More Blue Dasher Dragonflies

Another series of images of one of my favorite dragonflies, the Blue Dasher Dragonfly. These were taken over quite a few years and lots of locations. Almost all were taken with a Canon 1D mkIV with a 400mm DO lens. Some with 1.4x or 2X Teleconverters for added reach since they were out a ways in a pond or stream.

Male Blue Dasher, 400mm DO lens,f/11, 2x Teleconverter, Canon 1D mkIV (15 ft away)
Female Blue Dasher, Canon 400mm DO lens, f/8, Canon 1D mkIV
Female Blue Dasher, Canon 400mm DO lens, f/8, Canon 1D mkIV
Male Blue Dasher, 400mm DO Lens, f/8, Canon 1D mkIV
Blue Dasher (Female), Canon 400mm DO lens, @f/11, Fill Flash w/ Better Beamer Flash Extender, 1D mk IV
Blue Dasher (Male), Canon 400mm DO lens, f/9, Canon 1D mkIV
Blue Dasher (Male), Canon 1D mk IV, 400mm DO lens @ f/13
Blue Dasher, f9, 400mm DO lens, @ f/9, Canon 1D mk IV
Blue Dasher, 400mm DO lens @ f/8, Canon 1D mkIV
Mating Blue Dashers, Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens @ f/13, Canon 1D mkIV, with Fill Flash, FX-1B “Better Beamer” Flash Extender
Blue Dasher, Female, Canon 400mm DO lens w/Extension tubes for closer focusing, @ f/11, with Fill Flash, FX-1B “Better Beamer” Flash Extender, Canon 1d mkIV
Male Blue Dasher, 400mm DO lens,f/11, 2x Teleconverter, Canon 1D mkIV

Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

We had gone to the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve to see if we could find a few interesting dragonflies to photograph for the blog. The Preserve was still overloaded with Cicadas but there were quite a few Dragonflies flying around on the paths. It was fun to find this Immature Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly along the main path. The featured image was taken with a Canon 300mm lens with a 1.4x Teleconverter @ f/6.3 for a smoother background. Below are other views at various f/stops.

Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/5.6
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/8
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/8
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/11
Immature Male Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Canon R, 300mm with 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/7.1

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.

It Is Dragonfly Season

Some of my favorite photo subjects are Dragonflies and Damselflies. Here are a few Dragonflies to start with. The featured image is a photo of a female Calico Pennant. I was using a 300mm lens that has a close focusing capability, with a 1.4X Teleconverter for a combined focal length of 420mm.

Blue_Dasher_v2_FM_PP_43G7128

Blue Dasher Dragonfly – Female

Eastern_Pondhawk_v1_DM8_18_43G6800

Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly – Female

Painted Skimmer Dragonfly

Since we moved, going from Northern NJ to Central NJ, I have to learn the specific names of some of my favorite subjects to photograph, Dragonflies & Damselflies. We are seeing quite a few different types here, we just have to learn the names. Also Males and Females are usually quite different in coloring & markings, so sometimes it is difficult.

We went to Plainsboro Preserve, a 1000 acre Audubon Nature Preserve, looking for Dragons & Damsels and we found quite a few. Most were sitting on the path, warming on the warm gravel & stones. Unfortunately that made for very busy backgrounds. The one below cooperated by sitting on a small branch, giving me a nicer background. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens and was shooting at f/4 to help keep the background softer looking. I sacrificed depth of field for a cleaner looking background. So I tried to shoot fairly straight in to my subject on the first. And a slight angle on the second.

Painted Skimmer Dragonfly v2 PP 5_17_MG_7988Painted Skimmer Dragonfly v2 PP 5 17_MG_7958

 

 

 

 

Blue Dasher Portrait

I was trying different lens, extension tube placement and teleconverters along with fill flash to get better effects for photographing the dragonflies. When I get what I feel is the best combination, I will post it here. I have been trying to maximize the sharpness and still get a smoother background. All these photos are from 5 to 10 feet away from the subjects. I cannot use a normal macro lens since they are in an area that I cannot get close to the dragonflies.

Blue Dasher Landing

When I am shooting Dragonflies, sometimes I pick out an active dragonfly going after bugs. They constantly dart off to grab a bug, then return usually to the same grass or reed to eat their catch, giving you an opportunity to be focused on the area and get a action shot of the Dragonfly landing. Sometimes they might go to a different branch here or there, but overall about 7 out of 10 landings are on the same branch. Trying to track them as they are just flying is hard , especially to get them in focus and framed. This gives you a chance to get some good flight photos. Do not forget to use a high shutter speed, maybe with fill flash.

 

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