Not about everything

November 17, 2012

Long exposure bird photography, II

In the past I have written about “Long exposure bird photograpy” with some self-made examples which were meant to be sort of funny. But I never came to show some self-made examples which I really like. So here they are. Shutter times are resp. 1/10 and 1/15 second.


January 3, 2010

Flickr: my top 10 most interesting photos of 2009

Filed under: flickr,photography — takaita @ 08:21
Tags: , , , ,

Here it is again: what flickr thinks are my most interesting photos of last year (2009). This year there were no obviously popular photos in terms of favorites and comments. Nevertheless, flickr has succeeded in creating an order in the photos I uploaded.

#1. In the winter
In the winter
Taken in January 2009, this photo had lots of time to gain interestingness. Personally I am not particuarly impressed by this photo, but it is okay.

#2. Calopteryx splendens
Calopteryx splendens
I like this one. From the population in Utrecht city.

#3. The emperors clothes
The emperors clothes
An exuvia from Anax imperator, the Emperor Dragonfly.

#4. Wren, singing
Wren, singing
Taken with a 70-200mm lens + 1.4 converter. The converter was new in 2009 and it allowed me to do some more things with bird photography.

#5. Sneeuwkapjes
December snow on trees in the city.

#6. Coenagrion pulchellum
Coenagrion pulchellum
One of my first damselfly photos this year. It is not really in focus, but hey, who cares on flickr?

#7. Winterkoning
Another Wren with the 1.4 extender, in my garden this time.

#8. Butomus umbellatus
Butomus umbellatus
Flower with bokeh….

#9. Bittersweet

#10. Sympecma fusca
Sympecma fusca
This photo is probably the only one I would have selected myself. A frosted Winter Damselfly.

January 11, 2009

Photos I sold in 2008

Filed under: photography — takaita @ 13:48
Tags: ,

There are many sites where one can upload photos in order to sell them. I have accounts on several of such sites, and on each I have a couple of photos. I am not very active in promoting my sales – I have a regular job, and it’s just to see if and how selling photos works.

In 2008 I did sell a couple of photos this way. Here they are. The photos are displayed here as they are on the site where they are offered, so I apologize for the differences in size.

This photo is from the Dutch ‘Natuurwerkdag’, a national day where people can volunteer to do some work in nature. It was sold twice from the Nationale Beeldbank, which is a Dutch stock photo site which gives photographers quite a reasonable price. I received about €30,- for each sale.

Rana temporaria
Rana temporaria
A photo of a frog, sold through Imagekind. Imagekind does not pay much. After two sales (the first was in 2007) they owe me about $4,-. Imagekind will not pay me anything until they owe me $50,-. With my current rate of selling there, that will be in 25 years.

In the forest
In the forest
My most successful photo in many ways, it won some awards, has been published in a couple of magazines and this year it sold twice as a framed print through Redbubble, for a total income for me of about €20,-.

That’s all. It is a bit more than 2007.  Maybe this year will bring even more sales. But the total income is not something to get excited about.

January 2, 2009

Flickr: my top 10 most interesting photos of 2008

For what it is worth, because flickr’s interestingness rating usually does not agree with my personal choice. Nevertheless, except for one I do understand that these photos did get a certain interestingness rating.

#10.Viola arvensis
Viola arvensis
This photo is taken with multiple extension tubes in a cleared part of a forest. The background is a cloudy sky, nothing artificial. Indeed the flower itself is sort of tiny – there are very big pansies growing in gardens, but wild ones aren’t that big where I live.

#9. untitled

Well, people on flickr love this kind of photos. It’s fun and quite easy to make, but I do not regard it as anything special.

#8. Sturnus vulgaris
Sturnus vulgaris
Portrait of the European Starling. Taken in my garden. In the days I made this, I was happy with it, because it was showing that my plans for backyard bird photography were working. Although there is not much wrong with it, this photo would not be on my personal list of 2008.

#7. Aegithalos caudatus
Aegithalos caudatus
Long-tailed Tit. Taken from inside my car. While spending a weekend somewhere nice, I noticed that some birds were really interested in their reflection in the car mirrors. I wanted to make a photo of that. To do that, I sort of hid myself under a blanket on the back seat of the car and made this photo. It belongs to my personal 2008 favorites, so much bokeh and I like it that the bird is undisturbed by my presence.

