End Of Season Butterflies

We went for a walk at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park to see what photo subjects we could find. Weeks ago was the end of season for the Butterfly House, but they still had the covering over the framework and you could still see a few butterflies flying around in there. But on this visit we were surprised they took down the covering so the butterflies were now loose in the fields and gardens around the framework. Just a few days ago the butterflies we did photograph in the fields looked quite the worse for wear. These butterflies looked in extremely good condition so we had a great time photographing them on the branches of  bushes around their old home. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens but was shooting at f/4 or f/5.6 to keep the background smoother & softer to minimize a distracting background.

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Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

While we were looking for Dragonflies at Plainsboro Preserve I noticed this Red-Spotted Purple butterfly warming on the ground. I was using a close focusing 300mm f/4 lens with a 2X teleconverter so I could get closer images of distant insect subjects (usually Dragonflies) so I manually focused on 3 different areas to blend them into 1 sharp image in Photoshop. Using f/4 for my f/stop (with a 2X teleconverter it is actually f/8 then with the 2X teleconverter giving a 600mm focal length) and focused on middle body, then antennas and lastly rear wing edge. I used to mainly use a 1.4X teleconverter for this type of shooting but the Canon R files are extremely clean even at much higher ISO’s so the 2X gives me more working distance. Then used Photoshop to blend the sharpest areas automatically into 1 merged image. Photoshop usually does a good job on this, but here in there I might also do some manual editing to what Photoshop does. To bad it is getting late in the season for butterflies & insects. They are beginning to show signs of wear. Especially the Dragonflies!

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Another on a leaf still at f/4 (actual f/8 with 2X teleconverter but it flew off before I could do my near & far focus points. That is why I sometimes shoot center, then the near & far points.

Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly

Continuing with the previous post with butterflies, here is a Yellow Swallowtail series of images taken at the same time as the previous post. We have not seen as many butterflies this year as previous years. Even though at this park they have a Butterfly House and raise them to release them in the park. Plus the butterfly house has plantings around the Butterfly house to attract other butterflies. In previous years they were very abundant throughout the Park. Even Dragonflies seem to be more scarce this year at this Park also. Time is marching on and the Butterflies you see show considerable wear and tear. The Butterfly series shown below really liked this plant and stayed for about 10 minutes. I only picked a few of the images of that series to post here.

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Black Swallowtail Butterfly

We went to a local park to look for Dragonflies, but I noticed this Black Swallowtail Butterfly on some flowers by the pond on the way in. It looked colorful with the flowers and I liked the contrast of the dark colored butterfly against the flowers.

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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

Dragonflies From Davidsons Mill Pond Park

Some Dragonflies from a recent walk at Davidsons Mill Pond Park. Featured image is a Blue Dasher (male). All images captured with a Canon 1D MkIV with a 300mm f/4 lens & 1.4X Teleconverter.

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Another Blue dasher – Male

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Eastern Pondhawk – Female

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Eastern Pondhawk – Female

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Eastern Pondhawk – Male

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Slaty Skimmer Male

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Common Whitetail Male

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Widow Skimmer – Female

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Eastern Amberwing – Male

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Calico Pennant – Male

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Widow Skimmer – Female

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Widow 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

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Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly – Female

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