Selection of February 2020: Léo Gayola

by Léo Gayola

This photo was a mix between opportunity and anticipation. I have been going to Provence for a long time for macro photography, and to prepare my photo internships there during the month of May.

I regularly photographed praying mantis near my home in the lower Alpine valleys. I searched for their mysterious cousins, the Empuse when I went down South, because they are not present in the Alps, in higher altitude.

I once found this magnificent and enigmatic insect that we also call imp during a bicycle trip in Spain, but at the time I only had a compact camera (it was more than 10 years).

Near Sisteron, in May, while I was photographing the orchids and the few insects of the region, like the Ascalaphe or the superb spider Eresus Niger, to my joy, I discovered this superb specimen of Empuse. I was able to photograph it for several hours in the sunset light.

I post processed the image in the Lightroom. I adjusted the white balance, as well as the vignetting, to make this image taken against the light, a more mysterious and dramatic than the original.

The choice of vertical framing came naturally, as it gave the animal all its nobility and power.  

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