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  • Charlotte Chapple

Painted Ladies and Bumble Bees

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been taking some photos of the wildlife in my garden. As summer is nearing its final days, and the once clear blue skies are turning grey and cloudy, I really wanted to capture the beautiful vivid colours that nature offers during summer and my garden has such a variety of colours it would be a shame not to showcase it.

Originally, I was going to photograph the different flowers and plants in the garden, but found myself photographing more of the wildlife, from garden birds such as Blue Tits to smaller but more vibrant butterflies and dragonflies and of course bees. For a lot of these images I drew upon my interest in using a short depth of field when taking the close up images.I had to very carefully plan out the setting I would use. Bees are very fast workers, making them difficult to photograph without blurring, so I had to use an extremely fast shutter speed, which then doesn’t allow a lot of time for light to enter. To compensate for this, I had to use a high ISO and low to medium aperture.

I like using a shallow depth of field for a variety of purposes but the main one is the subtle effect of having the background out of focus but still easily recognisable. The subject in focus is heavily emphasized, yet the environmental context is maintained. The challenge of getting the main subject in focus is something that I find very appealing. I like being able to direct the viewer's attention to a particular spot in the photo. I think photos with a shallow depth of field are more relaxing and draw the eye, making them easier and more pleasant to look at.

Also when taking these images, I thought about the depth of field within the focused subject and how this portrays varying tones and shades. For example, with many of the butterfly images, the flower the butterfly rests on is also in focus. Within these images, each bud of the lavender changes tone depending on the lighting and faint shadow cast by the butterfly. By capturing the different tones of the pastel purple lavender and huge range of vibrant colours of the butterflies wings, I believe makes a flat 2D image appear more 3D, tangible and overall more alive because the viewer can gain a sense of the different layers within the photo.

One of my personal favourite photos was this image of a bee covered in pollen. Whilst the out of focus flower head in the foreground of the image is a bit distracting, I find the way I captured the refined details of the bees smooth fur coat and each little dot of pollen very intriguing and makes you look more in closely at every minor detail on the bee. I also find the colours of the images very visually appealing. The contrasting black and yellow bee sits harmoniously with the purple of the flower and yet both stand out from the various green tones of the background, creating an overall very balanced and aesthetic colour palette. Camera settings = ISO 1250, 250mm, f/5.6, shutter speed 1/2,000.

Another visually appealing image is this one of a Painted Lady resting on the white buddleia. What I find so aesthetically pleasing about this image is how the tones of the butterfly almost perfectly match the tones of the buddleia background, yet the butterfly remains the focal point and what your eyes are first drawn to when looking at the image. The harmony and delicacy of this image for me are its key qualities and portray a sense of calmness that is very engaging for viewers. Camera settings = ISO 200, 250mm, f/6.3, 1/320.

Here are some of the other images I have taken of the beautiful wildlife found in my very own back garden. Note: all images shown have been taken on a Canon 750D and are unedited.

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