Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly

We went to Davidson’s Mill Pond Park to look for Dragonflies and whatever else we could find to photograph. We found a lot flying around both the large pond and the small pond. There was a large variety but many of the larger dragonflies are constantly zooming by, so they are hard to get photos of. But we did find about 6 different types that were more cooperative for our photo interests. Along with quite a few damselflies. It is a hard location to get closeups because the ponds are lower than the surrounding grass areas with lots of vegetation and plants blocking the smaller plants on the shoreline where most of the Dragonflies were active. I was using a 300mm f/4 IS lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 1.6x crop body. The 300mm lens can focus very close without using an extension tube. So the whole combination gave me a field of view equivalent to a 672mm lens which helped fill the frame with my distant subject Dragonflies. This is a 3 Image focus stack assembled in Photoshop for more sharpness from the head to wings & wingtips and to the tip of the tail.

10 Comments on “Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly

    • Thank you so much! I enjoy trying different techniques in photographing dragonflies. Mostly focus stacking with the lens wide open to get a softer background so the dragonfly stands out more. Works on other subjects also.

  1. Wonderful image, Reed. Thanks for explaining how you use focus stacking. When you are this close to a subject, depth of field is such a huge issue and your shot shows that focus stacking can help in mitigating the problem and expanding the in-focus area. it’s not something that I have tried, but I may consider doing to under certain circumstances.

  2. Thanks Mike! It is fairly easy to use focus stacking in Photoshop. It works better with the camera on a tripod, but it also works well handheld most of the time. Before blending I sometimes erase an out of focus area in one layer that might have a problem with the wing or other detail in another layer.

  3. Pingback: Masterful Macro Photography – In Pics and Words

  4. Thanks! After doing Commercial assignments for over 45 years you tend to look at other ways to get the results you want. So you tend to try various software techniques and equipment/lens/teleconverter/ extension tube combinations to turn telephoto lenses into a solution for distant subjects that are unreachable with normal macro lenses. And actually enlarging your subject to fill the sensor beyond what a normal telephoto setup can do. Plus focus stacking for added detail but still keeping a soft clean background.

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