a peek into smallness
Sometimes it’s good to look at the big picture – get an idea of what’s going on, how a system works, understand why one thing might follow another. But in order to get any kind of information from zooming out, one sometimes has to zoom in; and today, we have an unbelievable ability to do so with the latest in microscopy, for example. As a photographer, I don’t zoom that far in, but rather take macro shots of plants, animals, fungi and anything that will let me.
It really was an eye-opener for me when I started doing macro photography: you really start observing the world in a different way. And oh, the treasure you can find while crawling around on the ground or getting very close to a tree! It’s a whole new world of interesting and incredibly beautiful things. Next time you take a landscape photograph, you realize that what you take a picture of is so much more than what meets the eye; and what you do see is a result of synergies and conflicts on a small scale. I really recommend it! As (hopefully) inspiration, I thought I’d share some of the favourite things I’ve zoomed in on.
You can find tiny landscapes where rain changes the shape and look of plants, and droplets become huge mirrors.
Looking closely enough, flowers become beautiful abstract paintings. This is a detail of a Strelitzia, or Bird of Paradise.
Sometimes things become so abstract that it’s hard to recognize what they are – this is a so called super-macro shot of a butterfly wing. I took it with a 100 mm macro + a reversed 50mm f/1.8.
I love observing and photographing insects. They’re beautiful and strangely inspiring. Sometimes, they’re hilarious. I was really amused by this bug who looked really hungry…
Sometimes they just look like aliens. This mantis looked like it had landed a minute ago, after a long journey in space.
Insects have some of the most beautiful eyes in the world. This fly also has pretty funky little antennae.
I always feel a bit sad for people who either haven’t had the chance to do macro photography or just observe these critters, or for those who get uncomfortable looking at them. They’re missing so much beauty, so many colours and patterns not seen anywhere else.
I found this beauty with its golden eyes in Morocco.
No matter if we’re zoomed in or out, people usually find water in all its forms beautiful. Droplets, snow flakes and ice crystals are classic macro subjects, and here are some of my photos with a similar theme. This photo was taken in the winter at my mum’s place.
This photo is again a bit abstract – a spider web covered by ice crystals. I found it in an outhouse in Finnish Lapland. It was -30 degrees C outside (and in the outhouse) and the ice must have formed from people’s humid breath being caught in the web. It was in the middle of the night and I lit the web with a headlamp to get enough light to photograph it. The whole situation must have looked quite amusing.
A more summery spider web, covered in dew. I found this while doing field work early in the morning at the Tvärminne Zoological Station.
A water droplet, frozen on a catkin an early spring day.
Snow flakes on a rose, laid down on a new grave. Last winter I did most of my photography at the Malmi graveyard in Helsinki.
Water droplets are also great for reflections! There can be a whole new world captured within a tiny drop. This calla lily was growing on my parents-in-law’s farm.
If you decide to try this out – good luck! There’s a whole new world out there that it’s easy to get lost in. But don’t worry, it’ll bring you nothing but beauty and joy!