Thursday, July 20, 2006


Today on my way back from work (almost finished the semester!) I decided to experiment with my camera. It is a lovely camera, but I have never really learned to use the manual functions. Most of the time I have it set on auto and just let it do its thing. I am not really a photographer, and don't know what most of the manual functions are for anyway.

But today there were butterflies everywhere, and I wanted to try to photograph them, so I decided to experiment. I knew that the shutter speed was important for capturing butterflies in flight, so I set the camera to a very fast shutter speed, at which point the numbers went red. This meant that there would not be enough light, so I lowered the number until it went green, and tried.

The pictures were hopelessly blurred.

So I set the number back into the red zone and tried anyway. So what if the pictures are dark, I thought. I'll just pretend I took them at night.

On the little viewscreen the results were awful. I was taking, I discovered, dark, unfocused photographs. Things that move so quickly are really hard to focus on, so that even when you could see the butterflies in the horrible gloom, they were hopelessly out of focus.

I took lots of photos anyway, trying various settings but not really sure what I was doing.

When I got home I checked them out, and most of them were a dead loss. But two are not so bad. In this first one the shutter speed was not fast enough, so there is quite a lot of blur. These two butterflies were dancing and spinning around each other like old-fashioned fighter planes in WWII movies. The focus is awful. But somehow, it almost works.

In this one the focus is sharper. It could be a lot better, but I like it anyway.

I also photographed a spider. Spiders, I found, were easier. Spiders sit patiently for their portraits. You do not have to worry about shutter speed.

This dragonfly also sat still for me.

While I was photographing the spider, I heard a voice.

"You're photographing BUGS!" said the voice. "And with me right here, too! How bizarre! How perverse!"

"Sorry," I said. "I didn't see you."

I quickly snapped a picture.

"That's no excuse," said the cat. "BUGS! Aren't you embarrassed?"

I noticed that I had focused on the shrubbery instead of on the cat, and lifted the camera to have another try. But the cat had gone.

So I photographed another spider, instead.

Sometimes I have no shame.


stephen said...

Is that the same cat as here? Or is there a gang* of beautiful white cats in your neighbourhood.

* Is this an appropriate collective noun?

kenju said...

The butterflies are gorgeous; I love that color stripe on their wings. Keep on experimenting; I love the results and the stories.

Kay said...

Oh what a wonderful interlude, what a beautiful few minutes--it's looking more and more like you might have a second career in the wings! [so to speak--or the Web!!]

Pookie65 said...

I can always count on finding something wonderful here at your blog. The pictures are wonderful even if the subject is a bit creepy. Better spiders than snakes ;-)

Have a great day!

Fuzzball said...

Don't feel bad, cats are terribly snobbish. ;)

The Editter said...

it's not you who has no shame, you seem to have a lot of shameless creatures who say all kinds of things to you, often quite hurtful. They're lucky to deign to photograph them, really.

Lippy said...

Don't worry - your camera skills are way better than mine. I still haven't figured out how to use the macro focus thingie. Apparently it's easy. Yeah, right.

I'm quite appreciative of how still spiders sit as well. Makes it much easier to empty a can of Raid all over them. I do tend to overdo some things... *cough*

Badaunt said...

Stephen: I think I've heard the collective noun 'colony' used for cats, but I'm not sure if it's right. Gang is more appropriate, I think. And yes, there is a gang of white cats. So far I've spotted four: the talkative one, the odd-eyed one, a half-grown kitten, and her mother (the one in this picture).

Lippy: Psst! Macro focus really IS easy. It's just the same as point-and-click, only you can move closer. (And now that you know, I expect you to immortalize your spiders before 'Raiding' them.)

Kevin B. said...

A group of cats is called a "clutter" or a "clowder."

But if these cats are all wearing the same color, they are probably in a gang. ;)