The Micro Landscape

by David Bigwood

My introduction to the world of macro photography led me into a realisation that it is not always the big picture that I should be looking for when out to make my landscape images.

The flash of realisation hit me on a day when I ‘needed’ to make some pictures — as a photographer you will know what I mean — and the weather was against me. Uniformly grey cloud and lousy light are no recipe for great landscape shots.

With the itch in my shutter finger unsatisfied, I had to find a subject so I began casting around the area and, what do you know, there were dozens of them. Of course there were for those who have eyes to see. The big picture is made up of thousands, maybe millions of smaller pictures and this is what I had been missing. And for most of them I did not need my macro or close-up lenses.

It’s not only the weather that can be against the making of the big picture. Sometimes it is hard to avoid the crowds in a popular spot for example but if we are attuned to looking within the scene for its components and are able to recognise potential pictures among them then our frustrations at not being able to take pictures because of situations that are beyond our control can be relieved.

And the same applies when the big picture just isn’t right. Maybe it’s the light that is wrong — from the wrong direction, at the wrong time of day — or something in the scene is just not photogenic and it can’t be got around by moving it or moving our viewpoint. This happened to me some time ago when I went to the Snowy River in the New South Wales high country. The attractive scenes that I knew from a few years previously had disappeared in disastrous bushfires and the area had not fully recovered. There were dead trees everywhere and the whole area had a scrubby look about it. Its former beauty will come back but it will take a lot more time. So, in spite of the long drive to get there, any big picture scenes were out. I concentrated instead on close ups of some of the spring wildflowers that were brightening the river bank.

This is from my e-book Starting Macro Photography.

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