In college I majored in Zoology concentrating mostly on marine animals such as cephalopods. I have been a beach naturalist for the Seattle Aquarium for 8 years now & an avid photographer. I am really horrible at following directions or reading manuals so I completely learned how to use my camera just by pushing random buttons and finally figuring it all out (took me many years!) I have an unhealthy obsession towards mushroom/fungus photography and will often be seen with my legs sticking out of a thicket trying to get shots of shrooms in low light environments!! When I am not on the beach at low tide, digging through the brush for bugs or photographing pretty much anything I am usually with my husband & daughter having a blast! All of my photographs are SOOC (straight out of camera) and while I do not disagree with other photographer's using PS & other software to change their images I am a bit of a purest. I like to see the photograph exactly as I took it, the most I ever do is crop to a square.
I live in Seattle, WA with my wonderful husband and daughter. I absolutely adore insects and anything relating to the ocean. My daughter, India wants to be an entomologist when she grows up (she is 11) and has many bugs that I often photograph for fun!

I use an Olympus E-510 10mp camera with a 50mm macro lens most of the time, sometimes I switch my lens out to a zoom but it's always Olympus...

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Testimonials (38)

  • view profile

    Sof1a says:

    "I don't know where to start... not a clue.
    All I can say is Machel is the most incredible flickr friend I have found here.
    Her world in extremely amazing. She amazes me every single day with her images.
    I've looked at the world differently since I've met Machel.
    I never understood the world beneth my foot until I discouvered Machels world... It's beautiful and she shows us just that.

    I look forward to her photos all the time. Even though I am super busy with my family, I have to come by and see what she uploaded .
    It's a treat.

    There is so much more to say, but I'll leave it to you... Check out her work, you won't be disappointed.

    A true artist.

    Oh can't forget India... She's supper awesome because of a great mom.

    Keep up the great work.


    April 28th, 2011

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    preetalina ° Preeti Desai says:

    "I have followed Machel for a while now, and have fallen in love with fungi through her amazing photography. (Okay, if I'm being honest, I will say that I love them from far away. :) ) The other night I even had a dream that I went out into the forest to capture my own mushroom shots. It was really vivid and pretty weird to be inspired in a dream!

    Her work will blow you away. It's as if the mushrooms are just sitting there, waiting for Machel to come find them so they can be photographed!

    I wish you all the best, Machel. You deserve all the wonderful things that come your way!"

    March 9th, 2011

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    Owen Schaefer says:

    "It’s difficult to know where to begin with Machel’s work. There is, of course, a stunning beauty in her images of fungi. Taken as a group, they let the viewer in on an entire world — a literal kingdom, biologically speaking — and its eerie inhabitants. There is the palpable sense of being witness to beings that don’t fit into the animal and plant categories. Here: they are squat and dark; there: they seem to float, tethered to the earth by a string-like translucent stalk. And while there are a handful of entertaining anthropomorphic moments, for the most part, the mushrooms and other fungi are very plainly their alien selves, living in semi-darkness and leafy shadow with bursts of light, their landscapes otherworldly.

    While Machel often includes interesting information on the species she shoots, what makes you want to know more is simply recognizing the fact that such lifeforms exist in the real world--that these fantasy landscapes are not scenes from a science-ficiton film, or even photos from the jungles of Borneo: they are photos captured in Washington’s forests. Scenes all too easily overlooked by hikers or anyone else unwilling to dig their elbows down into the dirt and open themselves to the unusual perspective of the forest floor."

    December 14th, 2010

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    SemiCharmedLife (☯) says:

    "It's such a pleasure having Machel as a great contact and friend!

    My own photographic interests are all over the map. I love portraits, macros, fashion, nature, everything. However, stumbling upon Machel's oeuvre in the area of the lowly fungi was a complete eye opener. She somehow brings the wonder and luminosity of this nether hidden world into full view for all to enjoy the wonders that she sees. Every photo is an exquisite work and composition that leaves our shroomy friends at the center of attention but also magically and symbiotically shows what an artistic eye and talent she has. I consider her a bit of a mushroom savant!"

