Nature's Place

Macro Day One

Ok, my first Macro Day (check link for forum) done and I enjoyed it. And well done to the participants – who I trust enjoyed it too.

Biggest lesson for me? You can’t do it all in one day. Just as learning photography is an evolution of perception and effort so is teaching anything, the more you perceive and correct what is not right for you the less effort you have to make, and the process is refined by experience.

We were going for around four hours and it seemed like work at times as I’m sure it did to others – not a bad thing in itself, and not stressful with the practise of relaxation/meditation. People were introduced to some wonderful creatures and I trust we were all relaxed enough and learned something of value from the experience.

Things for me to remember, make some general purpose diffusers for people to use, and get longer sticks for next time. ((:

FYI, the other Macro Days this year – 11th and 29th Dec are booked and I have a list of people from this and other fora interested for the new year. If you want to be on the list check this page : Macro Meditation Day. Follow/read the links and/or email me at


I thought 3 or 4 would be a comfortable number and it is so. I’ll keep it at that for now unless anyone who has already been on a Macro Day wants to join a group that hasn’t – I’d consider that an asset.

I trust those who came got a few keepers they will post here for the record. Keeper rates in high mag macro are not high for anyone, whatever ‘they’ say.

Here’s a few of mine from yesterday, more later. Anybody is welcome to comment.

A Beetle in the bush.

A lovely coloured Fly nobody else saw. ((:

An Ant, stopped dead in its tracks. I believe it did literally die in its tracks, as it was about to take another step. I got a number of shots of this over a time of nearly two minutes and it had not moved ‘at all’. Someone else may be able to confirm no movement of this creature.

And a few more later.

Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Whether the Weather …

… is good for finding ‘bugs’ to photograph?

It has been cloudy with occasional rain and the odd ray of sunshine, so it’s a natural question.

My experience is as long as it’s not actually raining there is usually something to shoot, 99 times out of 100. I’m sure there would be something to shoot in the rain, or sheltering from it, but I don’t have a waterproof camera.

Shooting refers to a time in our culture when hunting to kill was the preferred way to get close to exotic nature. Probably because all the skills of the hunter are employed in the capture of a ‘good’ image, the need to kill has been civilized. Though a willingness to put yourself in some danger at times, sensibly so, will get the shot others won’t.

The first thing a hunter does in order to spot the prey/subject is be still, inside and out. If he’s not quiet of mind he’s not present to see or otherwise sense the minutia that often represents the presence of prey/subject. And if he’s not quiet and fluid in his body and environment most creatures will take offense and run or hide.

For a hunter/photographer to master the hunt of exotic creatures he must become one with the nature. In appearance, sound, movement, any other sense, and above all attitude.

The ultimate hunter is invisible to the prey/subject. From that the greatest capture rate will flow.

The attitude is ‘I am transparent’, I am nothing!

That’s the strategy, and then there are the tactics, the ‘how to’, which are best shown.


Another take on it …

Nature is always changing. Nothing stays the same for long. Everything in it is active according to the local conditions.

Beneath the appearance of things there is one life, one psyche, which everything is a form of, and in. Being so every form has a connection to every other form, at some unconscious lever of being.

That means you and I have a connection to everything around us. We are the most impressive form in any natural landscape. Impressive of our condition of mind. We impose our will, be it conscious or not, on our nature. And our nature is impressed by this, for good or ill.

I am not suggesting bugs can be willed to appear, just that there is normally an effect of one being present in nature that can be minimised for the purpose of capturing an image of one of nature’s unusual and often beautiful creatures, and of doing so more creatively.

So, how we are inside makes a difference to the nature around us, because we are connected. That doesn’t mean we have to be absolutely still of mind for anything to appear, obviously. It just means we have to do our best and not impose our mind on the nature around us – the sense of it – by leaving our thoughtful and emotional worldly concerns behind.

Intent matters.

This can’t be proven except in your own experience. It’s the sort of thing, once you know it, unfolds as your experience if you are observant of facts and not given to doubt it. And if you go along with it will result in peace of mind, relatively speaking.

This is the essence of right meditation, no belief, no imagination, no thought or emotion. Just a plain and simple practical exercise of the will to engender a quieter, more relaxed way of being.


The weather has been unusually cloudy with occasional showers and the odd ray of sunshine for a while now. This being so I was asked if there will be any creatures to photograph on a Macro Meditation Day.

This is my answer, which is also touched on in Macro Illustrated, what is true in my experience. :

There are no guarantees nature will show up in the forms that please the most, or are wanted, and everything has its time. It’s the not knowing that gives rise to the sense of wonder and discovery at the infinite variety of form and colour at our feet, as it presents. The chances of something showing up are increased by our respect for and acknowledgment of the simple wonder and beauty of the nature that does show up – in the little things.

And a little gratitude, to nothing in particular – spoken or not, for the nature that does show up is the best way I know of ensuring it shows up next time – in some form.

