Tag Archives: Belize

Belize and Guatemala Photography Adventure

Post 3 –

Jungles and the Mayan World…  There is so much to appreciate about Mayan temples and other structures – but as photographers, we can also play with doorways, tunnels and sections of temples to create artistic images.

Yaxah © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Yaxah
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Often we walk through a tunnel and come out into a gorgeous jungle environment.  With Mayan sites surrounded by rainforest, wildlife is also present.

Cahal Pech © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tikal © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tikal
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tikal © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tikal
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

 

Tikal © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tikal
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Howler monkey © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Howler monkey
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Caracol © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Caracol
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Ceiba roots © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Caracol ceiba tree roots
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Caracol © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Caracol
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Cahal Pech
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Yaxah, spider monkey jump © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Yaxah, spider monkey jump
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Woodpecker © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Woodpecker
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tarantula © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Tarantula
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Comments Off on Belize and Guatemala Photography Adventure

Filed under Uncategorized

Belize and Guatemala Photography Adventure

Post 2 –

Barton Creek Cave… We enter the cave in our canoes into a large room, tall ceiling, interesting formations above and around us to photograph.

Barton Creek Cave entrance © 2010 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave entrance
© 2010 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave © 2010 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave
© 2010 Diane Kelsay

As we paddle our canoes seeing and photographing pots and a skull high up on ledges, our guide tells us about the ceremonies that took place here. We can’t help but wonder how the Mayans climbed those steep ledges without footholds, and without canoes and headlamps to get them there.

Barton Creek Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Barton Creek Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Comments Off on Belize and Guatemala Photography Adventure

Filed under Uncategorized

Belize and Guatemala Photography Adventure

Post 1 –

Caves… Belize is our favorite place in the world to explore caves.  Many are easy and the whole group can enjoy learning to take colorful, unique images.  Others stay on with us and we explore more adventuresome caves, but still not that difficult.

Rio Frio Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Rio Frio Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Rio Frio Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Rio Frio Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Crystal Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay, Bob Harvey

Crystal Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay, Bob Harvey

Light – the lessons you learn about light when photographing in a cave change the way you view light and work with light in all the rest of your photography.  Rio Frio Cave is photographed in natural light coming through a large entrance and using a long exposure. Crystal Cave, St. Herman’s Cave and Joe’s Cave are photographed with several flash units.

Crystal Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Crystal Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Crystal Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Crystal Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe's Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe’s Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe's Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe’s Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe's Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe’s Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

St. Herman's Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

St. Herman’s Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Rio Frio Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Rio Frio Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Rio Frio Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Rio Frio Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Joe's Cave © 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe’s Cave
© 2014 Diane Kelsay and Bob Harvey

Joe (or Jose) owns the land that several caves are on.  We climb a mountain on horses to get to them.  Our visits help support Joe’s small business. He is a kind man who wants to take good care of these caves – our visits are very environmentally friendly, we are very careful.  He also helps us with lighting.  Join us on a Belize Adventure in 2017 and we will show you how to control multiple flash units.

Comments Off on Belize and Guatemala Photography Adventure

Filed under Uncategorized

Macros and Close Up Photography

Post 2 – Options for shooting close up

We really enjoy using a 105 Nikon macro lens.  It’s sharp, and once you make friends with it, the creative options are endless.

Glasswing butterfly, Belize © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Glasswing butterfly, Belize
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

This butterfly is about 1.5 inches tall.  The transparent wings enable you to see right through to the background.  It is very important to position yourself so that the background enhances, not distracts.  By using my 105 macro, I was able to be back far enough not to scare the butterfly off the leaf and to pick a depth of field that got the butterfly sharp and the background in soft focus.

Golden orb, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Golden orb, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

This spider was about 8 feet high in a tree.  Another technique we like to use is extension tubes with a long lens.  Extension tubes are hollow, allowing that sharp 400mm lens to bring in subjects close that are too far to reach with a macro lens.  Depth of field is a bit trickier, but my goal here was to put the background blooming tree out of focus for a nice painted background.  Remember, extension tubes are hollow, tele-extenders have glass and serve a different purpose.

Crocodile, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Crocodile, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Extension tube attached to a 80-400mm lens at 400. They can also help you keep your distance!

Jaguar prints, Belize © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Jaguar prints, Belize
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Sometimes, the wide angle lens is needed when all the edges of the paw print need to be sharp to define the print.  Prints of the elusive jaguar is a regular find on our way to Caracol, Belize.

Leaf cutter ants, Belize © 2014 Bob Harvey

Leaf cutter ants, Belize
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Night photography of leaf cutter ants with backlight from flash, extension tubes on the 28-300mm lens.

Pineapple, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Pineapple, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Extension tubes on a zoom lens enables you to select the composition most pleasing to you.

Heron feather, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Heron feather, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Frigate bird, Galapagos © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Frigate bird, Galapagos
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

 

Drops on a leaf, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Drops on a leaf, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Butterfly, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Butterfly, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Leaf, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Leaf, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Frog, Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Frog, Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Remember to always be on the lookout. Sometimes great subjects are almost invisible while you are hiking down a trail.  Take your time, look around, and explore different techniques for capturing small subjects.

Comments Off on Macros and Close Up Photography

Filed under Uncategorized

Macros and Close Up Photography

Post 1 – Finding subjects

So what’s the buzz about?

Stingless bee, Belize © 2014 Bob Harvey

Stingless bee, Belize
© 2014 Bob Harvey

Bob caught this bee after studying the flight patterns of the bees at El Pilar Mayan Site in Belize.  Harmless bees, a lot of patience, and a quick trigger finger!

