Close-up of a shiny green fly on a leaf
Nature and wildlife,  Photographic techniques,  Sunday Stills,  Themed galleries

Gallery: small is beautiful

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing

Camille Pissarro

One of the pleasures of an addiction to photography is that you start to see photos wherever you look! And by look, I mean REALLY look. While it’s wonderful to be able to photograph sweeping landscapes, iconic buildings, wild (and not so wild) animals, interesting people … look closer and you will find even more subjects.

And even when there seems to be nothing to photograph, look again. Even the smallest thing will make a great image if carefully composed. In nature especially, there are always small things to photograph.

It’s a while since I’ve participated in the Sunday Stills challenge – mea culpa. But this week Terri asks us to focus on things that are small or tiny, so how could I resist?!

While I don’t have a dedicated macro lens, I do enjoy close-up photography. Sometimes I use the macro setting on my bridge camera, other times I use a zoom to get closer while standing back. I like the shallow depth of field the latter technique produces.

And I’ve just bought a new phone, a Redmi Note 10 Pro, which has an excellent macro lens built in. It can be fiddly to use but when I get it right the results are very effective. The feature photo of a fly on a hydrangea bush in our garden was taken with that, for example. More of my experiments with that new phone camera will no doubt appear in my next monthly round-up.

Meanwhile here, quite simply, is a gallery of small things that caught my eye, and my lens, in the last six months or so, both abroad and closer to home. One or two may have featured before but I’ve tried mainly to choose some as yet unseen. A number are from our recent short visit to Hampshire, including one from the river walk at Buckler’s Hard.

Single bright yellow leaf on dark soil

Fallen gingko leaf in the frost, Keats House, Hampstead, north London


Tightly closed pink buds on a twig

Apple blossom buds, Ealing


Delicate catkins hanging from a branch

Catkins in Camberwell, London


Golden silk orb-weaver, Cayena Beach Villas, Colombia

[photographed from our shower but luckily on the other side of the window!]

Spider with striped legs on a web

Small hairy leaves and red flowers

Field Indian paintbrush (I think) in the Valle de Cocora, Colombia


Small yellow-green flowers clustered together

Euphorbia in the rain, Dajti Mountain, Tirana


Pale green leaves at the end of a stem with a raindrop hanging

New leaves emerging, Kvaløya Island, Norway


Brightly patterned butterfly on bush with small white flowers

Peacock butterfly, Norfolk


Delicate red petals with a fly on the edge of one

Backlit poppy with fly, Norfolk


Clustered pink flowers in two sizes

Hydrangea, Hampshire


Large bee on spikes of pink flowers

Bumblebee on salvia, Hampshire


Fluffy purple flower with two bees covered in pollen

Bees on thistle flowers at Hurst Castle, Hampshire


Brown butterfly on grass

Meadow Brown butterfly at Blackwater Arboretum, Hampshire


Small cork painted to look like a toadstool

Champagne cork art at Blackwater Arboretum in the New Forest, Hampshire


Fan of small seeds on a long stem

Seed head by the Beaulieu River, Buckler’s Hard, Hampshire

[this is either Hemlock water dropwort, which is incredibly poisonous, or Corky-fruited water-dropwort, which is harmless – I wish I knew which!]

33 Comments

  • Wind Kisses

    Beautiful and sweet little lovelies…. There is sometime so special about things we discover along the way, and notice, because we decide to pay closer attention. I loved them al Sarah, but the chubby little be from behind (in Hampshire) made me smile.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Donna 😊 That bee made me smile too – partly because my husband was stood next to me at the time saying ‘You’ll never get a decent photo of them, they’re moving too much’! OK, the bee IS a little blurred, but I think that just adds to the sense of movement 😆

  • bluebrightly

    How cool that the first photo was made with your new phone! I really like the detail, the colors, and the bright background. I’m a Ginkgo fan, so I’m happy to see that. And oh, that hydrangea photo is lovely. Yes, there’s no shortage of subjects in this world of ours!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed this selection 😊 I know how expert you are in finding the small details that make for interesting and often lovely photos!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Suzanne, but I take no credit for seeing the champagne cork – it was just there, off to one side of our path on a giant sculpture (photo to follow in a post next week) that no one could have missed!

  • wetanddustyroads

    The apple blossom buds look like a puppy’s paw pads. And one can even see the pollen on the bees where they’re feasting on the thistle flowers. Great photos – enjoy your new camera (I mean phone 😉).

  • grandmisadventures

    I think you must be a very fun person to go on a walk with because I love how you notice such small things and capture them so beautifully. Sign me up for a walk with you anytime 🙂

  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    All beautiful selections for the gallery, Sarah. I have to say that my favorite is the Euphorbia. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen this plant before or maybe it because of its name. Either way, it’s a gorgeous photo.

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    All I can say is wow, Sarah! Who thought a common, pesky fly could be turned into art? Finding tiny creatures among the flowers and plants is quite fun. My galaxy note 10+ is 4 years old but works like a champ on it’s camera, but as soon as I get a good deal on the Samsung 23 Ultra, I’m moving on. Believe it or not I really love that champagne cork! I enjoy seeing hydrangea blooms up close–fun post with fab shots! Glad you could link to Sunday Stills!

  • Brad M

    I often forget my lenses have a much shorter focal length that can also be used. Thanks for the reminder with this nice collection of intimate photos.

  • Image Earth Travel

    Wow, love the fly image!
    I bought a Google Pixel 6A phone because reviews said it has a good camera but too late I find out that the phone compresses the jpgs – horror! So, to counteract this, I set the phone to shoot jpg and RAW. Also, some facial photos look really weird – almost like the face is melting.
    I left Australia in March without my “Beast” – 3kg Nikon with zoom thinking I’d pick a good camera up in Japan. The FujiFilm XT4 was out of stock for 6 months, every country I’ve been to so I compromised and bought online the FujiFilm SX10. I’m reading the manual as there’s just so much new technology since I bought my Beast in 2013!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Oh I know, camera technology evolves so fast! And every camera has its little differences that take time to learn even if you have a thorough understanding of all the principles. I hope you’ll be very happy with yours once you get used to it 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I was pleased with how that came out 🙂 This could be the phone to convince me that a phone camera can be more than an emergency option when you have no other camera to hand!

  • Alli Templeton

    Love your showcase of the beauty of small things, Sarah. I particularly love the bees and the butterflies – they need all the help and attention they can get at the moment. They may be small but they’re incredibly significant, and when you take the time to look, they’re incredibly beautiful too.
    And the light on the catkins is fabulous. 🙂

  • margaret21

    You’ve taken Small is Beautiful to a new level, Sarah. Some great shots here – love the meadow brown, the bee, the butterfly – all of them in fact!

  • Sue

    Ah, very nice…I must go searching for some small things in my archive, or find some new ones! Love the Champagne cork Fly Agaric!

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