    December 12th, 2010

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    Isabelle Lafrance says:

    "Machel's fungi photographs open our minds to a world of infinite beauty and possibilities, where even the tiniest is bearer of the earth's secrets and magic. Her fungi world is one of wonder and each time I look at one of her photographs I am drawn into this universe and do not wish to come back.

    You are an amazing lady sweet friend, your kindness and warmth also radiates through all of your images.

    December 12th, 2010

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    SnapYappy says:

    "If Flickr were the supermarket, Machel would be the wonderful person who helps you keep your kids happy in the crazy long line and then pushes your cart to your van. She is the friendliest, warmest, most generous, and without a doubt most loved person on Flickr. And did I mention she's untouchable with a camera and has made mushrooms Flickr Superstars? Yeah, that too. :)"

    November 13th, 2010

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    bford13 says:

    Whether your realize it or not, You are an inspiration. Your attention to detail and your knowledge of the world around you is Genius. You are a Beautiful person, inside and out. I am sooo glad to have found you here on flickr. :)"

    October 6th, 2010

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    2k Photography says:

    "Oh my Machel, the queen of shrooms,
    Do you catch these while roaming on your broom?
    Weaving Magic bokeh with that camera and eye,
    Letting your creativity and imagination fly?
    Ooh so awesome, the shooms look,
    As if straight out of a magical book,
    Soothing glowing beauty for the world to see,
    And the shroom queen for all of them to be!

    PS: You're one of the most amazing nature photographers there are on flickr. I love you for the images that you produce. Rock the world."

    September 22nd, 2010

  • view profile

    Kelly.Hunter. says:

    "Keeping it short and simple....

    You rock Machel :)

    Glad (blessed is more like it) that I found you and your amazing photo stream!"

    August 19th, 2010

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    ~♥ Amy says:

    "Wow...where do I start about my super sweet and talented friend Machel????? Unbelieveable...Amazing....Inspiring....Bokeh Queen....Oozing Talent...Teaches me something NEW everyday....I never knew that fungi, mushrooms and insects could look so dang good!!!!!!! .....and to top it all off she is sweetest most beautiful person ever!! AND (another and) she has a daughter that is just as talented....look out world for those Spence girls!!! I am so glad to know her and call her friend!! Thank you Sweet Machel for your daily dose of inspiration!! love you sweets!! xo Amy"

    September 16th, 2010

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    kelly*n Photography says:

    "I think the first time I saw Machel's stream I saw her icon in the comments for Tina Lee. I love that flower!
    When I saw her images, and how many comments she had, I thought she must be a famous professional photographer! I love her photographic style.
    I love how she captures the magical essence of the smallest and most delicate of forest dwellers, sea creatures and all of nature! Her detail and composition are second to none. It really is a passion for her.
    I have learned so much about nature from her, and she inspires me daily!
    She IS famous to those of us who know her! I am so happy to call you friend Machel! Hugs!! ~K"

    May 23rd, 2010

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    Shari Diane says:

    "I am literally transported into Machel's magical Forest world every time I look at her photos! Viewing her stream makes me want to move North! I have always loved miniature scenes, and moss, and mushrooms, and so I was amazed when I found Machel's Flickr stream, because she loves the same things! It proves that there are other people besides me who love getting on their hands and knees in the search for tiny mushrooms and fungi! I am NOT the only crazy one! Lol.

