When I was starting to explore my style in photography and different genres, I was always curious about macro. Then I got my macro lens, the Tamron 90mm 1:2.8, as a gift and since then, macro has always been my favourite photography style. One of the very best things about spring, for example, is the fact that all flowers and insects are coming back to life - which means that it is the season of lying on your stomach in the grass trying to shoot those things. Some of the pictures I am most proud of are actually close-ups of insects.
Macro lenses are also great when photographing in aquarias, which I will show you a bit further down. If I am going to a regular zoo I usually bring a tele lens, but for aquarias I like to take my macro lens with me. The enclosures are usually small enough that the animal will be close to you, and the light in them is usually sufficient to take great macro photographs. And also, these are animals that you (at least for me, in Sweden) are unlikely to meet on your regular forest walks, so as for all types of zoos, it is very nice to have them available at a close distance in nice light and environments.
I took these pictures in an aquarium during my latest trip to Stockholm. The lemur picture is not that great, I just wanted to include it because I really like ring-tailed lemurs... The other two I think look nice, and especially the frog picture is not obviously photographed in a zoo, right?
Also. This lens is SHARP.
I clearly remember all my cameras from the time I started being interested in photography. I grow very fond of them for some reason, they become my friends in a way. Taking pictures to save memories has always been very important to me, so even though I did not always practice my photography skills, I always took pictures. Having a camera in my hand, over my shoulder, or in my bag is given for me whenever I leave my home for any kind of trip. Therefore I find it very meaningful to actually enjoy my photo machine.
The first camera I used when developing my interest was a Canon Powershot S3 IS. I used it mostly for photographing horses and horse events and I think that was the camera that really helped me grow as a photographer because it was the one I used when I realized that this is something I am actually good at. I constantly dreamed, however, of getting my first DSLR. And when that happened, I switched to Nikon. My first DSLR was a Nikon D200. That one stayed with me for a long time and was the camera I used when starting to learn how to photograph human portraits and macro among other things. It was my companion when taking photography courses, when traveling, it got muddy with me in the stables, it lied with me in the grass looking for insects, and I was very pleased with it.
My next camera was my current one. The Nikon D700 - the king. I immediately fell in love with this camera and I have loved it ever since. This camera has not brought me through any major photography events in my life, but it has always been a friend to trust. The fact that it is a full frame camera also brought to my attention that photography can be so much easier. I will never be one of those people claiming that everyone can take great pictures as long as you have the right camera, because the only way to take great pictures is to be a great photographer. However, the things you struggle with when using cheaper equipment you struggle with a bit less when you have the right stuff. Thus, for me, the king is a masterpiece that is able to do whatever I want it to do, and that is a big relief. Besides this camera, I also have my junk camera the Nikon D5000 and I occasionally use my boyfriend's Nikon D3000. And when using one of those, I quite often get complaints about low light, hand shake, or long shutter speed - and everything results in a blurry mess that always needs a trip through photoshop. When using the king, I simply tell it what to do, no matter the conditions, and it brings me pictures without complaints and I am constantly amazed by the results. I simply know that I can always trust it to cooperate with me. This makes me very happy, which I think is important.
One of my biggest fears is actually that the king will break down on me. Not because I do not have the money to get a new camera, because I would definitely make sure to raise that money, but rather because I am afraid that I will not find a camera that I like as much as this one. Hopefully I am wrong, but for now, I care for this piece of magnesium and glass like it is my baby.
From the day I started photographing, I always wanted to be a professional photographer in the future. That is typical for me - as soon as I get a new hobby or something like that, I get obsessed. I still do that. Right now I am having a thing for turtles. Anyway, my interest for photography never died, but my dream of becoming a photographer slowly faded away as I got older. In the meantime, I started taking courses in science and quickly fell in love with biology. That was a turning point for me, and suddenly everything started to make sense. Biology contains everything that I love about life. It has science, writing, reading (and I mean a lot of reading), nature, plants, animals... It would be enough just to mention animals, I guess.
Now I have a bachelor's degree in biology and at the end of 2018 I will have a master's degree in ethology. What is left is my master's thesis project, during which I will do ethological studies on meerkats for six months. It will be a blast, I think - I am very excited to get to know these fantastic little animals.
