Raewyn Adams

Έγινε μέλος στις: Φεβ 04, 2021 Τελευταία δραστηριότητα στις: Μαρ 28, 2023 iNaturalist NZ

I go walking with camera and photograph anything that catches my eye. Lots of birds, but lots of everything else too. In 2022 I'm continuing my retrospective indexing of photos that missed out at the time I took them. And of course keeping up with new material through the year too. So some of what I post will be current, and some old.


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. Next I started taking a lens out to the beach but that's awkward, and still misses the smallest shells. So I now occasionally pick a random handful of likely washup to bring home. The older of these samples are currently stored without dates so are problematic for uploading to iNaturalist, but from our trip in autumn 2022 I have photographed, dated and properly stored about 120 species of micromollusc. Some of my "old favourites" from previous trips weren't there this time, so there is still work to be done on the retrospective collection. Sometime.

I owe huge thanks to @invertebratist and @predomalpha for identifying what they could 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!

It has also been new ground to go further into closeup photography. These are shells that can't really be seen without a magnifying lens, and even with a lens it's hard to identify any degree of detail. It takes a photo to really see what they look like and that has a whole set of challenges with depth of field, lighting, etc. But the result is fascinating.

(*A photographic guide to seashells of New Zealand / Margaret S. Morley and Iain A. Anderson.)

For anyone who may be interested, these are some notes on my current processes:


  • I'm using a Canon EOS 90D DSLR. The 32.5mp raw files allow plenty of room to crop.
  • I use the window seat in the north west corner of the lounge. Maximises evenness of natural light but also gives me harsh shadows if it's too sunny. Or insufficient light if it's too cloudy. I also use a 160-led video light as fill light for both of those problems. It can give unwanted spot reflections and shadows too. Lighting is all a bit hit and miss.
  • I experimented with several ways of doing the close-up photos and settled on manual focus, extension tubes, handheld, with the lens at about 55mm. Auto focus was hopeless – it focuses on the grid and it's too hard to adjust the focus manually on a tripod.

Photoshop workflow

  • Open all raw files for one shell or group in camera raw. Select all and click auto, 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 (it's about showing the organism clearly, not a photo competition).
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.


  • I put the 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.

I have retained full copyright on my photos but am happy to negotiate requests for usage especially for non-profit educational or conservation use.

raewyna δεν ακολουθεί κάποιον.