A treasure trove of little lizards

Many of us who are fortunate enough to live in or visit warmer climates have seen small lizards scurrying about. These little critters can make intriguing subjects for photographs if we can find a way to get close enough to them. I was able to capture a few images of small lizards with my Nikon 1 gear during a recent one-week trip to Cuba.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 38mm, efov 103mm, f/5, -0.7 step, 1/2500, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 38mm, efov 103mm, f/5, -0.7 step, 1/2500, ISO-160

Whenever I’m out walking around a tropical resort with my camera I always look for rock features like the one pictured above as these types of structures frequently will be home to numerous small lizards.

All I had to do was wait patiently for about five minutes and sure enough some of the little critters started to appear from inside the crevices in the rocks. You’ll notice that the one pictured below is in the process of shedding some skin.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-160

Since this rock feature was fairly close to the main walkway leading to the buffet restaurant the lizards were particularly skittish. I decided to wait until mid-afternoon to attempt to capture some images since at that time of day the restaurant was closed and there was less traffic on the footpath.

I usually use centre-weighted metering when photographing lizards and depending on the harshness of the light I sometimes will use a bit of exposure compensation.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO-160

In the past I typically only thought about using extension tubes when trying to capture macro-type images of bees and flowers.

I’ve recently begun to make it a habit to take my set of three MOVO extension tubes with me whenever I’m shooting with my 1 Nikon 30-110mm or CX 70-300mm lenses since I never know when a shorter minimum focusing distance may be needed for a particular image.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO-160

Using a 21mm MOVO extension tube with my CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens allowed me to shoot about a foot closer to these lizards. Given their relatively small size being able to move in even an additional foot was very handy.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO-400

I tried shooting from a number of different angles to mix up the backgrounds of the images as best I could.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 264mm, efov 712mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 264mm, efov 712mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-160

I did find a couple of other specimens during my visit, like the lizard above which was perched on an old, antique wagon in front of one of the speciality restaurants. The lizard kept scampering around on the top of the wagon bed so I stopped my lens down to f/8 to try to get more depth-of-field as I couldn’t capture it at the exact angle I wanted.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm, efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm, efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200

Another day I was out shooting some flower images and happened upon a couple of very tiny lizards. You can see that the above image has a bit of a “Where’s Waldo” factor to it. If you look in the centre of the frame you’ll see a small, green lizard. This little guy darted off and hid as I slowly approached, but I noticed another one close by on the same plants.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 86mm, efov 233mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-800
Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 86mm, efov 233mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-800

Sometimes lizards will ‘freeze’ in an attempt to blend in with their surroundings to fool a would-be predator, rather than dart off immediately. I decided to ‘go for broke’ and paused long enough to attach all three of my MOVO extension tubes to my Nikon1 V2, then refastened my 1 Nikon 30-110mm lens.

I approached the tiny lizard pictured above inch by inch and extended my arm out as smoothly and slowly as possible until the tip of my lens was about 12-14 inches (30.5-35.5cm) away from the lizard. Shooting one-handed I was able to grab the image above…my favourite lizard photo of my visit.

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Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.

2 thoughts on “A treasure trove of little lizards”

  1. These are delightful lizard photos. You are amazing to be able to get such good shots hand holding a camera with a long lens. And one handed – wow. I just seem to not be able to hold a camera steady. 🙁

    1. Hi Joni,
      The 1 Nikon 30-110mm lens is very small and light which makes it quite easy to shoot with hand-held. Using a shutter speed of 1/250 and the good VR of the lens also helped.
      Tom

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