Joe and Mary Ann McDonald's

Wildlife Photography

July 2004

Tip of the Month

Seize the Moment

Every summer the annual cicadas emerge from their subterrean burrows to climb trees, fence posts, and shrubs where they split their nymphal exoskeleton and, in an hour's long process, metamorphosis into the adult, winged form. This summer in various parts of the eastern United States the 17 year cicada emerged in the millions, but unfortunately they did not emerge in our immediate area.

Today, just hours after I write this, I picked up the nymph of an annual cicada I spotted as Mary and I went for a morning walk. Knowing that the nymphs are only above ground when they're about to undergo their final metamorphosis, and hearing the songs of other cicadas, I knew a metamorphosis was imminent. So I held on to the cicada and brought it home.

On our front porch I planted a section of log into a bucket for the nymph to climb up and placed the insect in the bucket. I checked it periodically, and after about an hour the nymph had climbed up the log and begun its change to the adult form. Over the next two or three hours I periodically snapped shots as the adult emerged, using a Canon Twin Light Macro Flash system and Wimberley macro flash modules to position my lighting.

The tip: Had I been lazy, I'd have simply placed the insect to the side of the road and went on. Instead, I took advantage of the opportunity and obtained some spectacular images.



Our Past Photo Tips of the Month:


  DIGITAL- Digital Birding

 DIGITAL -Shoot for the Future

DIGITAL-Shoot for the Future, Part II

 DIGITAL Photographing scenes with extreme exposure values

 NPN- Nature Photography Network - a digital forum for nature photography

 Digital Pro Image Management Software

 Watch Your Backgrounds
The potential of composites or shooting in RAW format

 A Great Website for Information - the Singapore Nature Photography Society

 Save Your Equipment from Crashing!

 Ask Questions
Before You Go

 Protecting your long lens from SAND, the pleasures of beach photography

 How do we protect our gear from dust, and carry our gear when on safari

 The Ultimate Flash Bracket
Padding Your Wimberley
Tripod Head

  Specular highlights and the flashing frog
 Using TTL flash with Hummingbirds  Testing your Flash's Aim
Maximum Depth of Field and Hyperfocal Distance - they're not the same thing!  If you see it, it's too late -- a lesson in anticipation  How do you shoot the Moon?
  Low level tripod work  A great depth of field guide  Wimberley 400 and 600mm IS plate

 Sigma's 120-300mm F2.8 APO HSM zoom lens

 Using The Wimberley Gimbal head with a camera body

 Sigma's 120-300 f2.8 APO
zoom telephoto lens

 Custom Function 4-1 for Nikon and Canon shooters

 Sighting in a very, very long lens
 The Nature Photography Network - a super website for images and information
  Take a Workshop First   Luck, what is it?  Don't take in baby wild animals

  Airline Carry-On Luggage -Let your concerns be heard!

 Disconnect -- travel precautions

Photograph America Newsletter
 Wildlife Portraiture

 Obey the Rules
The Ti Chi Stalk
Photographing Critically Endangered Sites Bushnell Night Vision Optics  Adobe Photoshop 7 for $300

 The Sibley Bird Guides

 Removing Cactus Spines

 Drying out boots with newspaper

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