Our next guest comes from Budapest, Hungary. Nikola Rahmé is one of the best studio macro artist you will find in flickr, all his pictures show perfect lighting and perfect subject positioning/preparation. Last season he also started taking field stacks
- How long have you been interested in "bugs"?
Since my childhood. I think every man is born with a basic interest for the small world of Mother Nature, but then it extincts somehow.
- How long have you been doing macro photography?
First I took really poor macro photos on diapositives with my first macro lens, the Canon EF100/2.8 in 2003. Then switched to compact digital cameras, and in 2006 I bought my first DSLR, a Canon EOS 20D, so I could use again the 100mm macro lens.
- And when did you move to extreme macro photography?
If it means the magnification above 1:1, I started it in 2005, shooting examples from my beetle collection.
- What is your relationship with photography, amateur or Profesional?
- Any other photographic areas apart from macro?
- Any formal studies related to macro or entomology?
No, it is a serious hobby.
- Any macro photographer/s that have inspired you or make you progress?
John Hallmén was the main inspiration for me, he started me to thinking otherwise on macro photography.
- What kind of gear are you working with?
I have several things, the base is a Canon EOS 5D markII, the related tools are always changing. The present gear's general parts are EF lenses, such as the 20/2.8 USM, 100/2.8 USM macro, MP-E65/2.8 macro, 24-105/4LIS, 70-200/4LIS. Kenko extension tubes, Raynox diopters, Berlebach mini tripod, Asahi Pentax and Canon Auto bellows, microscope objectives and enlarger lenses. Canon and Sunpak flashes, and a lot of home-made gadgets.
- Your favorite optic? And which one has dissapointed you most?
My favorite is the MP-E65/2.8 manual macro lens which is as usable for single photo shooting as for focus stacking. I had no bad experiences with other lenses, as I do not expect too much from lenses I buy for tests.
- How important is it to understand light?
Light is the most important component of the photography. All others are secondary.
- What is more important, technique or an artistic eye?
A clever mix gives memorable pictures.
- In John's interview the lack of interest of camera makers in macro photagraphy was discusseed (only canon makes lenses above 1:1 ) What do you think about this?
Although Minolta made a 1x-3x special macro lens in the past, I think, John is right. Manufacturers are satisfied with the maximal 1:1 magnification... I think the presence of the MP-E macro lens makes decision beside Canon in many cases, when a beginner wants to enter to the extreme macro world.
-Any subject that you have not been able of photographing? (because of its characteristics, reflections, transparencies, whatever)
Good question, I did not think about this yet.
- How is the macro scene in hungary?
A lot of nature photographers do macro photos, many of them are skillful and talented, but I do not know about real macro maniacs. Focus stacking is a game of limited photographers in Hungary, also the use of microscope objectives without microscopes is still almost unknown.
- What is in your "to do" list? any future projects?
I wish to make an exhibition of my work once.
- We you started stacking in the field last season; how is it going?
This technique is new to me, I expect big surprises and beautiful pictures, can't wait the season to start!
- Studio or field photography?
- how different is working in the field compared to the studio?
Light controlling is far easier in the studio. Also, working with living animals is a hard challenge.
- To what extent is important some entomological background in field work? does it make thing easier?
Absolutely! First of all, the knowledge makes you find the subjects easier. If you know more things about the behaviour, you can plan the sight.
- Your skill at subject preparation is very good; how important is it to you and how much time do you usually spend doing this?
Occasionally it lasts up to 60 minutes, exceptionally up to 2 hours. The core of the preparation is cleaning the insects. Dust is a great enemy, not only on the sensor, but even on the subjects.
- One piece of advice to anyone who want to start doing extreme macro photography?
After buying the various devices, play a lot with the light: learn about the direction, the diffusion and the reflections. It is as important as in the regular photography.
- We have not seen you publish in fancy websites like 500px or 1X.com? do not you any benefit on them or is simply you are not interested in them?
The presence on the internet is indispensable, but making attention to various websites is too much for me.
10 quick questions
- Favorite music:
I'm not a big music fan, but I like to listen a wide range of music (acoustic to electric).
- A film:
I have no one and only, I like European films (from Pedro Almodóvar to Lars von Trier)
- Favorite food:
I like the spicy Mediterranean tastes, less the seafood.
- A book:
No one and only, one for example: Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange.
- A drink: -
- A good habit you have:
having fun (almost always).
- A bad habit you have:
- When I was a child I wanted to be............ a biologist.
- Something you love (other than macro):
quiet contemplation in the wild.
- Something you hate (other than this interview ;-): the indifference.