Introduction to Insect Macro Photography (Part II) – How to Approach Insects

Photo by Huub de Ward / Portrait of the Common Yellow Dung-fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), sometimes called the golden dung fly:  Magnification 9, f/6.4, ISO 100 and 1/250 sec

Photo by Huub de Ward / Portrait of the Common Yellow Dung-fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), sometimes called the golden dung fly: Magnification 9, f/6.4, ISO 100 and 1/250 sec

This is part II of a guest post by Huub de Waard, an exceptional photographer who specializes in close-up shots of insects. After reading his post, be sure to check out more of his awesome photos at his website. And, if you’re also interested in writing a guest post here on PhotoNaturalist, please contact me, thanks! –Steve

Although most insects do not have orifices in their body for picking up sound vibrations, many use parts of their body, such as their wings, antennae, or special hairs, like TV antennae to detect vibrations in the environment or in the air. Any errant movement on your part could cause you to miss a shot, so be sure to tread carefully when approaching your subjects.

Your job is to make yourself appear non-threatening. The first thing you want to do is move very slowly. Look before you move, look at where you place your feet, look at where your equipment is, and most of all plan where you are going to put the front of your lens. Many potentially good shots have been ruined by the front of a lens bumping a branch or leaf where an insect was resting, causing it to flee. [Read more...]

Introduction to Insect Macro Photography (Part I)

Photo by Huub de Waard / Portrait of a little fly: Magnification 8, f/8, ISO 100 and 1/250 sec

Photo by Huub de Waard / Portrait of a little fly: Magnification 8, f/8, ISO 100 and 1/250 sec


This is a guest post by Huub de Waard, an exceptional photographer who specializes in close-up shots of insects. After reading his post, be sure to check out more of his awesome photos at his website. And, if you’re also interested in writing a guest post here on PhotoNaturalist, please contact me, thanks! –Steve

One of the most popular books that I read during my childhood was Eric in the Land of the Insects, written by the Dutch author Godfried Bomans. In this humorous fantasy, nine-year-old Eric enters the landscape painting that hangs on his wall and he discovers a world of man-sized wasps, bees, butterflies and other insects that is stunningly similar to the world of humans. Once photography became a part of my life and I purchased the Canon extreme macro lens MP-E 65 mm f/2.8, which has combined with a 2x teleconverter a maximum magnification of 10:1, my world was populated with grasshoppers, spiders, snails, flies, dragonflies and butterflies—Eric’s world.

Magnification describes the relationship between the actual size of the subject and the size of its image on the sensor of the camera. Photographing a 3 cm (1.18 inch) long blue-tailed damselfly so that its image size is 1 cm (0.39 inch) on the sensor means that the magnification is 1/3 (1:3) life-size. Dividing the size of the subject’s image on the sensor by the actual size determines the magnification. At 1:1 life-size, the size of the subject on the sensor is as big as it is in real life. Macrophotography is restricted to magnifications in the order of 1:10 to 1:1 life-size. Microphotography is the extreme form of macrophotography, dedicated to the photography of small objects from life-size to modest enlargements of up to about 20. [Read more...]

Happy Birthday to PN!

Photo by Will Clayton (used under the CC license)

Photo by Will Clayton (used under the CC license)

Today, PhotoNaturalist celebrates its fifth birthday! We’re now halfway to a decade, woohoo!

It’s been an amazing five years. This blog has been one of the most rewarding projects of my life, and I’m looking forward to continuing its growth.

I want to send out a special thank you to everyone who’s helped spread the word about PhotoNaturalist. Social networking continues to be our biggest source of traffic, so if you’ve shared one of our posts with your friends, thank you for helping us grow :)

Thanks for reading these past five years! [Read more...]

New Issue of Fotozaar Now Available!

Fotozaar - Issue 3Today I’m happy to announce that the third issue of Fotozaar is now available. It contains twenty incredible photographs from a wide variety of photographers, along with detailed explanations of how each image was made.

You may remember hearing about Fotozaar last year, when I released the first issue.

The idea for this series of ebooks was inspired by my strong belief that one of the best ways to learn something is by example. As Albert Einstein put it, “Learning by example isn’t the best way to learn. It’s the only way to learn.” [Read more...]

Edward Weston: The Photographer

Edward Weston once said that “Good composition is merely the strongest way of seeing.” I’ve always thought that was one of the best explanations of what photography is at it’s core: it’s really just about learning to see better.

Weston is widely known as one of the most influential American photographers. He primarily shot photos in the American West (especially California), and photographed a wide range of subjects (including landscapes, portraits, and still life).

I recently came across an excellent documentary about Weston and his approach to photography (thanks to Jim Goldstein for sharing!), so I thought it’d be great to share on PN. It’s a little dated (filmed in 1948), but there’s a lot of inspirational stuff in here:

Enjoy! :) [Read more...]

Why You Should Get Insurance For Your Gear

Photo by Bryan Fenstermacher (used under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

Photo by Bryan Fenstermacher (used under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)

Photography is an expensive hobby. You might’ve started with something small and inexpensive, like a point and shoot camera. But, then the passion was probably too much to control, so you moved onto a more manual camera, or even a DSLR. Then came all the fancy lenses and tripod. And, before you knew it, all your camera gear became more valuable than your car.

If that sounds anything like you, then it might be a good idea to consider getting insurance for all of your camera gear.

Insurance helps protect the large investment you’ve made in camera gear and it gives you “peace of mind” — so you don’t have to worry about your gear getting stolen, and instead you can just focus on taking photographs (pun intended, heh). [Read more...]