Mofeed Abu Schalwa: I chose macro photography to conquer my fear

10 aug, 2021


Do you know that your phobia can lead you to success? No? Macro and micro photographer Mofeed Abu Shalwa knows how to overcome a fear and become a worldwide famous researcher with 5 international titles and 147 prizes won. In his interview to WPPO, Mofeed shared his secret of success and even gave practical advice for amateur photographers!


- Mofeed, can you please introduce yourself to our readers.

- Mofeed Abu Shalwa, 36 years old, graduate of the Technical College of Management, a scientific researcher and a professional photographer, specialized in Macro and Micro photography.

I got five international titles, the most profound one is the second title of the titles of the Photographic Society of America.

I have won more than 147 international awards, plus, I got more than 10 million views of my works on YouPic famous website.

I traveled and covered more than 7 forests around the world, including the rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia, the forests of Austria, and Papua New Guinea forest and the French forest... etc.


- How did you become interested in macro photography?

- The reason for my choice and my interest in this field, and why I specialized in insects’ macro photography in addition to my field "Jewel Beetles".

What drove me to this field is back to a story about my childhood, when I used to suffer from insects phobia, this fear grew stronger as my classmates in school used to bring insects with them, while knowing that I’m fearful of insects, they used to throw them on me as a joke, my fear grew stronger over the years and the experience happened to me few times later on. So, choosing the world of small worlds’ photography was to be able to break the childhood fear that grew in me since childhood from insects and getting close to them. Secondly, to send a message through my photos to see this beauty and tiny details that can only be seen using camera lenses, the other thing is the difficulty of this type of photography, it takes a lot of time and effort.


- What was your career path in the world of photography?

- My journey in the world of photography started in 2006 with a digital camera with limited capabilities to document my travels with my family.

Afterwards, I bought a semi-professional camera in the beginning of 2010, I had the chance to explore all fields of photography like Still-life, Portrait, Travel, People’s lives, etc.

I specialized in Macro-Micro photography in the same year, and became a professional after 4 years of experimenting and self-learning.

My career path in photography is really important, so much that photography have become an essential part of my life style, and a part of my job. For my field in photography “Macro Photography” requires me to do a lot of research about what I have had photographed. The works that I produce aren’t just photos, but they require a lot of scientific research and behavioral studying of these creatures as an important part of my practical plan for photography. And for being a scientific researcher since 2015, Macro photography have become completely linked and tied to science and knowledge.


- How did famous photographers influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?

The influence of some famous photographers on my ideas and photography was big during my beginnings, that is in order to exchange the experiences and to learn new skills in the world of photography and to understand what they were producing, but now, the influence isn’t as big, that happened after I have taken my own path in 2015, for each artist has his own path and artistic view that are different from other photographers and far from the traditional path. Some professional or even amateur photographers sometimes impress me with what they produce of different and creative works, which depends on one essential thing, which is creating new and unique method for photography of each field of photography.


- What is the most challenging part about being a macro photographer for you?

- The most challenging part for me and most Macro photographers can be explained in a few factors, like:

The study of the behavior of the insect, for some people might not know how poisonous some of these creatures can be which can lead to partial damage that hinders you as a Macro photographer, so, the method of scientific research and knowledge before the field search plays a big role in finding the objectives and overcoming the hardships, unlike the random search in a free environment.

Knowing what is it that you are going to capture, from all aspects to be able to introduce it in a wholesome way to the audience, also, picking the right time and place of photography, for it is known that any Macro photographer prefers photographing these creatures in an environment where there is no storms or rains, as he needs a great stability to capture the intended creatures in their natural habitat.


- What makes the good macro picture stand out from the average?

What differs a good Macro photo from average one, is reaching the maximum levels of correct lighting that highlights the details of the object in the photo without distortion, also choosing different and interesting angles that captures the attention of the viewer for such work, in addition to choosing the right background colors that are suitable to the environment of these creatures and their habitats, all these are some of the factors that make some Macro photos stand out from others.


- What type of camera do you recommend? Equipment?

- The camera type and equipment that I recommend are, any DSLR mid-range camera can do the job for Macro photography, also, the cropped-frame cameras are great for Macro photography. But for lenses, any new photographer that is interested in Macro photography can use the minimum cost equipment because the specialized Macro photography equipment can be costly and expensive, flipping the lenses is a very useful and effective way and doesn’t cost a lot, like using a flipped 50mm lens with an adapter, these simple equipment can offer the photographer a great change to take Macro photos and enables him to explore his interest in this field, that is how I started in the world of Macro photography, with least costs and excellent results.


The equipment that I’m using now are:
- Canon EOS 5DS R

- Canon MP-E 65mm Macro
- Canon EF 100mm Macro
- Lighting: Canon MT-24EX Twin
- Canon 430EX II
- Tripod Manfrotto
- 50mm Macro Rail


- What additional light do you use

- I prefer using Twin-flashes as lighting, and I use a home-made light diffuser.



- How long have you been participating in 35AWARDS? What is your goal as a participant?

- I started participating in the 35 Awards Competition in 2018, and I won first prize for a 10-photos project in the wildlife projects section. And I won two judges-selection awards, one in Macro photography. This was my first year of participation in this amazing competition, and the competition board chose me to become one of the judges for the next year’s version.

My aim for participation is to measure the level of my works, and how they can compete compared to the works of other artists with careers filled of achievements.


- And what do you expect to get from participating in WPPO?

- What I expect from participating in WPPO, is a lot of exclusive benefits, according to what was discussed recently, which seemed amazing and very different than many other websites. Also to exchange experiences with other artists, and to save all the copy right, to introduce educational workshops and international fairs, etc.