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Gallery: International Garden Photographer of the Year Macro Art 15 Competition Winners

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International Garden Photographer of the Year Macro Art 15 Competition Winners

The results are in for the 15th Macro Art photo competition from the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY). Claire Carter, England, took first prize for their delightfully airy macro image of the delicate patterns of leaves. Petar Sabol and Brian Lee rounded out second and third place for their photographs ‘Butterfly Dance’ and ‘In the Spotlight,’ respectively.

For winning first place, Claire received £250 and her photograph will be displayed at IGPOTY galleries in the future. You can view all of the single entry award winners for Macro Art 15 on IGPOTY’s website.

1st Place — Claire Carter, Skeleton Leaves

Location: Shropshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: I used a macro lens and extension tubes to get as close as possible to the fine detail in these intricate, skeleton-like leaves (which I dyed different colours). I used a home-made lightbox and glass with tracing paper to diffuse the light and an off-camera flash beneath to burn out the whites and leave the detail in the foliage.

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon 100mm macro lens, 1/100sec at f/10, ISO 400. Tripod, extension tubes, lightbox, external flash. Post-capture: adjusted contrast, basic RAW image management in Adobe Photoshop.

2nd Place — Petar Sabol, Butterfly Dance

Location: Goričan, Croatia

About the photograph: Two black apollo butterflies settled on this flower head, and looked as though they were about to engage in a romantic dance.

Gear: Sony α7R Mark IV, Sigma 180mm macro lens, 1/5sec at f/16, ISO 100. Tripod, reflector. Post-capture: use of contrast, white balance and exposure tools, basic RAW image management.

3rd Place — Brian Lee, In the Spotlight

Location: Witney, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: I shot this flower head of Gerbera with dappled lighting via the aid of a colander – this created the effect of spotlights shining on the petals.

Gear: Nikon Z6, Sigma 105mm macro lens, 1/4sec at f/13, ISO 100. Tripod. Post-capture: use of crop tool, added colour background, basic image management.

Finalist — Petar Sabol, Incy Wincy Spider

Location: Goričan, Croatia

About the photograph: This cute little jumping spider was chilling on a flower petal, I wondered what it may be thinking about.

Gear: Sony α7R Mark IV, Laowa 25mm (2.5 – 5x) ultra-macro lens, 1/40sec at f/4, ISO 200. Tripod, electronic macro rail. Post-capture: focus stacked multiple images together in Zerene Systems Zerene Stacker, basic RAW image management.

Finalist — Bernadette Benz, Just the Two of Us

Location: Auenstein, Aargau, Switzerland

About the photograph: A Pulsatilla (pasqueflower) revealed its inner beauty, after a frosty spring night in which the wind had blown away most of the petals; with just two stamens remaining which fascinated me and so I brought them into focus. I liked how the surviving elements resembled the shape of a swan’s neck.

Gear: Canon EOS R5, Canon 100mm macro lens, 1/400sec at f/2.8, ISO 400. Beanbag. Post-capture: use of crop, contrast, saturation, radial filter and brushes, basic image management in Adobe Lightroom.

Finalist — Rachele Z. Cecchini, Falling in Love with Fennel

Location: Anthering, Salzburg, Austria

About the photograph: A caterpillar is captured at rest on a fennel plant; as though emerging from the sea of yellow flowers.

Gear: Sony α9, Sony 90mm macro lens, 1/800sec at f/3.5, ISO 200. Post-capture: basic image management.

Finalist — Brian Lee, Let the Trumpets Sound

Location: Witney, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: I photographed this delightful variegated Scabiosa flower, whose burst of petals resembled a mini fanfare of trumpets.

Gear: Nikon Z6, Sigma 105mm macro lens, 1/4sec at f/13, ISO 100. Tripod. Post-capture: use of crop tool, added colour background, basic image management.

Highly Commended — Calvin Taylor Lee, Orange-tip Butterfly

Location: Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Messingham Sand Quarry, Scunthorpe, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: During a warm day at Messingham Sand Quarry, I photographed this fine orange-tip butterfly specimen against coloured card to create a complementary background.

Gear: Sony α7R Mark II, Sony 90mm macro lens, 1/160sec at f/8, ISO 200. Flash, diffuser, coloured card backdrop. Post-capture: use of crop tool, basic image management.

Highly Commended — Claire Carter, Tulip Bud

Location: Shropshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: Tulips can appear to be rather upstanding and have little character – until you explore them with light. This specimen was back and side lit using two small LED lights to bring out colour and form in the unopened bud. I chose to exclude the top of the leaf to draw attention to the bud nestled within.

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon 100mm macro lens, 4sec at f/18, ISO 100. Tripod, 2 x LED lights. Post-capture: use of crop tool, basic RAW image management in Adobe Photoshop.

Highly Commended — Petar Sabol, Whites

Location: Goričan, Croatia

About the photograph: I framed this couple of white butterflies, whilst at rest on a single flower head.

Gear: Sony α7R Mark IV, Sigma 180mm macro lens, 1/25sec at f/10, ISO 100. Tripod, reflector. Post-capture: use of contrast, white balance and exposure tools, basic RAW image management.

Highly Commended — Tony North, Blue-tailed Damselfly

Location: Reddish Vale Country Park, Stockport, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: I spotted this damselfly clinging to the stem of a rush plant, in the ponds at Reddish Vale Country Park. The finished photograph is actually comprised of 43 frames which have been focus stacked.

Gear: Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm macro lens + Nikon 1.4x teleconverter, 1/50sec at f/13, ISO 1000. Tripod. Post-capture: use of crop and contrast tools, focus stacking, basic image management.

Highly Commended — Tony North, Banded Demoiselles

Location: Reddish Vale Country Park, Stockport, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: Two male banded demoiselle damselflies, photographed early in the morning on a stalk of cocksfoot grass, at Reddish Vale Country Park.

Gear: Nikon D500, Nikon 105mm macro lens + Nikon 1.4x teleconverter, 1/50sec at f/11, ISO 640. Tripod. Post-capture: use of crop and contrast tools, focus stacking, basic image management.

Highly Commended — Peter Pullan, Beached

Location: Bridgetown, Western Australia, Australia

About the photograph: The bark of a Eucalyptus tree provided the basis for this abstract photograph which I imagined into a mythical marine creature, being washed up onto the shoreline.

Gear: Leica TL2, Leica 60mm macro lens, 1/2sec at f/11, ISO 100. Tripod. Post-capture: use of saturation, burn, heal and clone tools, basic RAW image management in Phase One Capture One.

Highly Commended — Ana Peiro, Korean Fir Cone

Location: Hampshire, England, United Kingdom

About the photograph: I noticed these beautiful patterns and textures on the surface of the cones of an Abies koreana (Korean Fir) tree that grows in my garden. I think they resemble flying birds.

The cone is quite small, about 4.5cm in length, so I used my macro lens to reveal the detail. Due to the shallow depth-of-field of the lens, I captured 18 images at different focal lengths, which I then focus stacked together.

Gear: Canon EOS 80D, Canon MP-E 65mm (1–5x) ultra-macro lens, 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 400. Tripod, electronic macro rail, remote release, LED lighting. Post-capture: focus stacking in Helicon Soft Helicon Focus, use of exposure and spot healing tools, HDR, basic image management.

Highly Commended — Xuedong Bai, Wait for Me

Location: Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China

About the photograph: It is very difficult to photograph flying insects. These weevils were no exception – it took me a long time to be successful and produce this work.

Gear: Sony α7R Mark III, Laowa 65mm (2x) ultra-macro lens, 1/125sec at f/13, ISO 250. Tripod, flash. Post-capture: basic image management.


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