As I write this, the sun is shining through an arched window opposite my desk and the odd bee bumps into the glass. Outside a gentle breeze blows pink and white blossom from the cherry trees. Spring is here. There’s no doubting how longer days and sunshine lift the human spirit, but for the photographer it is a season of abundance – of options and opportunity. For the macro photographer, this is a peak time of year, which is why this issue of Wild Planet contains a number of macro-themed features to inform and inspire. Regarding the latter, it’s hard not to be impressed by Frank Ruckert’s extraordinary portfolio of close-ups of bees, butterflies and other insects (Reader Focus, page 78). Frank’s images are taken with conventional focal length lenses, but ultra wideangle lenses can also be used creatively for close-up images, as Paul Harcourt Davies reveals in his fascinating article (Take A Walk on The Wide Side, page 94). The use of shorter focal lengths in wildlife photography is becoming more commonplace, resulting in a greater number of award-winning images in major competitions.
We are all amateurs
On the subject of award-winners, I had the pleasure of interviewing Evelyne Mary Offenstein, the overall winner of last year’s Montier Photo Festival Competition. Although open to professionals as well as non-professionals, it was refreshing to hear Evelyne describe herself as an amateur photographer. By day she is a Strasbourg-based ophthamologist, but on holiday she is wedded to her camera, somewhere in Africa or the Arctic, taking photographs that make a nonsense of the distinction between amateur and professional. The true meaning of amateur is lover, so an amateur photographer is a lover of photographer. In that case we are all amateurs.
Keith Wilson, Editor