I just got back from a macro photography workshop called Bugshot Alabama. These workshops have been going on for several years and are named after their locations–typically some place with high biological diversity.
This is from the outside a pretty nerdy thing to do.
So we spent a lot of time playing around with expensive camera equipment, plus lots of cobbled together equipment designed to create special light or conditions to show insects at their awesome best. There are neat little tricks that are not always obvious and are fun to know.
I started thinking about why I was there and came up with a little bit of an analogy. Suppose you are a musician. You play guitar in a local band. You spend a lot of time and effort at it, and you are really good at it. But you get a chance to jam with some famous musicians–let’s say Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and some others of similar skill. Wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
I’ve been taking closeup photos for decades. My experience goes back to when Kodachrome 64 was the best film to use. I have reversing rings, bellows, extension tubes, and macro lenses for the “universal screw mount.” I have other equipment I have purchased through the years and the progression of photography.
Most of the pictures I take are closeups. I take terrible photos of people, but good pictures of bugs and other little things. And I am pretty good at it.
But I am not Eric Clapton good. I am not Piotr Naskrecki, John Abbott, or Jena Johnson good.
There were some natural history talks, and I came to another realization. Not only are these folks world class macro photographers, they are also world class scientists and naturalists.
I enjoyed mixing with the other participants, all of us looking for that special shot.
I found this little syrphid fly visiting some small flowers near the woodlands.
This bee fly was in the short grasses near one of the machine buildings.
I loved the event. I will do it again as time and finances allow.