Macro photography seems to pique the interest of most people, even non-photographers. We can’t help but be curious about the microscopic features of insects, flowers, snowflakes, fabrics, and all manner of other items. We wonder what mind blowing details await us once these things are magnified to “life size” proportions. When macro photography is done well, what we discover is sometimes surreal, often educational, always awe-inspiring. Here are 5 macro photographers who have mastered their craft.
Brian Valentine is a UK based retired microbiologist (Ph.D.) who, in addition to loving photography, also enjoys gardening. In fact, Brian’s insecticide-free garden “has resulted in a little haven for insects.” You can follow Brian’s work on Flickr (including a number of informative tutorials) or browse his SmugMug galleries (prints available).
Hock Pink Guek, a photographer from Malaysia, hosts a fascinating Flickr photostream featuring all sorts of odd and not-so-odd looking creatures. Even more fascinating, perhaps, is the fact that Guek is credited with discovering a new species of lacewing. Guek posted his lacewing shots to Flickr and, when experts came across them, informed Guek that his shots could very well be of a new species. It was confirmed some time later and the new species was named semachrysa jade. You can find more of his macro work, macro photography tips, and the full story of semachrysa jade on Guek’s blog.
Thomas Shahan is known for the sharpness, clarity and detail in his macro photography. The macro master from Oklahoma often uses a technique known as “focus staking” in order to achieve such a high level crispness in his photos of still subjects. Check out his more than 260 incredible macro photos (proceed with caution if you suffer from arachnophobia) on Flickr. You can also see some of his other photographic interests on Thomas’ website or go to bugshot.net to find out more information about the macro photography workshops that Thomas co-instructs.
Jody Melanson grew up in a small town and developed an early fascination with all kinds of wildlife, much to his mother’s chagrin. While Jody states that his “greatest satisfaction comes from shooting actions shots,” he has also made a name for himself through is extreme macro work, which you can view in this gallery. See all of Jody’s work on SmugMug.
Mark Plonsky is a Ph.D. professor of experimental psychology at the University of Wisconsin. He is also an accomplished macro photographer. Mark calls himself a “self-taught amateur,” but one look at his work and the word “amateur” will be the last thing on your mind. Given that Mark is an educator, it should come as no surprise that he has provided an in-depth macro photography tutorial, covering everything from his philosophy on shooting bugs to what camera settings he uses to how he processes his shots. It’s an excellent read.
All of these photographers have produced work that is sure to amaze you; no one would blame you for just sitting and staring at many of these shot. But I am sure that the photographers highlighted here would also want you to be inspired by their work, motivated to get up and try some macro photography of your own. So what are you waiting for? Get started.