Because We Are Macro…

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By: Christine Stephens

macro grasshopperSo often, when people see you with a camera around your neck they either start combing their hair, or hide their faces behind their hands lest they get in a shot they haven’t primped for. Or they start looking around to see what’s going on that could possibly interest a photographer.  Then, they see you get down on your knees and begin focusing in on the ground. What the heck?  Is this person praying? Should we call 911? Have they escaped from a nearby facility?  No, but this is your chance to show people there is so much more to photography than just people and things.

People tend to see things in large scale. Well, ‘other’ people. They look around for the pretty sunset, or an action shot. The whole while, people like us are squinting into bushes, laying on the ground peering through blades of grass, or climbing on wobbly chairs reaching for that spider web waaaaay up in the corner of a tree branch. We see the details, and even better we appreciate the details. Once we find our passion for macro photography we eventually begin to look at the world differently; we notice and take note of the small things. We begin to see the beauty in the details of otherwise “looked over and around” things.


When I go out to the canal to catch shots of a boat reflection on water, or to watch the local fishing club do their fly demonstrations, I’m geared to getting that perfect still reflection, or seeing that salmon as it bounds out of the water on the end of a line. Yet the whole while I’m waiting for one of these perfect shots, I’m also aware of the small movement under the sand that may just be a tiny crab burrowing itself away, or the flitter I see peripherally that could be an insect that differs from what I have here on my property. Too often, in the beginning, I’d curse because my macro lens was sitting in the car 30 yards away and that moment was lost.

Now, I carry a specially padded fanny pack that always has my macro lens in it for a quick switch over. Not everyone can afford to carry around two cameras!  By the same token, when I’m out looking for that special glistening spider web, in that pack I carry my 18-105 mm lens, just in case the sun angles down through the branches and hits that one yellow leaf in a way I’ve been waiting for all Fall.

Because we’re “macro”, we’re in a different league of our own. We don’t stop with just seeing the world around us. We see the worlds within the world, and I always want to be prepared to catch one of those special, tiny little microcosms before a breeze or a raindrop steals it away.

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