Glimpses from the miniature world as ten photographers share their favourite macro images and reveal photography tips and tricks of the trade
Team Nature inFocus
A female Carrhotus sp. jumping spider makes an appearance at the edge of her floral perch, the pollen decorating her head like a tiara. Photographed in Bangalore, Karnataka by Pavan Tavrekere
If you were to pick a favourite wildlife image, what would you choose? A roaring lion, a tiger walking stealthily through the grasslands or perhaps a peacock displaying its feathers in all its glory? Okay, now how about if you look closer – at your immediate surroundings – the grass beneath your feet or the plants in your backyard? You will find that this world has a life of its own. Where grasshoppers, butterflies, spiders and numerous other life forms fight for food, build homes and procreate as they strive to survive in this complex world. One way of revealing the intricacies of their lives is through macro photography.
The many eyes of a spider, the eyespots on a butterfly's wings, the tiny, tiny eggs that insects lay – macro photography unfolds this lilliputian life and shows us the beauty in small things. Over the years, we have witnessed some wonderful macro captures through Hive uploads and on our social media. To celebrate this genre, we reached out to some of our contributors and asked them to share their favourite macro images along with tips to master this form of photography. Let's zoom in on what they have come up with.
“Macro photography has the innate ability to showcase details that the naked eye would have otherwise missed. It provides great insights into the tiny world of arthropods and flora. This can lead to interesting observations that unravel some stunning interwoven mysteries and result in spectacular images. However, utmost care must be taken to ensure that one follows ethical practices. Making images to showcase the beauty of the subject by harming it or its progeny is counterproductive!”
“Pay attention to your subjects, no matter how common they are. You might encounter a new perspective or a new behaviour that you would have never observed before. It is better to spend some extra time on the field than repent later for missing out on moments that you could have photographed."
“To manage depth of field in macro photography, it is important to set the camera on manual focus mode and stabilise it for better focus and sharp images. Spending some time on getting the settings right is crucial. Do not rush through the process."
“A macro photographer must be a naturalist first, and a photographer after. Once we know the habitat and understand the behaviour of the species, photography becomes very easy. Of course, this holds true for wildlife photography in general.”
“Light plays a key role in macro photography. If you land up using an external flash, then try to design the diffuser based on your needs. More important than the technique is your approach to the subjects. Always be kind to the insects and be patient with your photography.“
“Irrespective of your subject, when it comes to macro photography, you will most likely need to incorporate some extra light. As you are using a wider aperture and an extended focal length, the usual ambient lighting will not be enough. Using a reflector or an external flash along with a diffuser will improve your photographs.”
“Although using a dedicated macro lens can make your work easier, macro photography does not demand that you always use expensive lenses. All you need is your basic camera with its kit lens and some additional equipment. Once you establish your process, macro photography becomes easy and very satisfying.”
Equipment: Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 100mm f/2.8L lens, Raynox DCR-250 filter, external flash
“As photographers, we must spend time observing the subject. This gives us the opportunity to understand the animal's behaviour, which will help us plan the next image better. Our goal should not be to take a picture in a hurry. “
“Use a smaller aperture to show the details of the subjects. For example, the bark mantis was photographed at f/16 and the lacewing larvae at f/22. Also, do not disturb the subjects, especially while they are eating or mating.”