Back in 2007, I discovered the macro feature on our digital camera. It was there all along, but I’d skipped past most of the manual. Taking photographs of people and scenery didn’t usually require special buttons.
That year, as the summer in New Hampshire eased into fall, I had some time to explore and amuse myself. Getting our cottage situated, a sunroom and decks added, furnishings found, and a garden planted consumed most of the summer.
Our garden was an adventure in learning. Would it be too shady with the tall trees looming over our site? What would grow best in New England’s short growing season? I delighted in each blossom that validated our choices.
Even though we’d worked hard all summer, I’d soaked up the atmosphere of this new place. I fell in love with the wildflowers, the plush mosses and odd lichens and the textures of pine needles and birch bark.
I wanted to capture these visual delights that made my summer special. That’s when I pulled out the digital camera and read the instructions for the macro photo taking. It didn’t sound that hard; just click on the button with the flower symbol, get within a foot to 2 inches of the subject, and don’t wobble while pushing the shutter. Surely I could manage that.
The results exceeded my expectations. The close-up photographs revealed even greater beauty in the flowers than I could see from my normal viewpoint. I wanted to capture everything with this small box in my hands, put it onto my computer and view it six times larger than life.
Now I could see the velvety texture of the petals and the shadings of color. Whenever I have a few minutes, I take the camera for a walk. Who knows what I might find; a blue jay’s feather, red berries on a bush, clover in an open meadow… My eye is drawn to the minute details in the landscape that I used to overlook. Macro photography has opened my eyes to the beauty of tiny things.
(Essay originally posted on Our Echo by Virginia Allain)