On the trail in Costa Rica © 2014 Diane Kelsay

On the trail in Costa Rica
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Not all images require patience and timing, but some do require that you LOOK when hiking down a trail.  I like to turn around occasionally when I see a potential subject and check the lighting from the other side, as well as alternate compositions.  Do watch where you are walking though, I sometimes get carried away looking backwards and … ooops!

And speaking of views from the ground…

Hosta, at home by the patio. © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Hosta, at home in the garden.
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

I spent a lot of time composing this one.  The morning rain left gorgeous drops on leaves (it also left the ground very wet).  I set up my tripod and got down on the ground, being careful not to bump the plant. I played with the aperture while looking at the image with depth of field preview on.  Notice the reflections of other hosta leaves in each drop.  I wanted every drop in focus but no more – more depth of field would have made the background distracting.

Heliconia, Belize © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Heliconia, Belize
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Opposite strategy, little depth of field – I placed a flower right in front of the lens to make the red a soft focus framing for the stark black and green lines.

Butterfly, Costa Rica © 2014 Bob Harvey

Butterfly, Costa Rica
© 2014 Bob Harvey

As with the plants, you don’t always need to show the whole critter.  Sometimes an abstract design has greater impact.

Sea anemone © 2014 Bob Harvey

Sea anemone, Oregon Coast
© 2014 Bob Harvey

I do love this photo of Bob’s.  What a great design! You are seeing about 1 inch of a 5 inch anemone.

Basilica, Quito, Ecuador © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Basilica, Quito, Ecuador
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

After photographing numerous shots of stained glass windows and the light patterns on the stone walls, I moved in close to capture the texture and color of a small space.

Sunlight on ice, Yellowstone winter © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Sunlight on ice, Yellowstone winter
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

I worked with a few of our participants to find ways to capture the glow of the backlit ice.  We had lots of fun moving around in the snow and finding great angles.  I then taught them how to include a starburst in an icicle by stopping down the aperture and shooting with a wide angle lens.

Wolf print in the snow, Yellowstone winter © 2014 Bob Harvey

Wolf print in the snow, Yellowstone winter
© 2014 Bob Harvey

On our trips, we are constantly looking for surprises.

Bacteria mats, Yellowstone winter © 2014 Diane Kelsay

Bacteria mats, Yellowstone winter
© 2014 Diane Kelsay

Close-up potentials are everywhere in Yellowstone – sometimes you do have to lie down on the boardwalk and lean over the side! Yellowstone, Belize, Costa Rica, Oregon, and our own backyards are some of our favorite places to work with macro lenses.  We also like to use telephoto lenses and extension tubes and sometimes wide angle.  I will be posting more on this subject. We would be happy to work with you to develop more macro skills.  It is a great way to look at the world. Email me for more information – diane@naturephotographyadventures.com

Comments Off on Macros and Close Up Photography

Filed under Uncategorized

The ants came marching…

In Belize, this past November, most evenings (the dry evenings) the leaf cutter ants began cutting and transporting leaves an hour or two after dark.  When we returned to our rooms after dinner, we had to step carefully over the parade of ants and leaves.

 

We ran around with flashlights and headlamps.  And then we pulled out the Nikons and Canons!

bz12_ants2985bh300

Backlight with an off camera flash triggered by a very low powered (1/128 power) on camera flash did the trick.

bz12_ants2978bh300

It took two people and good communications to keep the flash pointed at the same ant that the camera was focused on – without getting the flash or the flash-holding assistant in the frame!

bzq12_ants2989bh300

Some of the ants found flowers in addition to leaves!

bz12_ants2977bh300

And there was an amazing amount of teamwork going on – with the bounty being prepped by small ants as larger ants carried it down the trunk and 50 yards through the forest to the colony.  The moment rain began to fall, all the leaves were dropped on the spot and the ants scurried (in an antlike, orderly manner) to cover in the colony.

We were also fascinated with stingless bees (the best kind)!

bz12bee3446bh500

Small changes in shutter speeds and flash intensity changed the way wing motion was conveyed – and how much background color contributed to the image.

bz12_bee3447bh500

Making the background completely dark gave us a chance to see colors in the wings!

And balancing flash and ambient put the bees in an environmental context!

bz12_bee2555bh500

This whole process was way too much fun!  Can’t wait to go back next year and play more!

 

 

Comments Off on The ants came marching…

Filed under Uncategorized

The Power of Flash

Sometimes we find that people are afraid of using their flashes.  The flashes available to us now can be a lot of fun – some cameras speak to them, control them, they talk to each other, and lighting becomes a fun art.

Getting to the subject, however can sometimes present a challenge. Steve and Lisa, on a recent WildBunch Belize trip, first rode horses up some steep terrain in the Maya Mountains and then decended into a cave by rope.

After all of the photo equipment was shuttled down and the rest of us climbed down into the cave, we began to select formations and the style of lighting that suited each the best.  It took some trials, adjustments, creative discussions and positioning the flashes at various locations over and over until we were all pleased with the results.  Our guides were very helpful and enjoyed all of our antics to get the shots.

After a second decent, we found a gorgeous formation with Mayan pottery pieces on a shelf.  We set up flashes on both sides, different power levels, but we were not too excited about the results.  The pottery in the front showed up nicely but the formation was a little flat.  One one try, the flash on the right did not fire and we decided the single side light was the winner.

Strong power from the left, minimum from the right, and strong from behind to give depth to the formation and light up the ceiling.

Strong power from the right, very low power from the front, and about half power from the back pointed to sidelight the edges.

We all had fun that day – and we learned some new tricks.

And what does any of this have to do with ants?  Stay tuned, more fun to come.

Comments Off on The Power of Flash

Filed under Uncategorized