Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fun on the Beach

Posted: January 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

I can’t take credit for this idea as I got it from a photog friend Ken Robb. Ken had a great shot of a starfish that he bought at a shell shop and then took it down to the beach and photographed it as the water rushed over it. So when I was in St Augustine, Florida, I bought lots of shells from the local shell shops and took this starfish down to the beach to shoot this image of the water as it flowed over the starfish. Set my f/stop to f/32 to slow down the shutter speed and give the water a little softness. Vary the shutter shutter speeds for different effects of the water.



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I bought some silk flowers at Hobby Lobby to see if I could take a fake flower and make it look like a real flower.

The silk flowers have the most realistic look, but the silk has a fine pattern in the petals that is noticeable in the photo. So to solve that I focused on a small area in the center of the flower and shot with an f/stop at f/2.8, which produced a shallow depth of field, and softened the fine pattern in silk petals.

Here’s my fake flower that looks like a real flower.


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It Takes Time

Posted: January 13, 2019 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I posted that making a great macro images isn’t as much about the equipment you use, but more about finding a great subject, composing the subject properly in the frame, and I forgot to mention, good post processing.

I also forgot to mention that it takes time to identify good subjects from poor subjects, it takes time and some education to learn how to compose properly, and lots of patience and time being good at post processing.

I started photography in 2001 and in the first three years I was shooting, not one of those images I produced are on my website today.  Not that my equipment and skills with the equipment were not good, it’s just that I was shooting subjects that were not interesting, and my composition was all wrong. 

In 2004 I found the internet and was excited to find a group called  It was a critique site where you could post your images and people would give you advice to help out. My very first image I posted (which I thought was perfect) I was helped out with my mistakes on the composition of the image. 

In those first three years I was learning on my own and not doing well, and also didn’t search out that education that would have helped me make better images. 

After I got help from the online sites, my photography took off. In the first year on the site, I took a second place image of the year in the flora category, and took a first place and third place in the next two years.

I studied all the great images that were being posted by other macro photographers, started to see good subjects and how to compose them, and also at that time I started to learn about post processing.

So those first three years on my own, no success, a little help from the more experienced photographers, listening to what I was taught, and I’m winning awards, getting images published in magazine, and getting companies wanting the sponsor me.

One last thing, once you learn all the correct ways to created a great image, you have to spend a lot of time shooting, and working with the post processing tools to get to the level you want to be.

Join photo sites online and study images, post images and ask for critiques.  Join my Macro Photo Club where there are over 160 instructional videos that I guarantee you will advance much quicker then doing it on your own.

Change Your Direction

Posted: January 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

To many photographers think that if they buy a better camera they will make better images.  They spend most of their time on sites like DPReview, or Ken Rockwell, where they give you the updates on the latest greatest equipment offered.

If I post here on this blog about some new Tamron lens or some equipment important to what we do as macro photographers, I get tons of hits on those posts.  If I post something about composition, I get far fewer hits on those posts. People have it backwards

My most successful image I ever shot was of a green fern on a black burned tree trunk, and that image won more awards, and made more money then any image I ever produced, and it was shot in 2004, with a Fuji S2, 6 megapixel camera with an old macro lens from my film camera.  That system was many generations ago in the digital world and it produced my most successful image.

That image did well because it was a great subject and composed well.  It had nothing to do with the camera.  Because if it was about the equipment, then I should be producing more successful images with my more advanced system I use today.

My Nikon D7000 camera body is 8 years old and doing just fine, and the only reason I had upgraded from my fuji DSLR camera bodies was to get liveview.  So I have no need to do another upgrade unless there is some feature I want, like maybe an articulating LCD.

I don’t do high magnification macro photography, but my favorite photographer who does is Thomas Shahan.  His spider and bugs images have been featured in National Geographic Magazine, he was interview by Al Roker on the Today Show,  and his original you tube video, “An Introduction to High Magnification Macro Photography” has close to 1.5 million views.

Even the most famous of all nature photographers Art Wolfe doesn’t  come remotely close to 1.5 million views on any of his youtube videos.

Here is the link to Thomas’s video CLICK and you will see he was using very low end inexpensive equipment to produced very successful images. I talked with Thomas back in the summer and he’s still using inexpensive equipment.

I’m not saying you don’t need a good camera, good quality lenses, (like Tamron lenses) and certain accessories needed for what we do, but once you have acquired those things, stop wasting time on the tech sites, and spend your time learning about what makes a image successful. 

You spend thousands of dollars on equipment and no money on education.

Having the tools to produce quality images, but not knowing the difference between good and bad subject matter, and how to compose a subject properly, is going to keep you producing poor images.

If you are one of those photographers that spend all time on tech sites, change your direction.

Check out macro learning opportunities.


MISA – Madeline Island School of the Arts
978 Middle Road
PO Box 536
La Pointe, WI 54850
(715) 747-2054
Monday to Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CST

Class #: FMM062419
Dates: 06/24/19 to 06/28/19
Level: All Levels
Tuition: $900.00
Accommodations: Lodging and Meals are separate
Availability: Spaces Still Available

Class Description: CLICK HERE

Come explore the island’s tiny landscapes and small details with the help of international award winning professional macro photographer Mike Moats.

Each day the participants will start off with a few hours of shooting time in the field. Subjects include: a variety of styles of flower photography, along with other flora and non-nature subjects. Afternoons will be a combination of lecture, image critiques, and post processing.

This workshop also includes a private boat tour to the sea caves of the Apostle Islands.

Macro Photo Club

Posted: January 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

Here is a free peek at one of the 31 videos stored in the “Equipment / Tech Tips” category of the Macro Photo Club. There are over 160 instructional macro videos in four categories. One payment, lifetime memberships, only $79. Check it out.

I was at one of the local parks near my home and came across this tower that sends electrical power through the area, and saw the paint on the metal was starting to ripple creating some nice texture.  I never pass anything without checking it out, where as many macro photographers pass by a subject like this figuring there is nothing there worth shooting.



The bolts add some extra interest along with the textures.  Here is the original image out of the camera.



I used “Smart Photo Editor” to add a little color and pull out the textures, and make it feel more artistic.


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