Public Gardens (Nathanael Gass)


One of my favorite places to photograph at near my home is a botanical garden. The gardens are filled with wildflowers all year, and also filled all sorts with wildlife as well. I frequently see snakes, lizards, toads, frogs, mice, birds, and all sorts of other wildlife. Everything at the garden is tame, and relatively used to humans.

One of the best features is a set of ponds filled with waterlilies and lotuses. While most people would concentrate on the showy flowers of these plants, I focused on the leaves. The leaves of lotuses are covered by a water-repellent wax that causes water to bead. This allows a photographer to easily manipulate very photogenic beads of water.

New Issue (Gabby)

Dear Readers -

The new issue is now online! Check it out at www.naturesbeststudents.com. Also, remember to submit to Picture of the Week and to our new photo contest, open from now until August 15th, 2009. The grand prize winner will receive a Sigma lens (retail value of $400-$500).

Keep in touch!

- Gabby

Dear Readers -

I’m just finishing up my senior year of college and will be heading off to Peru on June 1st. Packing is a challenge – I am limited to 50 lbs on the small airplane I will take out to the Amazon basin. From there I will take a boat deep into the basin. I am currently working through a book on the birds of Peru and reading about the history of Manu National Park. I have attached an image of the cloud forest in Ecuador – it is a similar ecosystem to the one I will be in for 3 weeks this summer.

More updates soon!

- Gabby Salazar

Woodland orchids (Jodie Randall)

Early Purple Orchids

Bluebells
The first orchids are beginning to bloom here in the south east of England. A walk through some local woodland revealed an explosion of colour. A thick carpet of bluebells is now covering the woodland floor, broken up by patches of bright yellow lesser celandine flowers that are so vivid they appear to glow in the sunlight. Groups of delicate white wood anemones are scattered here and there, but the real jewels are the early purple orchids.

Lying down in a small clearing, careful not to squash any flowers, I was able to get a better angle to take my shots. The woodland floor was alive with insects. Spiders scuttled all around me, and earthworms weaved their way deep down into the mud. Butterflies flitted energetically above the bluebells, settling now and again, but only for a split second. Caterpillars hung from the acid green leaves suspended by threads of silk, twirling in the gentle breeze like wind spirals, while clouds of gnats were less welcome, biting me whenever I kept still for a moment.
There were only between fifteen and twenty orchids in the woodland, all in a relatively small patch. Quite the reverse of last spring when during a trip north to the Peak District National Park, I was greeted by thousands of early purple orchids adorning the chalky hills. Even though the orchids in my local woodland are not anywhere close to this in number, there is something particularly special about discovering things on your own local patch.

Including People in Images (Gabby)

Hello Photographers -

The new issue will be up May 15th – keep an eye out. In other news, I was traveling up to Boston a few days ago on the commuter rail and when I got out at the station I saw a man in a nice suit rummaging through a trash can. I did a double take and then realized that he was moving newspapers from the trash can to the recycling bin. It was such a simple gesture and I found it to be very inspiring. Every little bit counts.

I took the following image last week around campus now that spring has sprung.

Best,
Gabby

Wide-Angle Macro (Nathanael Gass)

Wide-angle macro photography is an unusual form of macro photography. A wide-angle lens is used to show the subject in it’s environment, while rendering it larger than life-size (1:1 aspect ratio). This can lead to some unique pictures.
There are two ways to shoot wide-agle macro. The simplest is to use a close-focusing wide-agle lens. The second is to place a diopter on the lens. Either of these techniques will allow you to focus close enough to get some interesting shots. Here is a shot I took using this technique.
Nikon D80 with Nikon 28-70mm wide-angle at 62mm. ISO 400 f/4.5, 1/160th of a second.

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