#7. Coot vs Great Crested Grebes
Coot vs Great Crested Grebes
The fight for a nesting place between two species of birds. I witnessed this fight and took a number of photos of it. The nice thing is the expression of the Grebe in the middle of the photo.

#6. IMG_4441
Not sure why flickr thinks that this photo is so interesting. It has been viewed twice and one of the viewers made it a favorite. Personally I never bothered to change the title of the image. Just an average damselfly photo.

#5. Sympetrum danae
Sympetrum danae

Black Darter (Sympetrum danae). This photo made me happy. The first time I could photography this species from close by. I even had the time to use my extension tubes.

#4. Mushroom


The autumn, when most dragonflies have died, always brings me to photograph mushrooms. This photo has an emphasis on “atmosphere”, and that probably is a result of the course in Landscape Photography which I followed earlier in 2008.

#3. Aeshna viridis
Aeshna viridis

The Green Hawker, a rare species of dragonfly in the Netherlands. I was excited to find it close to where I live. Not a groundbreaking photo, but it made me happy to have it.

#2. Aeshna isoceles

Aeshna isoceles
This year I took the time to make flight photos of dragonflies. I agree with the masses that this one is the best of my efforts this year.

#1. Hello!
This is all about cuteness, one of the things which do so very well on flickr.

January 5, 2008

Nature photography scandals in the Netherlands

Again there is lots of talk in the Netherlands about misbehaving nature photographers. This time a fox has been shot by a nature conservation organization, because it had been tamed by nature photographers. The reasoning behind shooting the fox was that it could get dangerous for children, because it lost all fear for humans. Of course there is lots of discussion about the need to shoot the fox.

Nature photographers spraying tree frogs

Earlier in 2007 there was a scandal about some nature photographers spraying tree frogs with some substance (possible liquid nitrogen) in order to make a nice photo.

In the age of digital photography, it shows that the Dutch have a disturbed relation with nature. Nature in the Netherlands is perceived as a free Zoo.

Nature in the Netherlands
Here in the Netherlands we have replaced our nature long ago with parks. Some are called a National Park, giving the suggestion that it is wild nature. But it isn’t. Potentially dangerous animals have been killed long ago. All original forests have been cut, the last was the Beekbergerwoud (sorry, I could not find a link in English), destroyed in 1871.

Of course there are several organizations in the Netherlands that work on nature conservancy. Their work probably looks a bit different from the work of nature conservancy in other countries. Their work in the Netherlands is not nature conservancy, but natuurontwikkeling (= nature development, the Dutch wikipedia is the only one to have an article about this). It means in short that nature is being created. The big example for nature development is the Oostvaardersplassen, a wetland created in what was formerly a sea, but has been turned into land by dikes, pumps and mills. To make this area more natural, the nature conservancy organizations have released some big half-wild animals in there such as Konik horses and Heck cattle. And now this area is the Dutch pride of nature.


Not only is it the Dutch pride, it also serves as an example for management of other “natural” areas. That means that in areas that are called nature, projects have been done that include digging of lakes, releasing cattle, cutting of mono cultures of trees, releasing of beavers etc, all in an effort to create nature. At the same time the latest more or less natural area of the Netherlands, the Wadden Sea, is more and more being exploited for economic purposes.

You might understand that the Dutch have a very interesting relation with “nature”. Nature isn’t wild and dangerous. Our nature is a garden. We are building things like a “fauna passage” under highways to connect one area to another (see photo). In this case on one side of the highway there is a city park and on the other side there is agricultural land.

It is not that such areas are totally uninteresting. Last year (2007) I photographed over 20 species of dragonflies in the city park (see here). But it is just a park. We, the Dutch, have not much better left when it comes to nature.

It might come as a surprise, but actually the Dutch approach to nature conservation serves as an international example. More and more countries loose their natural nature. The pressure of the ever-growing number of people and their ever-growing economic activities pushes nature back everywhere. And because here in the Netherlands we have nothing left to loose when it comes to nature, we are in fact the front runners of nature conservation. The current situation here might be the future for all countries. So people come here from abroad to see how the Dutch recreate nature. How the nature conservancy organization try to raise interest in nature and how they use iconic species as representatives for ecosystems.

The Tree Frog and the King Fisher have gotten an almost holy status. The side effect is however that every nature photographer needs to make a photo of these species. I have read questions on forums from people who wanted to photograph a king fisher, even though they had never seen one in their life. There are currently ab0ut 450 King Fishers in the Netherlands. Each of them must have been photographed hundreds of times. There are special excursions organized for nature photographers to areas where Tree Frogs can be found. People pick them up to put them on blackberries and other spots that will make a good photo. Others don’t, but their photos are considered suspicious anyway.

