Great Blue Heron Panorama

A three horizontal image panorama of a Great Blue Heron. There times when I am out walking at a Wildlife Refuge when I come upon a photo subject that is too close for the lens I am carrying. In this instance I was walking along the Wildlife Drive near the entrance and saw this Great Blue Heron standing in the water. I was too close for the lens I had with me so I shot three overlapping horizontal images to combine for a vertical panorama. It seems rare when you are too close to get the whole bird in. Usually you do not have enough focal length for what you see and want photograph. If you can shoot a series of images quickly before the bird moves you can make some interesting panorama images. The Featured Image is 3 horizontal images taken with a 300mm lens on a Canon 7D. Assembled & blended in Photoshop. I usually always photograph from the head down for the series or the head then to side for however many images you need.

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

Mating Dragonflies

Over a week ago we went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to see if we could find some dragonflies to photograph before the end of Dragonfly season here. I was surprised to see so many Slaty Skimmers along with a variety of others still here. As I was setting up on the back area of the first small pond these two flew in and landed right in front of me. I was surprised since it was so late in the season. Also they were in the “wheel” position for mating. After my first few shots I moved in a little closer to photograph a 2 image pano for a more square image. The featured image is a single shot. The image below are 2 images, stacked for the final closeup image. I was using a 300mm lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. I was on the edge of the pond so could not get any closer.

2 image Pano, 300mm, f/11, blended in Photoshop.

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.

Immature Male Common Whitetail Dragonfly

When I was walking outside my home I saw this dragonfly in our gardens. So I got a camera to take some images. At first I thought it was a female Common Whitetail Dragonfly, but the dark spots on the wings were wrong. So I realized it was an immature male Common Whitetail Dragonfly. Image taken with a Canon 300mm lens with a 1.4x with a Canon 7D.

Common Whitetail_Immature_Male_v1_300mm_1_4X_7D

First image taken before moving a little closer

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

 

Immature Common Whitetail Male Dragonfly

On our photo walk at Davidsons Mill Pond Park, I noticed this Immature Common Whitetail male dragonfly warming on a rock. It had a cluttered background behind the dragonfly, so I shot 3 images wide open, f5.6, at different focus points. 1st on the left wing, 2nd on the body, then the right wing. When I was working on the files, I loaded the 3 images in one layered Photoshop file.  I selected all three layers and selected Auto-align, then auto-blend for the final merged image. When you do auto-blend Photoshop automatically blends what it thinks are the best areas to use for the final blended image. Sometimes you might need to do a tiny touch up here or there, but usually it does a pretty good job. Since I was using a tripod for these images they lined up nicely and I did not need much in the way of touch-ups on this image. I was using a 300mm f/4 with a 1.4x teleconverter. To keep the background smoother I was shooting wide open, but with a 1.4x teleconverter that would be @ f/5.6. Usually when I use a teleconverter, if there is enough light, I stop down a little more then I usually do to help with sharpness. On a 1.4x I stop down at least 1 f/stop, on a 2x teleconverter I stop down at least 2 stops (Again, if there is enough light). But on this series I wanted a smoother background so I did not stop down and left it @ f/5.6.

 

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

Common Whitetail Male Dragonfly At Davidsons Mill Pond Park

It finally started to get back to normal here after the storm went though. Power in the area seems back to normal, traffic lights are working so we could finally drive to a local park to see what we could find to photograph. I was mostly looking for dragonflies or butterflies. I was surprised that there were only a few people in this usually busy park.

As I was walking to the first pond I found this Common Whitetail Dragonfly on a fallen tree limb. It was warming in the sun and allowed me to get very close without flying off. I started from a distance and then worked getting gradually closer, taking a series of images along the way.

Common Whitetail v3 Male_300mm_1_4X_7D 8_20MG_1793Common Whitetail v3a_Male_300mm_1_4X_7D 8_20MG_1793Common Whitetail v3 Male_300mm_1_4X_7D 8_20_MG_1816Common Whitetail v3 Male_300mm_1_4X_7D 8_20_v1_MG_1839

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