Macro insect portfolio wins EISA Maestro 2023 competition!

To be in with a possibility of taking house the national prize of this year’s EISA Maestro competition, entrants were entrusted with sending a series of between 5 and eight images on the style of ‘The Animal Kingdom’. All entries had to be taken for the purposes of this competitors, and we were looking for a choice of images that hung together as a coherent whole. The topic might be any type of animal, consisting of wild and city wildlife, family pets and stock.
blue beetle flying action against blue and purple background macro portfolio
It’s easy to see why we were so drawn to Angi’s portfolio. While it’s true that the subject matter might not be precisely to everyone’s tastes, no one can reject the ability with which the images were created.

Below we’ll discover more from Angi about her background, and what it seems like to win the nationwide round. For this portfolio, she wins a digital membership to Amateur Photographer and moves forward to the last round of the EISA Maestro Photo Contest 2023, where she will compete against other global professional photographers to take home among the top rewards– over EUR4,250 is up for grabs. Go to: master/.

ADVERTISEMENT: Tell us about your background.
AW: My background is in nursing. I had no experience but tossed myself into discovering both photography and magazine-related stuff.

ADVERTISEMENT: How did you enter photography, and what was your very first video camera?
AW: I had constantly liked taking photos whilst out treking in the Lake District and wished to find out more. I only had a little point-and-shoot Fuji Finepix for this, but I was offered a Canon 300D DSLR with set lens for Christmas and decided to use all manual settings within two weeks.
green weevil beetle against red background
Green weevil beetle. Sony A7 III, 65mm, 1/200sec at f/8, ISO 100. Image credit: Angi Wallace.

AD: What are your favourite subjects?
AW: My first photography subjects with the DSLR were primarily my frogs, reptiles and flowers from our garden. As time went on I decided to throw myself into finding out new genres or subjects each year.

I have actually adjusted and do 90% of photography from house or in our garden now, such as still life, flowers, food and macro. Photographing frogs has actually constantly been right up there with my favourite topics, carefully followed by fungi, however over all my preferred type of photography is not one topic or perhaps genre– I take pleasure in close up and macro work most, however the crucial favoured aspect is creativity. I like to be continuously learning.

ADVERTISEMENT: How and where do you discover inspiration?.
AW: I have lots of interests– art, animals, nature, folklore, history, fantasy, paganism– so I am never short on inspiration. I have so many projects I would love to embark on and not the capability (health-wise) to really do them all. I find motivation all over, if my job includes challenges then that’s even much better.
Blue bug against yellow background macro portfolio photography
Blue carpenter beetle. Sony A7 III, 90mm, 1/200sec at f/11, ISO 50. Picture credit: Angi Wallace.

ADVERTISEMENT: What is your existing package?
AW: I am exceptionally lucky to have actually been given a Sony A7 III and numerous lenses, as well as access to a Nikon Z6 plus 105 macro lens, by my partner Michael who is a wildlife photographer. I like the Sony, I find it really light and intuitive in circumstances like gigs. My preferred lens for the last 17 years has actually been a Sigma 150 macro lens which I used for portraiture along with macro. I was incredibly fortunate in winning the APOY close up round in recent years which enabled me to purchase a brand-new one to change my old faulty lens– obviously I got the last one in the factory.

I likewise utilize a Sony 90mm macro lens and some vintage lenses combined with extension tubes (Meyer Görlitz Primoplan and Helios). I had been obtaining my partners Z 6 and using its focus shift option up until February and will still be utilizing it for location macro focus stacking as the rail is too slow to utilize outdoors when wind moves plants or pests are active.

Gem stag beetle. Sony A7 III, 90mm, 1/200sec at f/4.5, ISO 50. Picture credit: Angi Wallace.
jewel stag beetle against black background for macro portfolio
AD: Do you have a dream purchase?.
AW: That’s a tough one now as I simply recently gotten two of my dream pieces of package. I’m more than happy with the set that I have and don’t tend to hanker after new set, although I would one day like a high-speed trigger so that I can record my frogs leaping.

