Living in the bush there are many forms of photography one can choose to execute, , with standard wildlife being the obvious choice. Of course, there are also Landscape and People, however one I feel that’s overlooked is Macro photography. It’s something I’ve not often thought of whilst living in the bush, yet this is the perfect place to put this art form into practice.
As I soon came to realise, though, it’s a lot more difficult than it seems…
Always being up for a challenge I decided to spend the week shooting only Macro photographs. One of the perks is not having to wander far to find subject matter; two steps out of the studio and I had a look around a base of a tree where I found a grasshopper. This was where I encountered my first problem.The grasshopper never sat still enough for me to get closer and its movements were completely erratic. The main challenge was simply finding the grasshopper through the viewfinder of the camera! I soon realised that this was not so much a walk in the park, but I was determined. Finally after crawling around on all fours for half an hour on a scorching hot day, hearing a couple of laughs from colleagues walking past, I managed to get close enough to get a few shots in.
Upon closer inspection I was amazed by the detail, but unfortunately with being so close to the insect and having such a wide aperture much of the detail was blurred out. I then decided to find another subject and try again. I then found a jumping spider which was on a leaf. The green made for a lovely backdrop.
After looking for this spider through my viewfinder for what seemed like an eternity I finally had it in my crosshairs, but I found out that the movements of this spider were also erratic, even more so than the grasshopper! I will be honest, I wasn’t having the best time, but I persisted and finally was able to get one shot which I thought turned out well considering this was my first go at Macro photography.
What I did try and do this time round to get more detail, is narrow my aperture; this increases the depth of field and gets more of the subject in focus, which is what you want.
I wasn’t satisfied as yet and decided to opt for a subject on the slower side…
A Leopard Tortoise was the perfect candidate, as I mentioned earlier I got down as close to the floor as possible. Point of View is crucial, especially when it comes to the smaller organisms.
The tortoise immediately retracted into its shell as I was seen as a threat, but I knew with a bit of patience it would slowly come out of its shell. It made for a great subject as there were great features I could highlight; patterns, texture and lines were prominent and made for some interesting photographs.
As I walked further along the camp path, I started looking at texture and angles in a way I had never done before and it opened up a whole new world for me. Just noticing the change in my own perspective was interesting to me.
As much of a challenge as macro photography is/was, it was certainly worth it; one can always do with additional skill sets, so going forward I will be sure to put the Macro to practice and hopefully in the near future have some exciting photographs to share.
Filed under Macro Photography Wildlife
Absolutely amazing photos love it.
I love taking macro shots of the insides of flowers. When the whole image is the inside of the flower it tends to look abstract and reminds me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting. Glad you experimented with this technique!
Matt, wonderful blog, I have never shot Macro. Efore
Matt, good tips for macro photography. It is very difficult to achieve the correct f-stop to capture either all or a detail shot of the subject. I noticed you were using a 180mm length lens- any reason for that in lieu of a Macro lens at between 85 to 105? I actually have my found my iPhone works quite well for macro work, and it’s an old 7s.
Great macro shots, and congrats on your first forays into macro. It’s like a totally different art form, almost abstract, where pattern and texture are revealed in great detail.
Macro photography is super-popular with scuba divers. So if you’re up for your next challenge, try trying to lie down with 30 lbs of scuba gear on your back while currents push you around and you float up and down, and the fish you’re trying to capture flit around like random!
Frogfish, tortoises, sting rays, spider’s webs … suddenly that fine detail on something that stays still looks very attractive!
Macro photography is an entirely different world with interesting subjects everywhere. But it is challenging to get it right and end up with images with reasonably perfect depth of field. Congratulations on some great pictures!
Loved the Tortoise! Could see his / her beady little eye! Wendy M