The Big Picture: Macro Photography and Storytelling to Protect Insects

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May 10 – 19, 2021

Four 2-hour sessions

Across the planet insect populations are dwindling in record numbers. In addition to their beauty and fascinating behavior, they play a vital role in ecosystems worldwide: they pollinate, turn the soil, keep water clean, and serve as food for many other species. There are an estimated 1,000,000 known species of insect and scientists estimate that there could be several million more that have yet to be discovered or described. Photographers, whether professional or passionate amateurs, have an opportunity to help insects out by raising awareness of their plight, develop a broader support base for insect conservation, and even compel decision makers to pass pro-insect policy. What’s more, for photographers looking for unique subjects to focus on, of the many thousands of known species, the lives of most have not been well-documented. Even in populated areas such as New York City new species are still being discovered. 

Over the course of this four-day workshop I’ll cover why many insects are becoming scarce, offer an overview of the history of insect conservation, teach basic and advanced macro photography techniques, and provide guidance for how each of us can use photography to protect insects. I’ll rely on the latest scientific studies and the experience I’ve gathered during my 18 years of working as a conservation photographer with the world’s leading conservation organizations to inform each lesson. In addition, we’ll spend time helping each student begin to develop their own insect focused conservation project, and we’ll wrap up the class with an image critique to help improve participant’s macro photography skills. My goal for this class is to provide each student with the building blocks that they need to protect insects through photography and advocacy.

Learn more about instructor Clay Bolt

Schedule All times Eastern Time (US and Canada):

May 10, 2021: 8pm – 10pm ET (US and Canada):

  • Introduction to Clay 
  • Insect Population Declines: Cause and Effect
  • Group Discussion
  • Macro 101 (Gear and Basic Techniques)
  • Introduce Assignment

May 12, 2021: 8pm – 10pm ET (US and Canada):

  • History of Insect Conservation
  • Advanced Macro Techniques
    • Photographing Insects in Flight and Wide-angle Close-up
  • Group Discussion
  • Case Study 1: Influencing Policy and Decision Makers
  • Q&A

May 17, 2021: 8pm – 10pm ET (US and Canada):

  • 45 mins: Case Study 2: Conservation at home or abroad? Pros and Cons
  • Group Discussion
  • Advanced Macro Flash Techniques
    • Photographing Insects in the Field Studio (Photographic technique, Safely working with insects, Image Editing)
  • Group Discussion
  • Exercise and Discussion: Develop your Own Insect Conservation Project

May 19, 2021: 8pm – 10pm ET (US and Canada):

  • Image Critique
  • Q&A with Clay

Course Content

May 10, 2021 8pm-10pm EST (United States and Canada)
May 12, 2021 8pm-10pm EST (United States and Canada)
May 17, 2021 8pm-10pm EST (United States and Canada)
May 19, 2021 8pm-10pm EST (United States and Canada)
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