Small Wonders

 
Starting out early in the day ensures that my little friends are asleep. This makes it easier for me to shoot them. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

Starting out early in the day ensures that my little friends are asleep. This makes it easier for me to shoot them. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

Vadim Trunov introduces us to the world of lilliputian creatures, and explores their interaction with the environment they call home.

My Assignment

  • Description: To create playful stories out of macro shots of tiny creatures
  • Duration: I started shooting macros three years ago and still continue to do so.
  • Notes: Nature is undoubtedly my biggest inspiration. Apart from this, I am also inspired by nature-themed movies and documentaries.

Since I was young, I enjoyed watching insects and other tiny creatures. I would imagine them to be characters with personalities who lived in the world that we tower over. This love for nature and its tiny inhabitants eventually led me to take up macro photography, where I was able to freeze the action in their very busy life.

My Perspective
The best part about shooting macros is that it can be done in the comfort of one’s own backyard. This is also part of the reason why I was never drawn to wildlife photography. I couldn’t imagine myself making several long trips to forests and sanctuaries, in order to make pictures of animals. Hence, macro photography was perfect for me.

I love working with the yellow and pink hues emitted by the rising sun. This lends a beautiful delicateness to the image. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

I love working with the yellow and pink hues emitted by the rising sun. This lends a beautiful delicateness to the image. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

The Process
On the days that I want to shoot, I prefer to start out early. I like how the morning fog lends a certain softness to the light. Once I am out of the house, I immediately set out to locate my little subjects. There are days when I even begin before sunrise, because I prefer not wasting time and most importantly the light, locating these creatures.

As soon as I find my subject, I begin thinking of the various angles that I can shoot them from, while also keeping the direction of light in mind. I usually prefer backlighting different creatures with the rays of the rising sun. This lends a beautiful glow to them. To prevent the image from turning into a silhouette, I use my camera’s flash to bring the subject and its colours alive.

Most of my pictures are shot near meadows, rivers or glades. These places are abundant with little creatures. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

Most of my pictures are shot near meadows, rivers or glades. These places are abundant with little creatures. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

I spend around one to two hours doing this. Later, I return home and review my photographs and if required I correct them for brightness, contrast and saturation. But most of the time, I prefer keeping the amount of postprocessing very minimal.

Currently, photography is something that I pursue as a hobby. In a way, it helps me take my mind off from my day job as a radio engineer. In the past, I have had people who advised me to pursue photography as a full-time profession. However, genres like nature, macro or landscape photography are not quite as commercial here in Russia, as they are in other countries.

Sometimes when composing the images, I like to lend a story to the scene in front of me. Mostly, I try to think of something that reflects the character and look of the subject I am dealing with. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

Sometimes when composing the images, I like to lend a story to the scene in front of me. Mostly, I try to think of something that reflects the character and look of the subject I am dealing with. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

My Equipment

I use a Canon EOS 5D camera and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens. I also carry along one or two external flash units, a remote camera trigger and a flashlight.

Snails and mushrooms are my favourite subjects to shoot. Ants, on the other hand, are quite difficult to capture because they are always on the move. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

Snails and mushrooms are my favourite subjects to shoot. Ants, on the other hand, are quite difficult to capture because they are always on the move. Photograph/Vadim Trunov

Tips to Keep in Mind When Capturing the World of Tiny Insects

  • Know Your Subject: Before you set out to shoot, research on the various insects that you could possibly encounter. This will give you an idea of their behaviour and thus increase your chances of making better photographs of them.
  • The Light Advantage: The appropriate light coming from the right direction will make all the difference to your photograph. Different intensities of light can also help you create drama or evoke different moods.
  • Be Quick on Your Feet: Even though they are tiny, insects can be very tricky to shoot, especially if they are the kinds that move around fast. This requires increased concentration, attention and reaction. You need to anticipate their movements and behaviour and release the shutter at the right time.
Tags: Creatures, insects, Interview, lighting, Macro Photography, On Assignment, Perspectives, Vadim Trunov