Last Praying Mantis In the Gardens

The featured image is a stacked multi-image, multi-row Praying Mantis panorama. This was the last Praying Mantis I photographed in our gardens this year. We had quite a few throughout the summer, but this was the largest Mantis I photographed this year. The featured image is 8 images, shot in 3-multi-rows of overlapping images. I managed getting 3 images for the top row, 3 images for middle row & only 2 images for the bottom row before it moved. I was shooting handheld with a 300mm lens @ f/5.6 for a softer, smoother background since I wanted a blurred background not showing details of the flowers & siding on the house. I concentrated my focus on the head and front legs and so the yellow flowers behind the Mantis gave a bright pop of interesting color.

Praying Mantis Head Detail, single image, f/11 for a little more depth of field, 300mm, handheld

Last of the Slaty Skimmers for this year

Another Dragonfly season is pretty much over now so I will have to find other interesting subjects to photograph. Here are some Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly images from my last visit to Davidsons Mill Pond Park before they were gone.

4 Image Focus Stack, 300mm, f/6.3, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D
Slaty Skimmer, 300mm, f/11, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D
Slaty Skimmer, 300mm, f/11, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D
4 Image Focus Stack, 300mm, f/16, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D

Slaty Skimmer @ Davidsons Mill Pond Park

It is nearing the end of the Dragonfly season so there are less opportunities of phot0graphing Dragonflies. We were walking at a local park and noticed this Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly by the pond. This is a 3 image focus stack, shot handheld, @ f/11. I focused on the far wing , then the head, and then the near wingtip. I loaded all 3 images into 1 layered Photoshop file to prepare the final blended image. I used Auto-Align Layers, then Auto-Blend Layers for the blending of the 3 images. I save the layered file, just in case I need to go back to adjust something, then flatten the layers for the final image. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens, with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 7D.

LadyBug On Thistle

On a visit to Davidsons Mill Pond Park, I found this Ladybug climbing on a Thistle. I liked the “Spot” of Color of the Ladybug against the green part of the Thistle. I thought it looked like it was pointing to the flowering colorful top on the thistle and added interest. Image taken with 300mm lens @ f/11 on a Canon 1D mkIV.

Widow Skimmer Dragonflies – Male & Female

The featured image and the one below are male Widow Skimmers. Images taken with a 300mm f/4 canon lens with a 1.4X Canon teleconverter.
Widow_Skimmer_v1 DM_7_18_43G0552

Below are images of female Widow Skimmer dragonflies. Female Widow Skimmers do not have white on the wings and have a different body coloring.

Widow Skimmer_FM_43G6887Widow Skimmer_v1_43G6906

Blue Dasher – 12 Image Focus Stack

When doing a multi-image focus stack for more depth of field on a dragonfly image, I usually set my f/stop to f/11 or f/16 when using a 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. This way I do not need as many shots for the full focus series of images. Many times a dragonfly will fly off or change position before I finish the series for a stack so I cannot use it and have to start over. This dragonfly seemed to be very still & cooperative. So I managed to do a focus stack from head to tail, including wingtip to wingtip. This series was 12 images, shot at f/8 for a smooth clean background. For a focus stack with a large number of images, I also use a tripod. After flattening the layered file, you might have a minor touch up here or there.

Eastern Amberwing In Garden

I was looking for bugs in the garden and noticed this female Eastern Amberwing on a Hydrangea.  It was a nice photo subject as it stayed in the general area giving me multiple opportunities to photograph it on multiple plants. All images were taken with a 300mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 1D mkIV.Eastern _Amberwing_FM_300mm_v3_1_4X_f16_1DmkIV_43G0358Eastern _Amberwing_FM_300mm_v4_1_4X_f16_1DmkIV_43G0358Eastern_Amberwing_FM_300mm_v3_1_4X_1DmkIV_43G0379

Junk Bug On Zinnia

It is a lacewing larva or sometimes just called a “junk bug” because of the junk it carries around on its back. The tiny larvae come up with all sorts of creative disguises to confuse predators. Other larvae may use bits and pieces of leaves, dead insects or whatever debris is available. I have seen these in other gardens, but never tried to find out what they were.

Junk_Bug v2 feat_300mm_1_4x_1DmkIV_43G0692Junk Bug_300mm_1_4X_1Dmk_IV_43G0632Junk Bug_zinniz_v1_300mm _1_4X_1DmkIV f22__43G0625-2

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly @ 960mm

Here are a few images of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly from our visit to Davidsons Mill Pond Park. The featured image is a single image shot with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a 2x teleconverter on a Canon 7D @ f/11. Image below was a Blend of 2 stacked images, blended in Photoshop with a soft edge on the seam. Field of View equivalent with the Canon 7D (1.6x crop camera) 300mm f/4 lens, Canon 2x teleconverter ~ 960mm. When using a 2x teleconverter your lens wide open will be @ f/8, not f/4 because you loose 2 stops of light with the 2x teleconverter. So I usually stop down at least 1 additional f/stop to help with sharpness because of the added teleconverter. Swallowtail_v4_960mm_7D_MG_2578

 

Monarch Butterfly At Davidsons Mill Pond

While I was photographing dragonflies at Davidsons Mill Pond Park this Monarch Butterfly flew in to these flowers right in front of me. I was using a 300mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, so I had to backup some because it was too close to focus on. I was shooting almost wide open to get a smoother background so the Monarch & the flowers would standout more against a smooth background._Monarch_v2 Feature 1600iso_300mm_1_4X_7D_300mm_1_4X_7D__MG_1885Monarch_v1 stk_300mm_1_4X_7D__MG_1933

Monarch_v1_2img stk_300mm_1_4X_7D_MG_1942

2 image limited focus stack to get a little more detail on the Monarch head & flowers right in front of the Monarch and still have a smooth background

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