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Macro

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Published Nov 24, 2014 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 17 Contributors

    17 photos selected by

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Oudemansiella mucida is one of my favorite mushrooms!

    #oudemnsiella #agorastos #fungi #rain #greece #mushrooms

     The wonderful thing about macro photography is its power to transport us into tiny new worlds. I could never have imagined the bizarre alien landscapes that exist among the spines of a sea star or on the surface of a frozen lake. By focusing our lenses on subjects that are at the edge of human perception, we are able to reveal surprising new insights about even the most familiar objects in our lives.   

    My favorite part of editing this assignment was what I learned along the way. I found out that soap bubbles can freeze before they pop; I saw how polarized light can reveal psychedelic landscapes; and I gained a new appreciation for the grace of a millipede. There are many images here I will come back to when I need inspiration for my next assignment from National Geographic. 

    There were so many beautiful images to choose from. I selected photographs that were aesthetically interesting enough to pique my interest, but also contained some new element—either visually or narratively—that kept me lingering on the scene. What I consider interesting, such as the texture of a feather or the behavior of a wasp, is of course biased by my own interests and experiences.

    After blowing bubbles in below freezing temperatures, you can find the tiniest of snowflakes on t...

    #ice #freezing #cold #macro #frozen #snow #bubble #snowflake

    Editor's Note

    I learned something new with this image. I had no idea bubbles could freeze! The snowflakes on the surface are an added visual bonus. Next time, I'd suggest shooting at a narrower aperture to ma... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    This is a macro shot of a leaf dying in a most amazing way, little by little , brown patch by bro...

    #faliage #summer #macro #abstarct #pattern #leaf #fallfoliage #green #nature #fall

    Editor's Note

    This simple image shows the complex and beautiful process of leaf decay in a way I had not previously appreciated. I assumed leaves decayed all at once. However, the various shades of brown seem ... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Crown Of Thorns (Acanthaster planci) are large seastars that feed on the coral. Most of the time,...

    #crown #reef #underwater #thorns

    Editor's Note

    I never would have thought that the skin of a sea star was so intricate. I love discovering little worlds like this one.

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Pretty parrot feathers. Just after her bath.

    #blue #parrot #pattern #feather #bird #birds #feathers #animal #animals

    Editor's Note

    What makes this image memorable for me is the wonderful sense of depth created by the soft, directional light.

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    love ants in the backyard I always was fascinated by their lives .I watched an ant hill for a lon...

    #macro #ants

    Giant ichneumon wasps drilling into solid wood to deliver their eggs to host grubs.

    #wasp #giant #macro #ovipositor #insect #ichneumon #wood #megarhyssa #nature #drilling

    The forests around here are crawling with millipedes. Walking requires a little extra vigilance i...

    #macro #curl #millipede

    Walking after rain,I found a decomposed,wet leaf.Using my creativity,I positioned it in front of ...

    #blue #ngmadventure #ngmcreate #drops #natgeoinspires #photooftheday #leaf #art #veronika #ngmh2o

    Editor's Note

    What I love about this image is that it took me a while to figure out what I was looking at. The green part of the leaf at the bottom of the image was what gave it away, but even then I enjoyed ex... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Crystalized sodium thiosulfate shot between two polarazing filters

    #chemical #macro #abstract #crystalized #polarized

    Editor's Note

    It is the mystery in this image that holds my attention. What are these structures? Where does the color come from? Even when I learn from the caption that it is a crystalline structure viewed u... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    The image depicts transformation from inanimate organic matter to living beings. Translucent org...

    #organic #macro #abstract #science #life #gels #polarized

    Editor's Note

    I am generally more interested in images of natural subjects rather than abstract compositions of man-made materials. However, the colors in this image along with the wild form of the bubbles with... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Since we do not get much ice here I took advantage of the recent cold weather and scoured the loc...

    #winter #ice #abstract_photography #macro #abstraction #abstract #elements #patterns #iceart

    Editor's Note

    I was surprised and delighted by all the different forms of ice I saw in this assignment. Living in the mild California climate has deprived me of the beauty of this amazing, dynamic substance. H... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    I love to look at macro perspectives of nature. This photo is looking into the world of ice- Thes...

    #ice #macro #frozen #lake_ice #abstract #lake_champlain

    Editor's Note

    I agree with Marilyn that this view of bubbles trapped in ice looks otherworldly. I wonder how quickly the ice must have to form to trap these perfectly spherical bubbles.

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Ice crystals on a window pane

    #winter #ice #crystal #macro #cold

    Editor's Note

    I have seen many beautiful images of snowflakes but what makes this image different is the diversity of forms that are captured in this scene. I love the sense of organized chaos this image convey... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    I was snowshoeing among these magnificent boulders in Crested Butte, CO. The winter sun brazenly ...

    #winter #ice #colorado #boulders #snowshoeing #icicle

    Editor's Note

    I am not used to seeing colorful ice so I was surprised to see these red tipped icicles. I’m guessing the color comes from some kind of microbial growth, but what can grow on such an unstable surf... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Utilizing a macro lens attachment for my phone camera, I was a able to capture this crystalline s...

    #closeup #dimensional #quartz #macro #abstract #sunlit #girders #creative #mineral #nature

    Editor's Note

    This image is a nice example of how even phones are capable of capturing surprising details about the world. I could not have guessed what I was looking at without Arlene’s description and I agree... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    Kill to survive

    #macro #cloceup

    Editor's Note

    I am impressed with the soft rim light Yusnizam used in this photo. By gently brightening the edges of everything in this scene, the light isolates the subjects from the background and allows you... More

    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer

    With a background in biology, I have a strong preference for images of the natural world. However, I saw some amazingly creative photographs of artificial subjects that made me rethink the properties of water, metal, plastic, and other materials I would have otherwise dismissed as boring and dead.

    For me, photography is all about exploring the world and sharing what you find with others. Thank you all for sharing your wonderful discoveries!

    About the Editor
    Anand Varma
    National Geographic Photographer
    Anand Varma is a freelance photographer with a background in biology. His projects tell the story behind the science on subjects ranging from primate behavior and hummingbird biomechanics to amphibian diseases and mangrove forests. His first feature story for National Geographic is “Mindsuckers,” the magazine's November 2014 cover story.

    Photographers Published In the Story