Day 4: Stick Insect

by Ivan Steenkamp January. 04, 2017 1090 views

Well hello there! How ya doin'? I'm doing well, thanks! So... Today I found a stick insect (exciting, as we don't see many...)! I thought it would be fun to do a series on it with different styles of lighting. In all of the shots I used off camera flash to light it in a dramatic way. 

This is the Common Stick Insect of New Zealand. Just realised that the brown stick also looks like a Stick Insect!

This is the Common Stick Insect of New Zealand. Just realised that the brown stick also looks like a Stick Insect!

On the first photo, I used my homemade Soft-Box to light the shot with soft light. 

For the second photo, I shot the flash up at the white ceiling, which created a very soft and widespread light!

I used a sheet of polystyrene as the surface on which to photograph it.

I used a sheet of polystyrene as the surface on which to photograph it.

I also did some research to try and figure out if it was endemic to New Zealand. It turns out that it is. Here is some info from the link at the bottom of the article:

Scientific names: Clitarchus hookeri Common names: Smooth Stick insect, Common Stick insect.

This genus is perhaps the most common stick insect in New Zealand. It is a native and is very common throughout the North Island and part of the South Island. They can be found on a variety of native trees (Manuka, Kanuka and Pohutukawa) and some introduced plants common in gardens. This species is usually green, but can often be various shades of brown or even red. Some individuals have many tubercles on the body surface. Female grow to 81 - 106 mm and the males to 67 - 74mm.

The interesting thing is that I think stick insects try to confuse their predators that their behind is their head! They are so cool...

Look at the detail in the eyes and the polystyrene!

Look at the detail in the eyes and the polystyrene!

These last two photos' light sources were a bit different. I still used the off camera flash, but I added a Black Straw Grid on the front of the speed-light to direct the light like a snoot. It creates harsher highlights and shadows that way.

This is my favourite one! It almost looks like it is climbing down a wall...

This is my favourite one! It almost looks like it is climbing down a wall...

In about 20 minutes I created some very different styles of photos! It was pretty easy as well...

How I created these photos:

1. I found the Stick Insect outside and brought it inside to photograph later. I used a branch as a more natural prop to photograph it on. The polystyrene board provided a more contrasting surface.

2. My camera settings: Nikon 18-105mm set to various focal lengths. ISO was set between 100 and 200.

3. For the first photo I used a softbox. Second photo I fired the flash up at the ceiling. The last two photos were lit with a black straw grid. I moved it about to get different effects.

4. In Photoshop, I edited the photos with a mix of Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, Camera Raw and layer masks.

Here is a link to information about New Zealand Stick Insects.

I hope you are inspired to try something new! ;)

You are welcome to give me advice and comment on my photos.

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