Photographs by Frank

29 August 2010

Praying Mantis

Filed under: Other Insects,The Yard — Tags: — Frank @ 10:32 AM

On Friday, I spent the late afternoon doing yard work; one of the chores was “weed whacking”┬áthe overgrowth in a bed that Joan had decided not to use this year. You can only imaging how high the weeds were after a summer of utter neglect!

After I finished this chore, I headed into the house to work on getting dinner ready. A few minutes later Joan announced that she had seen a praying mantis in the bed where I had just cut down the weeds.

Of course, dinner preparations were put on hold as I grabbed the camera (with the 90 mm macro lens) and headed back out to the yard… now you know what my priorities are!

As I was photographing one individual, Joan spotted a second individual a few feet away. Both were very cooperative, staying mostly still and posing politely!

Here are the resulting frames:

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  1. Tremendous shots Frank. Is it the lighting or did these individuals have different eye colors? How did you get the focus so clear? Love the head shots and the antennae and mouthparts details.

    Comment by Kevin — 29 August 2010 @ 8:52 PM

  2. Another genre of bugs to add to your repertoire! These are truly amazing shots.

    Comment by Just Joe — 29 August 2010 @ 9:57 PM

  3. Kevin —

    The individuals had different eye color “for real”. I don’t know if this is true variation between individuals or if it has something to do with their age or as Joan suggested when we discussed this the other night, a difference between males and females. Also in the past, I have observed individuals with both green bodies and with tan bodies and asked myself the same questions.

    As for the clarity… no real magic here. Just the basics, hold the camera steady and keep the shutter speed as high as possible. The light was fading when these were taken so I started at ISO 800 and eventually moved to ISO 1600. Both sensitivities give acceptable noise on my D300; by “acceptable”, I mean the image comes out clean after processing with a good noise reduction program. I am currently using Topaz Lab’s Denoise.

    Getting in close (with the 90 mm macro) helps too… these images are not quite full frame… but they are no less than maybe two-thirds of a frame. I cropped to improved the composition and to get to an “8×10” aspect ratio, as I almost always do.

    Joe —

    Praying mantis are really amazing, but finding them is a lot harder than finding dragonflies, so I am not sure that I’ll be getting their photographs on a regular basis!

    Praying mantis do have one advantage over dragonflies… although I was laying on my belly to take these photographs, there was no water involved… only grass!!!

    Comment by Frank — 30 August 2010 @ 7:18 AM

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