I just Can’t Get Enough

A few weeks ago I did a few posts about my love of Macro and a Focus Stacking Tutorial.  The love has not faded that’s for sure and I was going to use today to discuss my vacation / location scouting trip to Maine, but I had such a great day of Macro on Sunday I just couldn’t help but share some new Macro shots with you.

Michael, my 4 year old, wanted to go outside on Sunday.  This is nothing out of the ordinary, but the ordinary around here is not quite there.  It has been rainy nearly every day since our return from vacation which makes it extremely humid in the Midwest and the Cicada’s are back from their 17 year slumber.  It is loud and these things are kamikaze attack bugs!  While I wanted to refuse Michael’s desires to go outside, the poor kid found a break in the rain and wanted to go outside.  So outside we went.

I figured I would use this time to look around for those gnarly Cicada shells.  I found a couple on a tree and quickly ran inside to grab the Macro rig (Canon 65mm MP-E and Canon Twin Flash).  In that 10 or so seconds, Michael had destroyed them all.  Go figure.  I was a few seconds from putting it away when I started scouting my back yard for Macro opportunities.

4 More Reasons Why I love Macro Photography

1.  It puts me in the zone

When we came inside my wife asked me how outside was as we were out there for over an hour in the sweltering humidity.  I said, ” It was awesome.  I think I got some Amazing Macro shots.”  I went on to tell her that Macro photography is so much different than Landscape photography,  She raised her brow at this of course because she assumed it was all the same.

I went on to explain that Landscape photography has become relatively easy.  I go outside, the subject doesn’t move, it doesn’t question me, it doesn’t fail to cooperate with me.  It’s just there, and if I do x, y, and z I can almost predict any shot while I am on the scene.

With Macro… it is a world of difference.  You have to get down on the level of life seek out an opportunity for a shot and miss a lot.  You actually miss many more than you get and the shots you get are far from perfect, but sometimes you only get one.

Like this ant.  I followed it for nearly 15 minutes.  It circled this tree a few times, found some food, brought it back to the brood and then continued to search for more.  It was impossible to get a shot of it and it would not sit still.  Literally 15 minutes had passed before its 6 legs stopped for a second.  I snagged a shot and it was horrible, but just then it looked at me as if it were curious of my whereabouts and then it cocked its head and gave me this.  It cocked it the opposite way and went back to its job of foraging.  It was an incredible experience.

Check out this little guy on 500PX

Macro Ant 5x Life Size

2.  It shows me things I could never imagine

Another thing Michael and I love to do is pick the Strawberries from our patch and eat them ripe right off the vine.  We don’t use pesticides or miracle grow or any toxic chemicals and I remember doing this very well as a child myself.  I always figured, just blow off the dirt and pop them in your mouth and move on.  Well, I think I will refrain from that after seeing this little guy on a strawberry.

I pulled a strawberry from the patch that was no bigger than a quarter.  I put it on the rock to get a 5x macro look at the seeds.  Just as I was navigating through the viewfinder I found this tiny little bug.  It was no bigger than the size of the small seeds on this particular berry.  With my eye it was nearly invisible, but at 5x life size it took up a decent amount of real estate on the sensor.

I will be washing the berries off quite well from now on!  However, I found this seen fascinating.  Here is this little guy just roaming around in a field of humongous seed “trees” and I captured a glimpse of its life.  I could never have felt this way about a stupid strawberry bug before, but now that I have seen his world; mine looks so ridiculous.  Our biggest fears are the economy collapsing and the onslaught of unforeseen wars and here this guy just worries about not getting eaten by a buffoon that doesn’t wash the berries.

Macro Strawberry 5x Life Size

3.  It makes me wish I were small, like “Honey I shrunk the Photographer!”

I have always found dandelions attractive.  Their Golden yellow appearance is far more striking than defiling, but then they go and turn into fun looking amusement park rides.  A ride that is activated by gale force winds.  The seeds are magnificent when seen up close.  They look far less like seeds and more like forest penetrating rescue devices.  I really want to grab a hold of one of those thorns and be blown from the surface and taken where it goes.

I once jumped out of an air plane.  Well I jumped out of an air plane 3 times.  Some would say it was a perfectly good plane, but I would beg to differ as I packed both the Main and Reserve chute so I knew my parachutes were far superior to a hunk of metal junk.  It was a liberating experience that I think would be similar to grabbing onto a dandelion seed and just going with it!

IMG_4499 Small

4.  It makes me grateful for my meals!

I have eaten bugs, many bugs.  Some by accident and others to gain some type of sustenance in a survival environment.  I found that ants, while very small, taste like lemon heads and take quite a few to hundred to fill up, like a whale eating plankton… how odd is that combo in the circle of life.

As I walked around the yard I found a spider making a meal of a fly in its web.  I don’t think I would eat a fly as that is a pretty dirty bug.  As I shot this spider I thought about how good that meal must be for him and then I thought about the Shredded Chicken Burritos Sarah and I made for lunch.  It made me glad to not be a spider.  While cool looking, their meals are atrocious!

IMG_4483 sm

In Conclusion

All of these photos came from one hour of walking around my lawn.  On any other day I would have passed right by them.  I would have gone about my day and eventually would have been sitting here writing a post about my vacation to Maine.  However, a little boys burning desire to go outside on a hot muggy day turned into a grown mans hay day looking at the little things in life to be grateful for.  Boy am I grateful for my little men.

They are young and innocent now and a bug on Dad’s camera is just a bug on Dad’s camera.  However, as they grow they will know how a Cicada’s wing is attached to its body because they experienced it.

They will know to appreciate the ant that is squabbling for food desperately trying to keep up with the rest of the brood  and maybe think twice about burning it with a magnifying glass.

They will know that a Strawberry seed is not embedded into the fruit as it appears, but that they hang there from a thread.

They will know that a dandelion seed has one way thorns on it to ensure it sticks in the dirt awaiting a successful germination.

They will appreciate their meals, because if they don’t I may feed them flies.

Most importantly they will learn to appreciate the little things and one day take a trip out into a hot muggy Midwestern sunny day to experience the little things with their little ones.


Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
Blake Rudis on EmailBlake Rudis on FacebookBlake Rudis on InstagramBlake Rudis on PinterestBlake Rudis on TwitterBlake Rudis on Youtube