Praying Mantis

July 30, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Tip of the week: Be prepared to change focus and photograph the unexpected when new opportunities appear. One day in September of 2010 I decided to go out and take some nature photos. I didn't feel like driving, so I was committed to trying to capture something interesting around my apartment complex. For this task, I used my macro lens to focus on insects and other small animals. Even in that residential space, I was able to find interesting subjects...I just had to look closer to find them. I found some interesting looking ants and beetles that had taken over part of the kudzu thicket surrounding the complex. I got in close and worked different angles to try to get good photos of the insects. I was looking through the viewfinder  at max magnification when I noticed something moving in the background. I changed focus and suddenly realized that I was not the only one hunting for bugs in the kudzu. A praying mantis was also stalking the bugs, but for a different reason. I suddenly had my opportunity to tell a story with my photos. The other bugs in the kudzu were interesting and the mantis was interesting, but the hunt between the mantis and everything else brought a new dynamic to the compositions.

 

 I changed compositions highlighting the tension between the bugs in the foreground and the mantis in the background. The dynamic created by the hunter and hunted was my subject in the resulting photographs. I worked different angles and used various apertures to help emphasis the looming threat in the background. Even after I took a few photos that I was happy with, I waited around to see what would happen to the mantis. He moved in closer and closer to the beetles, but never struck. Suddenly a bumble bee flew by and mantis grabbed it out of the air. The mantis quickly tried to disable the bee but it was not going down without a fight. I quickly started taking photos, realizing how lucky I was to witness the scene. The struggle for life and death was intense and fast. The bee eventually managed to squirm out of the mantis's grasp and flew away to safety. The mantis cleaned it's claws and then resumed the hunt....

 


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