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Getting started with spiders, butterflys and dragonflies

My name is Pamela Walsh, I have always been interested in photography, but only started turning it into a serious Hobby when a difficult turn in life events sent me on a course of finding myself and, in doing so, I found a new sense of adventure in my life and finding there is a whole other world out there other than our day to day grind. 
It wasn’t until I lived on acreage, I noticed alot of different species from the animal kingdom, particularly spiders, butterflies, and dragonflies, with the occasional damselfly, so I decided to start photographing my finds on my Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. 

Scarlet Jezebel (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

My friends would ALWAYS encourage me to enter photography competitions, but I felt discouraged as I only had a phone camera.
One day I discovered my first cuckoo wasp, and managed to capture a pretty detailed photo of it, my friend sent me a link to a photography competition and she pushed hard for me to enter, I did and won 1st prize in the mobile photography category.
This really boosted my confidence and drive to become really good at this phone photography.

Common Crow (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

Since this covid 19 pandemic, it has provided a great opportunity to get outside with the kids and explore the animal kingdom, I have found, it’s a fantastic sneaky way to get some learning in, without the kids even realising and i find the kids really enjoy discovering and researching all the different butterflies, and dragonflies that are in our local area! That has been our mission during this period of isolation, photographing and identifying as many different species as we can.

black headed skimmer dragonfly (Crocothemis nigrifrons) (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

We explore quietly outside, and go at different times of the day, the sunlight can be your friend in photography, you can notice gold glimmer on some dragonfly’s wings, or iridescent purple shine on other things such as the dwarf crow butterfly wings, sunlight behind a leaf can show the beautiful cell patterns or create shadows of a bug on the other side! 

White caper butterfly (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

Shade can provide great silhouette type photos when an object is placed towards a sunny spot.

We look at bark, branches and flowers on trees, we spend time looking at leaves and the creatures that live and eat on them!, we search in and around bushes, around water, nowhere is off limits!  We have found dragonflies like to rest on dead branches and we have had better luck capturing them at dusk when they’re ready to sleep.

The trick is to move very slowly, and have lots of patience, we find sometimes dragonflies are just as curious about you as you are of them! 

Cuckoo wasp (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

Flowers always attract many different creatures- birds, wasps, butterflies, beetles and maybe you’ll find a blue banded bee! 

Black headed skimmer dragonfly. (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

Butterflies often do not sit still, but again, alot of patience, some quiet tip toeing, and sitting still usually pays off with some gorgeous photos.  
Have also found, if you rescue butterflies and dragonflies from spider webs they are usually quite happy for you to take their photo.

I once had a dragonfly come back the next day and let me photograph it for a while, it was not scared at all, it let me get up close.

Animals just know, they feel, they remember, they may not be as highly evolved as humans, but they have their ways of showing us their appreciation.

Horned Arkys spider (Arkys Cornutus) (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

Usually a distance of 10 cms from the subject with my phone gives me a nice clear detailed image, and I can zoom in later for further detail to add to Instagram if I wish to focus more on the creature I’ve captured.

Try taking photos from different angles, you’re bound to capture a great photo.  

Green Jumping spider (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

I hope my story inspires others to get out there and see what they can find, you don’t need a fancy expensive camera to go out there and have fun capturing beautiful photos!  Get amongst the trees, get tangled in some webs, set the heart racing with new exciting and sometimes scary discoveries (spiders eeek!) and remember, always check yourself for ticks when you return home.

Yellow-shouldered hoverfly (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

Kind regards, -Pamela Walsh.

Instagram: @pammama3

Blue tiger butterfly (COPYRIGHT Pamela Walsh)

1 Comment

  1. Barbara Allen-Guthrie

    I have to say what a great story and helpful hints, I have the same phone but nothing like your shots, thank you for sharing Pamela

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