Dragonfly at My Backyard Pond

Our backyard pond is one of my favorite locations for photographing dragonflies. Even though it is a controlled area that I shoot in, I still cannot use a standard macro lens, because they’re about 8 to 10 feet away, with water between us. Also dragonflies are skittish if you get too close. They do seem to get used to you after a while, but are still wary of your presence. Sometimes they land on the end of my lens, I guess they are keeping me company. Also using a macro lens in the normal 50mm to 100mm range you have a greater depth of field, which makes it harder to achieve a smoother non distracting or busy looking background behind the dragonfly.  I have come up with my own combination of accessories to achieve the results I am looking for. I used a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with a 400 mm F/4 DO lens, with a 1.4 teleconverter with two extension tubes. The trick for getting the magnification needed for a 400mm telephoto lens, besides close focusing is to have the lens, then, a 36 mm extension tube, then the teleconverter, and then a 20 mm extension tube, and finally the camera body. This actually magnifies the image slightly so it is larger on the sensor than just using one extension tube behind the teleconverter. Also it allows a closer minimum focus with more magnification. Depending on the brand of extension tubes, you might loose accurate metering, so check your exposure with your histogram & adjust your exposure appropriately.  Also remember not to underexpose your images, which tends to increase noise in your shadows & the dark areas of the dragonfly and in the background. These were photographed without fill flash, which I usually use to open up the shadows & dark tones. This time I just opened up the shadows a little while adjusting my files. When using a fill flash with a Better Beamer Flash extender or similar, I usually adjust the flash to -1 stop to – 1/3 stop so as not to overpower the ambient light, which would look unnatural. Depends on how harsh the light is, and backlit or front lighting.  Also fill flash is important and needed when you go on and try to photograph these fun subjects flying. Opens up a new set of problems and solutions. But that is for another blog. Thanks and visit again soon.

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Dragonfly 6

Macro 4

Dragonfly 5

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