Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet

Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet

 Here is some exciting news for any macro photographer out there, Don Komarechka is working on a new book called Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet.
If you’re into macro photography then you will no doubt know Don Komarechka’s work, if you’re not familiar with Don’s work then you're in for a treat.

Don Komarechka is a nature, macro, and landscape photographer located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. From auroras to pollen, insects to infrared, much of Komarechka’s photographic adventures reveal a deeper understanding of how the universe works. Exploring the world that we cannot see with our own eyes has been a common thread in Komarechka’s career as a professional photographer. Now Don is creating a new book from his experience as a macro photographer.


Imagine the mundane, everyday doldrums of life could be transformed into an otherworldly narrative. This is the world of macro photography, where the unseen universe at our feet becomes the fodder for creativity and beauty that we all ignore in our average day.

Macro photography is more than just a genre of images consisting of close-up images. Photographers in this realm often have to play by a different rule book and experience different challenges than “ordinary” photographers but learning the techniques and skills on a macro level have a far-reaching impact on all photographic thinking. When you start thinking “macro”, you almost always start getting inventive!

The book is now on Kickstarter and aims to cover every challenge that a macro photographer might encounter, from beginner problems like focus and motion blur, to more complex issues with magnification and diffraction, lighting and composition, and so much more.

Book Specifications:

  • 9” x 9” Hardcover (the same physical dimensions as Komarechka's first book, Sky Crystals) 
  • 352 Pages, 80lb white gloss
  • Sheet-fed press
  • Printed in Canada
  • MSRP will be CAD$60-80, dependent on quantity produced and upgrades if over-funded.
  • Every copy of the book will be autographed



If you are interested in this book, back the Kickstarter campaign and grab yourself a quality book for less than the MSRP which will be CAD$60-80, dependent on quantity produced and upgrades if over-funded.

I’ve backed the campaign myself and looking forward to receiving my copy of Komarechka’s new book, are you?

Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet Kickstarter campaign: 
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/donkom/macro-photography/description

Make sure you are aware of the risks involved in backing a Kickstarter campaign.

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19 Comments

Simon Patterson's picture

So what kickback are you getting for dressing this Kickstarter campaign advertising up as an Fstoppers article?

Absolutely nothing. The author of this post, Stewart Wood, has pledged money to the Kickstarter campaign to help this project succeed. I have not paid for this article in any way. I do understand your skepticism however - there are a lot of sponsored posts, videos and opinions around the internet that go undeclared and it muddies the water for those looking for an unbiased opinion or review. I'd argue that's just about everyone!

Simon Patterson's picture

Well an article that is largely a cut-and-paste of a kickstarter campaign, right down to the bold text, doesn't pass the smell test for mine. But each person will make up their own minds about that.

Either way, it does look like a nice book and no doubt you've put a mountain if work into it, so I wish you well in its publication.

I appreciate your well wishes Simon, and yes, the article does contain some text from the Kickstarter page but that doesn't mean I had anything to do with it. :)

Terry Waggoner's picture

Don, from the email(photogeekweekly) I received you've more than doubled the pledge asked for.....kudos.......I have been a fan of your work and have taken inspiration from it and have viewed more than a few of your videos on youtube. I shoot macro to near micro for my own pleasure and have always appreciated your willingness to share your knowledge. A big thank you for your generosity and will be adding my name to the list.

Thanks so much for your support, Terry! When you push beyond 1:1 macro things get very interesting - and much more challenging! Having shot hand-held at up to 20:1 magnifications, there are certain limits that are difficult to push past but I love to be transparent about the process. Maybe I'm in the minority, but understanding more about how an image is made seems to validate it's worth in today's society. :)

Terry Waggoner's picture

Interestingly enough, it's the challenges of shooting macro that keeps me interested.............and quit bragging......hand-held at 20:1!! Nutz! Holding anything at my age is an adventure!!!

I was told it couldn't be done, but I had already been hand-holding at 12:1 with reliable success so it wasn't so far fetched to reach 20x. That microscope objective is better served on a focusing rail, though! Here's a snowflake shot handheld at 20:1.

eric krouse's picture

You had me at "Don Komarechka"

Brandon ~'s picture

I love macro photography, however, I cant justify paying that much for a book of photographs. The most expensive book I ever bought of art was M.C. Escher. From what I can tell its beautiful. I just recently obtained my first macro lens - Meike F2.8 1.5:1 manual lens. Still trying to figure this thing out, I feel as though I'm getting there though - here is some of my work. On such things like the garden spider I cant seem to get everything in focus for some reason. Most is, not sure which setting is making me lose my depth of field.

The spider is an Orchid Spider and a Carpenter Bee. The Bee drilled a hole in my deck.

Hey Brandon, nice images! To be fair, the book is decidedly NOT a photo book - it's an education tool full of tutorials, techniques, workflow and more. It would help you answer all of your questions about macro photography and improve your work.

