Damselfly & Dragonfly Season is Starting Soon

It will not be long before we start seeing Dragonflies & Damselflies here in NJ. These are some of my favorite photo subjects. The images here were taken years ago at my pond at my old home. These were taken with an old 200mm Canon FD Manual focus macro lens adapted to a m43 Panasonic GH2 Camera or a Canon 400mm DO Lens with extension tubes for closer focusing. FOV of the Canon FD lens on a m43 body gave me the equivalent of a 400mm Macro lens. The Featured Image is a Damselfly with a raindrop on it’s head.

Damselfly Side View, 200mm FD Canon Lens, Panasonic GH2
Blue Dasher Dragonfly, 400mm Canon DO lens with an Extension Tube for Closer Focusing, Canon 1D mkIV

Female Eastern Forktail Damselflies After A Rainstorm

We had a storm with heavy rain a few days ago so after it stopped raining we went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to look for interesting raindrops to photograph. Here are some raindrops with Female Eastern Forktail Damselflies. I was using an Olympus OMD-1 with a 100-300mm Panasonic lens @ 300mm (Full Frame Camera FOV Equivalant ~600mm).

Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly #1, OMD-1, 100-300mm lens @ 300mm (Full Frame Equivalent Field of View ~600mm)
2nd Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly, OMD-1, 100-300mm lens @ 300mm (Full Frame Equivalent FOV ~600m)

Great Spreadwing Damselfly

I am still going through backup drives for images to post here. But at the same time I am also editing out images I do not need on my backup drives. Which is freeing a lot of room on these drives for more recent work. This is an image of a Great Spreadwing Damselfly. I was using a Canon 70-300mm DO lens (Diffractive Optics) at 300mm on a Canon 7D. I was surprised that lens worked so well on this subject. It is not the “sharpest” Canon zoom lens for fine detail, but is convenient, stabilized & lightweight to carry. Also much shorter, but wider than a “normal” 70-300mm lens because of the Diffractive Optics. It really helps to shoot “raw” files with this lens & use Adobe Camera Raw to pull out more detail and smooth out the nasties.



Mating Damselflies

In the Water Lily Gardens at Longwood Gardens there were a lot of Dragonflies and Damselflies. As I was photographing the lilies, I noticed quite a few mating damselflies. These two flew close by so I was able to get a couple of shots. Then I saw others mating on the Lily Pads.




Mating Damselfies

There were quite a few damselflies buzzing around the pond, so I was waiting for them to come closer. Then I noticed these 2 mating on this plant close to where I was. They stayed for quite a while so I got a few images.

Damselfly v1_MG_9986

I like the movement in the wings on this one.

Damselfly with Water Drop

This Eastern Forktail Damselfly had a large drop of water on its mouth which acts like a magnifying glass, giving an interesting view.

Damselfly With Raindrops – Stacked Images

Here are examples of stacked Damselfly images to show the difference between stopping down to f/22 or f/32 for depth of field and maximum focus of the subject Damselfly resulting in a busier background , or using f/5.6 or f/8 with stacked focus points giving depth of field and focus of the Damselfly and yet yielding a smoother looking background. All examples were aligned and stacked in Photoshop. One “BIG” challenge is hoping the damsel does not move or “flyoff” before you are done. The female Eastern Forktail stands out against the green soft background more than the bluish male. Focus Stacking is great for maximum depth of field and focus on your subject if that is what you are trying to convey. There are times when a narrower depth of field is more “Artsy” or “Softer” look and gives a different feeling for what you are trying to show.

damselfly cu yard v2 f32

Male Eastern Forktail shot @ f/32 for maximum depth of field in “one” shot. Showing “busier” distracting background around the damselfly.

Damselfly stack v5 f56

14 image “stack” shot at f/5.6.


Damselfly stack v2 f8 14 layers

Wider view of above subject using a shorter layered stack.


damsel stack v6_9 img stack f8 43G5888

9 image stack shot at f/5.6.

Damselfly v2 f56_43G6047

Non-Stacked Image shot at f/5.6 showing shallow depth of field on the Damselfly, but yielding an uncluttered background. But does give the main focus on face.

Damselfly short stack v1 pond f11_43G6011

Simple 2 image “short” stack. Subject was fairly flat to the camera sensor plane.


Damselfly After The Rain

I went out early after it rained during the night to see what I could find. I was looking for raindrops or maybe damselflies in the grasses with water drops. I found quite a few interesting subjects to photograph. I used a Sigma 150mm Macro with a Canon Series II 1.4X teleconverter so I did not have to get right on top of my subjects. I tried different f/stops to get a variety of backgrounds, more blurry wider open or a little more distracting when stopped down more. Wider open did not give me enough depth of field to get the whole damselfly, Stopped down gave me more depth of field on the damselfly and raindrops, but gave me a busier background. I also shot many series at a wider open f/stop with a series of focus points to combine in an image stack which will give me more depth of field with a nice smooth background. I will post those later.

The featured opening photo was shot at f/5.6 for a smooth non-distracting background, but not as much detail on the damsel, but you get the face and some water drops. You see the expression on the face stands out and a water drop.

damselfly cu yard v1 f16

Damselfly @ f/16 – more depth of field but background gets more distracting.

damselfly cu yard v1_43G5903

Damselfly at f/22. More depth of field, background more distracting.

damselfly cu yard v2 f22_43G5870

Damselfly @ f/13. Inbetween the first 2.

damselfly cu yard v2 f32

Damselfly @ f/32. More depth of field, more detail in damselfly, more raindrops in focus, but background gets more distracting.

damselfly cu yard v2_43G5871

Damselfly @ f/13. Enough depth of field for interest. Enough detail in the Damsefly and raindrops with a not overly distracting background.

damselfly cu yard v2_43G5872

Damselfly @ f/13. Again, enough depth of field for interest. Enough detail in the Damsefly and raindrops with a not overly distracting background.

damselfly cu yard v2_43G5903

Damselfly @ f/22.

damselfly cu yard_v1 43G5863

Damselfly @ f/4. Very selective focus. Keeps your eye on the face and the expression on the face. Gives a “Dreamy” soft look.

Peek-A-Boo Damselfly

I was photographing by the pond when this Damselfy landed on a Black-eyed Susan Flower in front of me. It would pop up, then go down. I shot a 3 image focus stack and manually combined them in Photoshop with layered masks. I liked the yellows and the dark center of the Black-eyed Susan with the damselfly peeking over the top.



_MG_8695 pond daselfly v3

Damselfly Closeup. Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro with Canon 1.4X Series II Telconverter, f/4, 1/8000 sec. ISO 800, handheld. Used f/4 for higher shutter speed because of extreme closeup, handheld.

_MG_8712 pond blue dasher dragonfly v2

Blue Dasher Dragonfly Stopped By. Canon EOS 7D, Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro with Canon 1.4X Series II Telconverter, f/8, 1/1000 sec. ISO 800, handheld


Mating Damselflies

I found these mating Damselflies at the pond. You can see the distinctive “Heart” shape of their mating. This lasted for about 30 minutes.

_43G5368 pond damselflies mating v3

Mating Bluet Damselflies showing “Heart” shape of their mating. Canon EOS 1D MkIV, 400mm f/4 DO IS lens, Kenko 35mm extension tube, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/11, 1/80 sec., -1.33 exp. comp. ISO 800, Canon 600 ex flash with Better Beamer Flash Extender w/ – 2 stops Ettl Flash compensation for just a slight fill in the shadows.

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