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

LadyBug On Thistle

On a visit to Davidsons Mill Pond Park, I found this Ladybug climbing on a Thistle. I liked the “Spot” of Color of the Ladybug against the green part of the Thistle. I thought it looked like it was pointing to the flowering colorful top on the thistle and added interest. Image taken with 300mm lens @ f/11 on a Canon 1D mkIV.

Walk In The Fields At Davidsons Mill Pond Park

We were walking around the fields at Davidsons Mill Pond Park looking for interesting images besides Dragonflies. Most of the gardens are still closed, but we could shoot through the fencing here & there. Davidsons Mill Pond is a County Park comprising over 417 acres that features grassland meadows, upland forests, open water, streams and wetlands, in addition to cultivated fields used by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension office. Their Butterfly House was not used this year because of the Covid closing most things. These are a series of images of subjects I thought were interesting as we were walking through the fields. Again, I was using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with a Panasonic 100-300mm zoom lens. Which gives me a Full Frame Camera Field of View equivalent of 200mm – 600mm in a very lightweight camera to walk around with. I was mostly shooting aperture priority @ f/8, giving me enough depth of field on my subjects, but still have a smoother background. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image @ 228mm, f/8, m43 format

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image @ 300mm, f/8, m43 format

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image @ 300mm, f/8, m43 format

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image @ 300mm, f/8, m43 format

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image @ 300mm, f/8, m43 format

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hornet On Plant, 300mm, f/8, m43 format

 

Eastern Pondhawks

We went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to take a walk and look for photo subjects. I was looking mostly for dragonflies, but found a few other photo subjects also in their fields of wildflowers and gardens. The gardens were locked because of Covid 19, but you could photograph through their fencing. Here are images I photographed of a male & female Eastern Pondhawk. I was using an Olympus OMD-1 with a Panasonic 100-300mm lens because I did not want to lug around my usual heavier gear. All the images here were photographed @ 300mm. Eastern Pondhawk_v1_male_DM_m43_300mm_MG_3738

Straw Flowers @ Davidsons Mill Pond

When we were photographing dragonflies at Davidsons Mill Pond Park, I also photographed some flowers & plants in their fields & gardens that looked interesting. Because of Covid restrictions the main gardens were locked, but there were lots of flowers and plants in the fields. We mostly went to take a walk, so I was traveling light with an m43 Olympus OM-D mk1 Camera with a Panasonic 100-300mm lens. The featured image is 4 images @214mm and blended in Photoshop for the final image panorama.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Straw Flower, 300mm, m43 Olympus

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

Lady Bug On Thistle

During a walk at Davidsons Mill Pond Park we noticed this Lady Bug on a Thistle. I thought it looked interesting against the textures on the Thistle. Also it sort of had the same roundish shape as the Thistle. I was traveling light with a 300mm f/4 lens on a Canon 1D mkIV.

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