Sometimes he would drop from the branch on his silk thread and I would wind the thread up to keep him from dropping to the ground, but he was quick. He managed to drop down from his thread quicker than I could reel it back up sometimes. Once he crawled back up his thread! He was getting used to me, and was less fearful as time went on. In person, he's very tiny and not intimidating. I can't make out much of the detail you get to see in these images. (That's part of what makes macro photography so fascinating.) When he jumped, he jumped quicker than I could actually see. It was like he was being teleported! He was on a rock one second and in less than a blink of an eye he was somewhere else. Interestingly, after he got more familiar with me, he stopped jumping and allowed me to fool with him, for lack of a better way of describing it.
Tiny life exists all around us and flourishes in a world all its own. Rarely is it seen or experienced by humans except when it evokes fear, annoyance or a big yuck factor. I discovered this under world – this jungle metropolis below my feet-- quite by accident. It all began with one wild honey bee who unknowingly led me to her thriving hive in an old hollowed out oak tree the winter of 2011. I visited that hive nearly every day for months and got to know the bees on a first name basis. We developed a kinship, truly a mutual trust, and I could take my camera to within inches of the hive entrance and photograph as long as my heart desired without ever getting stung. That’s when I first fell in love with bees. The sound of their buzzing was melodic and soothing. A year later I wrote a book about bees and filled the pages with color photos of my bee adventures.
From there, I noticed ladybugs, butterflies, and caterpillars, and then wasps, and creatures I’d never taken much notice of before, like dragonflies and damselflies and spiders. This tiny life world opened up my own. I began witnessing marvelous things. I've seen life and death struggles, fear and stress, and territorial fights.
I’ve photographed a paper wasp head butting a honey bee off a flower, while using a back leg to kick another one off. I’ve seen a honey bee defend herself and dive bomb the wasp. That’s rare though. Honey bees are not aggressive when they’re out gathering nectar. Bumble bees are even tamer. I would handle all of them – the bees, the wasps, the bumble bees, dragonflies, butterflies and grasshoppers - with bare hands.
Insects, like most life forms, have a strong desire to survive. They want the basic necessities just like we do: food, water and shelter. Some are quite communal, while others prefer a solitary life. I've seen creatures be curious, playful, trusting, cautious, and literally having fun. I would even say they have distinct personalities.
My goal through the use of a camera lens is to bring their world into focus, to expand our own. I want to share my belief that all life matters. My photography passion extends to all animals, birds and reptiles. I posit that if the human race embraced that single concept -- all life matters -- we'd be closer to peace on this beautiful and glorious, but quite messed up planet.