How I Got The Shot: Too Hot To Handle

In January 2020 after the start of the rains, I was bugging at Wingate golf course and came across a cluster of flame lilies in the rough .Whilst setting up to get some photos of the heads of these beautiful lilies, I was delighted to find a large green mantis nymph hiding in a flower head.

I spent about an hour following its antics amongst the flowers and left, happy with what I had shot, but this is not the end of the story…

A few days later I was once again at the course and decided to visit the cluster once more — not expecting to better my mantis shots. So I was astonished to find a recently hatched Flap-Necked Chameleon at the same place. Well, I can tell you that about 800 photographs later, from every possible angle and setting and what with a bit of coaxing of said chameleon on my part... I was well satiated with some lovely captures.

After editing the best ones, I selected this shot because of the dark green and black out of focus, un-cluttered background and the symmetry of the flowers; the chameleon is entering in a graceful loop connected with the stamen and just off centre and towards bottom right hand third. The chameleon had a slight glint in the eye and a stern look on its face as if contemplating its next jerky move. The dark trees in the background make the crimson flower heads pop, adding a bit of drama. The shape of the flame lilies look exactly as their name implies and this is where I got the title: “Too Hot to Handle.“

It just goes to show, don’t disregard a good thing and think you have done all you can and worn out a good opportunity. Who knows, on my next visit I may have found a Vine Snake there: I could put together a wish list of a thousand different critters! However, when I did finally get around to the spot again several weeks later the flowers had all withered and were on their last legs and only a few flies settled on the once spectacular petals.


CAMERA: Canon EOS 7D Mark 2

LENS: Canon, 100mm Macro 2.8 IS L

SETTINGS: F8, 1/500th sec, ISO Auto 1250,

Focal length 100mm. No flash, natural light.

Focus Distance setting at 500mm

POST PROCESS: Darken, add contrast, Auto sharpen then crop to best normal aspect ratio.

​   ​Winner of the “Open” category in the Mashonaland Photographic Society’s February 2020 competition.
"Too Hot To Handle": Winner of the “Open” category in the Mashonaland Photographic Society’s April 2019 competition.


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