Nature Category Winner
It took a combination of technical finesse, physical stamina, and patience on the part of Bruce Peerson to capture the image he calls “midnight Traffic Jam.” working in his own driveway at night he quietly observed a moth perched on a lamppost—his Canon EOS 5D mark ii in one hand and a flash in the other—until a June bug stumbled into the frame and created a decisive moment. patience and endurance are essential to Peerson’s many closeup images because they often feature live subjects that move too much to allow the use of a tripod—and that are easily scared off. “Two hours of holding still are much more difficult than two hours of jogging,” says Peerson.
To get such highly magnified views of his tiny subjects, Peerson puts a close-up diopter on his Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens—reducing depth of field to a few millimeters even at smaller apertures. “You have to be able to imagine where your plane of focus is going to be,” he explains. “Otherwise you’re going to shoot for hours and not get anything. I’ll ask myself which details I want to emphasize in the image and what shooting position will angle the plane of focus so that they’re sharp.”
It’s clear that Peerson has an eye—make that two—for his bug-eyed subjects, but there’s more to his work than that. “I don’t just take pictures of bugs,” he says. “I take pictures of almost everything.” and his skill and eye for detail serve a more fundamental goal of his photography. In his own words, “it’s about extracting the beauty from everyday reality that you don’t see unless you’re paying attention to it.”