Friday, September 30, 2011

Foto Friday - My Mantis Adventure

It's very, very good to have a friend willing to capture creatures for you to photograph.
Not once but twice all in the same week. I'm a lucky girl!

My friend Renee called to tell me that she captured a praying mantis for me.
Warning: If you feel the earth shake it's just me as I'm still jumping up and down from the excitement. I went to retrieve it from her and waited until evening to take it outside and get some shots 'cause you know, it's all about the light.

Now, you just never know with these wild things just what they'll do or if you will even get the
chance to photograph them. I opened the container and it immediately ran up my left arm. It took several tries before it would stay on my hand but it never lasted long as it was determined to be king of the mountain my shoulder.  We battled it out and I eventually won. But, I waited a bit too long as the sun was going down quickly and I was losing my light so I tried to place it on a flower. It. Just. Didn't. Want. To. Go. Finally,  I was able to coax it onto a flower and started clicking when I could see it waiving its arms in the air. The next thing I know, I've lost sight of it in the view finder only to find that it was on my camera lens! We went back and forth like this for several rounds and each time I put it a little further away it would just make it back onto my lens? I gave it one last try and put it on a flower basket that was about 3 feet off the ground. It followed my every move and when I stopped it took a leap off the basket, towards me of course! I quickly tried to get a few pics of it on the lantana, but no such luck as it just kept walking towards me.  At this point I was kneeling in the grass and was about a foot from the edge of the stone border in the garden, and yep . . . he leaped straight across to me. It was quite comical.


For an insect, they sure have personalities - It's got the same expression that my dog gets when
he hears the initials 'DQ'!!
(f5.0 / 250s)

So to say the least I was a bit disappointed that not many of the shots turned out as sharp as I would have liked and the depth of field was off, but if at first you don't succeed your friend will find you another one. This one was bigger, quite feisty while in the container and to complicate things it was a mature mantis complete with two sets of wings! Yes, this would prove to be a bit tricky and since I got it from her at night I would have to wait until morning for the outcome. The next morning I set out with my camera in hand and container of precious cargo to the garden. I decided on an area of lantana because I was able to get really close with my camera since the lens I was using was my 40mm macro. And when I say close, I mean within inches of my subject.

                                                                         ( f7.1 / 640s)

These guys are fascinating to watch especially when they're cleaning themselves and
they seem to have the curiosity of a cat. (f7.1 / 640s)

Somehow I missed a close-up of their raptor like legs. They have razor sharp spikes
that they use to impale their prey and I read that they are able to strike twice as fast
as the blink of an eye - that's pretty fast!

(f16 / 125s)

Oh my, check out these eyes!! I knew that they had compound eyes like most insects, but
until I had seen one through this lens I had no idea that they also have 3 simple eyes on top of their head.
He (or she) looks bejeweled!

(f16 / 125s)
{Linking this with Fabulous Friday at McDougall Photography 

I 'm guessing that it was about 3 to 3 1/2 inches long.
(f20 /160s)

(f11 / 400s)

{Linking this with favorite photo of the week contest at Through a Photographers Eyes}
I guess they get thirsty too . . . .

(f11 / 400s)

Love the delicacy of the wings and their detail.
(f8.0 / 800s)

The watching . . . it was mutual.
(8.0 / 620s)

(f8.0 / 320s)

At one point I startled it and it flew away . . . but not to worry, I got the ladder and my net and was able
to safely capture it again for more photos and I'm quite certain that I entertained my neighbors, as usual! I think I would be in trouble should I ever fall and not be able to get up, since that is usually where they find me anyway - laying on the ground.

One thing I learned using my macro lens is that with the increase in magnification there is a loss of DOF (depth of field) and to maximize it I need to set the aperture as far down as possible (higher f-stop) so that
more of my subject is in focus and not just it's head (like in the third photo, f5.0). I'm also learning that all
the things that can make normal photography difficult are just magnified when trying to shoot macro. Simple things like just breathing can affect your focus and sharpness and a slight breeze seems like a hurricane.
So more practice for me, but in the meantime I'm really enjoying the details I see through my lens!!

Until next time, take a closer look at something you just might like what you see!!
Have a wonderful weekend,
Love, Kim

Everything as beauty, but not everyone sees it.

photo friday with the hollie rogue


Pieces of Sunshine said...

I so enjoyed your post. It's tricky trying to capture insects with their unexpected antics and free wills. You have some brilliant photos here and a great friend who catches for you!

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos and colors dear Kim, great job!

Happy weekend, kisses:)

AJ said...

Stunning the details!

Rosemary Aubut said...

Just magnificent! WOW!!!! Loved everyone and yes, what a personality!

Kathy said...

Oh my...these are CRAZY good and interesting! Kudos to you for even touching one of these! haha. That 5th shot with the bokeh framing his/her face is just perfect! Such interesting creatures. And I do love the lavender and green colors together.


ShonEjai said...

Oh wow! Very very (very) cool shots!

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

I enjoyed reading your post. It's funny, interesting, with good informations and beautiful macro photos.

Regards and best wishes

the hollie rogue said...

A-MAZ-ING! i love the facial expressions and tiny details you captured. your pictures are always so meaningful and purposeful. thanks for the tips about macro and for linking up this week!

Seeing Each Day said...

This was such an interesting post to read. I have to admit I'm a little bit squirmish (lame, i know) when it comes to looking at creatures like this up close but I found your recap of your first mantis, and then the information about your second one so fascinating that i kept on looking at your fabulous pictures - they're all so clever but i particularly love, and love's a word i've never used in conjuction with a mantis before, your capture of the 4th and your second last one as well as the mantis drinking from the flower.

TesoriTrovati said...

Super incredible! What a poser these little guys are! I love their heads and their looking right at you. They must have been as fascinated by your lens as you were with theirs! Enjoy the day!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, Kim!! Those things just freak me out! And......he was jumping toward you; not me! Besides the freak factor--amazing shots--you are really mastering this macro thing--love all of them-interesting about the DOF with the macro...

Barbara said...

Wonderful shots! Macros are tricky at the best of times but I can only imagine how hard it is when your subject is leaping at the camera!

Saun said...

After I read your post it had me lmao. Did you know that after they make love. The female bites the head off of the

Kathryn Dyche Dechairo said...

I took some pictures of a mantis a little while ago but if it had jumped on me I'd have been running for the hills. You were super brave and caught some stunning shots. :0)

Janet Bocciardi said...

My goodness he's adorable! Who knew? Oh.. of course you did. btw - I love the one you fiddled with in the next post, too. Very cool.

Anonymous said...

I love these looks like he was posing for you most of the time. Beautiful work.

Lauren of Fizgiggery said...

Just discovered your blog via - and what a pleasure it is to find this post in particular!

I love macro photography and have a fondness from praying mantises. But I love that you have a friend who gently captured this guy for you. I thought that was wonderful.

Looking forward to reading more!

Warm wishes,

Lauren aka

Katie said...

Wow Kim. you are such a true talent! I just found your blog. Now following. Stop bye anytime and say hello. I'm going to catch up on some more of your photography!


Misty said...

You captured some awesome details. Thanks for linking up.

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