He usually shoots with an Olympus mirrorless DSLR with a
zoom lens and a macro adapter. Allen says that setup allows him
to capture images from up to 6 inches away; a dedicated macro
lens would require him to be 2-3 inches away. That’s still awfully
close to a usually uncooperative subject.
“I’ll stand there and see if I see a flash of color, a leaf moving,
to see if there’s any indication of something there,” he says. “I can
spot a ladybug at 20 feet now. Those things pop into my view.
You have to learn how to fake them out sometimes. I’ve learned to
move real slowly when I have to. If I’m patient and give myself a
little time, I will have that opportunity. Sometimes I sit in a spot
and wait for them. Some nature photographers will stake out a
spot for hours or days. I’m lucky it’s only a few minutes. Some
bugs have predictive habits. They’ll land on the same flower.”
Studying bugs and their habits is a fun part of macro
PHOTOS BY GARY ALLEN
Top, left: A pair of miniscule flower flies on a coreopsis bloom. Their heads are about the size of a pinhead. Top, right: A small green
grass-hopper rests on the pollen-packed stamen of a yellow hibiscus flower with red pistils. Opposite, left to right: A skipper butterfly,
photographed from above, gives contrast to the flowery bloom below. A brown hairstreak butterfly browses the blooms of a butterfly weed.
A small sweat bee gathers pollen from a yellow tansy flower. The entire bloom, also known as golden buttons or cow bitter, is about the
sizeof a shirt button. A yellow skipper butterfly, about the size of a nickel, uses his proboscis to take a sip of nectar from a zinnia bloom.
WBM august 2018