melvynyeo, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into photography and why?
My name is Melvyn and I’m a designer. Photography has been my passion and hobby ever since I picked up a point and shoot camera 7 years ago. My main “focus” has always been insect macrophotography.
Why are you on deviantART and what makes you stay?
I chanced upon deviantART when searching for photos on the net for inspiration about 6 years ago. What really amazed me and make me stay is because there are so many talented people actively participating in deviantART. It is like a big big family of artists and photographers!
What type of photography do you most like to do and why?
I do landscape, portrait and events but my main passion is always macro photography.
What got you into macro photography?
I’m always an insect person since young, playing with spiders and ants. When I first shot a dragonfly with my point and shoot camera, I am totally fascinated how it looked so differently when view up close and personal. There are so much details and colors and I am hooked ever since. The best thing about insect macro photography is that there are always surprises in every corner. You never know what mother nature has in store for you! However, the downside is the hidden danger involved. Since most of my macros were taken in the forest, there are always a chance of getting bites and stings.
Have you been bitten and stung? If so, could you tell us of an encounter that you remember?
One of the worst encounter was when i was in the army, not during my macro trip. The experience was horrible. I was stung at least 10 times by wasps when I accidentally disturbed their nest. As for encounter during macro, the worst was termites bites. Those big ones can really hurts! Not as bad as the wasp though!
How do you find all these specimens to photograph? What is your favourite one to shoot and why?
Most of the insects I photographed are from Singapore, where I live. My friends and I organized weekly macro trips to local nature reserves in a group of 4 to 10 people. Once or twice yearly, we will organize an overseas trip to nearby countries for macro. I loved to shoot colorful insect and my favourite got to be lantern bug! They are so uniquely shaped and come in many colors variation.
Your gallery isn't for the faint-hearted there! Is there anything that you are scared of yourself or anything that you wouldn't ever photograph, insect/macro wise?
Haha… not that I can think of now. The weird and dangerous insects excite me more! Of course, one must learn to respect them.
Do you use a specific technique when shooting? What setting on your camera do you most like to use?
99% of my pictures are handheld and full flash (no ambient light) with setting ranging from iso 200-800, f16, 1/160s. Flash is set to manual and adjust accordingly to my working distance. Good thing about this setup is that I can approach my subjects faster and steal a shot. The downside is my pictures has this “flashed” look and darker background.
What are some key things that you always bear in mind when shooting?
There are several things I look for before I press the shutter.
a) Focus. No matter how good is the exposure and composition, if the focus is off, everything else is useless. Key focus point in insect photography is always the eye.
b) Timing. Capturing the right moment will create a more impactful photo. Don’t just shoot when the subject is in frame. Wait for eye contact or some behavior action.
c) Angle. I like to go low when I shoot, at the insect point of view. It will bring your viewer to the insect perspective rather than human perspective (view from top).
d) Composition. A properly placed subject in a frame will make a photo more balanced and nicer to view.
What do you look for in your own photographs when you think it is ready to upload?
Sharpness, composition and light.
How long does it usually take to set-up and shoot?
I have a fairly simple setup that takes less than 5 mins to prepare. If the insect is willing, I can take up to 30 mins or more to get the shots I’m happy with, experimenting with different lighting and composition. I have many talented friends shooting with me so we share tips and experiment together.
What is your equipment list and what made you choose your equipment there?
The gears I’m using are Canon 5D mark2, Canon 100mmL macro lens, 270ex flash, Kenko extension tubes and Raynox DCR 250. My considerations for the choice of equipment used are image quality and light weight.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Shoot, Shoot and Shoot!
What is your favourite piece and why?
This is a tough question… I have a favourite pic for every individual insect but to select one out of them is tough! Right now, I really like this photo.
It shows a daddy long leg spider carrying her newly hatched babies in her mouth. What I like about this photo is it shows the maternal instinct of the insect world and the ways some mother insects would do to protect her young. I also like the fact the composition let most viewers paused and wonder what is going on.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you melvynyeo!
3wyl, posting on behalf of communityrelations