The pictures on this page are from the last five or so cloudy days, these are the fruits of my exercise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Devilish Monkery

These beetles have been having their season lately, showing up around the house at all hours, head down – hiding in plain sight. Not easy to get a shot of the face as they usually have their eyes down, flat to the surface.

There are a few individuals here. One from the outside light I leave on in the evenings, one from the front garden on some dead flowers, and another from a drinking glass from one of the rooms upstairs – I gave it a little honey on some dry leaves to pose for me – before I let it go, and it did for a little while. It had to be tricked.

It’s a beautifully streamlined shape with head tucked up, the kind we design in wind tunnels for fast and stable flight. Easy for it to pass unnoticed.

In one shot in particular I am reminded of a hooded monk with a devilish mask on – of course that’s its ‘real’ face.

But whatever it appears to be it is no less one more of nature’s amazing little wonders.

Thank you beetle, thank you nature.


The mask sticks, doesn’t it. The one we wear.

And then we search and search for how to get it off …

… or put on another one …… and call it the spiritual life. ((:

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Little Wizard

Down the track and into the field of fresh cut grass and the smell is lovely. On the right is a short Acacia bush with two magical creatures living on it. They’ve got to be of the magical realm to be dressed up as they are, Mother of Pearl feathers on a shiny black leather coat. And what wonderful feet they have, multi purpose no doubt – three joints, pads and a very business like hook on the end. What a wonderful snout and antennae too, all the better to sniff and sense, near and far, what’s on the wind in their wonderful little world – actual and metaphorical, as magical creatures see.

Perhaps they are a couple, or good friends. Though they were wandering around alone, but on the same bush – which is significant, of what I’m not sure. The obvious perhaps? Either way they were friendly little creatures who readily hopped on my finger to say hello.

Hello? Yes, in their way. A taste here, a sniff there, a sensing all around. Of what I’m not sure, maybe me, just me. They sensed no danger anyway, and I gave them none. Beautiful little magical fellows of the wood and field, fellows to me. Fellows of the same Nature.

What magic were they weaving today I wonder? Hmmm! I know, delight! They were casting spells of delight. And I know this how? Because I was delighted, how else!

Yes, delight, a blessing from the magical realm from two of its wonderful little messengers. Or were they wizards after all, casting such magical spells?

Yes, wonderful little wizards, to me.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Tick Tick

Gi’s a hug!


Nobody’s favourite animal, the tick. Except another tick, maybe.

This one is in shock after I brought it from upstairs wrapped in a tissue. It had hitched a ride home on my clothes and lucky enough I saw it before it dug in. Not so lucky a couple other times recently when one had dug in, hip and back of head. These ticks can cause paralysis and death if left long enough, the former would not be nice. The odd thing is you don’t feel them until they are dislodged and the site becomes swollen, itchy and often a running sore from some exotic bacteria.

You can see its eating gear between the two flaps, it looks to have serrated or barbed edges that make it easy to get in and difficult to get out. The flaps to either side open out for it to insert into the body and suck away, and deliver a neurotoxin at the same time. This one is a mother too.

I have seen them in the long grass, sitting at the tip with outstretched ‘arms’ waiting to embrace some passerby. These creatures have such a grip they won’t be flicked off easily, like Velcro, something to do with the little white pads on the end of the legs – I reckon.

Ambush parasites, relentless and tenacious – that’s just nature, at times – our nature. If you walk in the rainforest, or the concrete jungle, it’s only a matter of time before one grabs you – if you need the experience.

Everything has its place in our nature, that’s for sure.

You just have to deal with it when it bites. ((:

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge

Except another tick, maybe.

‘Shield’ Bug

When I first approached this bug I could see it was sitting on eggs and I didn’t want to frighten it off. So I tested its response to my presence by bringing my finger towards it from above and moving it from side to side. It responded by moving with my finger so the eggs were shielded from the direction of my finger. I thought, maybe that’s why they are called shield bugs, they shield their eggs from predation – so it seems.

I noticed she had her proboscis down on the eggs and thought she would be checking the condition of the eggs, not unlike any mum would feel her prospective young. I went back from time to time over the next week but there was no change so I didn’t try for more shots, only the side angles available without risking serious disturbance, and I wanted to see the young when they hatched.

Then, ten days after the first shot, through downpour after downpour – when it rains here it pours, I saw something had changed, there were fewer eggs. So I had a closer look and she was eating them, the eggs.

She hadn’t moved in all the time I had observed and she must have been starving, she was that unsteady on her feet. Maybe the eggs proved nonviable, some of the eggs look off in #4 and none of them looked like anything was developing inside as could be expected, and she was just doing what came natural, living to breed another day.

Today the only sign anything happened on the spot was the minimal debris where the eggs had been attached to the leaf.
The natural creatures are naturally conservationist. You can’t judge the God made.

Waste not, want not.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click any picture and click again to enlarge