Being rather small myself, I've always had a particular fondness for tiny things. That, coupled with an oft painfully acute attention for detail, led to a natural attraction to macro-photography. It gives me permission to celebrate and move towards the details rather than trying to shut them out. Though I've owned the right equipment for years, the cumbersome nature of a heavy camera and bulky macro lens kept me from engaging much with it. My awareness of the minutiae never waned, but my ability to share what I was seeing felt limited.
That changed moment I purchased an olloclip in 2012. Suddenly – nestled in my pocket – I had this impressive little tool that allowed me to magnify every dewdrop, bringing me impossibly close and personal with honeybees and ants and jumping spiders.
Without giving it much thought, it became my regular practice – a sort of crucial, grounding meditation – to spend a bit of time outside each day, intimately examining every square inch of our yard.
My Instagram feed began to show evidence of this unabashed addiction, filled with colorful images that I considered to be little more than play – a bit like photographic 'doodles' – and a much-needed departure from the pressures and structure of my career.
Quite unexpectedly, folks began responding to these macro images with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as they expressed for my pro photos, and by summer of 2013, the good folks at olloclip discovered my feed. Thus began a casual partnership – they send me fun new toys each time I upgrade my iPhone – I send them my favorite photos. It's a pretty cozy arrangement.
After four years, the love affair shows no signs of abating. It has turned me into a genuine pluviophile – a lover of rain – I've yet to meet a water drop that doesn't make me swoon in adoration. It's not uncommon to find me on my knees in the dirt after a downpour, bent into some kind of strange position, frozen in determined concentration with eyes fixed on an augmented view, having quiet conversations with perfectly round, pristine raindrops that sparkle in the sunlight. To my eye, it is pure magic that never gets old.
Over the years, numerous people have expressed just how much they look forward to my macro posts, claiming these images afford them some kind of necessary pause – that they feel a sense of calm and wonder when viewing them. As well, I've fielded countless questions about I get these shots, always followed by disbelief when they learn I'm using an iPhone.
I've begun to suspect that I have more to offer in this regard – that, just as this practice has become a kind of medicine for me, so might a deeper sharing of it benefit others. To that end, I've created a 30 day offering – a daily dose of macro inspiration awaiting you in your inbox – like little light vitamins for your eyes – sure to brighten your vision (and hopefully your day!)
Each morning you'll receive a well-chosen image, along with a brief description of how I got the shot, as well as prompts to encourage your own study of these tiny universes. We'll explore varying categories – both natural and manmade –color, shapes, texture, patterns, reflections, light-play, water and more. While I will offer some gentle guidance regarding technique, these prompts are tailored more towards opening your eyes than cultivating technical skill.
What I hope to ignite in you is a deeper kind of seeing – a slower pace as you move between spaces – a more attentive presence and awareness of the places you already inhabit – a playful curiosity and desire to look a little bit more closely at the details that surround you, always.
If you'd like to play along, an iPhone and olloclip (or other smartphone macro lens) will definitely help you participate more engagingly, but they are not essential. They simply offer a window through which to examine more closely. The real gift is in choosing to LOOK – with or without the ability to record what you discover.