Tag Archives: Common Newt

How to take Photographs (2 – The Software)

A lot of what I do has nothing to do with camera settings. It has to do with the way that I approach photography and what I do with the pictures afterwards.

Okay. My software is very important to me and yet I don’t ever mess about with my pictures. I do two things, I throw them away and I crop them, sometimes I lighten or darken them but generally if it’s not what I need then I throw it away.

This is the software that I use. Picasa

Why Picasa? It is free and it does all that I need it to do and it is very easy to use. I find it a good way to organise all of the picture on my hard drive.

The first thing that I do is, I throw lots of pictures away.

Tip number one: Take lots of photographs. I know that professional photographers don’t have to do this but why not do it?

I grew up in an age when you had to buy a roll of film with twelve or twenty four exposures and when you had taken your pictures you had to send them off to the chemists and pay again to have them developed. We don’t have to do that any more. Photography is free.

I am quite happy to take a hundred photographs like this…

Bad HoverflyTo get this one.

Marmalade HoverflyThat’s cheating!

Yes it is. I told you that I was a cheat and that I would show you how I do it.

I want to photograph the animal because it is beautiful and I want to know it, I don’t care how I achieve that.

Close your mouth Fizz, we are not a fish.

Not a fishI don’t want to give the impression that I go out and take ten photographs and come back with ten beautiful pictures. On a good summer’s day I have been known to come back with a thousand pictures and some of them have been very good.

I throw the other nine hundred and ninety away ๐Ÿ™‚

This is where my software starts to come into it’s own. Picasa allows me to select as many pictures as I want and then right click and “Delete from disk.” A thousand gig hard drive isn’t as big as you might think.

Now I am sorry about this but I am trying to show my friend how to be a brilliant photographer, like as wot I am ๐Ÿ™‚

The next bad thing that I do is that I crop photographs mercilessly.

Professional photographers can’t do this, they have to spend a lot of time framing their picture and getting it just right. Why? because if you want to sell your photograph then you want it to be as big as it can be and you don’t just want to cut a little bit out of the middle and sell that.

I do want to cut a bit out of the middle. I use Picasa to resize all of the pictures that I am going to post anyway. We have a storage limit on WordPress, mine is already half full. So I post my pictures at 1024 x whatever. There is no point in posting full size pictures to WP.

So this…

Peacock ButterflyBecomes this.

Peacock ButterflyPicasa handles these simple tasks very well.

Now my friend, I have told you enough. If you go out and take lots of pictures and apply these skilful techniques that I have divulged then tomorrow you will have a set of excellent photographs to post.

It is very simple. If we take enough pictures then some of them will be good. Neither of us is capable of messing them all up. I have been taking pictures on this basis for many years now.

However there is a bit more to it than that. You have chosen a very good camera (Panasonic FZ40) and on intelligent auto mode it will take some good pictures but there are some simple ways to make it do better.

It all has to do with light and speed and we have to mess with our aperture settings and stuff like that. It is very easy and I don’t change mine much. That can be another post, I must go and play ball with Poochy now or she will cry.

The main thing is that you have to want to take photographs. You have to love your subject and you have to be loved back.

Common NewtThe rest is easy ๐Ÿ™‚

Common Newt

People give me things

I am lucky enough to live in the sort of community where it is not necessary to lock your door when you go out.

This is a very good thing because it reduces the chances of locking yourself out of your house. Yesterday I was called on by my landlord who had managed to lock himself out of his own house and would I just mind giving him a leg up while he climbed through the window. ๐Ÿ™‚ he is 83.

People who call on me while I am out will often just let themselves in and leave me things. The last animal was a fledgeling Blue Tit. So when I got back fromย my butterfly hunting this morning I wasn’t too surprised to find a Newt in my kitchen.

Smooth NewtIt had been left on my kitchen table in a bowl of water and worrying that it might be tap water I decided to let it go ASAP. We have big ponds in the garden and beyond so I left it close to the water.

This is a female Smooth Newt,ย Lissotriton vulgaris also called a Common Newt. I don’t think that ย she needs to be in water, the breeding season is over and they become terrestrial after that but I am just leaving her close to water in case I am wrong.

(I did just have a quick look at her ventral surface before I put her down, It’s okay, I am a naturalist)

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

Smooth Newt

Smooth NewtSee you later little water animal, watch out for the Owl and the Pussy Cat ๐Ÿ™‚