Rain Drops on Sichuan Pepper

(Macro)Photography to Get at Home 4

As photographers, things often become all about the big, impressive shots for us.

Dramatic landscapes, lit-up skylines, palaces and mountain peaks.

Forbidden City, Beijing

I myself will freely admit to a liking for the look at the sky in astrophotography that makes for impressive images that make one feel considerably smaller…


But, it’s one of the ways we’re not ‘at home’ when we get so used to always seeing outstanding pictures that are being liked and shared a lot, and come to think that, as long as there is nothing new and attention-grabbing around us, there is nothing worthwhile at all.

One way in which photography can support the realization that there is more to our world than we have let ourselves become aware of: Go small, look closer.

Try macrophotography.

We are but a tiny speck in the universe, sure – but looking at a tiny speck on this our world in magnification reveals tremendous detail and oceans of potential knowledge.

... even if it is something raising so many questions as these crystals from evaporated soy sauce: Why do they form like that? Who would leave dirty dishes for so long, crystals form in them? ;)
… even if it is something raising so many questions as these crystals from evaporated soy sauce: Why do they form like that? Who would leave out dirty dishes for so long that crystals form in them? ;)

For example, when you just look out over a landscape, all its individual elements work together to make it interesting, but appear mainly just as elements of that landscape.
The mountains, the rocks, the plants are but landscape formations, stone, vegetation.

Look closer, however, and there is a diversity of components and processes at work in those same landscape formations made up by minerals changed in geological processes speaking to a place’s history, those plants in their assemblages and with their interactions with soil (rocks again!), temperature, sun, wind, pollinators, predators,…

There is a diversity of trees and grasses and flowering plants, and of different kinds of flowers, and of insects that visit those same flowers, birds that nest in the trees or in the meadows, fruits that are produced and eaten by different of the various critters.

You can see a world in a grain of sand…

Bumblebee Approaching Porree
Bumblebee Approaching Leeks (and that was a shot with the RX100)

… or an ecosystem in the scores of pollinators visiting the flower heads of a single bunch of porree, which can hold quite some fascination in all their diversity – and they at least attract attention in all their buzzing and flitting about.

Bunches of moss, piles of dead leaves – or industrial surfaces, the play of light on recent raindrops…

Rain Drops on Sichuan Pepper

Lots of things start to look different, and rather more unusual and interesting, the closer you get to them.

This is one case where the Sony RX100, though not bad even in that department (see the bumblebee or the rain drops above), loses out to cameras with interchangeable lenses, equipped with a dedicated macro… at least at times. It’s still worth a try, though and may even surprise you ;)

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