Animals up Close
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We have become so used to the high quality of photography in nature documentaries on TV that we are perhaps in danger of losing our sense of wonder. Film makers often slow down the footage to enable us to appreciate the movement of an animal. Freeze the moment altogether, zoom in close, and discover just how amazing these animals are in this extraordinary collection of animal portraits. Igor Siwanowicz is a research scientist specialising in the neurobiology of the fruit fly, but he has developed a parallel career as a nature photographer, establishing a reputation for his macrophotography. Some of the most dramatic images in the book are of the smallest animals – ‘the ones that don’t get much attention because they aren’t fluffy or cute’. A giant silkmoth caterpillar is spread across two pages, its segmented body covered in blue spiny nodules. We see the needle-sharp teeth of a pipistrelle bat, the shiny carapace of a rhinoceros beetle, the underside of a fan-fingered gecko’s toes. The photographer explains how he sets up a travelling studio in the field and the equipment he carries with him, often getting down on hands and knees to view the world from the animal’s perspective. He writes too of the animals’ reactions to being photographed – the preying mantis that loves to show off before the camera, the giant diving beetle nymph that delivered a sharp bite to the ten-year-old junior naturalist, or the chameleon that turned black with rage. DK’s signature style of extensive annotation alongside images works extremely well here, with detailed information given on interesting features of the animal’s anatomy. A visual feast filled with fascinating information on the natural world.