"By zooming in on these tiny creatures, I hope to spark curiosity about the hidden beauty surrounding us"

Macro Photography
(Image credit: Dzulfikri)

The work of Indonesia-based photographer, Dzulfikri, gives an insight into the lives of tiny creatures.

I had the chance to speak to Dzulfikri about how his stunning photo, Ants in the Love Frame Leaf (above) was taken, and why it works.

1. Microcosmic exploration

“This image provides a glimpse into an intricate micro world that often goes unnoticed. By zooming in on these tiny creatures, I hope to spark curiosity about the hidden beauty surrounding us,” he says. 

To achieve rich details and sharpness, Dzulfikri used a macro lens and a wide aperture. “This helped me to focus on the ants while blurring the background. Capturing sharp details on subjects this small poses a challenge. I overcame this by focusing on the ant’s eye and using a support to prevent camera shake.”

2. Natural interaction

To capture a moment that represents cooperation in the macro world, Dzulfikri observed the creatures interacting, requiring lots of patience and a keen eye. “Observing their behavior and waiting for the right moment to click the shutter allowed me to document their natural actions.” 

In this image, he also shows the context, capturing the ants within their natural environment. “Their interaction with the fruit could hint at their contribution to seed dispersal, representing their role within the ecosystem.”

3. Clear visual strategy 

“The composition adheres to the rule of thirds, placing the ants and the fruit at visually engaging points to create a dynamic balance. The soft sunlight created subtle shadows that emphasized the textures and the appearance of the ants. I added flash to fill in the light as naturally as possible.” 

In post-production, he focused on the color and contrast, enhancing the brightness of the fruit while keeping the ants looking natural. “The goal was to boost the impact without sacrificing authenticity.”

4. Telling a story

“This image serves as a storyteller, conveying the narrative of cooperation, teamwork and survival within the tiny world of ants. Such stories can evoke empathy and understanding, fostering a connection to the natural world,” says Dzulfikri. His choice of a frame-in-frame setting offers a visual gateway in which to contemplate the microcosmic marvels.

Macro Photography

For nearly two decades, Indonesia-based Dzulfikri has been captivated by macro photography and the intricate beauty of portrait fine art. Through his lens, Dzulfikri unravels hidden worlds and emotions, freezing moments in time. The art of photography grants him a unique way to connect with the world, channeling inspiration into every frame he captures.

“As a photographer, it’s important to emphasize ethical practices when working with wildlife. Ensuring that the interactions we capture don’t disturb or harm the subjects is crucial and contributes to responsible nature photography.”

Tech details

(Image credit: Future)

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Accessories: Flash
Aperture: f/4
Shutter speed: 1/120 sec 
ISO: 250


This article originally appeared in Digital Photographer, a monthly magazine, and the kitbag essential for pros, enthusiasts, and amateurs alike!

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Kim Bunermann
Technique Editor

Kim is the Technique Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine. She specializes in architecture, still life and product photography and has a Master's degree in Photography and Media with a distinction from the FH Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in Germany. While studying, Kim came to the UK for an exchange term at the London College of Communication. She settled in the UK and began her career path by joining Future. Kim focuses on tutorials and creative techniques, and particularly enjoys interviewing inspiring photographers who concentrate on a range of fascinating subjects including women in photography, the climate crisis; the planet, its precious creatures and the environment.