    I come to Machel's stream when I want to relax and clear my brain from a stressful day. Her photos take me to the middle of the forest, where I can hear the birds chirping and the wind rustling the leaves. Her photography is just magic, plain and simple. Thank you, Machel, for sharing your gift with us. :)"

    April 13th, 2010

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    threekusjes says:

    "machel mushroom mama"
    Machel is a new contact of mine & I am completely blown away by her amazing photography & knowledge of all things mushroom. Her passion
    for nature & the beauty in {nature} mesmerizes & enlightens people who maybe aren't privy to such an amazing world under such a careful eye for such gorgeous details to be found through a macro lens
    such as hers. We all are delighted with every image she posts of such gorgeous photography
    of what seems to be a world fit for fairies..........
    this article & video slide show is just a wee peek
    into such a gifted artist's view of her very own backyard, that she shares so generously with all of us. {lucky us}
    and a super huge bonus are delightfully gorgeous images of her sweet child & family life. So happy to have found you here sweet amazing talented friend~three kusjes xxx"

    March 21st, 2010

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    Tomasito.! says:

    "Welcome to Machel Spence’s magical world. I’d like to think of it as a fairy tale ~ A Universe where all dreams – and yes, even hopes, come true ☺ She has introduced us into a dwelling place full of vibrance, a nature-loving photostream whose prowess in focus, both in reality and figuratively is unmatched. She is a talent Flickr is most lucky to have, and her fame is indeed justified in the walls of Flickr’s kingdom of greats ☺"

    March 10th, 2010

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    {klb♥photography} says:

    "I stumbled upon Machel's photo stream through some of my other contacts, and I'm certainly happy that I looked at her brilliant work! Her passion and love for "all things nature" is most definitely exhibited in her photos, from the natural light she captures, to some of the BEST bokeh I've ever come across on Flickr, and her artistic eye and composition of such tiny subjects like mushrooms, which she captures so beautifully amongst the forest floor. Machel is so sweet and kind and always has kind words to say about her contacts photography, including mine! I am inspired and amazed by her photography and look forward to seeing what she is going to post next to her photo stream. Thank you for being such a wonderful contact & friend, Machel!!



    November 16th, 2009

  • view profile

    tru pettit says:

    "Your photos are amazing! They are so full of light and wonder. I’m so glad to be one of your contacts. Mother Nature is amazing and made even more exquisite through your eyes. Thank you for sharing a part of your life and your surroundings."

    November 6th, 2009

  • view profile

    kristina♥kiessig says:

    "Somehow I was lucky enough to stumble upon machel's stream. Her work is absolutely magical and I am completely inspired by her images.
    Not only does she capture a mushroom like no other, she also manages to make everything else she photographs beautiful as well. She definitely has more than one trick up her sleeve. ;)
    I look forward to seeing her work appear in my contacts list and I honestly can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Her work is truly a pleasure to view."

    October 9th, 2009

  • view profile

    Wood~Song (part timing) says:

    "I haven't been on flickr long, but it's time I jumped in and wrote a few words about the photographers and artists that inspire me in some way. Machel is a pure delight! As a naturalist, I always feel like I'm right down in the thick of things with her, exploring the woods and the wonderful treasures it holds. She shows us magical worlds.. and her love of what she does shines though each and every image. She's truly a master of light and her compositions are always a treat to view. Although I know it takes much time to write out thoughtful comments, Machel always takes that extra time and scatters seeds of kindness wherever she goes. I'm happy to call her my friend and I always look forward to the magic that she shares so freely. Thank you for being such a great friend Machel!"

    September 16th, 2009

  • view profile

    ⓀⓘⓂ {away until summer} says:

    "A visit to Machel's photostream is always a pleasure. Pure inspiration.

    From her mushroom captures to her unrivaled seashell with bokeh images and everything in between, I'm always left in awe. I even enjoy viewing her insect AND slug portraits, which I usually run and hide from.

    She has an incredible presence here in Flickr-Land, it truly would not be the same without her here. I am honored to be her friend and so grateful for all that I have learnt from her. She is an amazing mother, which is plain to see and a sensational artist. Machel is one of the most genuinely sweet people I have ever come across {including real life}.

    Thank you for sharing your dynamic passion with us all.

