Sunday, August 13, 2017

TWIP Focus Stacking a Praying Mantis

So this week, I found a baby praying mantis in the backyard and decided to capture it for my collection.  Praying Mantis are some of my favorite insects just due to their shear coolness.  I am unsure if it was a male or a female, but believe it to be a female as it didn't appear to have wings.  Females are larger and cannot fly due to them not having wings.  The males are much smaller and are the flyers of the bunch.  

This photo took place in my boxwood hedge which provided excellent camouflage to the bug.  No one saw him there but me.  I am pretty good a spotting little things as I was really into macro photography when I first started this journey, so I tend to spot things most don't.  

He was very keen to keep an eye on me even though I caught him glancing at a cricket in the area a time or two.  I was hoping that he was going to pounce on the cricket so I could get some carnage, but he was more interested in me not squishing him than food at the time.  I bet the cricket would have been more than enough for this guy as he was so small.  I used my macro lens with a 36mm extension tube and a continuous macro light to photograph this little guy.  

I ended up using 15 of the 30 photos I took of him in this position to make the below photos.  My previous focus stacking tutorial on here will give you a better idea about how I stack my photos.  It is pretty simple, I import the photos into lightroom, verify the photos I would like to see stacked together, and then import them all into photoshop.  Now photoshop doesn't do as good of job, at least the version I have, as some of the dedicated focus stacking software out there, but it works for what I use it for.  

In photoshop I align the layers and then stack them together.  I then touch up the resulting image as best I can and there you have it.  Takes about 10 minutes per picture if you were looking at it in a time sort of way.  

Here is the baby mantis.  As always, click on the photo for a larger version.  Like my Facebook for more of my work Facebook.com/alderimages.