About Me

Hello! My name is Mikhail Omelko, I am the developer and author of this site. I have been doing wildlife photography, mainly macro photography, for over 20 years. My first cameras were Russian Zenit film ones. There were no true macro lenses for these cameras, so I used the Helios-44 lens with extension tubes. This is a fairly primitive set of equipment by today’s standards, but nevertheless, it was enough to master the basics of wildlife photography. At that time (the second half of the 90s), macro photography was a much more difficult process than it is now: my lens did not have autofocus, and manual focusing was hard because when the extension rings were attached, the image in the viewfinder became very dark. Nevertheless, that period was useful for me as a photographer. When your camera can take only 36 shots and there is no spare film (because you don’t have money to buy it), this forces you to treat each shot responsibly.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a revolutionary change from film cameras to digital ones began. Soon I got an opportunity to shoot with a very good Nikon Coolpix 5700 camera which had a built-in zoom lens. From that moment on, I was no longer limited by the need to buy expensive photographic films and involve other people in the process of obtaining photographs, who would develop my films and print the photos themselves. Of course, using the digital camera was a huge boost for me as a photographer. And after a while, I managed to get my hands on my first DSLR camera (Nikon D70) with a true macro lens (AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f / 2.8D). From then until now, I have been a Nikon camera user.

For the first years of my fascination with macro photography, I took pictures exclusively with natural light. However, over time, I realized that natural light does not always fit my purposes. In some situations, its amount may not be enough, and sometimes, on the contrary, sunlight might be too strong, creating excessively contrasting lighting. After becoming aware of these limitations of natural light, I started using flashes. At first it was a regular on-camera flash (Nikon SB-600), later I purchased Nikon R1C1 kit, designed specifically for macro photography and consisting of two wireless remote speedlights and a speedlight commander module. At that time, I still did not know that the most important thing in using artificial light is a proper diffuser. However, I soon came across photos made by well-known macro photographer Nicky Bay (Singapore). Looking at his photographs, I was amazed at how soft yet strong lighting he was able to achieve using his DIY light diffusers. Inspired by Nicky Bay’s work, I started using various DIY diffusers, and since then I have been using artificial light in most of my macro photos.

Mikhail Omelko is taking picture of a moth

Macro photography is a diverse style, and the same species of arthropod or plant can be captured in entirely different ways. Personally, I don’t prefer overly “artistic” images where photographers try to completely design the photo. For instance, when a photographer positions a colorful butterfly on a large, bright flower in an attempt to create the most appealing image for viewers. In my opinion, a good photo is a compromise between “beauty” and “naturalness”. I believe a good photo should depict how the subject truly looks or might appear in natural conditions, beautifully.

An important development for me as a photographer was the release of the Laowa 15mm f / 4 Wide Angle Macro lens, which I started using for wide-angle macro photography. To this day, it remains the only wide-angle lens capable of achieving 1:1 magnification. This lens allows not only to capture an arthropod, mushroom or flower, but also to show it in its natural habitat. In addition to the already mentioned Nicky Bay, I consider such photographers as Chien Lee (Malaysia) and Emanuele Biggi (Italy) to be real masters in the wide-angle macro photography.

I live and photograph in Primorsky Krai, a region situated in southeastern Russia and bordering China and North Korea. Additionally, I have a deep appreciation for tropical nature and have traveled to Sri Lanka, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Panama and Philippines.

Apart from this site, my work can be found on the following platforms:

This website is being developed only by my efforts and is not supported by any foundation. If you find the information here useful and interesting, I would be grateful for any donation. All money will be spent on the further development of the site.

Contact Me

Please use the form below for any questions or comments and I will get in touch with you as soon as possible. All images in my portfolio are available for licensing.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.

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