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B E


“As we hurry about our day, aware of nature visible to the naked eye - a minuscule world continues to function around us!”


Illuminating the magic of this minute universe with exceptional detail, is self-taught, Dutch photographer Leon Baas - who’s images reflect the wonder of life unseen. Using specially designed equipment and techniques, Baas has mastered the art of ‘macro’ and amassed an international following of ardent fans. Featured in numerous publications worldwide, Baas is best known for his work with insects and other tiny creatures, but his talent also extends to landscape, wildlife and other mediums. His fascination for spiders, macro- modified instruments and a skill-set founded on the forgotten methods of photographers past - help create a ‘special impression’, synonymous with the works of Leon Baas.


What was your first experience with photography? I started photography at an early age, taking pictures of anything, after a while my focus turned to something I was really interested in - Wedding and Street photography. Years later, my interest turned to Nature photography. I already loved nature but after I started looking closer, my interest and love for insects flared up and started to focus my photography to insects.


How did you develop your unique style? By taking as many pictures as I could, and creating my own setting and light. At first, I started taking pictures against the light, I find composition and pose of the insect the one important factors for a good picture, with that I created my own style.


How can ‘old school’ knowledge be leveraged by modern photographers? Old photography books are full of tips and tricks that can't be used in the modern day digital photography. In analogue photography they often had to use extra equipment to get the feel and image they desire, nowadays they refer to photoshop to gain the feel in a photograph.


What was the process of design for the equipment you created? I am a service engineer and work with a lot of tools and instruments that I can use in my photography, like the external light sources that we use to align machines, which I modified to use in my photography.


How do the modifications enhance a photo? To give an photograph a strong, stunning and sharp feel, I always look for a good background, this can't be distorting the main subject but has to be good enough to make a stunning impression. I work a lot with depth of field, by using an aperture of f8 on my 100mm Macro lens the background gets fuzzy with just enough detail to make the photograph stand out.


What elements make a good subject and setting? A cloudy day gives me the best results in Macro photograph, this way there are no glistering elements or light that distort my images.


What must a photographer consider differently with macro? A macro photographer has to deal with other factors then for instance Landscape photography, a cropped sensor offers more than a full frame sensor. In this field of photography you need special equipment, a flash ring, a good macro lens are a must!


What have you learned from observing nature’s minuscule? By observing insects, after a while you start to notice what is going to happen with certain situations, like insects that are going to lift-off and all that goes on before they do, at a certain time, you learn the precise moment to shoot a picture. That is the cool part of observing.


Do insects offer much drama as a subject? My images come strait out of my camera, I use lights I designed myself. With these lights I can illuminate the small parts that create the images feel and dramatic touch, but the world of insects is always drama with ONE RULE: ‘Eat or be Eaten!’


Do you have a favorite image that reflects your style the best?


“The Ladybug that lifts-off from the mushroom is my absolute favorite image. Everything my style is, is in this image!”


INSPIRATION


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