praying mantis is, according to scientists, quite aware when being watched, at least in laboratory conditions.
Briefly, I fooled myself.
"She's letting me take her picture," I thought.
Clutching the side of the back step, she posed while I practiced with my macro setting. The leaves behind her are on the ground and I'm shooting downward. The fact that she held on like that is how she fooled me. But she's missing one of her antennae and perhaps even a foreleg.
It wasn't her choice to sit still for our photo shoot. The rain or the cold must have killed her.
Still, she hung on.