The stunning image of two ants sipping water from a leaf netted a Filipino photographer the top honors in the #Water2020 international photography competition in April 2020.
Along with the top spot in the competition run by Agora, an image-sharing website, the photo captured by photographer Analiza Daran De Guzman in her home in the Philippines also came with US$1,000 (approx. 50,000 Philippine pesos) prize money.
De Guzman told the Filipino news site Inquirer.net how she had gone about capturing the award-winning image. Incredibly, she had not used a high-end camera or even a tripod to snap the ants drinking. De Guzman had merely placed a clip-on macro lens on her smartphone and was patient enough to catch the ants drinking in her amazing close-up photo.
The mother of three got interested in smartphone photography after her digital camera suffered a breakdown in 2016 during a visit to El Nido, a beach resort area in Palawan Province, some 260 miles north of Manila, the Philippines capital.
That was the time when De Guzman began to take an increasing number of photographs using her smartphone. Her growing interest in this area of photography led her to join a mobile photography group later online, reported the news website.
There she learned about clip-on macro lenses, a special kind of photography lens used for extreme closeups. They are typically used when shooting tiny objects or living creatures like insects. The image that is captured of the subject is magnified and much bigger than life size.
Because of the magnification involved, photographers typically only use a macro lens with a tripod to avoid blurry images. But De Guzman bucked convention and handheld her smartphone, explaining that this was the only way to photograph the ants as they are fast-moving and challenging to photograph.
When asked by the Filipino outlet why she decided upon ants as subjects, De Guzman said that ants “showed more character and were more charming” than any other insect.
De Guzman successfully snapped several other pictures of ants interacting with water drops and flowers. De Guzman said that one of her favorite photos is of an ant balancing a water droplet on its head; the tiny ant was traveling along a length of string dripping with water.
The image was captured by placing the ant on the string and then adding water droplets on its narrow path. To improve the visual effect, De Guzman then positioned a globe behind the ant-and-string set up in such a way that it refracted through the water droplets. This image alone took four hours, she said.
Hats off, then, to De Guzman, whose patience and perseverance paid off to win her international photography acclaim and prize money.
It does make you wonder, though, if we spent as much time focusing on the large things in life as much as De Guzman did on the tiny what a difference we might be able to achieve.
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