Raewyn Adams

Joined: Feb 4, 2021 Last Active: Nov 29, 2023 iNaturalist NZ

My default photo licence setting is All Rights Reserved, ie I have retained full copyright on my photos. I am happy to change individual photos to a CC-BY-NC licence to allow export to GBIF if the data requires it for scientific evidence of the sighting.

I am also happy to negotiate requests for other usage of photos, especially for non-profit educational or conservation use.

It is my wish that all of my iNaturalist content should remain on the site in the event of my death.

BACKGROUND
In 2021 I retired after 40+ years of library work, a career that gave me a basic understanding of taxonomy and scientific processes.

Since the 1980s I have always had a camera close at hand and in recent years discovered the pleasure of "walking with camera". I photograph anything that catches my eye – lots of birds, but lots of everything else too. In 2023 I'm continuing my retrospective indexing of photos that missed out at the time I took them (I'm back to early 2012). And of course keeping up with new material through the year too. So some of what I post will be current, and some old.

BIRDS
Birds are attractive, active and intelligent animals and are great subjects to photograph. Over the years I found myself coming home with more and more bird photos that made me curious about the behaviour I was capturing on the camera. This lead me to start self-publishing some books to utilise my photos meaningfully as well as sharing some of what I had learned along the way. It has been a while since I did a new book but I have plans for more in the future. There is more information at www.raewyn-adams.nz, including a blog page where I upload a few current photos.

FISHES (and anything else that lives in water)
My interest in the freshwater environment started with my family's home business of fish-farming for the aquarium trade when I was a teenager. Fishes are, like birds, attractive, intelligent and active animals. At home I have a pond with goldfish and minnows (and whatever frogs drop by in summer). When I'm out and about, watching rockpools is even better with so much variety of life to be found. The best day to be had is when I can find an octopus that wants to engage with me.

SHELLS
I have always noted attractive and interesting shells. Sometimes I collect them. Sometimes I just photograph them and move on.
A few years ago at Spirits Bay I had found something that prompted me to check the book* I keep on the van and I started reading it through. At the end there is a photo of a group of micromolluscs and a paragraph that says "about 75% of New Zealand's molluscs are less than 10mm long...". I thought "Hmmm..." and headed back to the beach to look, and I found a whole new world of beauty.
At first I just collected those that I could see with my naked eye but of course realised that I was still missing a lot. I now occasionally pick a random handful of likely washup to bring home and look at/photograph more thoroughly.
I owe huge thanks to @invertebratist, @predomalpha and @thomas_stolberger for identifying what they can from the observations I have uploaded. Some organisms are undoubtedly not yet described, and some can't really be identified from photos of dead washup, but it has been hugely satisfying to learn something about what these animals are and to try to figure out what is what as I learn. Thank you!
(*A photographic guide to seashells of New Zealand / Margaret S. Morley and Iain A. Anderson.)

PHOTOGRAPHY
I have a number of cameras and lenses. My best and most used camera is currently a Canon EOS 90D DSLR. For birds and general photography while walking the Canon 100-400mm lens is the most useful. For underwater views I have several GoPro Hero3+ cameras and attachments. They are getting pretty old but are surprisingly good.
For the close-up photos of micromolluscs, I experimented with a number of techniques and have settled on the 90D camera with extension tubes on a 28-80mm lens set at 80mm. With this I use either a 5mm grid printed on fawn coloured paper or a 2mm grid printed on grey paper.
For the very tiny organisms I'm using the 90D with a camera-to-mircoscope attachment on a 1959 Kyowa microscope. The grid on this set up is 1mm printed on OHP transparency film.
In the world of small I'm finding that it takes a photo to really see what things look like and that has a whole set of challenges with depth of field, lighting, etc. But the result is fascinating.

Photoshop workflow
-Open all raw files for one shell or group in camera raw. Select all, check what effect "auto" has, then make any other global adjustments that might be helpful.
-Open all in Photoshop, assess the photos, choose the best to upload and/or decide to re-do if none are any good. I'll tolerate some issues with the photos but try to show detail where it's needed.
-Crop to the subject. Usually 3:2 or 1:1, occasionally 3:4 ratio.
-Auto contrast. Keep or reject. Do any further contrast/colour corrections. I try to enhance the detail so sometimes the colour can end up a bit weird (it's about showing the organism clearly, not a photo competition).
-Resize to 2000 pixels on the longest side. Often that's re-sizing upwards and Photoshop does that very well.
-Smart sharpen. The first time is usually good, the second time is sometimes better, sometimes not. Sharpening doesn't really help to remove blur, but can create an impression that the photo is sharper than it really is.
-Save as a new file.

Upload
I search iNat and other resources to try and figure out what it is. I try to be specific if I have an idea of the ID, but often find that I'm wrong. When I have no idea I go broad. Searching iNat to learn is an important part of the fun.

Storage
I put micro-shells in containers that have 4x7 compartments each 15x15x20mm and numbered. On a spreadsheet I record the compartment number with the iNat observation number and the final ID.

raewyna is not following anyone.