Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nancy's Photographs

The following is a blog post by one of our faithful volunteers (former Animal Care Intern and former Discovery Corp member), Nancy. In addition to caring for our animals and helping guests to have positive experiences with our animal exhibits, Nancy spends some of her free time learning and working with Youth In Focus. Soon she begins her freshman year at the University of Washington.

Here, Nancy shares some of her best tips - for all you photography geeks and novices alike - to take great pictures inside the Tropical Butterfly House.

I’m guest blogger, Nancy Huizar, and I am a volunteer for the Animal Care department. Did you know you’re allowed to take photos of our butterflies in the Tropical Butterfly House? I do it all the time!

When the lighting is low, visitors are permitted to use flash. Personally, lighting isn’t a problem for me. Natural light flows into the butterfly house through the giant windows and works wonders. Not only does the architecture of the butterfly house help, but the layout helps me as well. There are different types of plants that the butterflies like to feed from and most of them are low enough for me to get some neat shots. There are also some fruit plates that are about hip level and make it easy to get some shots of Owl butterflies (Caligo memnon).

The hard part about photographing butterflies is timing. You may see a butterfly sticking to one flower but once you get the proper settings on your camera, it’s already gone. For me that’s the most frustrating part. I always shoot manual with a digital SLR or a film SLR. This means I adjust my own settings and I also manually focus. Sometimes I have my settings right but then the butterfly moves slightly and then I’m not in the right angle to get the shot I want. This isn’t always a bad thing. The photo could turn out better than you intended.

As far as equipment, I used a Sony A300 for all of these pictures. I have regular zoom lenses. I don’t own any macro lenses but I cheat sometimes and use filters that give my lenses some magnification.

I hope you enjoy my photos and go out to your garden or swing by Pacific Science Center to take some photos of your own.

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