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Living in disguise – to survive or to prey

Living in disguise – to survive or to prey

Some insects and animals use camouflage as an effective way to protect themselves from natural enemies. Camouflage works for prey as well as predators, both sides in the battle for survival. Often we miss noticing an insect/reptile even after carefully observing its habitat, even though we are very much sure of its presence there. Many a time Bark Geckos and Bark Mantis are so well camouflaged on tree bark that we fail to spot them unless they move.

 

Plant hopper Camouflage

Plant hopper Camouflage

 

Photographing these camouflaged insects/reptiles is extremely challenging. There are two perspectives to photograph camouflaging in nature- either show the animal or capture how effectively it is blended in the surroundings. For the first one, you should use a good macro/zoom lens and even fire a flash to illuminate the creature. The flash will create a shadow below or next to the creature, which will help highlight the creature in the photograph. In this case, you should fill 3/4th of the frame with the subject. In case of the other perspective, when you want to show how perfectly the creature is blended with the background, so you need to include both in your frame. You may click it with macro/ wide angle/ zoom lens and preferably without flash, to avoid any shadow from appearing between the subject and background. If the light is poor, I may use fire-flash or try a different angle, which results in minimum shadow.

 

Katydid

Katydid

 

With macro photography, shallow depth of field is always a challenge; so try to click in the higher aperture to create more depth of field. A pure macro lens will render razor-sharp photos but zoom/kit lens with some close-up accessories like close up filters, extension tubes will also give you nice results.

 

Cover Pic: Blue Oakleaf 

Read also: A flower with beauty and brains 


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About the Author /

Yuwaraj Gurjar works with Raymond Limited - a renowned textile manufacturing company, but his love for nature always drives him to go places into wild India – being hugely diversified habitats. He has traveled across the country & Sri Lanka for nature observations and photography. His photographs have won many national and international awards; have been exhibited across the world. Some photos were included in field guides, educational websites and magazines. He actively spreads the awareness & knowledge about nature, wildlife & photography especially Macro Photography. He has developed a free Mobile App on Butterflies of Mumbai named “I love Butterflies”.

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