Whenever I teach macro photography I begin with a statement and two questions. The statement is that I, as a nature photographer, teach macro photography in the wild. The two immediate questions that stem from this statement are:
- What is macro photography?
- Why do I choose to shoot macro photographs in the wild?
In this article, the first of a new series here on dpreview, I'll try to answer these questions, as well as elaborate a little bit about the essence of macro photography as I see it. I'll also try to give you enough information about the upcoming articles to keep you interested!
What is macro photography?
In simplest terms, macro photography is shooting your subjects from a close distance.
|Photographer Gilad Mass shoots a |
praying mantis up close and personal.
What is a 'close distance'? Anything from half a meter down to 4 or 5cm away from your subject.
Why shoot in the wild?
As for the second question - why shoot in the wild? - there are three answers, but they are personal, rather than technical.
Firstly, in my opinion, shooting insects and tiny animals is the most fascinating, exciting, forget-all-your-troubles experience a photographer can have. These minute creatures are not only crucial for our existence here on earth, but their colors, structure, behavior and interaction with the living world are unparalleled. Shooting earrings or sushi is considered macro photography, and a lot of photographers make a good living doing it, but does that even begin to compare to shooting a hovering dragonfly or a spider in the midst of a vicious hunt? I seriously doubt it.
|A dragonfly hovering in midair - a very close and exciting encounter of the third kind!|
The second reason for why I choose to shoot in the wild is simply that it is very challenging. And like all challenges, it is extremelt rewarding. Shooting outdoors in an uncontrolled environment is signficantly harder than shooting in a controlled environment, such as a studio. In nature you can't tell the sun when and where to shine, or tell the wind to stop blowing. You cannot predict which species you encounter and whether or not they feel like staying around for a quick snap. You cannot prevent a bird from snatching a praying mantis just when you finished composing and focusing (true story). Nature is essentially uncontrollable and as such, when you adopt is as your working environment a lot can - and does - go wrong. Once you've mastered shooting in the wild, taking pictures in a studio is easy.
Don't get me wrong though - have a lot of respect for the art of studio photography. Some of my favorite shots were taken in the studio, and the results obtained in a highly controlled environment can be nothing short of amazing. Yet in a studio there is no sun, no wind, no shifting clouds or rain, and you can pretty much control everything except animal behavior. That makes shooting in the studio easier, at least in principal.
The third reason why I shoot in the wild is that I don't feel that I have a choice. Ultimately, in my opinion, nature and wildlife photographers need to shoot in the wild. Nature photography is all about showing the beauty of the world surrounding us, its intricacy and diversity. And that just cannot be done in a studio, high-tech as it may be. Personally, I believe wildlife photography should be done in nature, nowhere else.
|Photographer Shy Cohen doing what he does best: shooting in nature.|
A quick yet important statement: All the shots you will see in this article, and in the rest of the series, show animals that are:
- alive (unless being eaten by another creature)
- absolutely free and unharmed
- in their natural surroundings
These three rules are especially important to me, so I will elaborate. Alive - well, that is pretty much self-explanatory, but there are photographers out there who shoot dead subjects. I am OK with that in principle, as long as the subject is not claimed to be alive, and is not killed on purpose just for the shot. Some special kinds of photographs, such as those taken using a scanning-electron-microscope (SEM), require the subject to be gold-plated or cut in cross-sections, so of course it needs to be dead. I personally don't do that kind of photography, but I have no problem with it. There is something I do have a problem with though - animal abuse, and that’s where rule number two is important. Believe it or not, some 'kind souls' have the gruesome habit of abusing subjects, just to get a shot! Needless to say, all of the photographs you'll see here are abuse free.
As for natural surroundings - it is important to remember that you can really hurt an animal if you pull it away from its habitat. Lots of insects are dependent upon the plants you find them on, so even if you have to move them for a photograph, put them back on the same kind of plant when finished. The same goes for amphibians, and practically any other kind of animal.
By now we have a good starting point - I have given you a basic overview of what macro photography is, and how and why I do it, but a lot remains unexplained. What exactly it is that makes shooting up close so different? how do I persuade insects into cooperating for a photograph? What equipment should you use? How do you light a macro shot, and how should you manipulate it post-process? These questions, among many others, will be answered in the articles to come, so stay tuned for much more.
Aug 10, 2014
Aug 3, 2014
Jul 14, 2014
May 25, 2014
|Fascia walkie talkie building London by ian herridge|
from Abstract Architecture
|Global Reach by cjf2|
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.
After 1.7 million downloads on Apple computers since the launch in November 2015, Aurora HDR will be available for Windows PCs for the first time with the 2018 release.
The company behind the new Meyer Optik Goerlitz lens manufacturing business has formed a new brand to bring back the Biotar 75mm F1.5 that was made by Carl Zeiss Jena in the 1940s and 50s.
The updated Qualcomm Spectra system is a dual-camera setup that is capable of sensing depth and motion in real time.