If the praying mantis moved, Marc knew he might never find it again as its camouflage was so good. He’d been helping his grandmother tidy up her garden in Barcelona, Spain, when he spotted the conehead mantis among the brambles. Though he’s been taking wildlife photos for eight years, he’d never seen a conehead before and was desperate to photograph it – but he didn’t have his camera. There was only one thing for it. Leaving his grandmother with strict instructions not to let the insect out of her sight, Marc rushed home and picked up his equipment. The mantis blended so well with the background and the light was so low, his first pictures failed to reveal the exquisite detail of the animal. Then he had brainwave. Careful not to scare his subject, which kept an eye on him all the time, he taped a sheet of white paper behind it. Bouncing one flash off the paper, he managed to capture the insect’s extraordinary shape, colour, posture and behaviour, and create a perfect portrait.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 100mm f2.8 lens; 1/100 sec at f18; ISO 320; one 580 EXII flash + two 430 EXII flashes; tripod.
Barberà del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain