It has been more than a month now since I last touched the macro lens, and suddenly the macro itch returns. I woke up to a rainy Saturday afternoon, and that did not stop me from going out to grab myself some macro action.
I went to the Lake Gardens under slight drizzle, and was happily hunting for anything macro. My obsession with dragonflies has come to an end, and now I am very intrigued with something else: Praying Mantis !! This could possibly be due to the fact that Mantis is not that easily found, at least not around the parks in KL. I have not been a regular visitor to the jungles, since I am usually on my own during my macro hunts. Dragonflies are everywhere, hence it was quite easy finding them, but mantis are just not that readily available. Their native green camouflage did not help in spotting them amongst the lush green bushes.
I found a few Mantis alright, and the smaller ones were just plain cute. Thanks to my macro lens I can have enough magnification power to fill up the frame. The smaller ones were less shy and would daringly come displaying themselves proudly out in the open. I initially thought they were red ants, since the colour and size are rather similar to red ants. Closer inspection reveals the front legs being longer and folded in "praying" manner. I was really hoping to find them hunting for smaller insects or eating something, but luck was not on my side today.
GREEN WITH PRAYERS
The larger adult mantis was quite a scare. The alien shaped head staring at you wherever direction you move yourself to was very alarming. The motion of the legs swaying left and right, signalling the possibility of it jumping on you, perhaps an anticipation of attack was not something I was very comfortable with. Nonetheless, I tried getting as close as I dared to, and I swear if I moved my lens a bit nearer it would have been chopped into pieced by those sharp looking claw-like front legs of the mantis. Thankfully nothing overly dramatic happened, and after a couple of minutes, I think the Mantis started to realize that I was just an ordinary boy who is a little bit crazy about macro, thats all.
As I was hunting for more Mantis, i did come across some old familiar faces, such as the spider above. Since I did not find that many more insects nearby, I just snapped this.
On the photography note, I did not try anything new this time, but sticking to my constant formula of firing the shots single handedly, with the other hand holding the flash off camera being controlled wirelessly. Narrow aperture was engaged (F10-F14) to maximize the depth of field, and all shots were performed with manual focus. Since the source of light comes from single flash being fired from one direction, the shadows are apparent from the other side of the subject, and the light was not very evenly distributed. Nonetheless, the advantage of this setup is clear, adeduate light managed to cover the subject, just that I need to work and improve on my diffusing and light spreading technique further.
For macro hunters out there, do you guys have any idea where I can find more Mantis? I would think that Mantis is easier to locate anywhere in Kuching. Do share some tips guys.