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A few of the absolute brightest stars of today’s nature photographers are listed below.

Incredible landscapes…Marc Adamus http://www.marcadamus.com

Outdoor Photographer Magazine’s  biggest landscape star of 2010, Joseph Rossbach http://www.josephrossbach.com

David & Diane Reesor http://www.reesorphotography.com/portfolio.html wildlife & nature from around the world.

Let’s begin with some macro (close-up) photography for a change.   I find it very hard to explain my love for macro photography.  The closer the better.  Exploring the miniatures of nature up real close teaches you more about the way of nature than any other form of nature photography.  Symbioic relationships, predator and prey, the effects of polution, you name it.  It is all clear when you are crawling on your hands and knees and observing from a few feet or a few inches.  It is also the most difficult of the main three (landscapes, wildlife, macros) types of nature photography.   Try finding your subject when it is 1/8th of an inch long.  Think it is hard to wait for a bird to stand still at 100 ft.  Try a perpetually flying insect at 2 ft. I might add that the older one gets the harder it is to chase flying insects or to get into position to make any close-up picture.

A lot of what I find interesting in nature just might be quite different than your paricular dream subject.  The good news is that there are millions, yes millions of subjects.  This Daddy Long-leggs is more colorful than you would have thought.  This is not a true spider.  Note that there is only one part of its body.  There is however a true Daddy Long-leggs that is an actual spider with two body parts.

There are as many stories as there are subjects in macro photography.  Many insects live their lives in camoflauge just like this Tree Cricket does. Then there are those that shout poison, or at least bad taste with their vivid colors.

Now we get into the real world of close-up photography.  I have for many years used Nikon’s 105 Micro lens for many of my macros.  It is a truly great lens. The lens focuses down to a 1 to 1 reproduction ratio.  What did I do when I wanted to ge even beyond life-size?  I would stack extension tubes up to a point of being 3 times life-size.  Now days I use my 105 to its life-size limit and then crop my digital file.  It is easier not to have to work with all of that extension and loss of light.  The tubes made for slower shutter speeds or less depth of field.  It was also harder at that magnification to make a sharp image but making a perfect enough shot to crop can be just as hard.  The images below take us in very close.  Remember these are pictures of small insects.

Of course there is more to macro photography than just photographing little critters.  Flowers are the most obvious “other” subject but a blade of grass with a drop of dew is a wonderful subject.  Dewy webs.  The subjects go on.

When it comes to fairly stationary macro subjects, I have made every one I have ever taken with my camera on a tripod.  Flowers, webs, insects that are cold or wet.  I give it the same care and thought that I do with landscapes.  Composition, exposure.  I am as slow and methodical as I can be.  No grab shots. I have of course failed and made bad pictures just like I have with landscapes.  We all fail sometimes.  Warm and active insects are a different subject.  I make about 50% with a tripod but for anyone new to the discipline of photographing  flying and active insects this can be a nightmare.  I used to use a handheld camera with multiple flashes to stop the action.  The Vibration Reduction/Image Stabilization  on today’s lenses is good enough to hand hold in sunlight and stop an insect that briefly comes to a rest.  It will save your sanity as well.

Now to switch our theme from macros to a Gray Tree Squirrel.  I think most regions that have this common mammal will possess a few pockets of these ever so cool black Gray Tree Squirrels.  Of course like most black furred or feathered animals they have many shades of brown and even red mixed with the black.

One of may favorite times of year around Wisconsin was always early June when the female Snapping Turtles would come out to dig a nest and bury their eggs.  I would check the dates of older photos and always find the Snappers laying eggs with three days of their timing in past years.

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