Hey! I'm Thomas Shahan, a macro-photographer and artist.
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If you are interested in using one of my images or have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at: opoterser@hotmail.com

Photo by Marlin Rice

Frequenty Asked Questions!

What camera/equipment do you use?

I’m currently using a Pentax K-x with either a vintage 28mm or 50mm prime reversed to the end of extension tubes. In the rare chance that I have a highly cooperative subject, I may bust out my macro bellows for some really high magnification shots.

How do you get bugs to sit still for your photographs?

I don’t “get” the bugs to do anything. The vast majority of arthropods I try to photograph vanish before I can even get a single shot! The two keys to successful macro photography are in understanding the behavior of different arthropods and taking an incredibly large amount of shots (with a considerable emphasis on the latter).

You’re just too good (and handsome)! There must be some sort of trickery going on… did you freeze or gas these bugs?

No! I obviously love working with arthropods quite a bit and would never intentionally harm a subject just to get a good photo. Very early on in my experiments with macro photography I did pop a few bugs in the fridge in an attempt to get them to slow down, but after I had one or two die on me, the guilt got to me and I haven’t “chilled” any subjects since. I can assure you, all the subjects in my photos are quite alive and in good health unless I state otherwise!

Isn’t it impossible to successfully focus-stack images of a live animal?! These bugs are dead, aren’t they? You’re a monster!

Once again, no! I do not immobilize or physically restrict the movement of my subjects in any way. If it’s an option I always try to photograph subjects in their natural environment (or at least outside), but occasionally I will bring an arthropod indoors to photograph (usually Salticids as they can disappear if not watched).

As for the focus-stacking, sometimes I just get lucky and the bug/spider will sit still enough for me to fire off a couple shots from the same angle. I do all my focus stacking manually in Photoshop with great care to not alter or misrepresent the form of the subject. I have started warming up to Zerene Stacker in certain cases recently.

Do you sell prints? Do you have a book?

Sorry, I currently don’t sell prints (though I would like to soon) or have a book out yet. If you’re a publisher and interested in working something out with me – contact me. Oh! And if you’d like actual, physical artwork I mage by hand — check out my etsy shop!

These bugs are beautiful! Where do you live?!

Most of the arthropods were photographed in Oklahoma, USA!

I'd like to get into macro photography! What lens/camera/flash/equipment should I buy?

Equipment is secondary – you can do a lot with a little. Just get out there, have fun looking for bugs, and take as many photos as possible!

Oh, and get yourself a set of extension tubes…