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Photographing Animal Camouflage

Updated on March 3, 2014

Several times during my photographic excursions into nature I have come upon subjects, mostly insects, where you really had to take a good close look at them to really distinguish them from their surroundings and let me tell you that they resulted in very intriguing and entertaining photographs not only for me but for whomever happened to be looking at them.

"In nature, every advantage increases an animal's chances of survival, and therefore its chances of reproducing. This simple fact has caused animal species to evolve a number of special adaptations that help them find food and keep them from becom­ing food. One of the most widespread and varied adaptations is natural camouflage, an animal's ability to hide itself from predator and prey."

This project is not a simple one and will definitively require for the photographer to do some research into the local inhabitants who specialize in this type of camouflage. With mostly insects being the most predominant of subjects although there are many other subjects including some reptiles, lizards, birds, amphibians and so on.

You will require a keen eye and a steady hand to do the project correctly since once you locate suitable subjects you must focus closely on it if the images are to clearly show where one subject starts and the other (the background) stops.

The best tool besides research is a good zoom lens so that you can bring your subject into close up without having to approach it and risk scarring them away. A good fl;ash unit may also be usable although you should avoid using too strong of a light source to prevent flash hot spots from appearing in the photographs.

Among some of your arsenal of equipment will be a macro capable lens, a tripod and a ring flash. This is especially useful when photographing slow moving insects.

Remember that because these animals have developed this self defense mechanism over long periods of time their mission is to become one with their environmental elements and most of this coloration may be on the duller side of the color spectrum and to capture worthwhile images you should look for something that makes the image a pleasant one to look ate.

The best shots are those that are close ups and if possible show the eyes of the subjects as this is the first thing that a viewer identifies and sets the subjects apart from the rest of the image because there are very few naturally occurring perfectly round figures found in nature the eyes should be your priority.

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Source
Follow the twig up,then look left (frog)
Follow the twig up,then look left (frog) | Source

The resulting images are very suggestible for a nature calendar, for many nature publications, for poster producers and for nature or educational publications such as for children's books and general biological ones too.

Even if you undertake this photographic project for a commercial reason such as selling your images to a publication and you are not successful in doing so,

You can take the learning that comes from such an endeavor and adapt it to other projects which may be similar in their scope.

This is paramount to photography as not every single project has to be done in order to make a sale. Most often the best photos and the best results and the best satisfaction comes from doing something that you love to do simply for the over of the art, which in this case is your love of photography.

Would this be difficult to accomplish ?

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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Richard Murray; Thank you

    • profile image

      Richard-Murray 5 years ago

      I love the spider in the sunflower, so beautiful:) and so adventurous, a nice little bee or small tweety might be thinking of some foolish act and bam:)

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thank you Lynn. A good zoom lens helps

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

      Awesome photos - seems to me you also need to have the stealth of a ninja. lol.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Emayordomo: Thank you

    • Emayordomo profile image

      Emayordomo 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Very interesting hub! It really makes me want to get involved with photography. Superb job on explaining how to take great shots!