It's a big world of the world's smallest creatures - from Zhong Ming's lens to the compelling close-up shots here.
Beautiful -- but perhaps different from traditional beauty -- through an entomologist's eyes, the microcosm of insects is perfectly demonstrated by Zhong. He sees it as a way of getting closer to Nature.
Zhong, now an editor for a music magazine, has been an amateur photographer for 20 years. But his special attention and focus on insect macro photography began about eight years ago. He put up a series of shots focusing on honey bees on Poco.cn, China's largest original photo sharing website, which not only made Zhong famous but led him onto a path few photographers take.
From Hainan to Xinjiang, from Guangxi to Yunnan, enduring high heat and moisture of the forests all along the way with heavy equipment, all for a date with Nature's elves - butterflies, dragonflies, cicadas and other insects. He is the entomologist of photography.
"It's not so much fun as people imagine," Zhong says, describing his wait for encounters with the small creatures. "Sometimes, to be honest, it's torture, and disappointment always looms."
To get a chance to photograph insects, Zhong said, he had to endure the boredom of waiting hours, even days. And always in early morning and at night, the chances of getting good shots are much higher, so the photographer needs to get used to being alone, keeping quiet at all times.
Although he can practically be called an entomologist due to years of insect photography as well as homework on the behavior of insects, he called his love for insect photography a hobby that may last.
"Recording the most beautiful moment of an insect's life with a camera is some kind of respect for it, be it good or bad for human life," he said.
More enduring than a flash
His experience of shooting photos of insects is almost a textbook of wilderness survival.
How he tried to make his way out of a virgin forest on Emei Mountain at night? How he survived on a motorcycle that fell down a ravine of Diaoluo Mountain in Hainan province? How he drove away a snake hanging a meter in front of him and fled zigzagging? All these experiences have tested his determination in the quest for a flash of delicate beauty.
Spending almost half a year's time annually outside shooting insects, Zhong said he would continue his hobby. "My interests may change sometimes, but maybe one day through perseverance I'll be much closer to my belief in life."
Part II Mantises and dragonflies
Part III Feast for butterfly lovers
Part I Finding the beauty of precious insect species
|Part IV The world of cicadas
Biography Zhong Ming
Member of Sichuan Photographers Association
Vocation: Graphics Editor, Music Quest magazine of Sichuan Conservatory of Music
Specialty: Insect photography.
Reason for love of insect photography: Engaging himself in the beauty of Nature.
Photographic concept: Express perception and reflection of the world of insects with creative ideas based on artistically aesthetic criteria.
Goal: Publish his own picture book of insects before the age of 60.
Recommended best Chinese destinations for insect photography fans: Diaoluo Mountain (Hainan province), Jianfeng Mount (Hainan province), Xishuang Banna (Yunnan province), Baise city (Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region).
Zhong Ming is the first Chinese photographer dedicated to night insect photography. He has published and co-authored several picture books on insects and vegetables. He has photographed some precious species of Lepidoptera.
He has led a team focusing on insect photography in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan province. Curiosity and care for their life will always lead the way.