Hasan Alhamada Takes Days to Make an Insect Look Beautiful



“By displaying how stunning and sophisticated their our bodies are, I believe individuals will begin to admire them extra,” says Hasan Alhamada of Saudi Arabia. A pc programmer specializing in designing company brochures, he acquired into macro pictures when unsuccessfully making an attempt to create a flower utilizing software program. He hopes that his pictures might help individuals higher perceive the position of bugs within the ecosystem.

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Creepy crawlies and I don’t go nicely collectively. Having to dissect bugs in a lab was one of many causes I opted out of learning biology in highschool. Having to view mosquitos below a high-powered microscope in junior college in all probability helped steer me from bugs basically. Hasan has no such qualms and visually embraces all that these bugs have to supply, at magnifications so massive that the majority of us would run away from taking a look at them. It’s not straightforward work, although. Every of those creatures is posed fastidiously, nearly such as you would with an actual individual. Not everybody would agree with among the ethics practiced behind insect macro pictures. However there’s little question photographers like Hasan assist us see these tiny beings in a complete new gentle. Hasan was most enthusiastic once I acquired in contact with him for an interview about his macro work.

The Important Picture Gear Utilized by Hasan Alhamada

Hasan informed us:

In such a pictures you have to be an incredible DIY individual as quite a lot of the gear both doesn’t exist or could be very costly, so duct tape and the totally different instruments is a part of the day by day routine for any excessive macro photographer   

The Phoblographer: Please inform us about your self and the way you bought into pictures.

Hasan Alhamada: I’m a programmer, a coach, and a macro photographer. My love of pictures began 23 years in the past by Photoshop; I used to design brochures and ads with Photoshop. Then sooner or later, I got here throughout a photograph of a flower that had a blurred background. With my ego as a designer, I attempted to copy the impact with no actual success. One in every of my buddies informed me that it solely occurs with the lens, not with Photoshop (there was no AI at the moment). From that second, I forgot about designing, and my life grew to become happier. 

A stag beetle. This wanted 1,159 frames and three components to get your entire physique of this glorious insect. 

The Phoblographer: When did you resolve to concentrate on excessive macro pictures? What was the tipping issue? 

Hasan Alhamada: I really like challenges, and I’ve all the time been fascinated with particulars. I must reveal extra particulars in my pictures to indicate the unseen. Bugs had been all the time the underdog. By displaying how stunning and sophisticated their our bodies are, I believe individuals will begin to admire them extra and be taught extra about their important position within the ecosystem. Seeing the main points of a butterfly wing below the microscope was a tipping issue for me to attempt to share this magnificence with the general public.

Peacock feather – 20x magnification

The Phoblographer: I’d like to see the macro rig you could have. May you are taking us by your work circulate for any one among your favorite pictures.

Hasan Alhamada: The method begins after I resolve which insect is subsequent on the record. First, I must do joint rest for the insect legs and antennae utilizing a particular liquid, and this step takes from 2 -6 days relying on how dry the insect is and the kind of the insect. Then, bin the insect on a foam sheet within the required place and go away it for 3 to 4 extra days to [set into] place. The subsequent step is the bodily cleansing to take away any dust, particularly within the eyes. After that, we needed to bin and place it so we might begin taking pictures. Within the photographing stage, it’s essential to make use of an excellent diffuser. It’s a should to make use of an digital stacking gadget as each step may very well be as small as 5 um within the excessive magnification photographs just like the peacock feather or the butterfly wing.

After taking all of the frames, I take advantage of the Affinity photograph software to create a single picture with all the main target factors merged collectively. I do know quite a lot of photographers use specialist functions for this step however for me, I believe Affinity photograph simply does the job. The ultimate step is cleansing the insect pattern from any dust that’s left after the bodily cleansing, then fixing any shade and white stability points within the photograph. 

The Phoblographer: Do you’re employed with solely lifeless bugs or do you {photograph} stay ones too?

