Great photos just a click away

Special to The State Journal Published:

Gary Ritter, Extension Master Gardener and amateur photographer, exhibited some of his wildlife photos at the January meeting of the La Jardinière Garden Club.

Ritter uses a 35 mm camera with various size lenses but noted that investing in an expensive camera set-up is not necessary to take good photographs.

Digital cameras can take good photos. Some newer digital cameras even have a shake reduction feature that can improve the clarity of a distant picture but should be turned off for close up shots.

No matter what type of camera you use, it is a good idea to invest in a tripod. The tripod will help steady the camera especially when you are waiting for a bird to turn just the right direction so you can capture that perfect shot.

Once you have your camera and tripod, the next step is to consider the lighting outside.

It is best to wait for an overcast or even rainy day since too much light on a sunny day can ruin a photo.

The droplets of rain on a leaf can act as a light box and enhance the photo as well as a fresh snowfall that will allow light to reflect up onto your subject.

Some of the final considerations before you take the photo are to look through the viewfinder for any distractions such as trash or other unwanted objects.

Also the placement of the subject does not have to be in the center of the photo.

Once you have a group of photos you took with your digital camera, you notice the contrast is a disappointment.

This problem is very common when using this type of camera. The contrast can be adjusted with the help of a free or inexpensive software program such as Picasso.

Other more expensive computer programs can also be used to alter the colors and textures and can even make the photo look like a painting.

 Ritter said that most wildlife photographers have a few tricks they use when capturing their subjects.

He uses a blind he has set up in his backyard in front of the bird feeders with his camera pointed to a perch he has created. The perch consists of a branch clipped to a pole to entice a bird to sit while it waits its turn at the feeder.

The La Jardinière Garden Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month.

If you would like more information about the club, contact Karen Hilborn Crabtree at or 223-7346.

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