Macro redux: Getting lost in the insect world

When I want an escape from the world, I simply pick up my macro gear and indulge in some insect macro photography. I find the process to be both physically and mentally challenging and lose my myself quite easily in the tiny world of bugs. The little creatures often hide in the most unexpected places that require me to flex and stretch my body in impossible ways while holding the camera and the flash steady. The mind must be entirely focused on getting the shot and doing it quickly because insects do not stay still for very long. All kinds of calculations and considerations come to play, as you juggle between lighting, getting closer for better magnification, ensuring critically sharp focus and not to forget, composition! There is just so much the mind and body needs to coordinate and execute to achieve one simple insect macro shot. In that brief moment, I find myself entering a different universe where only getting the shot matters to me.

For today’s set of images, I hiked the trails of the Bukit Gasing Forest Park to find the critters. Half of the fun was in the hunt for the bugs. All the images shown in this article were shot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens. I used the FL-50R flash off camera. If you have questions about my technique, I’ve shared those in detail in a previous article here.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro Lens is available from B&H
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Is available from B&H

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Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2017 onwards. All rights reserved

Comments

  1. i would pay for a video teaching me how to take pictures like that, thank you robin,awesome photos.

  2. I have tried to emulate your technique, and have to say it is NOT easy. Most of my shots are of the ones that got away and show the space where the insect was a fraction of a second before I pressed the shutter release! A few actually have fuzzy images of insects in them, but none that come close to what you achieve.
    I have enormous admiration for your ability to find the right angle to show an insect to its best advantage, compose, focus and set the flash to illuminate the subject so well – all before the insect decides enough is enough and disappears.
    Perhaps our insects are more camera shy than yours – that’s my excuse anyway!

    • Robin Wong says:

      Oh dear, I admit that my technique is not easy, and I have done it many times to be able to execute it efficiently. Nonetheless, there are many other ways to get the shot that you like, so please do experiment with those techniques. After all, mine is still work in progress, and slowly getting better after each experimentation.

  3. Fantastic macros! Wow!

  4. I’ve been a fan of your insect macro photography for years. It was excellent at the outset, but just keeps getting better. This set is a terrific example of real world macro, much more interesting than controlled studio work with deceased subjects. I’m always encouraged by the fact that you shoot at f/11 and higher, yet produce razor sharp images on a sensor which is often written about as subject to crippling diffraction effects above f/8. Something tells me there’s no substitute for real world experience. Now if I could just get my reaction time and motor skills to function in sync…..

    • Hey Michael, thanks for the visits and support to my blog, I appreciate that! I only shoot F11 for extremely tiny insects/bugs, just to get enough DOF. Yes, there is noticeable decrease in sharpness, but DOF is more important in this case.

  5. Truly wonderful photographs . . .

  6. It is like a alien world is hidden inside every bush around every corner! Nice pictures 🙂

  7. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Astoundingly good photography. Thanks for sharing these shots, Robin

  8. Absolutely beautiful photographs and art. Inspiring me to learn micro photography.

  9. These are amazing images (again).
    Thanks for sharing your work with us Robin, it is very much appreciated!
    I have been following your postings about macro with the OMD, and I think it’s time for me to get one with the 60mm macro lens + flash…..
    John

  10. poetical world.
    Thanks

  11. gnarlydognews says:

    The pleasure to see bugs in their environment and not just isolated with no context in the background (studio shots style). I guess the increased DOF from the 4/3 sensor is an advantage here, not to mention the in-camera focus stacking. Great images

    • Robin Wong says:

      The more depth of field helped in ensuring more body of the insect in focus! However, I do not use the tripod and everything was done hand-held, so image stacking was not easy.

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