Talk or Face-Off?

My favorite type of photography involves nature, especially animals.

Somehow, animal behavior reminds me of relationships with people.

What these two photos make me think =

Sometimes, you are in the mood to talk, Other times, words don’t solve the problem.

This is what we call a “face off.” 



See imagesbyvandyne on for more photos.

Why Flowers?

If I remember what I heard in Science class correctly, the reason flowers are colorful and smell good is to attract insects and animals who pick up pollen to help plants reproduce.

As a photographer, what matters to me is the shapes and colors of flowers.

They make my eyes happy. Here are a few examples.


Zippity Zoo Da!

Taking photos at the Zoo can be relaxing while providing some challenges. Here are a few tips to consider. 

Know the Zoo Rules: Before you arrive, find out the rules. For instance, you cannot use any KC Zoo photos for commercial purposes.

While there, don’t block paths or expect people to stop because you want to take a photo.  

Identify a Point of Interest: What about the animal interests you?
Be sure to approach your shot to take advantage of your point of interest.

Radi is one of my favorite subjects. What interests me about him is his attitude.


Manage Distracting Elements: A good first option is to shoot from angles that have natural looking elements around the animal.

If you can’t avoid the distracting elements, try using wide apertures, a telephoto lens, and a tight focus on the animal. This will tend to defocus bars or other barriers between you and the animal

A third option is to use the distracting element as part of your composition. I like the way the barriers in this shot convey a sense of passage. 


Focus on the Eyes: When you get the eyes in focus in a prominent place in your photo, it creates a better connection between your subject and the viewer. I had a difficult time looking away from the tiger’s eyes. 




Watch for Antics: Animals sometimes do funny things. Be on the lookout for those. For some reason the koala reminded me of a rock star intently focused on his performance. 

If you haven’t been to the Zoo recently, consider adding it to your list. 

P.S. You get bonus points if you can name the song that this post title used for a play on words. 

Blue Bird

When I captured this image, I wasn’t sure what type of bird it was, I described it to my mom. She was certain is was a bluebird. Apparently, they were quite common where she lived as a child. Mom was correct. With a quick internet search, I confirmed that this is a bluebird. More research revealed that several states have designated the bluebird as their state bird.

Tips for Photographing Butterflies

Butterflies are gorgeous creatures who are not inclined to strike a pose for you. What’s a photographer to do? 


  • Pick a location with flower gardens that attract butterflies. The more butterflies that are available, the greater the chances that you will get good photo opportunities. 

  • When possible, choose a cooler day when they are moving more slowly. That will allow you to get closer to them.


  • As fun as it may be, don’t chase the butterflies. Instead, pick a place next to an attractive flower and quietly wait for a butterfly to visit. This does require patience.


  • Wait for the butterfly to move into a position where it is facing the sun. When the sun shines from the side, you will often get harsh shadows across the wings. When the sun is behind the butterfly, you may get flares. 
  • Position your camera’s sensor so it is parallel to the butterfly’s wings. That will help you keep the butterfly’s body and wings in sharp focus.


  • Because butterflies are always moving, you will do best with a fast shutter speed (1/500th sec). 

  • To make the butterfly stand out from the background, use a smaller f/stop. 


  • Watch your shadow. Butterflies enjoy the sun. If you cast a shadow on them, they are likely to fly away from you. 

With some planning and patience, you can take beautiful butterfly photos. 

Purple Pepper Eater

Once upon a time there was a “one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater” which came to Earth because he wanted to be in a rock ’n’ roll band.

I said, “Mr. Purple People Eater what’s your line?”

He said, “Eating purple people, and it sure is fine.

But that’s not the reason that I came to land.

I wanna get a job in a rock ’n’ roll band.”

-Sheb Wooley

You may have heard this song. What you probably didn’t know is that he brought a pet with him. His pet is a Purple Pepper Eater. It’s similar to what we call a dragonfly. Instead of eating purple people, the pet eats purple peppers and has no desire to be in a rock ’n’ roll band.