Photography nature reserves
Maybe the best is to create special semi-natural areas for nature photographers. A bit like a zoo, but it should look a bit more natural. Next to it an animal nursery where iconic species are bred and released into the area. Photographers pay an entrance fee and can walk around and photograph the animals. If they happen to harm some individuals, it does not matter that much.

November 29, 2007

Does the Great Tit have a mask in UV-light?

Does the Great Tit have a mask in UV-light?
Does the Great Tit have a mask in ultraviolet light? This photo has been processed to enhance the blue on the head of the bird. It was taken by a regular digital camera (Canon 350D) without UV-filter, while the bird was in full sunlight. The Great Tit is supposed to have a coal black head, and that is also what our eyes see. But even a normal camera can capture UV-light, and will probably show it as blue.I did some searches and found a research paper that mentioned the Great Tit indeed has a crown that reflects UV-light. But I could not find out if there is a visible pattern on the head of the Great Tit in UV-light. If the blue really is caused by UV, then the black parts can be some shadows, or they can be a color pattern that only shows up in UV. It seems that the Great Tit has a black beard and a black mask. I have some more photos of the same individu which display a similar pattern.

October 18, 2007

My efforts to get some money (from selling my photos)

It is 2007. There is the internet. Everyone seems able to get rich. Except me.

I have been wondering how to get some money from selling my photos. My photos aren’t that bad, although they probably aren’t that good either – still improving I hope. But on the other hand, who would not want to buy a print of this incredible photo.

In the forest (Mycena arcangeliana)
Mycena arcangeliana buy a print

The problem is twofold: how to make photos that people will buy and how to advertise those photos (how to find the people that will buy). I have been focusing on making photos that I like. I am not sure that I want to focus on making photos that others like or on marketing my stuff. Making “friends” all over internet to in the hopes that they will become my “friend” but in the meantime just hoping that they will buy my stuff somehow is not what I like to do. Yet I have made some marketing steps, and to be honest I have actually sold one single print so far, which gave me the mere sum of $1,29. If you are interested, check out my Nature photography on Imagekind. I have tried to increase traffic to that page, in different ways, but not with great success and also with increasing inner resistance. There are so many blogs, so many people on flickr, so many photosites. Some people seem to be able to make their weblogs into a success. Not me.

Maybe I should try to join an agency that will take care of selling my photos. But then again I am not sure if my photos are good enough. Gotta try that some day though. And then there is stock photography, but do I really think that my photos are worth $0,20 each?

So tell me please what I should do.

September 20, 2007

“Oh, he’s photographing grass” she said

Filed under: nature,nature photography,photography — takaita @ 13:12
Tags: , ,
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Brown Hawker
(Aeshna grandis)
Migrant Hawker (Aesna mixta)
Migrant Hawker
(Aeshna mixta)

There I was. Seriously trying to make photos of dragonflies. There were lots of them. Mainly Hawkers (Aeshna) and Meadowhawks (Sympetrum). I was especially interested in the Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis), the species that I find so hard to photograph. At this spot I counted at least six of them. While walking around, sometimes one of them would fly up from its hiding place unexpectedly. Each time that happened I told myself again that I should look better and try to see them before they escaped from my camera.

There were also many individuals of the Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) . In Dutch this species is called Paardenbijter, which translates to Horse Biter. You can fantasize why it got that name. I don’t know it for certain.

Anyway. I thought that it might be easier to get close to the Brown Hawker if I would follow a flying one until it sat down and then carefully approach that spot. So I did. I had followed one with my eyes and saw it disappear in the vegetation. With my eyes fixed on that spot I carefully stepped closer. At that point a bunch of females and girls came riding by on horses. I am not sure what the fun of riding horses is, but it has to do something with something that girls like. There were about 20 horses stepping slowly in a long row and the girls seemed happy sitting on top of them.

The girls wondered what a lonely man was doing walking around in the grass. One of them must have seen my camera. “Oh, he’s photographing grass” she said so loud that I could hear it. Problem solved. Lonely man classified as weird but harmless. And on they went.

At that time I thought it best to say nothing. Only later I realized I should have told her that there were many Horse Biters around.

(Both photos were taken at the afternoon this happened. I still need a better photo of the Brown Hawker)

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