Last Friday night, I was on my way out of the garage to head to the church and caught a glimpse of a giant green bug hanging out on the side of the door.  I knew this bug, I knew it well, & I knew it was also hard to come across as they tend to be sneaky predators, like ninjas.  It was a praying mantis, ironic right, on my way to church and I spotted a praying mantis.  I ran into the house as quickly as I could, swapped out the 18-54mm with my 50mm macro and 2 x extension tube, along with my speedlight and flash cable.  I ran back outside like a boy that scarfed down his dinner to make sure he didn’t miss the last inning of the backyard kickball game.  I set myself up as quickly as possible and started snapping away!

Surprisingly this mantis held poses for a long time, carefully looking at me as I was getting uncomfortably close to him.  After I was satisfied with the shots I composed, I went back into the house dropped off my stuff and then headed off to church.  Well sort of, just after I put the camera away I ran back out to snap a couple more, this photography thing is addicting!


I was pleasantly surprised by the shots I took and had a blast post processing them.  I used a few ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) tricks to pull out a ton of Dynamic Range from each single exposure.  ACR coupled with Topaz Adjust 5 really set these portraits off.

I won’t go into the details of how the equipment was setup, but if you are curious you can see how I shot a similar bug last year around this time. 

Photo Tip For The Week:

Always shoot in RAW!  I will do a thorough explanation as to why on Friday where I will outline the difference between RAW and JPEG, the Pros’s and Con’s of both, and who should use either.  I shot these mantis pictures, but to my demise many of them were 2-3 stops underexposed.  I was perfectly set up for the shots but it was extremely difficult to view my exposures on the LCD outdoors.  Competing with the Mid West sun at 6 PM in the summer is tough!  Luckily I was able to recover all of them with ease and accuracy because I shot them in RAW.

Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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