Today on the Pixel Magazine, we interview Liza Rock from Florida, USA, and we take a closer look to her fantastic fine art macro photography.
With portraits of cute spiders, shy mantises, and other insects, Liza shares with us her love for nature and the tiny living world.
Discover Liza's photos in 16 full resolution pictures!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
I’ve always had a deep love for nature and animals and had what I felt was a special bond with living creatures from a very young age. It wasn’t until I settled down and bought a home that I started to get into photography. I had a large collection of Passion Flowers in my garden and even crossed my own hybrids. The flowers came in many beautiful forms, and I started to photograph them as they opened each day.
At the time, I already was a web designer and graphic designer and creating my own photographs helped add to my business services. I then decided to get serious about my photography hobby, so I bought a new camera and upgraded lenses which sparked my venture into the macro field of photography and I never looked back.
Did you try other photography styles or macro photography has always been your favorite one?
I started by shooting the flowers in my garden, which led me to shoot the insects in my garden. There is something special in seeing and sharing the tiny hidden living world that most people don’t notice with the naked eye.
Like many others, I used to fear a lot of insects like my now favorite jumping spiders and praying mantids. However, having them as models and really getting to know them slowly melted away all of my fears and offered me a newfound appreciation for the insect world. I also shoot landscape and portrait photography, but macro has been my biggest passion.
What describes a successful picture and why?
Does the image grab your attention when you see it? We can all take pictures on a daily basis, but creating work that moves us and inspires us should be what we strive for as photographers and not just putting out a portfolio of as many photos as we can every day.
I want people to feel an emotion when they see my work, even if it is disgust at times lol, though I have to say that many people have turned their fears into an appreciation for the beautiful insect world instead of fear and hatred, after seeing them up close in photos. I am always ecstatic that I can help them open their eyes to the beauty of a praying mantis, a fly, or even a spider. That is probably the best compliment that my work could receive.
Do you follow a specific creative process or the scene is dictated by the "model"?
If I’m staging my scene and I have a model in mind, I will often think of ideas in my head before the photo shoot. I may even go find certain types of plants or flowers to fit into the idea that I have in my mind.
Other times, I simply go with the flow and let the model dictate my shoot. When I can I like to shoot the models in their natural environments and show them in their natural states. Whether staged or in their natural habitats, all of my insects are alive and never frozen or harmed in any other way.
What are your favorite "models" and where do you find them?
Two of my favorite insects are praying mantis and jumping spiders. In Florida, I am lucky to have warm weather most of the year and I can find a lot of neat critters just outside of my neighborhood.
Other times I travel to other parts of the world for my quest of finding interesting insects. I also like to keep a few of these insects myself that I raise from nymph to adult. I can then really document all of their stages of life and also have some fun in the studio getting to really know them.
About your photography gears and software, what are your favorite tools?
My main camera I like to shoot with is the Sony A7rii. My favorite lenses for macro are the Sony 90mm macro lens, Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x magnification macro lens, and Laowa 15mm wide-angle macro lens. For lighting, my most used flash is the Yongnuo YN-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash with a custom-made diffuser. All of my post processing starts in Lightroom and ends up in Photoshop. A lot of my images have to be focus-stacked, and I often use Photoshop for this as well unless the stack is really large (40+ images), then I use a program like Zerene Stacker or Helicon Focus.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series or travels?
I teach occasional workshops in my area and also offer online classes for anyone interested in learning more about my macro process but can’t meet me in person. I am also working on some informational videos online that I can hopefully start to release soon. As far as travel plans, I have a few ideas that are starting to brew, but nothing is set in stone yet.
To see more from Liza:
All photographs copyright Liza Rock and used with her permission.
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