Last Praying Mantis In the Gardens

The featured image is a stacked multi-image, multi-row Praying Mantis panorama. This was the last Praying Mantis I photographed in our gardens this year. We had quite a few throughout the summer, but this was the largest Mantis I photographed this year. The featured image is 8 images, shot in 3-multi-rows of overlapping images. I managed getting 3 images for the top row, 3 images for middle row & only 2 images for the bottom row before it moved. I was shooting handheld with a 300mm lens @ f/5.6 for a softer, smoother background since I wanted a blurred background not showing details of the flowers & siding on the house. I concentrated my focus on the head and front legs and so the yellow flowers behind the Mantis gave a bright pop of interesting color.

Praying Mantis Head Detail, single image, f/11 for a little more depth of field, 300mm, handheld

Praying Mantises In The Garden

I was looking in our gardens for Praying Mantises to photograph. I found 2 fairly large ones on two different plants. The featured image is 7 images, focus stacked in Photoshop. I was using a 300mm lens with a 2x teleconverter. When doing focus stacking with live subjects you have to photograph your series of images quickly, because you can touch-up slight movement of your subject, but if there is a lot of movement it makes the blending of images much harder.

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Smaller Praying Mantis, 2 Image Focus Stack, 300mm, 2x teleconverter

Praying Mantis With Prey

I was looking for dragonflies in our gardens when I found this praying mantis with it’s bug meal. I was setup for dragonflies with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. So I shot a series of images, handheld, to do a stacked multi-row panorama. I ended up with 7 images for my pano. 2 rows of 3 images and an extra shot for the center. The centered shot sometimes helps for a smoother blended area in the center of the composite layered Photoshop file. I loaded all files into 1 layered PSD file and let Photoshop align the files. Then I use auto-blend to blend all the layers and combine elements for the final file which goes to the top layer. I also save the Master Layered file (just in case I need to go back for a tweak here or there). I then flatten the file for the final image. At this point if I wanted, I would run the flattened file through Nik’s Detail Extractor, then use dFine to smooth out any added noise from the Detail Extactor.

Praying Mantis_v3_300mm_1_4X_300mm_7D_MG_1225Praying Mantis_v1_300mm_1_4x_7D_MG_1244

 

 

Panoramas Are Not Just For Landscapes

I am still going through images I photographed earlier in the Summer. The featured image is a panorama of a Praying Mantis in our garden at home. Using 3 images and assembled in Photoshop. It was a windy day so the flower it was on was blowing wildly in the wind. I had no way to stabilize the flower, so I was shooting bursts at a high shutter speed to hopefully get a sharp enough image and have the frames needed to blend together. I was shooting with a Sigma 150mm macro lens so the movement of the subject Mantis was all over in the frames. I was shooting bursts to hopefully get some in the frame and in focus and have enough to work with.

Praying Mantis_v4_150mm_76A3412

Single Image Closeup – 150mm Sigma Macro, Canon R, f/11, 1/400sec, 1600 ISO

 

Praying Mantis Garden Close-ups

We seem to have had a lot of Praying Mantises in our Gardens this year. We also saw quite a few in local parks. This series shows some closeups shot with a 150mm Macro. Some I concentrated more on the head, others just overall shots. When you get really close it is interesting to see their eyes and you feel they are really looking at you as you photograph them. To keep softer non-distracting backgrounds I shot @ f/8 or f/11 and smoothed backgrounds as I was working on the files. I liked the Featured image best because it seemed to say “Who you looking at!”

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Praying_Mantis_v4_9_19_150mm_76A6083Praying_Mantis_v2_Yard_150mm_76A6087Praying_Mantis_v1_R_w_150mm2x_76A5950Praying_Mantis_CU_v3_150mm_76A6241

Praying_Mantis_Eating_Prey_v3+4X_76A6002

Same location, Different Angle for lighter background

Praying Mantis On Cosmos Flower

When we got home we noticed this Praying Mantis on a Cosmos Flower in our front gardens. I shot a few with my cell phone, then went and got my camera to get better images. I used a 150mm macro on a Canon R. I tried a few versions but the featured image is a 4 shot panorama assembled in Photoshop.

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CloseUp Image of the Praying Mantis – 150mm

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Even Closer – 150mm @ f/11

Praying Mantis on Cosmos_v1 _76A3494

Praying Mantis Shot @ f/18 for more depth of field

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