There is a very upbeat beginning to the tragic story weaved into this triptych…
The sad, twisted tale begins with a naive photographer – me – photographing something very uplifting… a 4-leaf clover!!
Then along comes this very pious looking praying mantis.
They make great photo subjects because, even without a signed release form, they pose nicely for photographers while showing off their deep religious conviction.
An Idea Takes Shape!
I say to myself, “Self… what a great opportunity to take a macro of a praying mantis with a 4-leaf clover in it!” So I did and it was cool.
That was all well and good but just then I suddenly got even more inspired.
I remembered a nice big English cross spider, who themselves make great photo subjects, and unknowingly thought, “Self… wouldn’t it be great to take a macro shot of a 4-leaf clover with BOTH insects in the frame at the same time?”
Run For Your Life!
This is where this gruesome tale takes a sad turn for the worse.
The first time I put the cross spider near the mantis, the spider ran away like the wind. I know no one will ever believe me, but I was a complete innocent in bringing about the tragic outcome yet to come.
The truth is, I did not understand that the cross spider was running for it’s life!
Always on the lookout for a good insect macro, though, I lay flat on my stomach inching ever backward as the poor spider ran away. I innocently snapped pictures during its failed escape attempt.
That is where the lower left image of the triptych above came from.
A Spider’s Marathon
That spider literally ran 20 feet before he finally stopped. That is a long, long way for a spider. It’s like running a marathon for the 8-legged set!
I never got the grass stains off my clothes.
Yet, still I failed to grasp why the spider ran so far.
Since I had not got both insects in a shot with the 4-leaf clover yet, I captured and returned the spider to the mantis who had patiently remained by the 4-leaf clover.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
I know today that, at that moment, the mantis could not believe his great, good fortune.
The top image in the above triptych was taken at that instant.
Much to my amazement and far to fast for me to capture for posterity; in a heartbeat the mantis lashed out to snatch the spider!
No one, except perhaps the spider, was more surprised than me.
His Grisly Work Begins!
The mantis then proceeded to eat the spider.
No slasher movie was ever more ghastly than what I, in horror, witnessed that terrible day.
The mantis meticulously went about its horrific task. He consumed everything. Not a leg was left uneaten.
Jeffrey Dahmer would have been impressed.
On the Plus Side
However, there is a silver lining.
I finally did get my macro shot of both insects and the 4-leafed clover in the frame at the same time.
Its not what I visualized, but here it is…
And the mantis lived happily ever after!