    September 2nd, 2009

  • view profile

    Michelle Vilay says:

    "Machel's bokehs are the most spectacular I've ever seen - and I absolutely admire her insect/bug shots. She really gets up close and personal with them. She's shown me things I've never seen before - I'm very appreciative of her work ♥"

    August 7th, 2009

  • view profile

    t does wool says:

    "From this stream flows a talent and a passion that one does not come across every day.There is a quote from Albert Camus...a favorite of Machel's that is fitting:
    “You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.”
    This is her passion...undergoing experience and she shares it all. on this stream."

    July 26th, 2009

  • view profile

    Kelly West Mars says:

    "I LOVE MACHEL! Her work is astonishing + always teach the viewer something interesting. She is a daily inspiration with her bokeh-rific masterpieces + a fun, loving Flickr friend. I can see her images in books on coffee tables around the world in the near future!"

    July 23rd, 2009

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    Perfectoarts says:

    "Machel is such a gifted brilliant photographer....
    Actually I call her the "Bokelicious Queen" of the most incredible photographs ever seen. Such talent and such a warm person. A true friend to us here and we treasure Machel immensely.
    A lady with a big heart, soul and generosity. I feel truly blessed to be counted as one of her friends.
    Now Machel, go off to your forest adventures and entice us with your fungii, snail shells and all those little treasure, only your can find :))
    Hugs from the nutty lady Down Under xx"

    July 21st, 2009

  • view profile says:

    "Machel one of the most talented photographers on this site. I very much like its works, it the master macro-photos, at it turns out improbable Boke! In all its works especial light, probably is its individuality! My friend, I wish good luck, inspiration and fine works! Forgive for bad English."

    July 21st, 2009

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    Jessicaa.Mariee(: says:

    "Machel...where do i start...Well lets just say she is simply AMAZING.
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE her work! I remember when i first started following her on flickr I would always think..."well, I think she is a little obsessed with mushrooms...." indeed she is! LOL! Machel is SUCH a GREAT flickr friend....She is wonderful for her comments, and she is SO sweet! I look forward EVERYDAY for her new pictures because they are TRUELY inspiring. Thanks Machel for everything you do! Your amazing! (:"

    July 19th, 2009

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    Tracey Tilson Photography says:

    "Machel's photography is simply MAGICAL!

    Everyday, I look forward to seeing what she has uploaded. I admire her work very much and it always leaves me inspired and amazed to see the natural wonders that she captures so well. Her macros are truly outstanding. Her work always has the utmost clarity, composition and color. And her fabulous bokehs leave me mesmerized. I especially love her mushroom photos. I am learning so much from her wonderful talent.

    In the few months that I have known Machel, she has become a great Flickr friend. She cares about her Flickr friends and is always very supportive. She takes the time to a view my shots and to leave lovely and encouraging comments. I am blessed to have Machel as a friend here on Flickr. ♥"

    June 30th, 2009

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    Three Peanuts says:

    "Machel's stream is one of the first I started following on Flickr. I remember the first sparkly filled bokeh photo I saw. I called my husband into the room and said, "How do you think she does that?" THAT is what I want to do! Ever since then I have been obsessed with her light and bokeh and how she makes the camera create art. I would LOVE to spend a few days at the shoreline and in the forest watching her work and learning her magic.

    Machel is such a supportive flickr friend. She always makes the time to comment on her contacts photos and she has many, many fans so I am not sure how she does it.

    I am proud to call Machel my flickr friend. I am proud of her accomplishments (her show, magazine cover, amazing shell boxes). She is so knowledgeable about so many things and I love how she shares her knowledge with us all.

    In sum, Machel is one of the most talented people I have come across on flickr and I am better for knowing her."

    June 12th, 2009

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    jami_lee says:

    "Machel is by far one of the most talented people I've seen on here! The bokeh queen, she takes the most amazing pictures! I'm so thankful to have her as a flickr contact, so she can inspire me everyday! PLEASE keep up the amazing work!"

