The art of Macro Photography: Part 1

July 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

As noted a few weeks back, I have begun work on a new macro tutorial series entitled “The art of Macro Photography”.

Due to other commitments, including the imminent launch of my new website, it has taken a while longer than I had hoped to produce the first part of this series. But I am now happy to report that the first part is now ready.

I have decided to start slowly, with Part 1 being a simple introduction to the genre and will be moving on to the next part shortly. By the time the series is complete, I hope it proves useful and informative to at least some out there!

Of course, if you have any feedback about this first part, as requests for anything you would like included in future parts of the series, feel free to let me know!

Below is a direct link to a downloadable pdf document. Either click to view directly, or right click and choose “Save as” to save the file to your PC.

 The art of Macro Photography.  Part 1: Introduction

TaoMP_PT1Sample pages from “The art of Macro Photography” Part 1: Introduction


Picking your patch

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

One of the questions I am most often asked by people viewing my macro images is “where do you find these things?”. The answer to that is simple… most places you look! Insects and the like have acclimatized to and infiltrated our everyday life to an extraordinary extent. We cross paths with them every day, but most people are simply oblivious to their presence.

So does this mean that most macro shooters simply shoot around the house? Not at all! While a few may have the required habitats in their yards to support an abundant variety of insect life, most of us are forced to go looking if we want to find an area that offers a good range of bio-diversity in a concentrated area. It’s this bio-diversity that helps keep interest levels high and provides a wide range of subject matter.

When I first started shooting macro, my biggest concern was simply finding enough interesting subjects to shoot. I tried several nearby locations that looked promising, but none offered more than the odd subject here and there. It wasn’t until after several of these frustrating outings that I finally came across an area that was literally crawling with life in all shapes and sizes. It has been my staple shooting area for the last couple of years and I am still finding new species to shoot.

Recently, I had cause to look back and think about why this area is so much more productive than others areas I have tried. Below is a list of attributes that I have come up with that I now look for when picking new areas to shoot

1) The presence of permanent water, both still and running
        It’s a simple and well known fact that water attracts life. A mixture of running and still water provides both feeding and breeding areas for insects.

2) Diverse flora
        A lot of insects will limit their existence to a single species of flora, be it a plant, tree or other. The larger the range of flora in the area, the larger the range of potential subjects!

3) Low human interaction
        While many insect species are happy to co-exist with us, most prefer to do their own thing. Finding an out of the way spot provides a greater chance of finding the more solitary or wary species.

4) Dense vegetation
        A lot of insects spend their lives hiding from potential predators, so the denser the vegetation in an area, the more hiding spots that are available which in turn can encourage larger populations into the area.

5) Abundant food and housing sources
        Linked with points 1 and 2 above. An area with more food sources will usually be home to more insects. In conjunction with this, the correct types of habitat for housing these insects is required if the insects are to become regular visitors. In this sense, it pays to know the habits of your subjects as they can help identify likely areas of habitation.

I’m sure there are numerous other traits that make an area good for macro photography, so please feel free to respond with any thoughts on the subject!

Upcoming macro tutorials

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Over the last couple of years I’ve had a lot of people ask me for more information on how I capture my macro images.  I’ve often threatened to put together a series of tutorials and walkthroughs of my processes, but until now I simply haven’t managed it. Well, I figure that it’s about time I actually changed that!

Over the coming months I will be endeavouring to sift through a mountain of thoughts in an attempt to dilute them down to some practical and structured notes that will hopefully give you some insights into how I go about my macro work.  I will try to encompass as much as I can, from equipment, through to in-the-field techniques and my digital work-flow.

At the end of the series, I hope to have shed enough light on the subject to help those already interested in macrophotography as well as hooking a few of those who have been wondering what the fuss is all about. In my opinion, the more people we can encourage to either try the genre or even just appreciate the subjects, the better!

IMG_4103-2Learn the art of capturing high detail macro images with my upcoming tutorial series

Changing moods via backgrounds

March 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

My better half brought home a spray of small bromeliad flowers a few nights ago and when I noticed them sitting on the kitchen table, I decided to grab a few shots. I thought it was quite interesting how the mood of an image can be changed by something as simple as a slight change in perspective resulting in a different background.

For the first image, I singled out a individual flower and isolated it away from the rest of the flowers. Due to the fall off of light and nothing close by behind the flowers, this resulted in a pure black background.


For the second image, I moved only a matter on millimetres and shot another flower, this time set against the rest of the flower spray, result in a vibrant background


It’s quite obvious that each image has its own mood, and while neither is “right” or “wrong”, it’s something to keep in the back of your mind when out shooting. It’s important to remember that you can create completely different images by simply varying what you shoot your subject against.

(Both shots with Canon MP-E @ around 4x magnification)


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