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)

Eastern Forktail Damselfly – 9 image Focus Stack

I am going through backup Hard Drives clearing out files not needed to clear up some of my storage space. I found this image of an Male Eastern Forktail Damselfly covered with the raindrops after a heavy rain. I thought it looked interesting with the heavy amount of raindrops. I was using a Sigma 150mm macro lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter on a Canon 1D MkIV. To get more in focus but still keep a soft uncluttered background I was shooting with my aperture @ f/4.5. I shot 9 images along the Damselfly and the water drops . Then loaded them into 1 layered Photoshop file to blend into my final image. Luckily the Damselfly did not move as I was photographing it. The 2nd image is a Immature Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly shot at the same session as the Featured Image.

Immature Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 8 image Focus Stack, 150mm Sigma Macro @f8

Dragons & Damsels Panoramas

Panoramas are not just for landscapes! I enjoy shooting panoramas for a variety of subjects. Plus they look interesting when you print them very large! Here are a series of multi-image Dragonfly & Damselfly Panoramas. I was using Canon & Panasonic Cameras, with a variety of lenses. The featured Blue Dasher Dragonfly image was 5 handheld images taken with a Canon 300mm lens, with extension tubes @ f/9, 1/250th sec. Then assembled and blended in Photoshop. When shooting panoramas handheld, I tend to overlap even more just to be safe & that I got enough overlap to blend nicely. I may not need them, but it helps if you do need more images when assembling them. The images below have some details on exposure & images shot per panorama.

Damselfly_3img_pano_1110038 pano

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 4 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens, blended in Photoshop.

Blue_Dasher Pano_43G3758 crp v3

Blue Dasher, Female – 400mm DO lens with extension tubes, Canon 1D mkIV,  3 image panorama, f/11, 1/250 

Eastern Forktail FM_DAMSELFLY STACK V1_43G0245

Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 3 image panorama, Panasonic GH2 with adapted Canon FD 200mm Manual Focus Macro lens


Moving Wings – Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly

I noticed this Damselfly on the tip of a leaf that was hanging over the water’s edge.  I believe it is a Female Eastern Forktail Damselfly. I was using a 150mm Sigma macro on a Canon 7D. So I could not get closer, but thought it was still interesting because of the moving wings. I was surprised the wings had that much motion blur because I was shooting @ 1/250 @ f/4 for a smoother background.

Teneral Eastern Forktail Danselfy

I saw this damselfly flying awkwardly out of the lily pads and landed on a Black-eyed Susan in front of me. It was a newly emerged Eastern Forktail Damselfly. They are almost transparent in color on the wings and body and are very unsteady in flight. They will usually stay in one place for a while until their wings stiffen up. Here I concentrated on closeups of the head. I also tried image stacking and side views to show the almost transparent color of the Teneral stage and will post them later.

Teneral Damselfly v2_43G2882

Already to start darkening up, loosing some of the transparent color.

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v2_43G2764

Eastern Forktail Damselfly on Grass with Water Drops

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.


Teneral Eastern Forktail Damselfly

I found this Teneral Eastern Forktail Damselfly that had climbed up this plant after it had emerged from its nymph stage out of the pond. It is almost transparent in this stage, lacking a lot of its final coloring. Looking very bland it just hangs here as it’s wings are still limp. In a short time they will firm up and be able to fly off.

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v2_43G1283

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v2_43G1214

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v1_43G1214

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v2_43G1210

Eastern Forktail Damselfly on Grasses

I was photographing Damselflies in the evening. When the sun goes down and starts getting cooler, the damselflies head to the tall grasses around the pond. Once they get used to you, they stay more in the open giving you some good photo opportunities. You need either a flash or high ISOs unless it is a very calm evening with no breeze.

_MG_0492 eastern forktail v3

Eastern Forktail Damselfly on Tall Grass in Evening. Canon EOS 7D with Sigma 150mm OS f/2.8 Macro, Gitzo 1325 Tripod, Available Light, f/8, 1/125 sec, ISO 800. Purposely underexposed a little for faster shutter speed, then open up shadows in Adobe Camera Raw & sharpen and reduce noise.


I was not using a flash on these, so I purposely underexposed the Raw image to get a higher shutter speed because there was a slight breeze and they were swaying with the breeze,. Then in Adobe Raw I lightened up the exposure, reduced the noise and sharpened the image. I was using a Canon 7D body which has a little more noise to start with, so I only underexposed by about 1 stop.

_MG_0537 yd damselfly in grasses v2

Closeup Vertical Composition of Eastern Forktail Damselfly on Tall Grass in Evening. Canon EOS 7D with Sigma 150mm OS f/2.8 Macro, Gitzo 1325 Tripod, Available Light, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 800, Purposely underexposed a little for faster shutter speed, then open up shadows in Adobe Camera Raw & sharpen and reduce noise.

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