Sometimes the key to feeling connected to the earth lies in literally getting closer to the ground. And kids love having permission to get right up next to something interesting and examining it. Wide-angle macro photography allows them to do both.
Wide-angle macro lenses are essentially what is on your smart phone or point-and-shoot camera. It shows a wide swath of the scene you’re looking at, and yet can focus very close to a subject. On digital single-lens reflex cameras, wide-angel macro lenses include 10-22mm zoom lenses and 15mm fisheye lenses. These lenses provide not only the excuse to get real close to small critters, but the challenge of creating a story within your frame. This pushes kids to know about their subject and its lifecycle, habitat or behaviors, and how to handle the creature. A better photo is created by better understanding. No teacher, parent or child can complain about that.
An excellent resource for using wide-angle macro for nature photography is an ebook by Clay Bolt and Paul Harcourt Davies, “Wide-Angle Macro: The Essential Guide.” The book walks you through both equipment and technique, and parents and children alike will find it fun to talk about how to put the tips to use in their backyard.