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https://alphauniverseglobal.media.zestyio.com/Alpha-Universe-Alpha-Female-Plus-ProtectingPollinators-bts-HMather-3.be110857376e1c1dc5afaa178864837f.jpg
Alpha Female + Grant Winner Hannah Mather

Behind The Scenes Of The Pollinator Project

For her Alpha Female+ grant, photographer and naturalist Hannah Mather put the focus on pollinators. Including these vital insects into conversations and action plans for sustainability is critical and Mather sought to inspire with words and images about these tiny, yet essential creatures. Shooting with the Sony Alpha 7 III, Sony Alpha 6400 and the 90mm f/2.8 Macro G lens, Mather gives us an incredible look at backyard pollinators.

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro. 1/400-sec., f/5.6, ISO 800

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/320-sec., f/7.1, ISO 640

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/1250-sec., f/4.5, ISO 500

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/500-sec., f/7.1, ISO 2500

Photo by Hannah Mather.

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/1000-sec., f/3.5, ISO 100

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/1000-sec., f/4.5, ISO 320

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro. 1/400-sec., f/5.6, ISO 400

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/640-sec., f/5.6, ISO 800

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/200-sec., f/4.5, ISO 800

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/7.1, ISO 1250

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/125-sec., f/6.3, ISO 3200

Photo by Hannah Mather.

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/800-sec., f/7.1, ISO 1250

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/250-sec., f/6.3, ISO 800

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/2500-sec., f/2.8, ISO 320

Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/200-sec., f/4.5, ISO 1250

To complete this project, I used the Sony Alpha 6400 and Alpha 7 III with a combination of Sonys 30mm Macro, 90mm f/2.8 Macro G, and 100-400mm G Master lenses. Subjects were all found locally, most in my own gardens and hives.

The 90mm f/2.8 Macro G is my go-to lens that is nearly always on a camera. It’s sharp and has great depth for capturing the tiniest details.

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Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/800-sec., f/7.1, ISO 1250

When I want to get really close, practically bumping my subjects, the Alpha 6400 with the 30mm macro lens can’t be beat. I have so much fun experimenting with the incredibly short minimum focal distance this combination allows, and I use this the most for in-hive action.

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Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α6400. Sony 30mm f/3.5 Macro. 1/400-sec., f/5.6, ISO 400

Using the Alpha 7 III along with the 100-400mm G Master lens is the perfect combination to capture larger, flightier insects such as adult butterflies. Most butterflies will fly away the moment they see a shadow cast near them, and the longer range from this setup allows me to photograph them from a comfortable distance.

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Photo by Hannah Mather. Sony α7 III. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/7.1, ISO 1250

When shooting macro, manual focus is the way to go. I’ll make a judgment about how far I expect to be from a subject and lock the focus at a certain distance (say on a nearby flower). I’ll then use my body to support the camera while making small movements until the focus is sharp.

The timelapse videos were both created using the Alpha 7 III with the 90mm Macro G lens on a tripod, in a lighted enclosure turned studio. This was the first time I’ve attempted a timelapse of this kind, but the built in intervalometer on the Alpha 7 III, along with these Alpha Universe timelapse tips gave me the confidence to try it out.

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There wasn’t a lot of room for trial and error given the limitations of working on nature’s timeline, but I still had so much fun capturing such precious moments in detail, and I can’t wait to hone in these new skills.

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