Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mini-Mantis and Maxi-Mantis Macro Sessions

Photograph by Rick Sammon
June 17 - I photographed the above mini-mantis in my backyard this morning. It's one of two mini-mantises that are on the exact same bush where I photographed three adult praying mantises last summer. Looks like the eggs survived the winter. Nature sure is amazing.

You can't tell the size of these tiny creatures in a picture until a finger is included in the frame. Come August, these mantises be as long as my index finger.

Photograph by Rick Sammon
September 1 - As you can see from the shot below, the mini-mantis has grown to a maxi-mantis. Sure is fun watching wildlife!

If you like close-up photography, here are a few tips:
- Use a true macro lens. I used my 100mm Canon macro lens.
- Use a ring light for virtually shadowless (or ratio lighting). I use my Canon MR 14-EX ringlite.
- Shoot at a small aperture for good depth of field. With a macro lens, depth of field is very shallow even at f/22.
- Shoot at a wide aperture to isolate just a part of the subject, as in the photograph below of an adult praying mantis.
- Use a tripod with a ballhead for natural light portraits. My tripods are listed on my gear page.

Photograph by Rick Sammon
For more example of close-up photography, and for close-up photography tips, see my Flying Flowers (pretty pictures) and Butterfly Wonders (photo info) apps on my app page.

Photograph by Rick Sammon
Speaking of a mantis, here's a photograph of mantis shrimp. I took this shot while scuba diving in Papua New Guinea. Another way-cool animal.

Explore the light,


Jason Cate said...

Absolutely amazing shots Rick :)

Peter Norvig said...

The Mantis Shrimp has my favorite visual system among all animals: it has 12 different color receptors (compared to the 3 of the puny human race), can detect circular polarized light, and of course the eyes are mounted on monopods.

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos, Rick.

Can you clarify something for me, though. I understand about using a small aperture for depth of field but what about the always-feared diffusion at smaller apertures?

Does it not apply on macro lenses (dumb question because physics is physics) or is the trade-off worth it for the added DOF?

This always confuses me when I see proven photogs like yourself advising use of smaller apertures. Your photos prove the point so I just don't get it.

Thanks for all your fabulous posts.


Chris said...

I got some shots of a mantis while on holiday in France last month. Canon 180mm macro lens and ring flash on my Manfrotto tripod. Discovered him one evening as he caught the bee fly that I was trying to photograph. Got some great if gruesome shots of him chomping his way through his dinner. He was still there the following morning so I got the kit out again for some head shots. As I moved the tripod around the little beggar followed me with his head. I got the feeling he was debating whether he got have me for lunch!