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Macro Mini Maryland

Photo of maize calligrapher fly

Maize calligrapher fly by Edwin Guevara

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Have you ever looked at someone you’ve known your entire life and realized you never noticed something about their appearance? For many of us who have lived in Maryland a long time, it’s easy to leave our homes and walk right past a wealth of natural beauty without so much as a second glance. A few years ago, as the constant use of cell phone cameras was becoming the norm, I discovered a nifty little gadget that forever changed the way I look at the natural world: a clip-on macro lens!

Photo of dandelion

Close-up of dandelion by Sarah Witcher

This inexpensive gizmo ($5-40) will allow you to take extreme close-up photography, bringing out all the perfect details of nature’s creations. The price you pay for a high level of detail is a narrow focus area; it won’t capture a speedy hawk in flight and maybe isn’t a great choice for that snake you saw on a rock (because you know better than to get that close!). Instead, choose slow-moving, stationary and safe subjects such as:

  • Jewel-like beetle backs or fluffy moth faces (and check out our invertebrate resources!)
  • A mushroom’s delicate, pleated gills 
  • Tiny mosses in the bark of a tree, or one of our favorite native ground covers
  • Sand crystals and critters on the beach
  • Intricate color patterns inside a wildflower

Something as simple as a water droplet looks even more magnificent under just a bit of magnification. While it does take practice, even a total beginner can create some pretty appealing snapshots. And you don’t have to travel to a distant destination or hike miles into the wilderness – that weed in your sidewalk crack or the feather you found on your car windshield can become a work of art!

Photo of a fuzzy moth in macro

Moth by Sarah Witcher

As this summer draws to a close, we at HabiChat encourage you to get outside and zoom in on the miniature worlds of wonder you may not have noticed. Send us your photos and we’ll select a few of our favorites to feature in a future issue!

Welcome back to HabiChat!

My name is Sarah Witcher, and I’m new here!  With the help of Edwin Guevara and Paula Becker, I’ll be taking over in the HabiChat and Wild Acres realm, hoping to continue to inspire (and be inspired by) Maryland nature enthusiasts.  Feel free to reach out to us with any wildlife questions or topics you’d like to know more about, or share what you’ve done in the past year with your backyard habitat.  We’d love to hear from you!

In this issue, we’ll consider how to approach the “littler” critters and appreciate mini-Maryland wildlife through the use of a macro lens.  Also, habitat tips about end-of-summer bird baths and our favorite ferns will be featured, with a fun leaf print activity for artists of any age.  Finally, enjoy a new section that will highlight the very best of what we here at the Natural Heritage Program do within the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  

We hope you’ll come visit us and meet our new staff at the Maryland State Fair.


Sarah Witcher

Click here to have HabiChat—the quarterly backyard wildlife habitat newsletter from the Wild Acres program—delivered right to your inbox!

In this Issue

Header image with bumblebee