Having come up with the name “Mothography” to describe how I photograph moths, why not “Animalography” for how I photograph animals.
If the animal is small enough to be hand-held, I’ll often go that route since one’s hand can provide a decent setting as well as useful size reference (i.e. “Handamals”). Besides hands, also consider other natural settings of known size (e.g. walnut shell). But here again, the next most important element after choosing your subject is your background: Simple and uncluttered would always be my preference.
Feeding a tethered Bumble-bee with an eye-dropper is another story for another time ( Warren Krupsaw « Nicolette’s Comfort & Joy Blog), but once you can handle them safely, they do make excellent subjects and fascinating “pets.”
In the case of “(Humming) Bird-in-Hand,” which might be more accurately described as “Stunned Humming bird Recovering,” I had about 15 seconds before my cat showed up and shut things down. The bird had crashed into our large picture window and was struggling to recover when I came upon it. In those ancient times, you actually had to turn the lens to focus it. So holding the bird in one hand, I quickly focused my tripod-mounted camera with my other and got off a couple shots before the little guy took off.
For most animals I don’t believe you need a lot of fancy, specialized equipment as the majority of these images were created using my Canon G-9 / G-11. Of course if your subject is moving around, you shoot a lot and keep only the best.
Warren Krupsaw, a one-time student (and house guest) of Ansel Adams is a nature photographer concentrating on landscape & detail. After participating in the first year of a new graduate program in Photography at M.I.T. with Minor White, he earned his M.F.A. in Photography under Harry Callahan at the R.I.S.D. in 1968. Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/thekrupgallery