Despite what you might think, I often find more difficulty with macro photography than I do with the big sweeping western landscapes for which I’m more well known.  Frankly, finding and capturing very small yet attractive scenes is very challenging for me.  What small scene is interesting enough to merit the expense and time commitment of shooting the scene, having expensive prints made, and then having the image framed, and then having the courage to show the print in public and have it be scrutinized by your peers and potential collectors?


Central Oregon Autumn Ground Cover

In actuality,I find most macro photography somewhat cliched.  How many close-ups of out of focus roses do I need to see?  It is rare for me to find a macro image that is unique and doesn’t have any distracting and unsightly debris in the field of view.

Another difficulty I have with macro images is that they rarely convey a sense of place.  I like to draw a parallel between Fine Art Landscape photography and the high end wine world.  Both fine wines and fine art landscape photographs are a product of a special place on earth(think terroir in the wine world) and unique timing.  No other wine will taste exactly like a 2007 Penner Ash  Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir (one of my personal favorites)  and no other photograph will look exactly like a given fine art landscape photograph from Sparks Lake at sunrise after fresh snowfall in the mountains.   Both the Penner Ash Pinot Noir and the Sparks Lake Print are unique because of the landscape and timing that make both of these wonderful things possible.

While the above photograph may never be one of my best sellers, I do feel that it conveys a sense of terroir and for me it holds enough interest to make it a worthy fine art photograph.  I love the variation of color, the small water droplets and swirling motion of the uniquely shaped autumn foliage.  This is an image that I nearly missed because I was focusing on the big picture.  I was at Sparks Lake where I shot this New Sparks lake Photo.  I was trying to find one more unique composition of South Sister and Broken Top framed over the glassy waters of Sparks Lake when I briefly looked down to find the splash of color and texture which eventually became the image you see above.  I searched about on my hands and knees for quite some time, examining different little bits of ground cover until I found the tiny little scene that you see above.   I shot this image with my large format 4×5 camera and I can’t wait to see this as a large framed print because of the way it uniquely represents a small but unique photographic terroir that is dear to me.

Thanks for visiting,

Mike Putnam