Photo Synthesis


Hello Science Blogs! I am Alex Wild, and insofar as Photo Synthesis is concerned, Mr. April. No centerfolds, fortunately for you. I normally blog elsewhere, but I am here at Photo Synthesis for the month and honored that the Science Blogs crew chose me as their inaugural photoblogger.

I became a photographer by accident. As an entomologist, several years ago I started posting photographs of my six-legged study subjects to my web site, naively unaware of the market for science photography. After a time I began hearing from textbook publishers and photo editors interested in licensing images.

It’s not that I had pretty pictures- after all, the world is already drowning in gorgeous photography- it’s that I had science pictures, pictures captioned with correct latin names and tagged with behavioral notes stemming from my training as a biologist. It is at this intersection of science and photography where I’ve found my happy niche.

Veterans of the online Creation/Evolution wars (yes, that’s you, Pharynguloids) might recall me as “Myrmecos” from the CARM & ARN boards of years past. After reaching the what-seems-like-it-should-be-obvious conclusion that no one changes their mind on that issue I’ve given up the debating habit. Though, it comes back to haunt me a couple times a year when creationist organizations express interest in licensing my photos, and my instincts as a business owner do battle with my instincts as a scientist.

In any case, this is all very me, me, me. What about YOU?

You’ve got me tied down, captive blogger, for a month. We can chat camera gear, photographic technique, working with insects, working with scientists, making money from photography. Or other things. Drop a line in the comments if there’s anything photo-related on your mind.

Or, I can just post pictures of insects all month. Either is fine by me.


  1. #1 John Lynch
    April 9, 2009

    Welcome to the superorganism that is Sb!

    And pictures. Lots and lots of pretty pictures, please.

  2. #2 Alex
    April 9, 2009

    Thanks John! Incidentally, the first photo I posted, the ant/finger shot at the bottom, was taken at ASU last summer in Juergen Liebig’s lab.

  3. #3 John Lynch
    April 9, 2009

    I thought I recognized the little guy 🙂

  4. #4 Kevin Z
    April 9, 2009

    Awesome! I’m going to enjoy following you here!

    To answer your question, I want to see rotating photos of insects all month and a description on how to get “that perfect shot”. I’m horrible at macro photography. I chalk it up to cameras on my dissecting scope, but really its me for some reason. I think the hardest part is the set up.

    Since I study marine invertebrates, I try to shoot in a dish filled with water. No matter how I light the dish under the dissecting scope I always tradeoff reflections (on the water) for crappy lighting. How about a post on how to light stuff under a scope? I imagine you don’t have a problem with shooting stuff under water though…

  5. #5 Kim Hannula
    April 10, 2009

    Welcome to Sb. I was going to just say “pictures!”, but Kevin reminded me that I’m a horrible macro photographer (and I’m a geologist who works on small-scale structures in the field, so my lousy photography skills hurt). I would love tips, as well.

  6. #6 Alice
    April 10, 2009

    Welcome to the ‘hood, Alex! I’m looking forward to your month ‘o’ pics.

  7. #7 Alex
    April 10, 2009

    Thanks guys! I’m looking forward to participating in the community here.

  8. #8 Mike from Ottawa
    April 11, 2009

    It’s not that I had pretty pictures-

    Then you’ve improved greatly in the time between your start and my first seeing your pictures because your pictures are beyond pretty and are some of the most beautiful images of any type that I’ve seen. The one you opened your stint here with is one of these. Ants may not be ‘pretty’, but in your lens, they can be stunningly beautiful.

    BTW, any chance you might do a book one day?

  9. #9 zayzayem
    April 13, 2009

    Art and Science! Awesome!

  10. #10 RBH
    April 14, 2009

    Me, I’m just here for the pretty pictures. 🙂

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