Photographer Creates Volcanic Landscapes from Macro Leaves

Since the advent of digital macro photography, we have for years been gifted beautifully detailed sights of a miniature world impossible to our own eyes.

Turkish macro photographer Can Tunçer decided to venture on his own miniature photographic expedition of a seemingly everyday subject: leaves. But in doing so, he discovered a small-scale landscape of a seemingly volcanic and lava-like kind.

Across the collection we witness a cracked and craggy landscape, torn red by burning strands of what could easily be confused for flowing lava. By backlighting the leaves, Tunçer has unveiled each glowing detail, with the network of veins glowing neon against the dark, deceased body. A blend of glowing greens, oozing yellows and angry reds snake and meld against the leaf matter, as if gazing high upon an unusual volcanic eruption.

“I especially chose this leaf because there were sections drying and ‘dying’ on it,” Tunçer told PetaPixel.

“When I backlit the dry/dead part of the leaf, a very interesting texture was formed.”

To create the images was no easy task, and required a setup of mind-boggling proportions. Pictured below, the innovative rig used involved a Canon 6D DSLR, two IKEA Jansjö Work Lamps, a Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5x lens and a Nikon CF Plan 10x 0.30 WD 16.5 lens.

As seen, he also appears to have utilised a focus stacking device that shoots automatically advances whilst shooting, to allow for precise stacking in post-production. When stacking macro images, you gain sharpness from end-to-end despite the tiny subject size.

In total, Tunçer captured over 1,400 images in two weeks using just two separate leaves – revealing just how stunning macro photography can be with minimal, everyday subjects.

For more of Tunçer’s work, be sure to visit his Instagram, Flickr, or 500px.

If you’re feeling inspired, then check out our guide to photographing backlit leaves!

Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.

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