I am a professor
(experimental psychology, not entomology). I had started scanning images back in 1989 for incorporating into my lectures that I projected in front of the classroom. I bought a digital camera in 2000 for family photos and to document dog behavior
. The camera wasn't as good as I would have liked for the latter due to the slow auto focus and other camera specific limitations. I like the digital, though, because it makes it easy to try something and immediately see if, and how, it worked. Compact flash is like a continuous roll of film that I never run out of. Given my background, I tend to think of the camera as a scanner that you point.
When I first got the camera, my (then) 5 year old son came into my office one day and suggested I photograph a bug that he had his eye on and we did. It was worse than terrible by my current standards, but it did allow us to see the bug in more detail than we could in real life. That is what got me started and what I enjoy so much about macros. They let you see what you ordinarily cannot. As a scientist, I am quite curious by nature. I kept shooting the bugs, had fun, and my camera was reasonable good at it. I also liked that as I developed skills shooting bugs, all of my other photos (dogs, family, etc), got better too.
The Internet (web) and photo forums have been my photography teacher. Thus, I am especially thankful to those who have given me honest and constructive critiques. I guess my dream is that one day my images will appear in children's books or other educational materials.
I am writing this article because when I post my images on the forums, people often ask how I do it. So I am going to try and tell you. Keep in mind that I am just an self taught amateur who is willing to experiment and has an insatiable curiosity. Thus, the internet acronym "YMMV" applies (i.e., "Your Milage May Vary"). Nonetheless, I hope this information is useful to you and enables you to have more fun taking and creating images.
All information and images in this article Copyright © 2001-3 M. Plonsky