Painted Skimmer Dragonfly

I was going through my backup hard drives cleaning out unneeded files when I found this image of a male Painted Skimmer Dragonfly. This was taken at my pond years ago with a 300mm f/4 lens on a Canon 7D. Image taken @ f/11 to try to get a little more detail in the far wingtips.

Male Calico Pennant Dragonfly

Another Dragonfly image from our walk at the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve. The featured image is made from 2 images shot with a 300mm lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter @ f/8. I usually shoot my series of images starting at the head and work my way back down the body. I would have shot 1 more image for the tail but it flew off before I could get that shot.

Male Calico Pennant Dragonfly, 300mm lens, 1.4X Teleconverter @ f/8, Canon 7D. This is the 1st image in series showing forewing & hindwing tips are a little soft.

Common Whitetail Dragonflies From Davidsons Mill Pond Park

We went to the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve looking for dragonflies and any other interesting subjects we could find to photograph. We found a male & female Common Whitetail Dragonfly in 2 different locations along our walk. The Featured Image is a Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly 2 shot focus stack @ f/8. I focused first on the head & then focused on the tail. Then blended the 2 images in Photoshop for the final image. By shooting 2 images @ f/8 and combining the 2 images I had the depth of field to get the head & tail in focus and still have a somewhat smoother background I wanted without getting a more cluttered looking background. Usually I would use f/5.6 instead of f/8 but I only wanted to use 2 images in case the dragonfly flew off. All images in this post were taken with a Canon 7D with a 300mm f/4 lens & 1.4X Teleconverter.

Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly, f/ 5.6. Showing smoother uncluttered background but the tail sharpness is softer than the 2 image stacked image.

Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly @ f/11, 300mm, 1.4x teleconverter. Showing even at f/11 the tail sharpness is softer than the 2 image focus stacked image.

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Immature Male Common Whitetail Dragonfly, 300mm, 1.4x teleconverter, @ f/8, Canon 7D, showing smoother, uncluttered background.

Immature Male Common Whitetail Dragonfly, 300mm, 1.4x teleconverter, @ f/16, Canon 7D, showing a more cluttered distracting background.

New Jersey Brood X cicadas

We went to one of the local parks to see if we could find some dragonflies to photograph. As I was trying to get closer to one of the Dragonflies, I noticed a large insect on the plants along the path. I was surprised to see a very large Cicada with those big red eyes staring at me. I was very close so I used my iPhone 11 Pro with the 4.3mm lens to get a couple of images. The featured image is made from 2 iP11 images to get sharper focus on the Cicada eyes and then focused on the back wingtips. Apparently this is the year Cicadas will re-emerge in NJ from their 17 year life cycle. So I guess it will be getting really noisy soon! Thousands of Cicadas were seen on tree trunks, leaves and fence posts at the Updike Farm in Princeton, NJ.

Cicada, 2 image focus stack, iP11 Pro, 4.3mm lens

Cicadia, iP11 Pro, 4.3mm lens

Cicada, iP11 Pro, 4.3mm lens

Cicada, 2 image Focus Stack, iP11 Pro, 4.3mm lens

Cicada, m43 Olympus, 100-300mm lens @ 300mm

The audio in the iPhone videos below are actually less loud then the actual sound being there!

Sounds of Brood X Cicadas, iPhone 11 Pro
Sounds of Brood X Cicadas

Lancet Clubtail Dragonflies – Mating Wheel Formation

We were walking around Davidsons Mill Pond Park looking for Dragonflies to photograph. We did not see any by the small pond so we went down by the Lake. There the first ones I saw were a pair of Lancet Dragonflies mating. It was not in the usual “Heart” formation” but somewhat close. I was using a 300mm lens @ f/11 with a 1.4X Teleconverter on a Canon 7D. Using f/11 I got enough detail on my subjects but still had a smoother non-cluttered looking background. I also focused on each area of the Dragonflies I was shooting for the panorama instead of stopping down more for a cleaner looking background when the images are blended. The Featured Image is a 2 image Pano to get them both in the image.

Lancet Clubtail Dragonflies, 300mm, f/11, 3 image pano, Canon 7D
Lancet Clubtail Dragonflies, 300mm, f/11, Canon 7D – 2 Image handheld panorama
Lancet Clubtail Dragonflies, 300mm, f/11, Canon 7D – 4 Image handheld panorama

Redbelly Turtle Panorama From Davidsons Mill Pond Park

We went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park looking for Dragonflies, but I only saw a few off in the distance out in the water on some plants. But by the small pond near the entrance to the park I saw this Redbelly Turtle basking on the edge of the water. It was at the bottom of the incline with tall grasses before & around it. I was using a 300mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter so if I backed up to get the whole turtle in the shot the grasses in front of it would be in the way. So I got very close and shot 15 images, 3 rows of 5 overlapping shots to get the whole Turtle in. Working on the files when I got back I loaded all 15 images into 1 layered Photoshop file. Then I used the Edit >Auto Align, then >Auto Blend to automatically align & blend the 15 images for the final layered image. After that I cropped the image because hand holding the camera I had uneven border edges around the image.

Headshot – One of the 15 images in the series for the 5 images in 3 rows pano

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.
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