Sam Issac is a man of very few words. He is a self taught macro photographer from Kerala, INDIA. His clean, bokeh-full works caught my eyes. As it turned out, his style and execution of shots are entirely different from the other macro photographers I have interviewed.
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Q. Your macros are a celebration of colors. What influenced you to take up macro photography?
A. Easy to shoot. Insects and butterflies are very common. Also I am inspired by some macro photographers.
Q. “Easy to Shoot”?! When I tried macro, I found it extremely strenuous. But you say it is easy. Can you clarify?
A. The only strenuous part is to get the subject in the perfect frame.
Q. How do you go around looking for subjects? Are your images pre-arranged or mostly by chance?
A. My subjects are accidental. I spend long time trying to get the perfect shot.
Q. Your creations are similar to Fabien Bravin’s. But you were unaware of it until I pointed you to his works. How do you achieve that distinct look of bokeh in your shots? Whats the secret?
A. I give equal importance to subject as well as background. The subject doesn’t give any appeal without a nice background. I frame the subject to get a bokeh feel or a perfect background. I prefer ground shots mostly as it gives better depth of field.
Q. What kind of gear do you use?
Body – Nikon D3100
Lens – Sigma 10-20mm, Tamron 90mm, Tamron 70-300mm
Tripod – No
Filters – No
Flash – No
Camera Bag – Yes.
Others, if any. – Remote shutter release
Q. Do you have any preferred time to shoot macro?
A. I prefer to shoot either in the morning before 9 am and evening after 5 pm. These are the best time to get the desired light, effect and result.
In order to get bokeh effect, I shoot before 7.30 am. It also lets me get dews and the perfect sunlight for the shot.
Q. Your preference is to shoot at morning or in the evening. You don’t own a tripod or flash. You like to shoot at ground level. How do you manage sharp shots by keeping the camera handheld?
A. It’s quite tedious. Sometimes I spend 15-30 minutes to get a perfect shot. I take lots of shots. The trick is to focus the eyes.
Q. Can you explain your setup while taking a macro?
A. I use two lenses for macro. First one is Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro. It’s a dedicated macro lens. It gives nice bokeh and depth of field.
And the second lens is Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens. Most amateur photographers are unaware about the power of telephoto zoom lens. It can be used as a zoom as well as a superb macro lens. The advantage of telephoto lens being used for macro is that a person can stand 2 to 4 meters away from the subject and shoot. So that the subject won’t be disturbed by his/her presence. I use telephoto lens to shoot butterflies as the are very sensitive to humans.
Q. Which is your favorite lens for macro? Why?
A. Tamron 90mm. It gives perfect details about the subject and also the background is perfect with this.
Q. When you go in one of your travels, what all do you take with you? Why?
A. I take all my gears when I roam around because no one knows when the right moment comes your way.
Q. Among the many gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
A. Nothing. I am content with what I own.
Q. What kind of tools do you use for post processing?
A. I use Lightroom 5 for post processing.
Q. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
A. My first photo of Plain Cupid Butterfly. The subject and background are perfect.
Q. Whose work has influenced you the most?
A. Mr. Jishnu Sateesh Babu. I don’t think I have to answer why I find him inspirational. Please check the link and you will come to know the reason 😉
Q. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking macros?
A. Nothing that I can think of.
Q. To an aspiring newbie macro photographer, what would you like to say?
A. Observation, Patience and ability to frame the subject.
Our Favorite Sam shot
To create this clean image, Sam got on ground level and shot through the leaves and grass.