    May 12th, 2009

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    Mama Cyn says:

    "Oh Machel! I can't get enough of your beautiful photographs! There is something special in each one you take. Machel is a true artist. Her work is amazing. Every person on Flickr should know this talented woman! :)"

    April 16th, 2009

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    bachullus ♥ © says:

    "A true inspiration that's what Machel is to me, a woman who is not only amazingly talented behind the lens but also has a heart of pure gold. I adore her work.

    I'm so glad to have met someone like Machel here on Flickr ..... and it's because of people like her life seems so beautiful.... and worth living! are the best! :)


    April 15th, 2009

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    Tina Lee Studio says:

    "Machel is not only one of the best photographers on Flickr, she is an inspiration and a true Flickr friend!! The work she displays online is only exceeded by how wonderful the pics are when you receive them from her Etsy site. She has proven to be the one and only Bokeh Queen - her natural ability to shoot nature (and her adorable India) is only superceded by the lessons we learn through her eyes and description of her subject's."

    April 2nd, 2009

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    caitlin..! says:

    "Machel is such a talented photographer and not to mention a bokeh queen!
    Her macro shots are just gorgeous and I always enjoy looking through her stream(:
    She also happens to be very sweet and her thoughtfulness really shines through in her photos and the literature she provides for each exquisite shot.
    Lovely job Machel! We can't wait to see what you do next :D"

    March 10th, 2009

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    ♡Lynn♡ says:

    "Machel is just about the best they come in Flickrville as I've come to call this crazy place & it's good to have a friend.

    Machel found me in The winter when we had our first snow & she had a Anna hummingbird on her stream & I had one on mine. Since than she has been there through thick & thin. I don't know how she keeps up with her fan base, but she does & unfailingly comments from her heart.

    She is super talented & creative & I know I'll always find a gorgeous photo filled with beautiful "natural" bokeh a common thing both of us share. The other thing I enjoy is her passion to inform & educate us through her photo's of the many things in life she is passionate about.

    Thanks so much Machel! I'm honored to be your flickr friend."

    March 8th, 2009

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    Dr. RawheaD says:

    "I found her on January 1st, 2009. She found me back the same day. Since then I think of her as my BFF (Best Flickr Friend). As you can clearly see, her compositions are truly flawless, just like perfection. And I get a kick out of the fact that every once in a while my geeky butt can explain to her exactly why some of her photos are perfect :-D She inspires me, and she drives me. So, thanks {machel spence}, you're the biggest reason why I'm still here :-D"

    March 7th, 2009

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    Martha★ (Pixel Lounge Studio) says:

    "Machel consistently takes my breath away! I have never met her, but through her exquisite photos I can see how fun, smart and warm she is. Such talent and a true flickr superstar! Can't wait to see all her brilliant shots to come!
    Love, Martha :)"

    February 27th, 2009

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    M(elia) says:

    "i can't quite remember when or how i discovered Machel. but i sure am glad i did. she is the queen master of the sparkly bokeh. every day i look forward to what she has for us. and usually she gives a lesson with her incredible macro shots. thank you M! ~ Melia"

    February 15th, 2009

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    :S M: says:

    "Machel never fails to capture my eye with her beautiful photography. The warm colours, soft tones and bokeh are very distinctive and so dreamy... I'm left waiting for the next upload :)"

    February 1st, 2009

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    kellyinportland says:

    "I could look at Machel's photography for hours... Beautiful compositions, lighting, color, subject matter. I especially love the Beach Naturalist photos. It's amazing eye candy! Thanks Machel, for sharing your gift with the world."

    November 15th, 2008

Machel Spence
July 2008
I was born in Japan, but have lived in Florida, Alaska, New York & Georgia.
West Seattle, USA
I am:
Female and Taken
Zoologist/photographer/ mother/wife
Spence Photography