exposures without a flash but then the lighting is always very flat, the colors don't pop, and the pictures aren't saturated so I'm not happy with the results anyway.

Did you play with your saturation at all? Your wood nymph has that warm reddish/yellow cast I associate with canon. I like the warmth of that photo.

The DOF is being used well in these photos. If anything I would open the twig another stop to smooth out the background. That lens looks like it's giving you a nice smooth creamy bokeh in the background.

All these third-party lenses should be able to produce excellent results with the right settings. What separates a good lens from a great lens is the ability to produce excellent results across all apertures. It will be tack sharp at F2.8 all the way up to F32 with good contrast and dynamic range all along the way.

Cheaper lenses often lose sharpness below F8 and lack dynamic range at wider apatures meaning areas of the photo (sky) are often blown out or over exposed. Keep an eye out for this and see how your lens does.

With greater available light did you try your autofocus or were you still using manual focus?
 

Harbinger

The Last of Us.
Im liking manual focus more and more now, been using that mostly. Even in the best natural lighting the AF sometimes goes a bit off, although that might be me going too close too soon. Havent got into the saturation yet, just been playing with the options on the screen at the time. Havent taken it off the AV setting yet, tbh i havent played around with it much lately. Because most of the subjects i have are species new to me i want to document them with photo's as much as i can before i try for better photo's. Just incase one of them kicks the bucket prematurely. Deffiniately time for it next time though, if i remeber AV, TV, and P were the main 3 to bother with werent they?

As for the chelicerae they generally bear them when threatened, but when they feel threatened they have a tendency to dart backwards.
Oh and in other news, MY AUSTRALIAN HUNTSMAN IS FINALLY ADULT!
She is stunning, and now defiantly a female, got to wait for a friend of mine to get his mated then he's send me his male, then there may be a chance of the pitter patter of hundreds of hundreds of feet :3
Here she is.

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I know this photo isnt as sharp as the above but i liked the way she looked like she was almost glowing, she only moulted last night so she was still a bit fresh and bright.

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Legs spans gotta be about 5 inches im guessing, very impressive spider, and the other species of this genus is apparently bigger.

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powderhound

Active Member
The first shot makes very nice use of contrast and shadows. Try to figure out how to get out of focus subjects in the foreground out of your picture. Often it looks like you're just a tad too low.

You need a flash. Manual focus is tricky because the depth of field with macro can be so narrow that its really hard to tell if your spot on or not with the naked eye. I will mention that most canon shooters use manual focus and most transitioning from canon to nikon use manual focus for a while out of habit. However nikon shooters tend to use AF because it works well. I was hoping with these newer cameras canon was getting its AF sorted. You might try using a focus light (a hand held flashlight or the like to give the AF more to work with). You also may try getting the focus close with manual then letting the AF fine tune it to avoid the hunting problem. A flash with AF assist will help.

As for modes I would stick with manual for macro. The modes will allow you to only control one aspect (shutter speed, F stop, iso) the program modes are all auto. The camera doesn't know what you need for your macro shot. Use your light meter. Set your f stop for the depth of field you want. Slowest shutter speed you think you can handle without a flash (1/60 with IS on). You should have only the center focus point on. Put it on your subject and look at the light meter. If its under exposed dial the ISO up until its balanced. If its over increase the shutter speed or the f stop or dial down the ISO.

Then look at your result and adjust.

This will teach you how all these parameters affect your image. The program modes are designed for general photography and I only use them if I'm walking about and expecting to have only seconds to get a shot. In those situations I use:


Av- For macro where high f stop needs to be controlled for DOF.
Tv- for action or telephoto work where I need to force the camera to always use a fast shutter speed to control for camera shake. (I actually use this the most because telephoto wildlife shots tend to have action and involve long lenses with no time to adjust settings and get the shot).
P- Full auto. Walking around shooting people it works great.

A-dep- will take into account how close your subject is to the lens try and preserve depth of field, again it's fully automatic so no guarantees.
Flower- This is a preprogrammed mode for macro and the camera will do everything automatically but do it's best to use a higher f-stop faster shutter speed and lower ISO to give you the best macro result.

Manual gets very easy when you start using the flash. All you have to do is select your f-stop for the depth of field you want, set your shutter speed at 1/250 of a second, set your ISO at 200 and the camera will control the light output on the flash to properly expose the image. The only setting you have to change is the f-stop to play with your depth of field. From F2 .8 to F-22 for macro it'll always be properly exposed, the only thing that will change is what's in focus. It will be a game changer for you.
 
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Harbinger

The Last of Us.

Thanks for the help again, and yeah i know where i went wrong there, i was often resting on the nearest surface to prop the camera up with, which was usually the edge of whatever bark they were resting on, so i had to tilt it up to get them all in. I'll try setting it to manual next time, been using nothing but AV, been playing with f stops and ISO mostly, havent got into the shutter speeds yet.
 

powderhound

Active Member
Av mode is the only auto mode you should be trying with macro. Plenty of time, no rush. You have to take a lot of the same pics to get one that is perfect. Just keep shooting and play with your flash too. Your stuffs interesting.
 

-lola-

Member
Lovely works,
I usually do weddings and families.. so I don't have a macro lens ;3;
I guess you can't set your normal digital camera's Aperture? I do think the first two batches would have profited
if you had set the F number lower <--which is Aperture

Lovely pets everyone!

I only have two cats,
not that I need more because they are like two over mobile toddlers <___>''

one of them
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Harbinger

The Last of Us.
This thread needs more cats, keep em coming.
Alternatively...BUGS.








Giant malaysian leaf insect.

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Gladiator stag beetle.

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Another not so giant leaf insect.

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Jumping spider i took ages ago but didnt think of uploading it at the time

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CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Technically this isn't really "wildlife photography" since the animals were in a zoo... But I think this counts^^
Some of the shots that I uploaded to my FA gallery today:

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Inpw

Roller Coaster Imagineer.
^ Nice pics. Everyone has such awesome cameras.

Not a photographer but I like how this wide angle photo came out with the Gopro.

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CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
I went squirrel huntin' today!

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A little too close... But just a little >__>

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Kit H. Ruppell

Exterminieren! Exterminieren!
Wow! What species is that? I only know 'Murrican squirrels.
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Wow! What species is that? I only know 'Murrican squirrels.

It's a eurasian red squirrel, or just red squirrel.
They are becomming pretty rare though because your 'Murrican squirrels are taking over...
 

CaptainCool

Lady of the lake
Have a tiger, a burd and a lemur:

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