Pieces are printed by the professional Bay Photo labs using high-quality papers and archival photo inks. These are not simple posters! Bay Photo will also custom mount, mat & frame images if you choose “add frames & more” when you check out.
Why the sale? I know a portion of my photos go to biology students looking for something buggy to hang on their walls, and to parents of budding young entomologists, and these folks are not in the demographic that typically plays in the fine art market. So I’ve assembled an affordable gallery of some of my best known and biologically informative natural history images priced near cost. An 8×12″ print, for example, is just $9.99. I hope you enjoy them!
Sale prices extend to January 1st. If you’d like your prints to arrive by Christmas under a 3-5 day shipping option, order by December 12th.
Many of you at the Entomological Society of America Meeting in Austin this week inquired about the simple black standout mounts on display in my booth. Here is how to order them through my website.
1. Choose a photograph. Click on the image you want and it will open large on your screen. At the lower right you will see an “Add to Cart” button. Click it, and choose “this photo”.
2. Choose your paper type and size. I prefer “lustre” for most prints, although “metallic” is zingier for subjects like metallic beetles with a naturally reflective sheen. The prints on display at ESA in Austin were 16×24″ on lustre paper. Click “checkout” when you are ready.
3. Add the mount. In the next page, you choose from a variety of mats, frames, and mounts.
The 3/4″ standout mounts can be found in the “mounting” tab. I also always add the protective coating from the 3rd tab.
4. Proceed to checkout! Click “save” to move to the page where you add your shipping address and payment information.
If you’d like a signed print, email me (alwild [at] myrmecos.net) and I’ll put in the order to ship to me so I can sign it before sending it along to you. Signing entails an extra shipping charge, depending on where in the world you live.
I hardly ever subject images to the intense photoshopping of High Dynamic Range photography. HDR is just too often overdone. All the same, with half an hour on my hands at Homer Lake yesterday before the firefly show, why not kill some time?
The image is merged from 5 input files taken at different shutter speeds. To get a sense of what the camera records without manipulation, here is one of the component images:
You may have already seen the firefly picture that came later, if you follow me on facebook or G+. If you haven’t, here is about 10 minutes of Photinus pyralis above the restored prairie. Click on it to view large:
This weekend I am holding a day-long photography course for the Evolution & Ecology graduate students here at the University of Illinois. This is mostly an in-house program, but after the registration dust settled we still have five spots available. Thus, we are opening the doors for general enrollment. If you’d like to participate in a hands-on photography crash course with a group of bright young biologists, we’d love to have you!
Here are the details:
Nature & Macrophotography Workshop Instructor: Alex Wild
Saturday, May 18 – 8:50 am until 3:00 pm
University of Illinois Campus – NHB 408 &
Anita Purves Nature Center
Registration: $50 To register, email Rhiannon Peery: peery1 [at] illinois.edu
lunch will be provided
8:50 – Photography basics, presentation (Natural History Building 408 ~ on campus)
10:00 – Studio lighting, practice (NHB 408)
11:00 – travel to Anita Purves Nature Center
11:20 – Nature photography equipment (APNC)
12:00 – Lunch (provided) and discussion (APNC)
1:00 – Macrophotography in the field, practice (APNC)
3:00 – Closing
As if you needed another reason to attend our BugShot photo workshop in Belize, it seems we’ll have a rather interesting bit of equipment on hand:
Cognisys is a Michigan company that makes electronic gadgets for assisting macro and other science photography, and they have a growing reputation for affordable rigs of high build quality. I have yet to use any Cognisys gear, but my co-instructor John Abbott does a great deal with it, loves it, and has arranged a StackShot for our September course.
Let me explain why I’m excited to try it out.
In recent years I’ve watched entomologists gradually realize that high-magnification photography is better with SLR cameras + macro lenses than with traditional video cameras + microscopes. First, SLRs are just better at photography than video cameras. Images are crisper, bigger, brighter, deeper, and simply…better. Second, and this is important, SLRs are far cheaper. The magic combination of way better and way cheaper means we’re seeing fantastic micrography coming from folks who don’t have six-figure research grants and university resources.
Cognisys fits into this imaging revolution by providing, inexpensively, an integral part of the new SLR microscopy kit. Most insect microscopy uses a technique called focus-stacking to overcome limited depth-of-field at high magnifications. Stacking involves a series of exposures taken at slightly different focus points and merged into a single sharp image. Like so:
I don’t focus-stack often. When I do, I manually advance the camera along a rail to capture each image by turning a little focus knob. Turn, click. Turn, click. Manual stacking takes time, and it has the unintended consequence of fussy and uneven focus intervals. If I jump too far, I miss a slice and have to re-do the whole stack. My system is functional for occasional pieces, but people who work in the genre typically need an automated system to standardize intervals and speed the workflow. Automated z-steppers are what the high-budget folks at antweb.org use with their microscope systems, and they are what StackShot can do for the rest of us.
In any case, if you come to Belize with us you’ll be able to see StackShot in action.
Over at CE I mentioned the trouble of useful natural history photographs that are technically mediocre:
…the blurry capture is my only photograph of [an] animal. Do I upload it to my professional galleries anyway? It won’t look great printed, and I’d feel embarrassed to sell it onwards for, say, a display at a natural history museum.
The question isn’t trivial, as it burrows right to the heart of why I photograph insects. Am I making pretty images? Or am I documenting real natural history?
I’ve rustled up another example. In Kansas last week I shot a colony of the common acrobat ant Crematogaster lineolata with several queens in the brood nest:
The photographic documentation of polygyny is a small yet potentially useful tidbit about the biology of a population. Yet, the photo is aesthetically crowded, the lower queen is out of focus, and it is not the quality of image I want included in my professional portfolio. So it goes here instead.
The course is intended for beekeepers and bee enthusiasts with minimal photography experience. Course topics will include:
Photographing bees in the hive
Photographing bees in the field
Telling a story in pictures
Required equipment: (minimum) any camera, SLR or digicam, with a macro function; (recommended) camera with off-camera flash and macro near 1:1.
This workshop is the final day of a week long Beekeeping Institute taught by master beekeeper David Burns. People travel to David’s classes from all over the country. If you are thinking of keeping bees as a hobby, consider signing up for the full week. Otherwise you may elect to take just the photography bit.