It’s the little things in life that matter…

There’s nothing like a spot of macro photography for making you stop to appreciate nature’s tinier gems

I have never classed myself as a macro photographer and as a landscape photographer, usually I’m all about the big views and dramatic scenery. But sometimes as a photographer you just have to stop and smell the roses -well in this case crocuses and orchids – along the way!

Wild crocus on the Ljubljansko Barje, Slovenia (Nikon D300, Sigma 105 f2.8 macro, 1/250s, f4, ISO400)

Wild crocus on the Ljubljansko Barje, Slovenia (Nikon D300, Sigma 105 f2.8 macro, 1/250s, f4, ISO400)

Spring is the perfect season to experiment with macro photography as meadows burst into life again and woodland floors are transformed with carpets of colour.

Returning from a sunrise shot last year, two fellow photographers and I stopped in Triglav National Park (Slovenia) to try our luck — and lucky we were as we discovered a rare crop of Lady’s Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium calceolus).

Miro lends his t-shirt to provide the perfect makeshift studio backdrop

Miro lends his t-shirt to provide the perfect makeshift studio backdrop

Wild Lady’s Slipper Orchids are in decline across Europe, so above all it’s important to tread carefully and preserve them in their habitat. To create a studio-effect shot, we grabbed a reflector and soft box plus some portable portrait lighting that I often carry in the boot of my car and set up a makeshift studio on location. For the next couple of hours we improvised, playing around with backgrounds and focal lengths (and taking extreme care not to crush any of the delicate flora we were discovering by the second at our feet!) I even convinced Andrej to take off his t-shirt as it was perfect for an improvised background on the fly!

Lady’s Slipper orchid (Nikon D800, Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro, 1/20s, f11, ISO800)

Lady’s Slipper orchid (Nikon D800, Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro, 1/20s, f11, ISO800)

Next stop, the Ljubljana Marshes, a protected landscape park with a wealth of biodiversity. Here we discovered wild crocus in abundance and really had to watch our step as we created a similar set up. For these shots I used a Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 macro lens.

Andrej photographing crocus, using softboxes. Nikon D300, 17mm, 1/250s, f4, ISO200

Andrej photographing crocus, using softboxes. Nikon D300, 17mm, 1/250s, f4, ISO200

So there you have it. No sweeping views, no dramatic weather or spectacular light – just a close-up look at tiny specks of nature’s splendour. Sometimes it feels good to take a break from what whatever you do in your day-to-day life to take a look at things from a different perspective or an alternative angle.

Wild crocus (Nikon D300, Sigma 105 f2.8 macro, 1/250s, f2.8, ISO200)

Wild crocus (Nikon D300, Sigma 105 f2.8 macro, 1/250s, f2.8, ISO200)

Luka Esenko runs tours and workshops across Slovenia, Croatia and the Adriatic region through Luka Esenko Photography. His latest project is SNAPP Guides, an app to help photographers discover incredible places to photograph (Available in the App Store from April 2016).

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