In the following chapter I propose to say a few words about the photography of Animals, Insects, and Flowers. I am quite aware, however, that it will be impossible to deal at all adequately with these branches of work in this book. To do justice to either would require a separate volume.
Considerable space has already been devoted to the photography of birds and their nests and that for two reasons. The study of birds has always appealed very strongly to myself, and the nests, being stationary objects, will allow the beginner to spend the necessary time in dealing with them to enable him to gain a large amount of experience, which, while helping him to become more expert in his work, will also prove of considerable value to him when dealing, later on, with more difficult subjects. Birds' nests are, therefore, very suitable subjects to commence with.
But it has already been stated that the nesting period is confined practically to about three months only out of the twelve, and the Nature Photographer will require other material to deal with during the remaining nine months if he desires to continue his work throughout the year. Subjects may, of course, be found even during the winter, but the majority of workers will probably confine their attention to outdoor work for about eight months in the year, say from March to October. During very severe weather, or when snow is on the ground, birds will become tamer on account of hunger, and if fed at regular intervals will collect in numbers ready for the expected meal. At such times good studies of them may sometimes be made, but as in the winter the days are very short and the light of very little actinic power, the worker who has only limited time at his disposal will probably not have the necessary amount required during the middle part of the day, the only period when the light is good enough for short exposures.
During the season when the days are short and, as a rule, dull, the majority of workers will no doubt prefer to engage in work which may be carried on indoors, such as the making of lantern slides and enlargements, or the arrangement, storing, and cataloguing of the stock of negatives obtained during the past season. One of the best methods of doing this is to keep each negative in a separate envelope, which bears on the outside of the flap the title, with particulars of exposure, etc., and also an identifying number. If these be arranged upright on a shelf in numerical order, and a catalogue of them made, any one can easily be found. One advantage of this method is that each negative need only be handled when required, and a system such as this will thus tend towards the prevention of accidents. Even the most careful worker will be likely to experience the mortification of breaking a favourite negative at times if his stock is on glass plates; but any methodical arrangement will help to reduce this possibility to a minimum.