Praying Mantis in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Read more below.

I was visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in January 2003 with a friend. He took off on a hike to the green bump of a hill that can be seen in the background of the photo -- the site of one of the best, easiest views of the current Kilauea Volcano eruption.

I had slipped off my mountain bike into a jungle-covered ditch a few weeks earlier and had severely sprained my ankle. Instead of joining him on the hike, I was hobbling around on crutches in the black lava rock near the trailhead. A flash of green leaf-like motion caught my eye in the midst of the black rock. I limped toward it. This fine looking creature stood staring back at me.

The mantis seemed as curious about me as I was of it. I was able to get close as we eyed each other. I like to get low to shoot small subjects so I can get some background to help put them in context. Besides, by this time I was low anyway, because I had dropped my crutches and was crawling along the sharp lava. And the mantis was letting me get very close. I got several nice shots, but this is my favorite because of the facial/antenna expression.

Shortly after the above shot, I was laying on my back shooting up at the mantis where it stood on the edge of the rock. The insect took me for a bridge to the next rock and crawled across my lens, onto my head, down my shoulder and onward.

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