Facing Up to a Problem

As those of you who have been here before know, I like to get close to my subjects. The closer, the better. It is probably fair to say that this is somewhat of an obsession borne out of my predominant thought process. If I want or need to be conversant and informed in some subject or topic, I want to know it in detail. I want to know the details of the details. No factoid is trivial because everything is part of the whole. I can become very discouraged which often leads to learning nothing (in stark contrast to the desired “everything”). It is a pervasive if not always intense anxiety behind this self-defeating thinking; it has perhaps some traits of obsessive compulsiveness. I wish I could recommend it to others (for my own sake!) but it easily devolves into managing anxiety with more anxiety. At times, it has served my macrophotography well. In an epic (in my head anyway) quest to make the infinitesimal enormous, apparent and crystal clear, I will doggedly search out the tiny details that are so very important to a good shot. It might explain in part my love of “bug portraits” or “face shots” where I try to fill the whole frame with the head or “face” of an insect. It also may show why I potentially miss out on good shots.

Ideally, for all my insect and spider subjects I would get a fully body shot and a super-close up shot, at the very least, but I don’t. Many times I end up with bunches of face shots and a few pedestrian wide shots which often do not even have the whole bug in the picture! Afterwards I usually kick myself, because in my quest to get the perfect portrait, I miss out on excellent opportunities to capture the insect whole in the context of its habitat or environment. When I don’t think to take these shots, it is most often because I am striving to get more detail, to make my shots better, which automatically translates to closer. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t. I have made myself nuts on more than one occasion going in closer, firing shot after shot, and nuttier still with disappointment when I see the results on the big screen later. It is one of those moments simply to let go.

I still love the bug faces. Their beautiful eyes make them more accessible and more unbelievable all at once. The magnification doesn’t stop at the subject, or so I’d like to believe; hopefully it helps the imagination become larger than life, too. In the newly, fast-approaching bug season, I am hoping to lose the edges of anxiety in favor of some more wide angle shots that may not be as close but can inspire the imagination just as much.

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