Like many a shutterbug, Polish amateur photographer Miroslaw Swietek is fascinated with getting up-close-and-personal photos of insects. But Swietek's photos have an extra layer of amazing: He creeps up on bugs early in the morning when they're in a state of torpor and covered in dew.
Through the camera lens, the dew-covered insects look like they're encrusted with diamonds. The effect is even more stunning when droplets of water magnify the bugs' multi-lens compound eyes.
LiveScience caught up with Swietek to talk macro photography and sleepy insects.
LiveScience: How did you get involved with macro photography?
Swietek: My story with macro photography was just an accident. In 2007, I wanted to do a bike tour to Norway and one of my purchases was a camera (Fuji S6500 FD). I looked at the Internet on how to take photos of landscapes, because I needed to learn, but I also saw macro photos and really enjoyed them. So I put off taking photos of landscapes and I've started taking macro photos. [See a gallery of Swietek's work]
LiveScience: Where do you find the spiders and insects you photograph? Often, I go to the forest next to my village and there I find them.
LiveScience: How about the dew-covered insects? How do you photograph them without disturbing their diamond-like look? The dew-covered insects I also find in that same forest next to my village. At that early in the morning, insects are very sleepy so the camera doesn't disturb them.
LiveScience: What draws you to photographing insects? I already enjoy going to the forest, because it's a really good way to relax, but only in insect photography [do I get] that amazing look when you take a photo in super-zoom and you see the awesome colors and stunning appearance. Most people don't know what beautiful creatures live around us.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.