Macro photography is a wonderful hobby. But it is also … well, it is hard work. Today I was doing some work in the backyard when my eye caught the most amazing bright orange color under brown, damp leaves. There were two small orange dots and I began to carefully clear away the detritus wondering what would emerge. To my utter amazement there were two, very small mushrooms. One was about two inches tall, the other about half that size. The color was stupendous. They were ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They bordered on red. To say I was captivated is an understatement.
I dropped everything I was doing and headed to the house for the camera and attendant gear — tripod, remote shutter release, etc. But these small lovelies were on a steep slope…a slope I was trying to preserve by re-building a beautifully stacked stone wall. And they are so small. The one above in no more than an inch in height. A nearby cousin is about 1.5 inches. The equipment that I was bringing to capture these beings could easily crush either one and the slope made arranging the tripod VERY difficult.
I struggled with the situation for the better part of an hour, snapping about 50 or so images. There are, perhaps, two to three that I am happy with but I have learned that I am too harsh on myself. Many images that I deem “adequate” are viewed by others as “fabulous.” And I have begun to understand why. Even though my photos may not be up to National Geographic standards the simple truth is that I pause to capture moments that make others appreciate what is out there, around them, thriving on this globe that we call home … Earth.
And, from a purely selfish point-of-view, macro photography reveals wonders that none of us are aware of. This shot is a perfect example. My energy was focused on trying to capture a photo of this less-than-one-inch-high mushroom. The focus is less than satisfactory but look…to the right…dropping from the mushroom like a player in some Cirque de Soleil show at Las Vegas or Disney World. I did not see that creature until I off-loaded the pictures to my computer. It personifies what I love about macro…the absolute unknown, captured in a shutter’s heart beat. None of the other pictures had this creature. Macro, to my mind, is a WHOLE lot of preparation but also a WHOLE lot of luck. This is not a particularly good picture but it has captured a life energy that 99% of us are totally unaware of. How cool is that? How wonderful is it that we can capture these moments?