Getting Close

When you get close to your subjects, an entire world of photographic possibilities appears. It's almost magical how different the world seems from only a few inches away. The images in this section are by Mary Rasmussen, who specializes in macro photography. Her stunning photos range from subjects you could capture with conventional equipment to images requiring specialized techniques.

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Great Spangled Fritillary -- Larger

Bumble Bee -- Larger

Your first step is finding the minimum distance your camera or cellphone can focus. If you are too close to your subject, the image will be blurry, or the camera may sound a warning beep or even refuse to take a photo. When you've found the optimum distance for getting close to your subjects, look again at familiar objects. For example, when seen at "bumblebee distance," a single flower explodes in a burst of color and detail. Enjoy this new perspective as your camera invites you to a new way of seeing your world.

Darner Dragonfly Nymph -- Larger

Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil -- Larger

The Darner Dragonfly family is among the largest dragonflies on the planet. Its American name comes from the female abdomen, looking like a sewing needle as it cuts into a plant stem to lay its eggs. The nympha is generally slender compared to other families and are aquatic predators feeding on other insects and even small fish. Adult Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil, innocent in this view, is dangerous to fruit trees, damaging buds, blossoms, and shoots.

Diving Beetle -- Larger

Hologram Moth -- Larger

These beetles prefer quiet water at the edges of ponds and streams. Before diving, they trap air between their wings and body, extending their time below the surface. You can see a bubble of air in this underwater view. The Hologram Moth larvae primarily feed on woody plants. The adults are on the wing from June to September.

Monarch Butterfly egg -- Larger

Red Admiral Butterfly egg -- Larger

The Monarch or milkweed butterfly is among the most familiar North American butterflies and a well-known pollinator with an easily recognizable black, orange, and white pattern. The Red Admiral's primary host plant is the stinging nettle whose barbs protect the eggs. Both of these views of butterfly eggs show an extreme enlargement. Yet unlike manufactured things, these and other natural objects retain their beauty and delicacy under any degree of magnification.

Specialized techniques --

     Focus Stacking

     Macro Photography

     Close-up Lens

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