Some of the time, when photographing Dragonflies, I need to get closer, but water or something is in the way. Or I just want more working distance and do not want to use a macro lens with skidish subjects. After photographing them for over 10 or 12 years I have come up with different solutions. And I want a really soft looking backgrounds! Or I am at a National Wildlife Refuge where you can’t go off the Drive, so you need more reach for the different dragons you see there. So I have come up with different combinations to solve that problem. The more you experiment, the more combinations you come up with. I sometimes use a telephoto lens, usually 400mm f/4, an extension tube, a 1.4x teleconverter, and then a longer extension tube. Sometimes I add another 1.4x teleconverter at the camera. Than add a flash with a Better Beamer Flash extender because with the extension tubes I loose a lot of light, so I need more power to light my subject Dragonfly. This gives me a working distance, depending on which extension tubes and combinations of teleconverters I use, from 2 to 8 ft or even more, but filling the frame with my subject small Dragonfly. The Blue Dashers are about 1.5″ long. Some ot the others are a little larger and the Damselflies are smaller. The extension tube spacing actually enlarges the Dragonfly image on the sensor. But you do loose a lot of light. It seems awkward, but once you get used to the combination you use, it gets easier to use in the field. Many times I actually shoot a stack series of focus point images along a dragonfly to get a sharp final image from head to tail, wingtip to wingtip or specific areas I want in Photoshop. I probably posted too many images, but it shows the effects and details I was going for. They are such fascinating photo subjects! Sorry for such a long Post!
Extreme setup with 2 teleconverters, for closer focusing and extreme magnification.
My Standard setup for closeup Dragonfly photos. The wider teleconverter next to the camera body magnifies the image a little more and you can get even more image filling frames.
This Dragonfly was eating another dragonfly about 15 ft away