One of the primary advantages of macro photography is the fact that you don't have to go very far to find something to photograph. In this case 2 metres from the front door was sufficient. Wildlife photograph photographers are constantly espousing the virtues of spending extended tim in the bush, getting to know both the area and the subjects. Well here's the wonderful thing about your garden. It doesn't cost a fortune to get there, you already pay the rates and your mortgage so you don't have to add anything else for your accommodation, fuel isn't necessary, and if the bugs arn't rocking up you can go inside and have a cup of coffee.
Oh, and if you are doing this for a living you might actually make some money while staying home! Well, these are the merits of macro photography.
For years, literally I have been wanting to see, let alone photograph, a Flower-eyed Mantid. I've seen photographs in magazines and books, even in some competitions, but I had never actually seen one in the 'wild'. Then in March this year Jackie (my more important half) stumbled across this little chap in some bushes she was pruning in the garden. Ha! at last. Armed with all the paraphernalia a macro photographer could want but is usually unable to carry on a trek, I was able to photograph my dream specimen at leisure...for 4 months. Yup, she's still around. Or at least I think she is. I took some more images of her last week, but yesterday while skulking around I didn't see her. No doubt she'll pop up again.
One of the joys of photographing a single insect over the course of 4 months is watching the changes that take place. Apart from getting larger she has a habit of changing colour whenever she shifts her territory in the garden. It then takes about a week before her colour changes to match whatever flower she happens to choose as her hunting ground. I've watched as her mood has gone from green to yellow to an off white and on to a ruddy pink. She's currently a brownish purple.
One of the images in this blog has actually been selected as one of the 10 finalist macro images in the 2010 Africa Photographic Awards. I'm holding thumbs, but the competition is stiff. There are some phenomenal images that have been entered into the awards. The finalist galleries can be viewed by clicking through on the link.
The irony of course is that after years of wanting to see and photograph a Flower-eyed Mantid, I saw a bush with five of them on different branches not more than a week after first photographing our resident. Go figure.