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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