Tips From an Amateur Photographer
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This tip does not apply to taking the photograph, but to later when you download the photograph if you are using a digital camera as I'm sure most of you are. If you are taking a really close-up shot it probably doesn't apply. But, if you are taking a more distant shot with other things in the nearby background you might find it helpful. This probably applies to many of us who use a modest point-and-shot camera.
I've found that taking photo's of dragonflies and damselflies down near the water I often miss the focus on the primary subject. Or I am too far away for the limited zoom to capture a good specimen shot. For some time I just passed over these photo's when I viewed them on the computer and moved on to the better captures.
Soon I realized, however, that I was passing up on some interesting captures. Quite often when I am photographing a smaller damselfly or the like it is near the surface of the water and perhaps among grass and other vegetation. Often when I missed the damselfly shot I actually would inadvertently capture some other interesting activity or image that I had not even noticed when I was concentrating capturing the damselfly.
I've now gotten in the habit of viewing all my photo's from edge to edge to see what I've been missing. With a bit of minor cropping I often come out with an interesting photo without the original subject. Several times I have inadvertently captured the exoskeleton left behind on a nearby stick or twig by a dragonfly or damselfly that recently emerged. I've even captured other damselflies I did not even see originally. Sometimes it might be other insects engaged in interesting activity or maybe an interesting reflection that I did not notice originally.
This is one of my favorite photo's for showing the little things I missed seeing when they were right in front of me.
The image of the damselfly is fairly good, but the reflection of a blade of grass in the background distracts from it. When I looked more closely, however, I was surprised at the other things going on here.
Looking down on the blade of grass you can see another long-legged insect that apparently is checking out what I think is probably the exoskeleton of a recently emerged dragon/damselfly. Over to the upper left you can see two water insects (or spiders) engaged in a natural activity of some type though I would hesitate to make any assumptions as to what exactly is going on there. And if you look very closely at the vertical reflection of the straight blade of grass you can make out another interesting reflection. Look on the left of the blade's reflection just below where the curving green blade crosses it. You will see what I believe is the reflection of another damselfly possibly preparing to lay eggs on the blade of grass in the reflection.
Now these images may not always produce good photo's when cropped, but they can be entertaining and informative. So make sure you check out your photo's closely. They can sometimes contain hidden treasures. Most of all, they just may remind you to take a closer look at things next time around and who knows what you will find worthy of a great capture.
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