Book Review: Pollination Power

By Geoff Harris

MyPhotoSchool tutor Heather Angel Releases New Macro Flower Photography Book

Pollination Power cover

Heather Angel is one of the UK's best known wildlife and plant photographers, and a popular tutor on My Photo School. She has just released a new book called Pollination Power, which is the culmination of five years work and 20 overseas trips.

Pollination Power is a visually spectacular insight into the hidden secrets of plant pollination, unravelling the deceit, tricks and rewards that plants bestow upon their pollinators.

Heather’s photography illustrates how different plants employ a variety of techniques to ensure they are pollinated, be it by hummingbirds, lizards, birds, beetles or butterflies. Guidelines on petals often invisible to the human eye lead insects into the nectar source, whilst fragrances are emitted from flowers to control when pollinators enter and leave.

And with the use of UV flash photography, Heather reveals how insects might see colour in flowers, often with drastic differences to our perception as humans. This is Heather’s 60th book, so we caught up for a chat.

How did the concept of the book arise?

I proposed it to the RBG Kew, with whom I already had a long established relationship.

Did you work just at Kew?

No, in fact I visited 20 countries to get images of pollinators in action.

What was your aim?

I wanted to bring pollination mechanisms to life so reader will be encouraged to take a closer look at flowers – and their visitors – at a time when pollinators are declining on a global scale.

How do you start to work on such a broad-based topic?

I begin by taking whatever flowers are in their prime and then research their pollinators and compile monthly lists of what to take and where, in the right season.

Was it all macro work?

Mostly with a 105mm micro Nikkor, but I also used long lens (70-200mm + X2 TC) for bird pollinators.

Did you just get UK pollinators outside in spring and summer?

While they are most prolific in those seasons, late flowering plants such as ivy, Mahonia and the strawberry tree provide valuable nectar from autumn to early winter.

Did you use any special photo techniques?

Yes, I used a range of advanced techniques including focus stacking, high speed flash to freeze pollen streaming from flowers and UV flash to reveal 'hidden' UV patterns

Did you feel you achieved your aim?


Pollination Power is released mid September and is available from

Further Study

Macro Photography

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

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