If you ever wondered what it would be like to stare deeply into the eyes of a bumblebee, or to investigate the tiny microfiber hairs on a flower, macro photography is just right for you!
Even people with an intense attention to detail might easily pass by many of the amazing intricacies of the small world happening around us every day. Macro photography brings this world to life by revealing a tiny universe not generally visible with the naked eye. The final products involve beautiful and intricate patterns and textures, intimate insect portraits, reflective water droplets, and much, much more.
Simply, macro photography is taking pictures super close-up. A macro lens is usually a fixed, non-zoom lens that achieves extreme magnification. Lenses with 1:1 or 1:2 ratios can produce subjects that appear equal to or much larger than life size, which is how photographers capture things like the eyes of a fly or the tiny droplets of rain on a leaf. Focusing can be a challenge in macro photography so, oftentimes, photographers will set the manual focus to the highest magnification and then slowly move the camera towards the subject until it is in the desired focus. Once the appropriate focus and framing is achieved, it helps to use a tripod in order to keep the camera perfectly still and to capture meticulous detail. A timer or a cable release can also help prevent camera shake that may occur due to pressing the shutter button.
Here is a collection of photographers who have mastered the technique of macro photography and help us to have fresh eyes and to see the world in new ways.
This Oklahoma-based photographer really narrows in on a bug’s life. From jumping spiders to the compound eyes of the robber fly, Thomas Shahan searches out creatures in their natural environments to capture every day activities. He creates life-size portraits of insect’s faces, faces that you can’t see without the combination of a macro lens and Shahan’s intense patience.
In his retired free time, former PhD Microbiologist Brian Valentine turned his attention and incredible talents to a love of macro photography. As a keen gardener, his backyard is filled with a plethora of photo subjects including insects and plants. In his very own backyard, Valentine uses Canon equipment to create these surreal scenes of images within images, reflections in water droplets that are all captured in camera. Valetine says macro photography, “allows [him] to explore a relatively unknown world full of fascination.”
Israel-based photographer Nadav Bagim draws on inspiration from sci-fi, fantasy, and cartoons to conjure up these impressive and magical narratives of a miniature land. Each photograph tells the story of an insect’s life and it’s hard to believe these scenes are real! Bagim says, “This is not a photomontage, no pasting in or cutting out objects, no selective coloring or saturation boosting or anything similar. The colors are real, the "snow" is real, and so are the insects, landscapes and the rest.” Check out a detailed interview with Bagim here.
Scotland-based photographer Jane Thomas experiments with soapy water and a macro lens to capture light and reflections through thin films of liquid. Her macro technique involves photographing a space no larger than 18mm wide on a small bubble wand. She loves creating colorful effects with her 100mm macro lens, and if you like her work, you can see even more of it here.
German photographer Heinz Maier, aka Cymaii, has mastered the technique of capturing the minute details of flowing and splashing liquids, a combination of macro and high speed photography. His technical capabilities and lighting techniques, along with a touch of post-processing and added saturation, result in these fantastic shapes and forms that otherwise disappear in the blink of an eye.
Which one is your favorite?