Welcome to the world of Insects

Just after lockdown I wanted to look for another style of photography, and having a camera with a fantastic resolution I decided to enter the world of Macro photography.

Macro photography means shooting at a magnification ratio of at least 1:1 and a ‘true’ macro lens has the ability to produce a magnification ratio of 1:1.

Macro photography  is extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects and living organisms, like insects, in which the size of the subject in the photograph is greater than life size (though macro photography technically refers to the art).

Going from fast moving birds with my 600 zoom lens to a very small insects and flowers was a big change and needed a different approach all together.

I didn’t have to venture far because the garden is a fantastic place for spiders and all species of insect.

Woodlouse curled up

The woodlouse was making it’s way across the garden when I spotted it. Instead of trying to hide, it curled up into a tight ball – something I have never witnessed before.

Focusing with macro photography is very different than what I am used to with bird.

Using depth of field is critical when photographing insects – you must try and capture the whole insect in focus and this is more important than the background to your subject.

Butterfly resting on a Jasmine shrub. Sony 2.8 90mm Macro Lens

A week passed with some nice images from around the garden, but I really wanted some bee and wasp images.

Close to where we live is a small nature reserve with some nice wild gardens. The light was great for bees, and I found a nice suitable place to sit with the sun behind me.

After a short while trying to capture bees on flowers, I changed settings and used my birds in flight settings to follow the bee in flight.

I wasn’t expecting to capture and bee or wasp in flight, but on returning home I loaded the images into the laptop and got a big surprise – some were 100% in focus.

Honey bee approaching the flower
Hover Fly with pollen attached to the leg

What a amazing experience to be in their world for a short time, observing the way the fly from one flower to another looking for their harvest. They never seem to stop and rest – its a constant battle to collect as much pollen as possible.

Macro photography is about slowing down and and seeing things from the subject’s perspective, entering a world of miniature creatures that move quickly and then stop for a brief moment.

Watching certain species of fly or bee was very interesting. The different colours and designs are incredible.

Unknown insect

My first experience with the macro lens was very interesting, and as the days passed I kept noticing insects wherever I went in the garden.

Not all insects were easy to get an image of so its going to be a case of patience and time spent in their world.

As I photographed the insects, I could not help but notice the wide variety of plants and leaves that in their own way had amazing colour and detail.

A simple cobweb takes hours of work to build and with the morning dew on it glistening in the morning sun, it is stunningly beautiful.

Detail and image quality are the two most important things I look to achieve when I take photographs of anything.

From portrait to landscape, photos of birds or insects all have to be meticulous to show the scene or subject in the best possible way.

How lucky we are to see this miniature world captured in outstanding detail that many people rarely see or know about.

I really hope this blog gives the reader an insight into the world of insects.

Written by

I am 63 years old and and since a boy have had an interest in wildlife and in particular birds. I help my Dad with the rearing of young finches and other birds. I had many small birds as pets and as i got older and joined the Military i purchsed my first Camera, and fold out Kodak. Over a 22 year period i enjoyed many countries outside the uk and observed many species of birds. When i left the military in 2000, i bought my first digital camera a Canon 450D with a Tamron 70-300 and started my journey on capturing images of birds and animals. I quickly learned that there was a lot more to getting a good image of a bird, so i started to research the best settings for my camera in order to capture a better image. Over a 12 month period i realised that needed to invest in a better camera and lens and after research bought a Canon 50D and a 100-400 Lens. It was 2013 when i really got to grips with the setup and came across a lovely Short Eared Owl. From that meeting i started to concentrate on Owls as they fasinated me. From Canon to Olympus i recently jumped ship again to Sony. The variety of birds i have captured over a 10 year period is vast and at present i have a wildlife hide in lancashire where most of my images are captured.


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