Capturing the Unseen: A World Photography Day Special


Photography has a unique ability to freeze time. The beauty lies in just the play of lights and lenses. Did you know that the word “Photography” has a lovely meaning? The word ‘Photography‘ comes from two Greek words: ‘Photos’ meaning ‘light’ and ‘graphe’ meaning ‘drawing’. So, photography is essentially drawing with light.

[American White Pelican Bathing as the Setting Sun Hits the Water, Baylands Nature Preserve, Palo Alto, California © Elizabeth Yicheng Shen]
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The beauty of the above image lies in the play of light and water droplets. The above photo was one of the top images of the NANPA’s 2022 Showcase competition.

Capturing Light!

We see objects when light reflects off them and enters our eyes. Photography aims to capture that same reflected light.

Light hits an object at various angles and bounces back at the same angles. The camera lens gathers reflected light to focus and create a sharp image. The more light, the sharper and clearer the image is. 

The light focused by the lens would then fall on light-sensitive materials called films, capturing the light falling on them. These films would then undergo a series of chemical baths in a dark room, creating an image.

In digital photography, instead of film, the camera uses a sensor with millions of red, green, and blue pixels. When light strikes the sensor, it gauges the image’s brightness or darkness based on the light energy in each pixel. The colour values of the pixels determine the colour.

Did you know?

Photographic film is a strip or sheet of transparent film base coated on one side with a gelatin emulsion containing microscopically tiny light-sensitive silver halide crystals. The crystals’ sizes and other characteristics determine the film’s sensitivity, contrast, and resolution.

World photography day – 19th August

In 1837, Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce introduced the ‘daguerreotype’ process. The process allowed the capture of highly detailed photographs and revolutionised the photography industry.

On 19th August 1893, the French government recognized this invention, bought the patent for the daguerreotype process, and marked the beginning of World Photography Day.

 To truly honor this day, let’s explore a form of photography that exemplifies the magic of the art – Macro Photography.

Diving Deep: The World of Macro Photography!

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Can you believe that the length of the ladybug in the above image is less than an inch in real?

This is the wonder of Macro photography! By definition, it captures images at up to ten times their original size. Macro photography came into existence purely for science. It was for the researchers to capture the pictures of things too small for the human eye to see and then research them later. It might surprise you that W. H. Walmsley coined the term ‘Macro photography’ in 1899. Macro photography is older than a century. In the early 1900s, it slowly became an art.

 Percy Smith was one of the earliest forefathers of the art of macro photography, where he combined his cinematography and macro photography to create a series like the one below!

Did the skills of the housefly leave you dumbfounded, or was it the technique of macro photography at that time?

Macro Photography introduces us to a whole new world—the world we feel we know would be completely different.

The above image isn’t of rocky mountains or waves of sand in a desert; it is a macro photograph of the bark of a tree. This is how macro photography introduces us to an entirely new world!

Macro photography lets us view the beautiful patterns of nature which we usually never see. The mathematical series found in nature are captured through this macro photography.

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The above image is a macro photograph of a sunflower, and the graph is the mathematical Fibonacci sequence. 

Macro Photography thus introduces us to details usually hidden from the naked eye, revealing a universe we thought we knew. This isn’t just about art and nature; this technique has practical applications too, like in dental treatments!

Macro photography and dental treatments!

Did you know? Beyond the arts, macro photography even finds applications in fields like dental treatments! From aiding scientific researchers in data collection, macro photography has expanded its applications to art, nature studies, and even fields like dentistry.

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