As a world traveler, teacher, photographer, scuba diver, and internet show host/creator, Jamie Hall is shaping up to be quite a renaissance man. Among his many talents, Jamie also a has skillful eye and love for arthropod macro photography.
WLB: How long have you been a photographer, and where are you from?
Jamie: I'm from Hampshire, England. Ive been shooting pretty casually for around 10 years but started taking things more seriously about 5/6 years ago.
WLB: What got you started in photography and macro photography?
Jamie: I was working as a scuba dive instructor and volunteer diver for a conservation and ghost net recovery team in New Zealand and they wanted someone to film recoveries. I had some experience in camera work and a steady hand, so I offered myself and it snowballed from there.
I've always been interested in many disciplines of photography - Long Lens, Astro, Portraiture, Underwater etc. But it was the wildlife photography community on Instagram that really pushed me towards land-based macro. I had always enjoyed shooting macro underwater, but had no idea what gems could also be found in my 'back yard'. After seeing the quality of shots from the macro community, I was hell bent on giving it a try. I picked up a reasonably priced lens, a flash, a diffuser, and I have been hooked ever since.
WLB: Why do you like photographing arthropods?
Jamie: The results from being able to manage your light and often the scene around you give a lot of opportunity for creativity. The images are mostly of a very high standard as you tend to be quite close to the subject. This means you can extract many details, curves, and lines that you don't always get to see with the naked eye. I enjoy being able to show off in an entirely different light what people look at all the time. It's also hugely rewarding to champion the beauty of these smaller things.
WLB: Do you have any favorite arthropods that you like to photograph?
Jamie: Im a sucker for spiders. They are so diverse and interesting, and they can often be an easier subject to shoot than anything that is frantic or flying. I also love anything with bright vibrant colors, from pearlescent beetles to stunning butterflies. But I also get a kick out of any quote/unquote 'mean looking' creatures like stag beetles or big jawed ants.
WLB: What is your favorite gear and why?
Jamie: This year I side-stepped from my full frame Canon 5DIV to a smaller Mirrorless OM Systems EM1X. The sensor is smaller and the kit is less dear. But it has in-built focus bracketing that allows me to capture a lot more details at a higher success rate. This means I miss less opportunities and have more chances to concentrate on compositions or extracting details. So for macro, my OM Systems (Previously Olympus) camera coupled with the 60mm macro lens, flash and Cygnustech Diffuser is my go to.
WLB: Do you have any photographic achievements you’d like to share?
Jamie: I was a category winner (Compact) in Scuba Diving Magazine's Underwater Photography Competition in 2018, which awarded me a live-aboard trip in Roatán, Honduras. My image was also selected as the cover for the magazines Photo Comp special issue.
National Geographic featured the same image (Who watches the watchers - Giant Moray Eel Portrait) through an editors choice and then public selection across their social media platforms (a small acknowledgement but one that I treasure).
I have had images shortlisted in multiple categories in the Close Up Photographer of the Year competition for the last 2 years.
WLB: Is there anything about your personal life you would like to share?
Jamie: I recently launched some online photography workshops for all skill levels (info can be found on my website). I am passionate about connecting with other photographers and wildlife enthusiast whenever possible. I enjoy the exchange of knowledge and experience and using that to better myself and skill set wherever possible. Sometimes, Im lucky enough to film these meetings and release an 'In The Field' episode on my YouTube channel. These episodes can be interviews that I record or stream, or they could be just a good ole day out shooting in nature.
WLB: It has been an absolute privilege to welcome Jamie Hall as the newest member of the Whole Lotta Bugs community! I am very grateful to be able to share a glimpse into his creative world with all of you. You can find more from Jamie on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and on his beautiful website too. Or to get in touch with Jamie directly, you can email him at email@example.com.