Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Mantis shooting under Lockdown Feb - March 2020

The world is in Lockdown due to Coronovirus!   its like something out of a sci-fi movie !  virtually all shops and businesses closed and we can only go out for one walk a day or to go food shopping.

Its lucky that I decided to start keeping Preying mantis again as it has given me something to do while we cannot actually go outside, except to walk the dogs!

Here is the progress of the Mantis I started shooting in the last blog,  unfortunately the pair of Thistle mantis have died, and they where probably going to be the most interesting to photograph.   Any how starting with February and the small mantids have moulted and got a bit bigger.

This is my set up,  a simple light tent for additional lighting on the backgrounds,   glossy white photographic printing paper and yellow or pale brown backing sheets to prevent black backgrounds.  and a shiny black wall tile for reflection shots.

                           This is a Stagmatoptera femoralis feeding on a tiny fruit fly.
                                   Still only about 10 mm in length at this stage

This is a male Orchid mantis portrait,  19 frames focus stacked shot with canon 5dsr and mpe-65 macro lens.  a 430 ex standard flash gun off camera with two mini ball heads to adjust angle and a home made diffuser made from polymorph plastic .

This is my set up , the mpe-65 extends quite a lot so I can move the flash bracket and ballheads to keep the diffuser as near to the subject as possible. usually 2-4 inch     my diffuser was made specifically for use with this lens,   but works ok with the longer focal length of the 100mm for indoor studio type shooting like this .

                           17 frame focus stack of the same male on the black wall tile.

                    You can see the wing buds on the body now, will be adult soon. still tiny in comparison to the females which will be huge in comparison.

                This is a Dead Leaf Mantis,  Deroplatys lobate ,  5 frames focus stacked  mpe 65

This species seems to have much more pronounced detail on the eyes compared to many other species.

                           A natural light 13 frames with 5d mk2 and 100mm L macro lens

                                20 frames Orchid Portrait  mpe 65 at about x2.5 magnification

The frames , each with a slightly different focal points are stacked in Zerene stacker software, which produces a final image with much greater dof than a single frame could do.

     Now to shoot the newly moulted  Female Orchid mantis,  17 frames focus stacked natural light, 5dmk2 with 100mm L on tripod.   No wingbuds showing yet, so she will be pre sub adult next moult.

                                                      23 frames in this natural light image.

Moving forward to mid March , both Orchids have moulted again, so are getting to around 1 inch in length now . Small wingbuds are now visible so she is a pre sub adult, next moult the buds will become much bigger ready to form the adult wings.

  Using a yellow card behind the Glossy photo paper I try to get some images of the female with the yellow background.

                            All shot with 5dsr and 100mmL lens with the flash. handheld focus stacks.

                                                                     21 frames

Just the white glossy paper in this image, using the fallout from the flash which does not reach the behind to gradually darken the background in a gradient.

                                                                              11 frames .

This is one of my favourite images I have shot of this female,  36 frames handheld to get the entire insect in focus.

Note she has lost the clasper on her front right leg, which maybe a problem for next moult.

                                    Now to try on the black wall tile for some reflections.    
                                                 28 frames in this image f7.1 iso 100mm
        which are my standard settings for the mpe , but forgot when I changed over to the 100 mm , with less magnification you can use smaller aperture to get a little more depth of field , f10 to f14 without any diffraction softening.

                                                  Now with the mpe-65 lens , 22 frames f7.1

          Classic pose , 20 frames , they are getting too big to get the full reflections in now,  and i have been unable to get a much larger black glossy tile!

          I will finish off March images with my Giant Rainforest,    Hierodula majuscule feeding on a greenbottle.

10 frames focus stacked , was very difficult with the mantis moving constantly while munching !

                                                                         Single frame f14

              Next blog will be Aprils continuation of their growth as they become nearer to adult.