Profession: Educator, Amateur Photography and Videography
Photography Equipment: Apple iPhone 6s, iPhone XR
I have always loved animals, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I became interested in the world of macro photography. I purchased my first olloclip kit in 2016 and it felt like a real game changer. I purchased a 4-in-1 kit which came with two Macro lenses, a Fisheye and a Wide-Angle. After experimenting with all four lenses, the two macros became my favorites and I haven’t stopped using them since.
Most of my photography and videography is centered around insects, spiders and frogs taken with my iPhone 6s and olloclip lenses. The subjects I am most passionate about are spiders, they fascinate me, and I am so lucky that I live in Australia where we have so many different species just waiting to be explored.
Spiders are awesome! On my Instagram I am trying to show people that most spiders aren’t actually dangerous to humans and many are greatly misunderstood. There are spiders in Australia with medically significant venom, but I make sure that I do not handle any of those species. All of the species on my Instagram are spiders that have been found in the wild and are not dangerous to humans of which most are actually quite unlikely to bite at all.
I am often asked how many times I have been bitten by a spider. The answer is none, despite how often I interact with spiders, I have never actually been bitten by one. I have been stung and bitten by some insects though, like most people.
Most of my students enjoy when I share my photos and videos of insects and spiders with them, however at the start of each year I usually have a few students who are afraid and reluctant to participate in my spider activities but within a month of having a class I usually get all of them on board with being pro spiders and spreading the word to encourage people to catch and release spiders outside rather than killing them, if they can! I really love it when my students bring me spider related gifts, like spider artwork and even live spiders their parents have caught at home and want me to relocate.
Photography has seriously helped my well-being, as I have said I am a primary school teacher which can be a stressful job at times. Engaging in photography as a hobby has really helped me remember to be in the moment and enjoy every day. I am lucky that my profession enables me to pass on the love and appreciation of animals to my students and inspire the next generation of nature enthusiasts.
My advice for any new Olloclip macro lens users would be to start experimenting with your lens so that you feel comfortable with it, learn about how close you need to be for your lens and learn how to lean on parts of your body or your surroundings to stay steady.
For my photography sometimes I lean on my leg, my arm, a wall, a fence, my knee or whatever else is available in order to keep myself steady. This should increase your likelihood of getting crisp photos and smooth videos. Sometimes it’s tricky particularly if it’s a windy day and your subject is in a tree or if you have just had a coffee and have the shakes! Finding a way to steady yourself and learn about the behavior of your subject (if it is living) will greatly help.
If you are new to macro altogether, I recommend starting with still subjects before trying to take photos of insects and spiders as it can be frustrating to get a clear photo when they continue to move.
If you are interested in checking out more of my macro photography and videography my content is on my Instagram page
I would like to promote Lisa Van Kula Donovan (@wannabe_entomologist) because she has been inspiring me for years and is the reason I finally got the courage to face a long time fear of mine by handling my very first adult huntsman spider. Lisa has incredible posts that are both engaging and educational. If you want to see more insect and spider inspired content check out Lisa’s Instagram.