“Don’t sweat the small stuff!” is a common saying to help us get through periods of times where we can become overwhelmed by even the most minute things. It’s said so often, we forget nearly all the “small stuff” in general.
Noticing the small stuff has become a large part of my creative process. I’m in love with the details- the things that most people just pass by on a daily basis- and capturing them. From a tiny dandelion seed, getting ready to drift off to plant a new life….
…To the smallest mushroom, waving hello while you hike on by…
…We’re surrounded by a world of macro-beauty.
As a recent transplant to the northwest from Los Angeles, I was accustomed to a lifestyle of “bigger is better”. That’s how they shape their society. I was never one to follow the norms of society, though.
When Geoff and I first moved to Portland, I was astounded to see how many spiders there were. I wasn’t a huge spider fan (At all) (I mean, nope), and if I can be completely honest, I was down right petrified of them.
It’s amazing how much a macro lens and the internet can change something from the monster that will drain your blood while you sleep to a gorgeous creature. I learned that they’re actually fascinating, dynamic creatures that come in all shapes and sizes.
I started taking their pictures using my Canon 100mm Macro lens. At first, I was really scared. But, brave scared. And I was able to capture pictures like this…
I caught this beautiful orb weaver (Araneoidea) hanging out by the waterfront in SW Portland. It was by chance that I walked by at that very moment, catching her while she sunbathed by the river. I watch as dozens of people walked by her, never taking a second glance. Taking this picture was the start of me appreciating the little things, behind the lens of my camera.
We even have a companion spider now, named “Cowboy”. He’s a bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax) and pretty dang cute. He’s got these hairs on his head that look just like eyelashes. Something I would never see without macrophotography.
After taking hundreds of pictures of spiders of other little bugs, I found myself taking a random interest in plant life- Specifically, mushrooms. Unlike the insect world, mushrooms don’t move. You don’t have to worry about them biting or stinging you (just don’t eat or touch the ones you don’t know). But, much like the insect world, they can be just as difficult to photograph.
I guess, for me, “don’t sweat the small stuff” is a great philosophy in life, but in my creative process, I absolutely sweat the small stuff. I find deep pleasure in the little things that bring texture to the world. The worm that sits on the stem of the flower, the mushroom sprouting beautifully from a fallen tree, and the multiple eyes of our spider friends.
They are all stunning in their own way, and it’s a great passion to capture these little nuggets of beauty when I’m out with my camera.