Hasan Alhamada: For excessive macro fields, any form of shake and/or motion will not be allowed, so coping with residing bugs will not be on the desk. I do know photographers work solely on the evening after all people in the home sleeps, so no one creates a vibration by strolling close by, and others flip off the air conditioner for a similar cause. Stacking with (1:1) magnification is feasible for residing bugs, particularly within the early morning or on chilly days, however something past 1:1 will not be sensible.

Antlion larva – 4x magnification

The Phoblographer: There have been cases of macro photographers freezing bugs to be able to make them motionless for his or her macro pictures. Would you say that is extra moral than killing an insect outright for a similar?

Hasan Alhamada: I don’t assume freezing bugs is extra moral, particularly if quite a lot of them simply die within the course of and it’s a lengthy, chilly [route to] loss of life. For me, I gather a few of my samples already lifeless; you may get rather a lot within the warmth waves, and I get a few of them from collectors. I admit that I kill some bugs, however I think about it an excellent cause, similar to the lab rats. For my part, it’s moral whether it is for an excellent trigger and exhibits magnificence; and elevating consciousness for bugs is an effective cause. 

Butterfly wing – 20x magnification

The Phoblographer: Is there quite a lot of focus stacking and put up processing required? File storage and administration have to be an actual headache.

Hasan Alhamada: This completely will depend on the magnification stage the topic wants; the larger we go, the smaller depth of subject we’ve got, and consequently, the extra pictures we have to get every thing in focus. The opposite issue is that if we wish to {photograph} the insect as one half or {photograph} every half alone, then use the panorama methodology to merge them collectively. Because of this, I typically take greater than a thousand frames for a single insect and typically 40-60 frames. Then the stacking and shade enhancing can begin.

I all the time have issues with storing my recordsdata. Final week I purchased Cloud Storage and transferred most of my gallery there. Then I confronted a connection drawback, and I nearly misplaced every thing. Every thing has been secure since then.  

Blue weevil. It wanted greater than 3,000 pictures and 10 components to get the main points of this beetle. 

The Phoblographer: What are among the harder bugs to {photograph}. Which of them would you advocate newbies begin with? 

Hasan Alhamada: Jewel beetles are very troublesome to {photograph} resulting from their reflective physique. I typically spend every week getting it proper. Butterflies are additionally troublesome to {photograph} due to the prolonged preparation course of. flies and bees are a lot simpler to {photograph}, particularly if it is just the pinnacle a part of the insect

Leaf beetle – 3.7x magnification

The Phoblographer: The colors, the symmetry, the minute particulars in every of them. Do you typically marvel at these creatures when you {photograph} them. What’s the feeling like? 

Hasan Alhamada: Seeing how a single scale is hooked up to the butterfly wing and the way it is extremely much like how the feather is hooked up to the chook wing makes me really feel the concord in nature. 

Generally you can’t visualize the tip end result till you do the postprocessing and stacking, just like the time once I noticed a small larva on the moth wing or when I discovered a single scale on the butterfly wing. In these occasions, you understand that what you miss is greater than what you see. Seeing the main points of a beetle claw makes me marvel what might occur if the beetle was the identical measurement as a person.

Beetle claw – 8x magnification

The Phoblographer: Many of the world treats bugs as pests. Do you assume if we noticed them nearer that we’d perceive them extra? 

Hasan Alhamada: That is one among my most important targets to {photograph} bugs. They’re all the time underestimated; all people seems to be at them like pests, even when they play a major position within the ecosystem and the meals chain. People admire honey bees as pollinators however not the flies, even when the flies come second within the rank of pure pollinators. I’m positive anyone who sees these little creatures enlarged will fall in love.  

Leaf beetle – 5x magnification

The Phoblographer:Do you could have buddies asking you why you don’t want extra widespread topics to {photograph}? Bugs apart, what are else do you get pleasure from capturing up shut?

Hasan Alhamada: My spouse undoubtedly has this query, quite a lot of my buddies have it additionally, and one among them unfollowed me on Instagram. Moreover bugs, I attempt to do some astrophotography and small planet (360) pictures. 

Butterfly wing – 8x magnification

All pictures by Hasan Alhamada Used with permission. Go to his Instagram and 500px pages to see extra of his macro work.