About this interview
Congratulations to Petar Sabol, winner of the IGPOTY 12 Macro Art Photo Project. In this interview we find out the story behind the winning image.
Q1. Macro photography is a big part of your identity as a photographer. What do you find so important/attractive about the genre?
From a young age I have always been attracted to the hidden world of small creatures and insects. I find them so interesting; not just their behaviour, but also their fascinating biology, fashioned by nature. I enjoy discovering and learning about these intricacies of shape, colour and structure through photography.
I always get inspired to take photographs of insects, especially if I’m lucky enough to find a species I haven’t seen before; and there are so many of them! So it is an endless source for unseen and original photographs.
Q2. Tell us more about the location of the photograph. Is this a favourite location to find macro subjects? Did you make a special journey?
The location is actually just a mile away from where I live. It’s basically my back garden! There is a small but very nice canal with clear water…and this water is home to so many insects and other animals all year round. So it is very simple for me as I live in an area which means I don’t need to travel far to find good subjects.
I am surrounded with meadows and forests, which are quite rich with insects, and that’s why I don’t need to make a special journey, though, I admit I would like to visit new places to take photos of more exotic insects and other animals.
Q4. Insects are fast moving living subjects - how did you control for this variable and form the composition? What other challenges did you face?
That is very true. In the middle of the day, it is really difficult to take pictures of them because they are most active then.
So, the best way is to get there early in the morning, or at sunset, when they are less active. Morning is also fresher, air temperature is quite low, so all these factors play an important role when taking photos. Of course, the wind can be a macro photographer’s worst enemy. Luckily, mornings are usually the calmest part of the day, so it all makes it easier to manage the shot.
As I found them close to each other on a young poppy flower, I moved one very gently with a grass stem just to get them more into my chosen depth of field and to make the composition more attractive. The Mayfly didn’t fly away so it was really straightforward to take photo. The sun was just rising so it was nice to watch them, beautifully illuminated with the first light of a new day.
Q5. What equipment or techniques did you use to produce the final result?
Q6. How much editing in post-capture was necessary?
Not really, just basic editing in RAW including colours, contrast, shadows, white balance and other basic adjustments. I always try to make my images as close to perfect as possible in the moment of creation, so that there is minimal work after. Nowadays there are too many manipulated photographs, so it’s important to have the image as natural as possible.
Q7. More broadly what would you like people to takeaway from this image? Is there a deeper meaning?
I am sure people enjoy my photos, because with them I can bring them into an amazing world which is otherwise, inaccessible. I also feel that photography can make people more interested and thus more respectful of nature. This really drives my continued passion for macro photography.
Q8. What advice do you have to other budding macro photographers?
My advice to other photographers would be they should keep taking pictures of what they’re interested in and keep sharing them with the world. Of course, macro photography also requires a lot of patience and hard work so it’s always a long term passion. My other piece of advice would be to respect the animals or plants that you photograph and ensure that your photographs are ethical. I think good animal photography can only be produced in this manner.
Q9. Is there something really special/rare or meaningful that you would love to capture but haven't yet?
There are lots of species that aren’t in the place where I live and I would more than love to take photos of these. Ideally, I would like to work for organisations like nature reserves, parks, magazines or travel companies and be hired as photographer for these kinds of projects that would expose me to more diverse wildlife.
Q10. And finally, why did you enter IGPOTY?
I love to compete and see how my photos compare with other international entries. Winning an award is always nice. Other than personal satisfaction it is also confirmation that you’re doing good work because it has been recognised by a specialised and respected jury. When we consider all these things it made a lot of sense for me to enter IGPOTY, which sets the standard for these nature oriented contests.