Cedar Waxwing Dining on Insects

I was cleaning up old backup hard drives and found this series of images of a Cedar Waxwing dining on insects caught in a web under a branch. This was many, many years ago early in the morning. I was using a Canon 1D mkIII with a 400mm Canon DO lens and a flash with a Better Beamer Flash Extender to fill in the dark areas. I was on an observation platform and the Cedar Waxwing was almost level with me as I was photographing the waxwing. It is amazing how much better our digital cameras are now compared to the early days!

Blue Dasher Dragonflies – 400mm With Fill Flash

This is a series of Blue Dasher Dragonfly images taken with a 400mm DO lens, but I also used an on camera flash with a Better Beamer Flash extender to help fill in the shadow details on the dragonflies. Also for some I set the flash so I was slightly overexposing on the subject dragonfly. This way when I compensated for the correct exposure on the dragonfly, the background would be darker and a little more dramatic.

Blue_Dasher_400mm_FilFlsh_v1_MG_1731Blue_Dasher_400mm_Fil_Flsh_v1_MG_1677BlueDasher_v1_400mmDO_filFlsh_MG_1657 v3Blue Dasher_Male_400mmDO-f14_v1_MG_1314Blie_Dasher_400mmDO_f11_fill_Flash_MG_1322

Blue_Dasher_mating 400mmDO f11_MG_1317

Mating Blue Dashers

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Extreme Methods To Photograph Distant Dragonflies

This is a series of some Blue Dasher & other Dragonfly images I shot over a few years using a technique for getting softer smoother backgrounds for dragonflies that you can not get close to photograph. Depth of field is limited with this technique, but I like the softer backgrounds which makes the detail in the dragonfly stand out. The subject Dragonflies are about about 5 to 9 feet away. Usually they are on a plant or branch in or over the water. Plus I get closer up images not needing a large or any cropping. I was using a Canon 400mm DO lens with a 1.4x teleconverter(s) and extension tubes to get closer focus on the small (about 1.5 inches long) Dragonflies. Basically converting the lens to only closer focusing capability. Sometimes I would setup the equipment with the lens, then extension tubes, the teleconverter and then camera. Or have the lens, teleconverter, extension tubes, then camera body. Different arrangements of extension tube(s) & teleconverters gives different “focus zones”. Depending on the width & position of the extension tubes used is how close you can focus on your subject. With all the added converter(s) & extension tubes you may loose autoexposure so I mainly set exposure by looking at a preview shot or histogram and adjust exposure from there. It takes a while to get consistent results because there are so many variables. But it works well once you get used to it. Many times I use fill flash to help light the subject because I loose so much light with certain combinations of teleconverter(s) and extension tubes.

Blue dasher yard v1 400mm_ext_43G0988

Image somewhat soft on the bottom of the image from shooting through plants that were in the way, but liked the image anyway!

Blue dasher yard 2015 v2_43G1052

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Blue Dasher_v2_f16_420mm_DM 6_19_76A0627 copy

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mkiv-400mm setupimg_1015

Showing an even more extreme “closeup” setup with double extension tubes & double 1.4x teleconverters (staggered). Also Fill flash to open shadows – usually with a BetterBeamer flash extender.

 

Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly Detail Shots

One of my favorite subjects are Dragonflies & Damselflies. The trouble is l have a wide variety of favorite subjects! This series was shot a few years ago at a somewhat local tree covered stream in Mahwah NJ. I could not get real close because of the stream they were over so I used a Canon 400mm DO lens with extension tubes. This enabled me to get somewhat frame filling images with a very smooth background. With the extension tubes I lost quite a bit of light so I used a Canon flash for filling in the shadows somewhat. Also because of the extension tubes, I had a limited depth of field that gave me extremely soft smooth backgrounds.

The Featured image was shot at f/8, 1/200th second @ ISO 1250, 2 images for a focus stack to get detail in the left wing, with an exposure compensation of -1.33 because of the fill flash. This also made the background a little darker

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Image taken @ 1/60 th sec., f/11, -0.67 Exp. Compensation, ISO 1250

Great Blue Skimmer_v2_f8_1-60sec-400mm_Fil_Flash_43G5800 copy

Image taken @ 1/125 th sec., f/8, -1.33 Exp. Compensation, ISO 1250

Blue Dasher Dragonflies

Blue Dasher v3 Pond 2015_43G0914Dragonflies are one of my favorite subjects. I usually use a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens with an extension tube, a 1.4X Series III teleconverter, and then another extension tube. This combination, with the extension tubes actually magnifies the image on the sensor. These were probably 8 to 10 ft away, but still filled the frame. I also use a flash with a Better Beamer flash extender to light them. The combination of the extension tubes and teleconverter totally confuses the metering, so I manually figure out an f/stop by trial and error. But it works for these kind of shots and I am not right in their “faces”.

Blue dasher yard 2015 v2_43G1156

Blue dasher yard 2015 v3_43G1119

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