Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden at the Strong- AC May Term 2018

Today for the Ornithology Science and Art May term, we headed over to the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden at The Strong.  This was great for many of the first time middle school photographers, as there were plenty of opportunities to get some great shots of the birds and butterflies which, for the most part, were completely still. Having been here before and not as new to photography, I settled in to try to take some select shots and help other students if they asked.  I used my Nikon D3300. A favorite of mine was the owl butterfly, especially since we shot actual owls from Wild Wings, Inc the other day. Owl butterflies use Batesian mimicry, which is when harmless animals use markings to resemble threatening animals to ward off predators.

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Peeking out

We often see photography of birds in flight or with their wings expanded.  I enjoy taking a different look at these birds, tucked into their nests. Here are a few more shots from May Term Ornithology Science and Art class at AC.  These shots were taken either on Allendale Columbia’s nature trail, which is right on campus, Mendon Ponds Park, or the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.

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Wild Wings, Inc and May Term

This past week, during AC’s May term, we had guests from Wild Wings, Inc. visit our campus. Wild Wings is a not-for-profit educational organization that cares for permanently injured birds of prey.  This was part of an Ornithology Science and Art May term course. It was great seeing the birds out of a cage and close up, which allowed us to get a true sense of their personalities. Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 2.53.12 PM.pngGreat Horned 1.jpg

High Speed Photography – How It’s Done

Today, a few classmates and I experimented with high speed photography during May Term in our “In the Blink of an Eye” photography course. We used two DLSR cameras so we could capture images at different angles. The DSLRS used were a Nikon D3300 and a Canon 80d which were both mounted on tripods. In high speed photography, having a still camera is crucial for a good picture.

The settings used on the cameras were a shutter speed set at BULB and an aperture of 5.6. We then mounted an Altura Flash to a Vanguard Monopod. We had the flash and the cameras pointed at a table with a black cloth covering it. Also, we had a black velvet backdrop that was clamped to the wall behind the table. Attached to the table was a sensor which then had a wire that ran to the flash. The role of the sensor was that when a loud noise was heard it would trigger the flash to go off. We placed various fruits on the table and one of us stood behind with a hammer. We created a system to have efficient shooting of the fruit. First, someone would turn off the light switch when both the people operating the cameras were ready. Once the light had been turned off, the shutters of the two cameras would be released by the people operating them. Once this was done, the cameramen would then tell the person behind the table to strike the fruit. The loud noise of the hammer would trigger the sensor making one single flash. After the flash was made, the cameramen then closed the shutter. The lights could then have been turned off after that. The reason why it was crucial to have a dark room was because when the cameras were set to bulb, no light was getting in when the shutter was opened. When the sensor was triggered it allowed light to enter the camera at the exact same moment as when the hammer made contact with the fruit. This made it so the only image registered by the camera was that event. This process led to some very interesting pictures and I am excited to do this tomorrow again.unnamed-1.jpgunnamed.jpg