How I Got the Shot: Dandelion Chameleon

On a recent shoot to Wingate Golf Club I was walking the rough, looking for insects to      photograph. I was lucky enough to find a very small flap-neck chameleon. It was only about 50 mm in length and walking along the ground in rather a hurry, possibly frightened by my clumsy footsteps. I thought I would get in front of it and lie on the ground to get down to its level, and to my great surprise it climbed up a dandelion. 

 Getting into position quickly I focused on its eye and took some banking shots, but was not happy as the colours were dull, so I popped the in-camera flash up took some more frames and that improved it greatly. It stopped about half way up the stem with its tail wrapped nicely around the stem, so I waited until it was looking at me and got the all-important glint in its eye.

 I would have liked the beautifully coloured reptile a bit further up nearer the plant head, but it would not be coaxed and I did not want it to bail off as I know how weak the dandelion stems are. The flash made the seed tails on the dandelion a bit bright, but I fixed that in post-production by going to adjust colour curves - darken highlights - which corrected it nicely. 

 After putting the chameleon on a few other grass stems and nice sticks, I then spent half an hour getting the most out of my model. It was released back into the grass unharmed and not too harassed to continue its mission. 

 Further adjustments in Adobe Photoshop Elements 12: auto contrast, a touch of sharpening and adding blacks.

 Camera Settings

CAMERA: Canon 7 D Mark II

LENS: Canon 100mm Macro 2.8 

F stop: F8

Shutter Speed: 250th sec

Focal length: 100mm 

Pop up flash

Winner of the “Open” category in the Mashonaland Photographic Society’s April 2019 competition.


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