First off, Happy Birthday Ron!
Okay, we’re down to the final hour with all the marbles on the line. Let’s do a quick check 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, …. 5…. oh crap, I’m down a post. What to do, what to do. Actually, there are no worries, I have been loading up my SmugMug site with a ton of pictures. One of my recent favorites is a set of macro shots I took on our porch a few months ago. I was was walking on the porch one sunny day when one of the more interesting insects decided to take a stroll on my siding.
Probably out of the insects I come upon around here, the praying mantis is the one that fascinates me the most (the stick bug comes in a close second). From a photographer’s perspective, they have a nice vibrant color and a ton of cool features that pop out nicely under the macro lens. They have a number of dynamic features ranging from the hook like feet, highly articulated legs and fine hairs running along the edges. The best part of working with these specimens is that they are fairly docile and do not tend to panic at the presence of a camera glass shoved close to their face. Speaking of which, this one was practically posing for the glass.
In case you are wondering, in this particular shot he is gnawing on his own foot. Check out the creepy pupils. They can track just about anywhere around the eye bulb and basically remained on me the entire time, regardless of what position or angle the camera was in. Here is another on of the face with the pupils transitioned up to the top of the head. Based on nature’s law, typically, animals with such range of vision are considered the prey where the more forward fixed animals fall in the predator range. By that rule, one would think the mantis was somewhat docile, but the male mantis probably has a different opinion of that seeing as how the the female rips the cranium off of him after mating.
hit the jump for more shots!
This photo session probably took the better part of 45 minutes. It would move around a little bit, but for the most part it stayed pretty much front and center of the camera. This was very ideal seeing as how the macro lens definitely prefers slow and steady subjects. With our particular Nikon lens, any slight movement will engage the glass motors as it fights to maintain its small focus point. These shots were all handheld so a little bit of drift occurred in some of the pictures. I tried to compensate for this by pressing the camera against the siding to help stabilize it…. apologetically too lazy to go hunt down the tripod. At one point I was on my back trying to get some interesting perspectives. How would you like to wake up to this one morning?
There is still a lot to learn with the macro glass. I am getting pretty good with the zoom with all the bird pictures, but this macro stuff is a whole new world. It does not have fine telescope capabilities that the zoom has and it’s depth of field if extremely shallow as shown in these pictures with the out of focus bodies (keep in mind, this thing is only about 4 inches long and I am only getting about .5 inches of true focus). It does give a nice pop to the features you want to bring the viewers attention to. Before I forget, does anybody know how to tell if this is a female or a male? The coloring on the birds tends to give it away pretty quick, but the gender identification on insects tends to be a chore.
Well, I better wrap this up, 10 minutes to go and still need to publish. Might as well leave you with my favorite shot of the session. I liked the focus points, but most of all, the expression and pose that were captured. The whole time during processing all that came to mind was the movie Zoolander.
Pleasant dreams everyone! – oh, and stop on by the gallery for a few more shots and larger versions of the ones above.