Dragonfly Eyes

An assortment of Dragonfly closeups focusing on their eye & face details. Images taken with 300mm & 400mm lenses with extension tubes.

BlueDasher CU v3 2imgStk_DM 7 17Eastern Pondhawk V3_MG_2625

Blue_Dasher v3 cf_MG_9050Blue Dasher FM v4 yd_MG_9828

 

 

Blue Dasher Dragonfly Wing Detail

This Blue Dasher focus stacked image is made with 2 images, blended. 1 focused on the head area & the other focused on the tail area. Both were shot, handheld with a 400mm DO lens, with an extension tube for closer focusing.  This Dasher seemed to have a damaged hindwing on the right side. Images taken @ f/8 to to keep a smoother background so the Blue Dasher stands out. I used Photoshop to align and then blend the 2 images for the final focus stacked image. If I stopped down more to get  everything in focus in 1 shot, the background would have been busier and the Dasher would not stand out as much. I tend to like smoother backgrounds in my Dragonfly images.

 

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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Dragons & Damsels Panoramas

Panoramas are not just for landscapes! I enjoy shooting panoramas for a variety of subjects. Plus they look interesting when you print them very large! Here are a series of multi-image Dragonfly & Damselfly Panoramas. I was using Canon & Panasonic Cameras, with a variety of lenses. The featured Blue Dasher Dragonfly image was 5 handheld images taken with a Canon 300mm lens, with extension tubes @ f/9, 1/250th sec. Then assembled and blended in Photoshop. When shooting panoramas handheld, I tend to overlap even more just to be safe & that I got enough overlap to blend nicely. I may not need them, but it helps if you do need more images when assembling them. The images below have some details on exposure & images shot per panorama.

Damselfly_3img_pano_1110038 pano

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 4 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens, blended in Photoshop.

Blue_Dasher Pano_43G3758 crp v3

Blue Dasher, Female – 400mm DO lens with extension tubes, Canon 1D mkIV,  3 image panorama, f/11, 1/250 

Eastern Forktail FM_DAMSELFLY STACK V1_43G0245

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 3 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens

 

Blue Dasher Dragonfly With Water Mites

I was surprised to see so many water mites on this Blue Dasher Dragonfly! Usually you only see a few mites, but this one was really loaded with them! The water mites get onto late stage nymphs, then emerge with the nymph. As the dragonfly emerges from the nymph stage, the mites transfer to the adult dragonfly.

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Closer view to show water mites

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

Common_Whitetail_Male_v2_420mm_f11_76A0769

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.

 

Recent Dragonfly Images

Here are a few images of Dragonflies and a Damselfly from a few local parks in our area. Most were shot with a close focusing 300mm f/4 lens with either extension tubes to get closer or 1.4X or 2X teleconverter. A few I used a Canon 400mm f/4 DO with Extension tubes and 1.4X teleconverter. The featured image is a female Eastern Pondhawk that was quite cooperative for extreme closeups. Image taken with Canon 7D, handheld, 300mm @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400.

BlueDasher CU v3 2imgStk_DM 7 17

Blue Dasher extreme closeup – 2 image focus stack Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4X teleconverter, w/extension tubes

Blue Dasher v2 CU 2img stk

Blue Dasher extreme closeup – 2 image focus stack Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4X teleconverter, w/extension tubes (f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 400)

Damselfly v2a DM 7 18 _HP 43G9950

Damselfly – multi image stack, 400mm f/4 DO with extension tubes, f/8, 1/50 sec, 1600 ISO, camera on tripod

Easter_Pondhawk_FM

Female Eastern Pondhawk- f/11, 1/320 sec, 300mm f/4 w/ 1.4X teleconverter

Dragonfly_Slaty_Blue v1_MG_3790

Slaty Blue Dragonfly, f/11, 1/160 sec, +1/3 exp. comp, 300mm w/ 2X teleconverter, Single image, flew off before focus stacking images

Slaty Blue Dragonfly v1 3 img stack

Slaty Blue Dragonfly, f/10, 1/320 sec, 300mm w/1.4X teleconverter, effective 420mm

Male & Female Blue Dasher Dragonflies

We went to a local park to see what we could find. Found a few Blue Dashers by the ponds, but most were looking the worse for wear. Then I concentrated on Butterflies that were around. When photographing Dragonflies I usually shoot multiple images at different focus points. This is to keep a smoother background and still get more of the dragonflies body and wings in somewhat sharper focus. It also depends on if the dragonfly cooperates and does not change position or flies off. The featured image I only had time for 1 shot so the tail is softer. The others were 2 images, so somewhat more depth of field.

Blue_Dasher_FM_8_19_v2_76A1841

Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly – f/8, 1/80 sec., +0.33 Exposure Compensation

Blue_Dasher_Male_DM 2img_stk_v2

Male Blue Dasher Dragonfly – 2 image handheld stack to retain more image sharpness from head to tail and still keep a smoother background. Canon 300mm f/4 Close Focusing lens, with 1.4X Teleconverter shot @ f/11 – 1600 ISO

Dragonflies From Davidson’s Mill Pond Park

We went to a local park to look for Dragonflies or other investing subjects to photograph. It seems like it is a slow start for dragonflies at this local park compared to other years. But we did manage to photograph a few different types. It was still fun to see what we could find.

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Blue Dasher – male

Eastern_Pondhawk_FM_v2_420mm_f16_6_19_76A0640

Eastern Pondhawk – Female

Eastern_Pondhawk_Male_v2_420mm_f16_6_19_420_76A0674

Eastern Pondhawk- Male

Common_Whitetail_Male_v2_420mm_f11_76A0769

Common Whitetail- Male

Slaty_Skimmer_male_v2_420mm_f8_6_9_DM_76A0723

Slaty Skimmer –  Male

 

It Is Dragonfly Season

Some of my favorite photo subjects are Dragonflies and Damselflies. Here are a few Dragonflies to start with. The featured image is a photo of a female Calico Pennant. I was using a 300mm lens that has a close focusing capability, with a 1.4X Teleconverter for a combined focal length of 420mm.

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Blue Dasher Dragonfly – Female

Eastern_Pondhawk_v1_DM8_18_43G6800

Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly – Female

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