Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Week of January 17-23, 2011  Theme: Macro

 “He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.” 
~M. C. Escher

On Monday (Martin Luther King Day), Steve and I took a road trip to Wabasha, Minnesota to photograph the eagles.  Since this week’s photo project theme is “macro,” I was hoping to find an eagle feather and then take an incredible close-up photo of it.  Not only did I not find a stray feather, we found only a handful of eagles on this gray, chilly day.

We did happen on to some deer that helped make the trip worthwhile.  The deer were gathered around a hay feeder in a field.  We pulled over to snap some photos.  Sensing our presence, the deer took off running.  What was interesting, is they formed a line when running and the two largest deer took the first and last positions in the line.  When one of the smaller/younger deer couldn’t keep up, the line leader turned and noticed that the rest were falling behind and she stopped to let them catch up.  They all stopped for a moment to let the little guy catch his breath before heading on.  It was quite incredible to witness.

Another perk of our Wabasha adventure is that I had Steve captive/confined in the car for 2-1/2 hours (each way) so we could “talk.”  I took the opportunity to ask about “macro” photography.  This is Steve’s forte.  He takes incredible floral macros.  I just wasn’t sure the definition of “macro.”  In my mind, macro = big and micro = small.  Why does this photography thing have to be so confusing?   I wondered about the following scenarios.

Is it a macro if:
all of the flower is showing in the picture with a little background
all of the flower is showing in the picture with no background
just a portion of the flower is showing in the picture (i.e., the stamen)
Are macros usually living things?  (i.e., plants, insects)
How about a door.  Is it a macro if you take a picture of a door, since it is part of a larger building?  How about a picture of the door knocker?  Again, it is a smaller portion of both the door and the building.  Is it a macro or just a picture of a door knocker?  How about if the picture includes part of the door knocker and part of the door (not the whole of either)?
Then there are larger objects like a bridge.  From a distance, I could zoom in to the beam joint of a bridge.  Would that be a macro?

Steve loves when I ask him questions.  No, really!  He loves it, I tell you...well, at least he tolerates it.  He graciously tried to explain macro photography to me, the gist of which is, that it is a really close up photo of an object or part of an object.  But, he did confess that he didn’t actually know the “established” definition of macro photography.

Although I trusted Steve’s description, I looked up the definition of macro.  Can you tell I work in a library?’s what I do!

I also asked Jay, our awesome Photo Club leader, to post a definition on the Photo Theme Project page.  This is how he defined macro photography:

“For our purposes it will mean zooming in on something to show the details, textures, and patterns that we might not otherwise see in our subject.”

Okay, now that I know that macros are not pictures of Paul Bunyan or the Jolly Green Giant (thanks, Michelle, for those examples), here are some of my attempts at macro photography.  If you’re lucky, I’ll post some of Steve’s macros at the end of this post.  I asked him to be my guest blogger this week, but he declined.

The photo of the candy at the top of this post is the image I submitted for this week’s macro theme.  I love the vivid colors and the swirls in the candy.  It also gave me an excuse to do a little “research” at our local candy store, Sweet P’s Ice Cream and Candies.  Yum!

More "research"...'nuf said!

I tried to come up with subjects that the other photo theme project participants would not choose.  Here are some images from Elk River High School, where I work.

Do you know how hard it is to keep a motion-sensored facet running with one hand while lining up, focusing and snapping the picture with the other.  Just call me TALENTED!  Please ignore my shoulder in the photo.  Thank you.

Please remember these shots next week for the “tired” theme.  You may want to gaze at them if you are having trouble falling asleep.

Besides photography, another passion of ours (or at least Steve’s), is rockhounding.  Our house is full of macro-ready specimens.




I wanted to try to get some shadowing in my macro, thus the bracelet photo.  I need to work on this.

I like the colors in the fabric and costume jewelry, but wish I would have zoomed in closer to both.

Finally, I tried to get some good shots of both a match flame and smoke.  The smoke proved to be like the floating heart Cheerios last week.  Smoke is hard to focus on and capture before evaporation.

To recap, macro photographs, “each create a microcosm in which the very compactness of the picture gives it power and emotional impact much more dramatic than could have been achieved in a more explicit work.”  (Sorry, I can’t remember the website I got this definition bad!)

As promised, here's a short video of some of Steve's macros.  Click on the arrow to begin.

Next Theme:  Tired

Related Links:
How to Take Macro Pictures by National Geographic
National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota
Sweet P's Ice Cream and Candies (find them on Facebook)


Linda Thiltgen said...

Fabulous shots Zoma! I really LOVE the candy shots.

Maery Rose said...

Good humor and interesting questions. I've wondered about the definition of macro myself. We must be deep thinkers. I think I could really work with the theme of "tired". Can't wait to see what you come up with.

irishk said...

Zoma, I think I am actually going to learn something from reading your blog. I was expecting to just be entertained, but each week I feel a bit more enlightened about photography. Love the smoking match, really cool! It seems that looking at your surroundings through a lens actually enhances the images, but I would think it would 'limit' your vision. Interesting. Thanks for sharing:-) Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Great shots, Zoma! Love the variety - and like Kathleen, I really like the smoking match. MariAnne