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  • Susan Elaine Jones

Corona virus isolation week 1 - wildlife photography indoors

Many of you may be experiencing social isolation and the kind of stir crazy boredom that comes from staying home without choice for more than a few days. As an old hand at this, I hope to help you find new ways to enjoy "small living". (Note, this may also help on the long journey in a spacecraft to Mars, and then pod-based living whilst terraforming... I'm just making the case that it is a useful skill set to acquire for many occasions!).

Week 1 - wildlife photography indoors.

Now, firstly, you don't NEED to stay indoors, you can go for healthy walks in the fresh air in the countryside, or even any National Trust or RSPB property (as they are opening gardens for free). But, there is a wide variety of wildlife photography you can do indoors.

Border collie in mid-shake by Carli Davidson

You have the following choices:

  • Birds out of your window: This morning I had a particularly intimate view of pigeon courtship for breakfast. I didn't take photos, as it might be seen as revenge porn given the things they leave on my car.

  • Pet dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, snakes (last two not compatible together... well, not for long). Dogs catching treats or shaking off water can especially be fun.

  • Macro photography: And not just your flatshare spider! As flies, beetles and snails all crawl out of hibernation and bumble about your house, why not make them into film stars? It can take a mere 300 photos with focus stacking to make a nice print. (I would like to note that this is easier if they don't move around, but please don't kill for your photography.)

  • Or, if you have less patience and more nurturing inclinations, why not make insects into movie stars! In 1910 a chap realised that if you glue a fly to a chair, and give it something to play with, it makes quite an amusing video. What with macro lenses for iPhones nowadays, it might be quite easy to recreate!

I offer you for inspiration...

Video: The Acrobatic Fly (1910)

If you have more time and nimble but idle fingers, you could revive the flea circus with a few props made out of wire. Somehow I had always thought that flea circuses were just mechanical automaton cons, but it turns out I'm wrong... thank you Pathe News for enlightening me.

Pathe News Video: The Flea Circus

Note on ethics - arthropod video workers generally require payment in food and lodging. Flies enjoy sweet sticky excrement, fleas may enjoy human blood. But as one flea circus runner put it, "I make a living from them, and they take a living from me".

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