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
|scrum break away by al booth|
from Sport competition
|Chinese Acrobat by lim yau tong|
|Parking Deck by Olaf R|
from Your City - Parking Garage
|Communication Tech by alberto_b|
|With & without by OBellini|
from Empty - Full
In this weeks' Throwback Thursday article, Simon raises a toast to the Sony Digital Mavica FD71 - a little camera which used really big memory cards.
It's been half a decade since Canon first debuted the original 6D and finally its successor is here. So what does five years of innovation look like?
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II brings more resolution, better autofocus and faster continuous shooting to Canon's entry-level full-frame camera. And we've had the opportunity to shoot with one.
The Canon 6D Mark II will ship to consumers in August, but we've been able to do some shooting with a pre-production unit well in advance.
Rumors have been swirling around for a while, and Canon has just unveiled the long-awaited successor to the popular and long-serving EOS 6D. Read all about it in our hands-on preview.
Canon's latest entry-level DSLR is here. The new Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) is the belated successor to 2013's Rebel SL1, billed at the time as the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market.
Nearly five years after the announcement of the EOS 6D, Canon has finally replaced it with the EOS 6D Mark II. The Mark II features an all-new 26.2MP Dual Pixel AF full-frame sensor, 6.5 fps burst shooting, a fully articulating touchscreen, 1080/60p video and much more.
Canon has announced the EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D), which replaces the aging SL1. This ultra-compact DSLR features a 24MP sensor, DIGIC 7 processor, Dual Pixel AF system and a 3" fully articulating touchscreen LCD.
When one of his friends got a filter stuck on his $1,700 Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, former MythBuster Adam Savage removed it using an unlikely, terrifying tool: a band saw.
The New Yorker asked Magnum's famed photographers, in town for the agency's 70th anniversary, to go out and capture 'the fleeting beauty of New York City's golden hour.' This is what they shot.
Roger Cicala is a difficult man to impress, but he's been waxing lyrical over at Lensrentals about Sony's new 12-24mm wide zoom.
Glassware is one of the most challenging subjects to photograph, especially against a white background. This tutorial shows you how to do it with hardly any gear.
Handevision is now shipping its all-metal Iberit 90mm F2.4 short telephoto lens for Leica M-mount 35mm and full-frame cameras.
Isocell comprises four sub-brands: Bright, Fast, Slim and Dual which are tailored to specific mobile device market demands.
The new store will be located at the Fotografiska center for contemporary photography in Stockhom, Sweden and carry the full range of Hasselblad products.
A recent vacation gave Richard a chance to think about the needs of travel photography – and how our reviews might recognize the perfect travel camera.
Need more evidence that 2017 is the year analog begins its comeback? Well, welcome another new film stock to the world.
The winners of the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards have been announced, and they're striking.
If you were disappointed by reports that the Sony a9 struggles with adapted Canon glass, you might be able to take some comfort from Metabones' latest update.
Blackmagic Design has dropped the prices of its Video Assist external monitor/recorders for a limited time. Prices of the SD card-based recorders will be reduced in all markets, while supplies last.
Instagram has started testing a new feature called 'favorites' that enables users to share photos with only certain people. Only a small number of users have access to the feature at this time, though it may roll out to everyone in the future.
Lensbaby has announced the Velvet 85 F1.8 for interchangeable lens cameras. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, Sony E, Sony A, Pentax K, Samsung NX, Fuji X and Micro 4/3 mounts.
It's the end of an era. Parent company Micron has announced that they are discontinuing the Lexar retail brand. This includes 'memory cards, USB flash drives, readers, and storage drives.'
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.