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Exploring the Tiny World of Microphotography – (Part 2: Insects & Critters)

In Part 1, I gave an introduction to microphotography and the gear that you’ll need to take photographs on a very small scale. In this part, we will discuss the joys and challenges of working with tiny creatures and insects.

The world of insects, spiders and other small forms can be enjoyed on any beautiful day from early spring until late autumn. I can step out of my house on any sunny morning with a cup of coffee and leisurely browse the garden and see where the action is. Or I can choose my spot and watch and wait. And with a little patience, insects and spiders will show themselves and sometimes seem to pose for the camera.

Radical portrait speckled bush-cricket, made with magnification factor 8 and f/8. It looks now more like a raging bull. Made with a Canon 7D, a Canon macrolens MP-E 65 mm/f2.8 and a 2x Canon teleconverter. The speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) is a flightless species of bush-cricket that occurs across most of Europe. The grass-green body, which is about 15 millimetres (0.59 in) long, carries minute black specks, as reflected in the common and Latin name of the species; in addition, the dorsal surface of the abdomen features a brown stripe; this is more pronounced in the male. A yellow-white stripe extends backwards from the eyes. The lower legs and feet are brownish. The antennae are twice as long as the body.The species is brachypterous: the male's forewings are reduced to small flaps, and those of the female are even more reduced. The hindwings are completely absent, and both males and females are flightless (source: Wikipedia).
Radical portrait speckled bush-cricket, made with magnification factor 8 and f/8. It looks now more like a raging bull. Made with a Canon 7D, a Canon macrolens MP-E 65 mm/f2.8 and a 2x Canon teleconverter. The speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) is a flightless species of bush-cricket that occurs across most of Europe.

Watching the world of gardens in this way quickly reveals that it is truly “a jungle out there” – a jungle of small predators and preys striving for survival. Microphotography can uncover amazing details of the mysterious world of insects. And yet, this amazing world of insects is right outside the door of virtually every home.

Continue reading Exploring the Tiny World of Microphotography – (Part 2: Insects & Critters)

Exploring the Tiny World of Microphotography – (Part 1: An Intro)

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.

Portrait female marmalade hoverfly, made with magnification 5 and f/14 using a Canon 7D and a Canon MP-E 65mm/2.8. Episyrphus balteatus, sometimes called the marmalade hoverfly, is a relatively small hoverfly (9–12 mm) of the Syrphidae family, widespread throughout all continents. Like most other hoverflies it mimics a much more dangerous insect, the solitary wasp, though it is a quite harmless species. The upper side of the abdomen is patterned with orange and black bands. Two further identification characters are the presence of secondary black bands on the 3rd and 4th dorsal plates and of faint greyish longitudinal stripes on the thorax. E. balteatus can be found throughout the year in various habitats, including urban gardens, visiting flowers for pollen and nectar. They often form dense migratory swarms, which may cause panic among people for its resemblance to wasps. It is among the very few species of flies capable of crushing pollen grains and feeding on them. The larva is terrestrial and feeds on aphids. As in most other hoverflies, males can be easily identified by their holoptic eyes, i.e., left and right compound eyes touching at the top of the head (source: Wikipedia).
Portrait female marmalade hoverfly, made with magnification 5 and f/14 using a Canon 7D and a Canon MP-E 65mm/2.8. Episyrphus balteatus, sometimes called the marmalade hoverfly, is a relatively small hoverfly (9–12 mm) of the Syrphidae family, widespread throughout all continents. It can be found throughout the year in various habitats, including urban gardens, visiting flowers for pollen and nectar.

The book made such an impression on me that I have always wanted to explore such a world full of wondrous creatures myself. Once photography became a part of my life, I purchased the Canon MP-E 65 mm f/2.8 extreme macro lens and my world was populated with grasshoppers, spiders, snails, flies, dragonflies and butterflies—Eric’s world.

What is Microphotography?

A leafhopper (Issus coleoptratus nymph), the size is around 1.5 mm. Fullgrown they have a promiment spur on the hindleg. The photo has been made with magnification factor 8 and f/8.
A leafhopper (Issus coleoptratus nymph), the size is around 1.5 mm. Fullgrown they have a promiment spur on the hindleg. The photo was made with a magnification factor of 8x and f/8.

Microphotography (sometimes spelled as two words, micro photography) is an extreme form of macro photography. It is magical because it takes us into a smaller universe of vibrant colors, exquisite details and extraordinary patterns that can literally take your breath away. I photograph invertebrates so close-up that they are transformed into large subjects. Through my images I aim to highlight the different characteristics of a variety of species – and their individual charm.

Continue reading Exploring the Tiny World of Microphotography – (Part 1: An Intro)