People sometimes ask me if I like studying. No, I usually answer. I do not really like the studying in itself - but I absolutely love learning new things. Especially things that I am passionately interested in, such as animals, biology and science. That certainly makes five years of studying worth it.
In my master's program, we spend a lot of time at the zoo where I will perform my thesis project. The following pictures were taken the last time we went there, using the junk camera and the Sigma lens. To be honest, I can definitely see differences in image quality compared to my other camera and lenses, but I still think these pictues work fine for showing like this on the internet. And yeah, one of them is featuring one of my future buddies - SEE YOU SOON!
Talking about animals, that is something that I would like to discuss. Of course, I am always up for discussing animals.
God, I love animals. Always have, always will. And still, I consider it a curse sometimes. Animals come with so many emotions, so much love, so much at stake, so much to lose. I really do think that having animals as your biggest passion is the worst, because you can never just take a break or let things go. Emotionally, you are connected forever and it can be completely exhausting at times. At the same time though, it is the best. I wouldn't have loved my cat unconditionally for 13 years, ridden horses for 15 years, or for that matter educated myself to become an ethologist during the last 4 years if it all wasn't worth it in the end.
This is why we do it
This is worth the pain
This is why we fall down
And get back up again
This is where the heart lies
This is from above
Love is this, this is love
Love is why we do it
Love is worth the pain
Love is why we fall down
And get back up again
Love is where the heart lies
Love is from above
Love is this, this is love
This = Love, The Script
So, it was always natural for me to start photographing animals. And since I live in Sweden there weren't that many wild animals up for modelling (yeah, I've had herds of moose on my porch during my childhood, but for some reason they weren't always visiting to have their picture taken), which is why I turned to zoos. Photographing at zoos is a bit controversial in some forums, I've noticed. I can't for my life understand why. Zoos are perfect! The role of zoos and their existence is a different discussion, what I mean is that they are perfect for practising animal photography.
If you are like I was, a 15 year old kid who wants nothing more than to photograph beautiful animals, I see no reason not to visit the zoo where they are offered right before your eyes. It was not like I could just grab all my savings and travel around the world, so I visited zoos. Many times. I spent hours there each time, both because I just couldn't stop staring at the animals and because photography became really darn fun.
As I said before, some of my best animal pictures are photographed at zoos and I really cherish the opportunity to bring your camera there with free access to the animals. I see nothing wrong with it, even though I would never claim that my pictures show wild animals. It's captive animals in the pictures, of course, and for some people that might make them not as good. I don't spend much time thinking about that. It's still live animals and they are still good pictures. And zoo visits have basically become the very best thing I know, nowadays. That is what matters to me.
At least one can't argue against the nice looking backgrounds and good light, right? Joking aside, that is often a huge problem with zoo settings but part of the fun is to try and overcome those difficulties. Below I picked out some pictures with backgrounds and light that I think work just fine. The third one is even photographed through a glass window!
Bought a new lens. The Sigma 18-250mm 1:3.5-6.3 MACRO HSM. Even though I've always been a sucker for low-light lenses and those extremely shallow depths of field, this time I couldn't ignore the fact that the focal length of this one is simply unbeatable when you don't want to carry all your lenses with you. Which I never do. I'm lazy. This is a lens for lazy people, I think.
It's a DC lens, so I'm going to use it on my junk camera, the D5000. Yeah, I call it the junk camera. It's not junk at all, it's actually pretty good in terms of what I use it for, which is putting it into my handbag whenever I'm going somewhere where there might be something to shoot. And it's not like I could just throw my precious FX camera, "the King" over my shoulder like that, no, that one travels first class. So for shooting everyday life and just being there, at the bottom of my bag in case I would need it, the junk camera is perfect.
And I think this lens will be perfect for that, too. I mean, imagine going to the zoo. Many of my very best animal pictures are photographed at zoos, so if I'm going for serious photography I might bring the King and a better lens instead. But since I spend so much time at zoos these days, this lens attached to the junk camera might be the perfect companion for capturing rare moments, which zoos offer quite regularly if you spend some time there.
Also, I'm impressed with it so far. I have just tried it out at home in my apartment, but it is much sharper than I expected after reading reviews. I will bring it when I visit my parents in Luleå later during the spring and come back with pictures then. Should be easy to take great pictures there; Luleå is beautiful.