Mantis Moment

posted in: Auntie Clara's Blog, Blog Post | 14

I love photography. My focus is often on soap photography but I love wildlife photography too. Here in Africa I have access to some magnificent wildlife – big and small. The other day I needed to take some photos of the African Afternoon soap when this stunning little photo model came strolling in on the shoot. Suddenly I was able to combine my two likes – soap photography and wildlife photography. Shooting wildlife on the move on manual mode with a large aperture is a bit more of a challenge than standard soap photography, but I managed to get some nice shots of Fred, the praying mantis in these pics.

African Afternoon Handcrafted Soap with Praying Mantis by Auntie Clara's

Fred has rather broad hindquarters which leads me to believe that Fred probably is a girl. Be that as it may, praying mantises or praying mantes are common in this part of the world and right now at the end of summer they seem to be on the move a lot. Here in my garden they’re particularly fond of the lavender, geranium and the lemon verbena bushes. Their habits may seem blood chilling in that they eat their own kind without batting an eye lid (because they don’t have eye lids), but they’re always welcome guests since they eat flies, moths and mosquitoes too.

I like this shot. If you look carefully you can see Fred's late afternoon shadow on the label:

Fred looking you straight in the eye

African Afternoon Handcrafted Soap with Praying Mantis by Auntie Clara's

In Southern African folklore the praying mantis is an important character. The San people regarded it as a divine messenger representing ‘the voice of the infinite in the small’. Many other cultures too believe that the praying mantis gives direction and shows the way. A lucky sign methinks that my African soap was graced with the presence of this little creature!

African Afternoon Handcrafted Soap with Praying Mantis by Auntie Clara's

The African Afternoon is a truly South African soap. It’s made with rooibos tea indigenous to the Western Cape of South Africa, fynbos-wildflower honey and silk from the wild silk moth living in the mopane forests in the northern part of the country. Subtle honey fragrance compliments the natural warm, tan colour from the rooibos and the honey. The packaging is South African inspired too: each bar is wrapped with a strip of local shweshwe fabric.

 African Afternoon Handcrafted Soap with Praying Mantis by Auntie Clara's

I like this shot. If you look carefully you can see Fred’s shadow on the soap label.

Once Fred had checked out the soap she was on her merry way again looking for new adventures.

14 Responses

  1. Bonnie

    I love your work – both your soap and your photography. Before I started making soap I had never taken a picture with any thing but an inexpensive point and shot camera. Now I am on a huge learning experience trying to soap and take my soap photos. I need to take a class to better understand my new camera. You are an inspiration and great role model. Thank you for sharing.

    • Clara

      Thanks Bonnie! Having a good camera makes a world of difference and I think you need to get to know it and make friends with it to take really good photos. It takes a lot of practise but then it’s a lot of fun too when you realize that you are actually learning and that your pics are getting better. Lots of luck with your new camera!

  2. Nicole

    Wow…. You did it, what a fantastic website you’ve created…. I love following you since you live in my Moederland, when I “visit” with you, I feel connected to home…. Thanks for sharing and again, congrats on an awesome job!, 😉

  3. Pam

    Wonderful article thank you! Beautiful soap and packaging! Here in California it is with joy we see praying mantis in our yards as it is said where they are found the land is clean. Gardens unspoilt by chemical fertilizers or pesticides. A good omen to gardeners in current times..

    • Clara

      Thanks! These little guys have lots of swag and an interesting presence. We have a lot of them here but I grew up in a cold climate without mantes and I’m still in awe each time I see one 🙂

  4. Janine

    I must say that reading your blog at 3 am DC time has really left me feeling home sick.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a lovely and inspiring blog. I miss fish and chips, the smell of a good steak on the braai, not to forget the wonderful South African hospitality. Your writings remind me of being home in Fisch Hoek, with the breeze blowing and the rich earthy smell of home. Thank you Auntie Clara

    • Clara

      Thank you Janine! South Africa and the Western Cape is truly a wonderful, beautiful and vibrant place. I’m very privileged to call it my home.

    • Clara

      You are very welcome to link to my work and refer to it as long as you make it very clear that all pictures and content belong to me and may not be copied without reference to Auntie Clara’s.

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