For example, you state that you're curious about why your depth of field becomes so shallow in some images. There are three factors always at play: aperture, focal length, and distance from your subject. Not knowing the settings you used, I'll assume the same aperture and focal length and skip right to the one people rarely consider a factor outside of macro photography: distance from your subject.

The closer you get to something (and your magnification increases as a result), the shallower your depth of field is going to be. This is difficult to overcome, since making a smaller aperture will only result in issues surrounding "diffraction limiting" which will soften your image and won't add a considerable amount of depth as a trade-off. Some photographers with higher-resolution sensors may opt to shoot farther away from the subject with the intent to crop in, thereby maximizing the depth in a single frame. The other more traditional option is focus stacking, which requires a static subject and moving the camera forward and back ever so slightly while continuously shooting. This will capture different "slices" of focus that you then combine together in software.

There really is a lot to learn in the genre of macro photography, and my upcoming book will be a tome of such knowledge well worth the price. :)

Brandon ~'s picture

Settings for the Bee: Aperture:4-5.6, Focal Length: 50mm, Distance: 9 inches - Tulip hood.

Thank you for the reply and the information. You make a pretty valid point in your assessment of distance from the subject. I'll have to really think about purchasing that book as macro is my favorite type of photography. I obtained the Meike 85mm f2.8 and attempted to use the full 1.5:1. My goal was to define the hairs, eyes and other semi microscopic features so I got really close to the subjects. Every setting is manual and I'm guessing on the Aperture as it was a really bright day and the EXIF info literally says f0.00 as there is no auto focus feature on this glass.

Basically what I got from your reply is that I should maybe get further away from my subjects and to start using raw images and combine, is that correct?

Thanks for finding my comment helpful, Brandon. There is a trade-off is depth vs. detail that needs to be considered - do you want obscene resolution and all the detail? Well, your subject needs to be static and you'll need to use focus stacking techniques. Want to get the highest amount of detail in a single image? Find your diffraction limit and avoid it. Generally speaking, most cameras will be fine with an effective aperture of F/22 or less. "Effective aperture" is the key phrase here.

For every magnification factor you have, you need to add one stop to roughly calculate your "effective aperture". The more magnification you have, the smaller your effective aperture is - and it's important to know this in order to avoid complications with a loss of resolution from diffraction.

Example: If you were at F/5.6 and shooting at the closest focusing distance of your lens, you'd need to add a stop and a half to that aperture setting - you're really shooting at F/9 or so. Not a problem! Shooting at F/22 however, your effective aperture would be closer to F/40 and diffraction would certainly be at play.

Long story short: You can get away with a smaller aperture for an increase in depth but there is a point where you are causing yourself to lose image quality as a result.

Also, at smaller effective apertures you'll need more light - consider using an off-camera flash with an extra battery pack to keep up with continuous bursts. :)

I am currently shooting with a Lumix S1R, a 47MP body. Most of my career I was shooting with 18-21MP cameras with great success. I have no problem getting a little further away from my subject and cropping in, knowing full well how useful an image at half that resolution is. It's a fair trade-off to me!

Brandon ~'s picture

I really did and you continue to be very helpful. Do you explain in such great detail as this in your book? I currently work in IT so research is literally my job and I still have a hard time finding such direct info as what you just gave me.

Image stacking makes so much sense, especially when put into terms such as zooming in and out while rapid fire. Thank you so much for that as well as the aperture info as that one always confused me a little as I never knew to readjust for each time I zoom in closer.

You're making it very hard for me to not purchase your book. Lol

You're welcome Brandon! The book is going to be a 9"x9" 352 page photographic tool. The detail I provided here in quick comments is just the tip of the iceberg! There are a lot of photographic concepts that only really apply to macro photography, and even then only in specific cases. The book is structured loosely in a begnner-through-to-expert flow so the most common challenges are first, getting into progressively more complex scenarios that require mini "masterclass" subsections on specific images that describe how every challenge was overcome and - this is important - the mistakes that were learned from along the way.

I hope you'll be able to back the project, if even just for an eBook version!

Brandon ~'s picture

Is the Kickstarter still taking place and if so, how do I support you and this book? I've decided to buy this book and just need the direct info if you wouldn't mind providing that for me.
I see the link to Kickstarter, but wanted to make sure that was the proper place as I see you've met your goal.

Thanks again for all your help!

Always happy to help! The Kickstarter is still running and you can back it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/donkom/macro-photography/ - I truly appreciate your support and you'll love the book. :) While I met the initial goal, all of the funds still being received go directly back into production costs for more and higher quality books.

Brandon ~'s picture

Ordered.
I'm looking forward to the book, just wish I could have it before December. 😁

Thanks very much Brandon! The book is being built right now, but these things take time to do right! :)