Early in the morning I saw the Praying Mantis on the same plant as the day before. I decided to try some extreme closeups. He (she) was still in the shade so I setup with a tripod and was using a Sigma 150mm macro with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon R. This giving me a focal length of 210mm. Also the wind picked up so the branch was blowing around quite wildly. So I wanted to be at least a shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/250th to hopefully shooting with bursts get some in somewhat focus because of the wide swing movements of the branch it was on. Also being in the shade and with the wild movements I raised my ISO to 6400 to help get sharper images. I never tried that high an ISO on the Canon R and they were quite noisy. The images are stacked images from 4 to 5 images each, stacked to get the sharpest areas of my subject because of it blowing around in the wind. Because of the wild swing area of my subject, I backed up some so the subject would still be in the “frame”. Photoshop does a fairly good job aligning the wildly moving “subject” layers. Then I used DXO’s Define to remove some of the noise because of the hi ISO. To increase sharpness on the main subject after running Define, I selected an area around the head with a feathered edge and copied that on another layer and then ran a High Pass filter in Photoshop. Which basically gives sort of a fine dot pattern. Overlaying that pattern over the main layer gives the look of increased sharpness. All in all it sort of worked.
Wow! These are awesome shots, Reed. The vibrancy of the colors and the details are amazing. I think that my favorite image is the final one–I like the “longhorn” look of the antennae.
Thanks Mike! I was surprised that I actually got some images the way it was blowing around in the wind. Plus using 6400 ISO because not much light and in the wind. Never tried that ISO before on the Canon R. It was pretty rough with the noise. Using Nik’s Dfine helped tremendously. Then the High Pass Sharpening on the head. Each individual image had areas in focus so stacking them got more in focus. I like the last one also! Thanks again!
That’s a great job you did, Reed. Amazing how you shot this mantis, the technique you used gives a perfect sharpness.
Thanks Greta! Sometimes these techniques work and sometimes they don’t! But it is fun to try! Plus the more you try techniques, the more likelihood you will get results you like!
Amazing close-ups, Reed. I pity any insect that tries to land on that flower!
Yes! I agree! Years ago at my old home, I was trimming a hedge and did not notice a praying mantis and it bit me on my hand. It was quite painful for days!!
Yikes! I stand warned.
Thanks Belinda! We have had quite a few in our gardens this year. When I saw this one early in the morning I tried a variety of shots. Luckily some turned out well!
I’d say it worked wonderfully well!! Each photo is more striking than the next. Really stunning!
Thanks so much! I was amazed I actually got some good images! The flower it was on was blowing around with a strong wind, so I just shot bursts and picked out a bunch from each series to blend those into the somewhat final. Then stacked the weird overlaps and let Photoshop pull out the sharpest areas of each layer for the final. The Canon R also I learned was not great noise-wise at ISO 6400! Thanks again!
These are amazing shots, Reed! The colors are wild and compliment exotically, very cool!
Thanks Donna! I was surprised I got what I did with the strong wind! I was surprised I got what I did. If it was not for Photoshop pulling out all the sharpest areas in each series, aligning them and stacking them I would have not gotten anything.