Bob Belas Photography Blog

I was the kid with the magnifying glass

I trace my love of nature photography back to my childhood and my grandfather's love of nature, which he shared with me. He would take me on walks around the brook that entwined itself around our street. At that time, the brook was vibrant and alive with native brook and brown trout, stocked rainbows, dace, and suckers. We'd turn over rocks and he would show me caddis, mayfly, and stonefly larvae, crayfish (crawfish to those in the south), and all sorts of other aquatic critters. That brook has undergone many changes throughout the years, most for the worst, I am sad to say, but those memories remain fresh.

I was the 'science' kid. I had erector and chemistry sets, microscopes, telescopes, and a magnifying lens. I loved (and still love) to look through instruments to see things that cannot be seen, or cannot be seen clearly, by the naked eye. As a photographer, I naturally gravitated towards macrophotography, first with a cheap, but useful bellows between my trusty Canon FT and its 50 mm f/1.4 lens, and these days with a Canon 100 mm f/2.8 IS macro lens, extension tubes, and Really Right Stuff macro focusing rails. The toys just got more expensive; all else is pretty much the same and my interest unchanged.

Bark Coils in Black and White

Magnifying nature brings new things into perspective. It gives you a new view and a new way to look at something. Tree bark isn't something that immediately leaps out and says "I'm interesting", but take a look, a long look, at the bark and its coils in this black and white photo. Look at the texture. Look at the crevices. Look at the metallic shine on the coils of bark. Look. There is so much to see. Look.