ADVERTISEMENT: What software application do you utilize for modifying?
AW: I have utilized Photoshop for over 20 years and still prefer it; I’m not a fan of Lightroom’s filing system so I simply do not use it. I use Bridge for rapidly browsing and choosing images to edit. I likewise utilize Helicon for focus stacking.

AD: Who are your favourite photographers?.
AW: Mandy Disher has been a favourite for many years, I adore her still life and flowers. More recent favourites are Guy Edwards for his fungi and landscapes, and Jake Hicks for his portrait and lighting work.

ADVERTISEMENT: What are your preferred photography books?
AW: I have only ever purchased a handful of photography books but 2 of these helped me so much from the start Firstly Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson; second is The Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally I still highly suggest both.
green beetle close up
Ruby fruit chafer beetle. Nikon Z 6, 105mm, 1/200sec at f/18, ISO 125. Image credit: Angi Wallace.

AD: What motivated you to develop this portfolio?.
AW: At the time that I saw the competitors brief I was actually pushing myself hard to improve with focus stacking macro subjects. I had simply purchased the WeMacro automated rail and thought that a portfolio of macro focus-stacked bugs could be a fantastic subject– I could display their striking information and beautiful colours to numerous who do not see this level of detail in daily life.

AD: What were the challenges involved in producing this portfolio?
AW: Creating each image was a prolonged process with a great deal of behind-the-scenes preparation. It was necessary to me to source my topics from accountable, ethical traders, where the bugs pass away naturally and purchasing helps to sustain more pests in addition to assisting communities. I had to be patient and wait for some items to ship from an expert ethical business overseas.

Preparing the bugs is a really fragile treatment, to get a dried specimen in the appropriate position and cleaning it up with the smallest brush. Due to the fact that some are so small, positioning can be extremely fiddly and time-consuming, but worth it in the end. It could easily take me a number of hours of preparation per topic.

Next was getting lighting right; as bugs so often have very shiny parts it could use up to 3 layers of diffusion material per light to avoid specular highlights, typically using 2 to 3 lights plus small reflectors (pieces of foil to bounce the light back into shadowed locations). Then I needed to get to work with setting the WeMacro and electronic camera, to take sufficient images to get the whole topic in focus when stacked.

This varied from 46 to 185 photos– with periods for the flashes to charge in between each shot– so a stack could easily take 30-45 minutes. I had to stack each image in Helicon software, and procedure in Photoshop, zooming right in to guarantee artifacts from stacking were gotten rid of. The entire modifying procedure per image might take a couple of hours, although there were just small, little alterations, but I wished to get them as best as possible.
green flying beetle against green background macro bug portfolio
Gem stag beetle. Sony A7 Mark III, 90mm, 1/200sec at f/5, ISO 125Photo credit: Angi Wallace.

AD: How long did it take you to create all the images in the portfolio?
AW: It took me 3 months to get all the images in the portfolio.

AD: What was it like creating a portfolio specifically for the function of entering Maestro?
AW: I truly enjoyed having a portfolio to focus on and I am currently working on other portfolios.

ADVERTISEMENT: How did it feel to discover that you had won the UK round of the competitors?.
AW: I was astonished that my portfolio came initially, as I was uncertain how utilizing taxidermy specimens would be viewed. If Levon Bliss can put out images of preserved specimens then so can I!

AD: Are you anxious about how it might fare versus the other nations’ portfolios?.
AW: Not at all. Whoever wins, wins and I understand that I will enjoy seeing the winning portfolios from the other countries. I am proud to fly the flag for the UK and even prouder to fly the flag for disabled individuals/ people with M.E.

AD: What are your favourite photography ideas?.
AW: Get innovative. When I was part of a video camera club there were often themed shoots and everyone would shoot the exact same subject in the exact same way– look for different innovative methods to photo your topic.
Blue-banded weevil insect on red flower
ADVERTISEMENT: What would you state to anyone thinking about producing a portfolio for next year’s competitors?.
AW: Do what you love, your passion will shine through. Don’t let anything put you off, just think in yourself and go all out, as you have to remain in it to win it. I might quickly have given up as I am unable to get out and shoot wildlife like lots of people can, however I found a method to shoot the theme from home, which matched my physical abilities and enthusiasms– it worked for me.


Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *