Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

I have not photographed as many Dragonflies this year as I have in other years. Maybe because I have been working on a few personal projects. I found these female Great Blue Skimmers at Plainsboro Preserve which is a Preserve and Nature Center along with an Audubon Center. It is about 1,000 acres, with a 50 acre lake and miles of nature trails. So it is a fun place to wander around and look for photo subjects, especially Dragonflies! On this day we mostly saw Great Blue Skimmers. Lately I use a 300mm f/4 Canon lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter for photographing Dragonflies. It allows me to get close images and seems to work well @ f/11 for getting detail, but still have a somewhat soft background. Sometimes I will go to f/8 for the series if the background is busier and shoot a series with more focus points. I then blend the images in Photoshop, to keep a softer background for my Dragonfly images but still get more of the dragonfly in focus.

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Head-On View, 300mm w/ 1.4X Teleconverter

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Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly – 3/4 view from behind

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Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly – Side view, Single image

13 Comments on “Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

    • Thanks Eliza! I try to shoot @ f/8 or f/11 to keep the backgrounds softer, but it also depends how close background elements are to the subject. If the backgrounds are close and my subject is not moving much, I shoot more wide open and shoot a series of focus points along the dragonfly and let Photoshop combine the sharpest sections. Then flatten the layers for the final sharper composite.

  1. These are amazing, Reed! I’ve been working on the challenge of dragonflies in past couple weeks, going through my photos this morning, trying to find some that came out decent enough to share, lol. They aren’t easy!

    • Thanks Donna! They can become addictive trying different techniques to get all in focus. Plus finding some that co-operate! Mostly I use focus stacking in multiple shots then let Photoshop combine them. You are in a great area for Dragonflies at Blackwater NWR. Different types in different locations there. The first observation platform on the right Drive by the entrance has a great variety. Plus on the platform you can shoot down on them. Also on the drive down a ways with the water on both sides has a lot of types there. The gardens behind the visitor center is good also for Dragonflies. Sometimes it is hard to ID them, especially dealing with males & females. One of the best references I found is do a search online for – Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Delmarva. It has photos of male and females of most in your area.

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