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Yorkshire based Professional Landscape and Wildlife Photographer

Sunday Mornings Macro Session

Posted on 19/06/16

I have found as I continue on my photographic journey my perception of my own work changes significantly. When I first got into photography I would head out to a location and photograph everything and anything. At the end of the day I'd have taken a lot of photographs and probably have quite a lot of photographs that I was really happy with. Now I will generally head to a specific location (this applies to landscape and wildlife too) at a specific time (generally a very unsociable one) and I'll be lucky if I get one or two images I'm happy with.

This morning compared to yesterday work as a great example of the difference. Yesterday I headed out, more as a dog walk really, but took my macro equipment with me. I had maybe 3 hours at Brockadale saw lots of interesting things but didn't get one photograph I was happy with. The dog had a great walk though! This morning I went to my local pond at 5:30am and in two hours I got six shots I'm super happy with. It may be a little unfair to compare the two though as yesterday was very warm and windy so although the subjects where about it was far from ideal conditions!

This morning was planned as I'd seen the weather forecast was saying little wind. Those days seem to be rare at the moment so even though I'd had a few beers and a curry last night the alarm clock was set for 4:45am. After a few coffees I headed to the pond. After just a couple of minutes I saw a perched robberfly. These are amazing predatory flies. I only managed to photograph 2 of them last year so was really pleased to see a perched torpid one.

I quickly stacked an image which didn't work 100% but still shows off the amazing leg structure of these flies (the body isn't in focus though....)

Failed Robber

Then went for a head on view and I really like this image quite abstract and graphic.

Head on robber

My brain and eyes needed a rest so I had a look for another subject and found this great damselfly perched on horsetail grass.


I wanted a head-on composition and as I got set up the damsel decided it was going to clean it's self up so I grabbed a video. It's quite funny and well worth clicking the link HERE

It settled back down so I managed to get a stacked shot.

Damsel 2

I went back to the robberfly and this time did get fully in focus stacked shot!

Side on Robber

Then I spotted another robberfly in a great perched position. Still torpid so managed to get this stacked shot in a really funky position.

Top down robber

For all the previous shots I used the Canon 5DS with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS L lens and also a 36mm extension tube. This gets me about 1.4 times magnification at the most and I wanted to get much closer. So it was time to use the MP-E 65mm I cranked it straight up to 5 times magnification and took 4 shots which I stacked to create the below. This was with natural light and I was only getting 1/5 of a second so glad it wasn't windy!

High magnification robber

All in all that was one great morning of macro photography! Some of my best work for a long time and and only 5 minutes from the house and all the shots done within 5 meters of each other.

Any questions or feedback let me know.

Happy snapping,

  • Great explanation…I have been trying to get shots like these.  The slightest breeze affects the shots.  One of the key things I learnt from you on your great 121s, is the early start.  I think the part I would like to get right is the camera settings, well actually, probably the whole schbang.  Just fabulous!

    Joe - 19 June, 2016
  • your macro work is stunning , superb photography

    ivor miller - 19 June, 2016
  • Wow!  What fabulous images

    Ros Jones - 19 June, 2016
  • great stuff Ollie.

    geraint evans - 19 June, 2016
  • I like how the grasping appendages curl around the stalk of grass.

    Jackie Mead - 19 June, 2016
  • Stunning images Oliver - I always look forward to your blogs!

    Nick Court - 19 June, 2016
  • Your work is so inspiring! I’m relatively new to the world of macro photography and it’s still the area of photography that I consider a hobby rather than my work, but this makes me want to get out and shoot more right away. Thank you for sharing what kit you use, that’s extremely helpful to read for someone like me who mostly works with much bigger subjects and is still getting to grips with the world of insects haha.

    Zinzi - 19 June, 2016
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