I never met Carl Rettenmeyer.
I regret this. Rettenmeyer forms a part of my heritage as an ant photographer. As a kid, my first exposure to army ants came through Rettenmeyer’s stunning imagery in Ranger Rick magazine. His photos adorn the pages of E. O. Wilson’s 1971 classic The Insect Societies as well as the later tome The Ants. Before I ever picked up a camera, or even considered myrmecology as a career, Rettenmeyer’s ants were well seared into my memory. They still simmer there, forming a mental backdrop for thoughts of army ants.
So as a tribute of sorts, I’ve collected a few of Rettenmeyer’s photographs from around the web:
The thing is, Rettenmeyer did all this using stone age technology. Or, what seems like it now. He couldn’t just check the LCD display on his digicam to see if the exposure was right, or use ETTL flash to automatically adjust the intensity of the strobe. Amazing.