Showcase 2021 Winner: Lea Foster

“How Sweet It Is,” Photo of an Ant Feasting on a Nectar Bubble, Lafayette, Indiana, 2021 Showcase, Judges’ Choice, Macro/Micro/All Other  ©Lea Foster
“How Sweet It Is,” Ant Feasting on a Nectar Bubble, Lafayette, Indiana, 2021 Showcase, Judges’ Choice, Macro/Micro/All Other ©Lea Foster

Artist’s statement

In a small section of my landscaping, I have yellow ground flowers that produce nectar, thus attracting many varieties of pollinators, as well as aphids and ants. While lying flat on my stomach on the ground to photograph the insects, I noticed an ant among the flowers, resting on a blade of grass. Through my macro lens, I could see the ant was drinking from a tiny droplet (nectar or possibly a droplet of water). As I positioned myself at different angles, I realized I could capture the flowers refracting into the drop, which I think makes an interesting and unique image. I have never been able to capture a scene similar to this, so this image is quite special to me.

How I got the shot

Getting this shot wasn’t easy, as I laid flat on the ground on my stomach, resting my elbows on the ground as a stabilizer. I was in this position for a long time to obtain many shots and angles. I also needed to remain fairly still so I wouldn’t spook or smash my tiny subjects.

What I used

Canon T5i, Canon 100mm macro, f/6.3, 1/100.

About me

I live in the country on 12 acres in rural Lafayette, Indiana, with my husband Jerry (who is my biggest supporter). I have been an enthusiastic hobbyist nature photographer for approximately 12 years. My favorite subjects to photograph are macro insects and birds (actually any wildlife, large or small). My favorite locations for photography are my very own back yard and Africa (my dream to return one day).

I have always been a nature lover. About a dozen years ago, my husband Jerry gave me a point and shoot camera for Christmas so I could photograph the flowers in my gardens. A few months later, I purchased my first DSLR and, as the saying goes, “the rest is history.” My lifelong career was serving as the Director of a Radiation Oncology facility (I retired end of 2018), so I saw a lot of sadness each day. The chance to see the beauty of God’s Earth through the lens was a wonderful stress release.

My photographic journey

When I started in photography, it was no surprise that my passion was nature and wildlife. What did surprise me was the fact I would be so intrigued with macro photography, specifically insects. I research and learn so much about my insect subjects that I am often asked if I am an entomologist. Shooting small, fast, and skittish insects is quite challenging and takes a great deal of patience, but by spending so much time in my gardens, my insects learn to trust me and accept me as part of their world. They realize I won’t harm them and often land directly on me. I credit a great deal of my journey to my mentor and master photographer, Carl Saathoff, who really encouraged me to “raise the bar.”

NANPA and me

I have been a NANPA member since about 2014 and have been in the Top 250 in the 2017 and 2019 Showcase.

See more of Lea’s images

  • Ant Feasting on a Nectar Bubble, image by Lea Foster
    Ant Feasting on a Nectar Bubble, Lafayette, Indiana, 2021 Showcase Judges' Choice, Macro/Micro/All Other Wildlife © Lea Foster