Distant Dragonfly Closeups

A closeup uncropped image of a Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly. It was in a small pond but off in the distance in the middle of the pond. It was about 8 feet from the edge of the pond. To get this close to Dragonflies that I can not get close to I have come up with a method to get detail images of them. I was using a 400mm f/4 DO lens with multiple stacked extension tubes between multiple teleconverters. With this setup I had to use an on-camera flash with a “Better Beamer” Flash Extender to light the dragonfly because of all the light loss with multiple extension tubes & teleconverters . This dragonfly was about 8 ft out in the water. You can see the flash hotspot on the eye. Changing the order of the extension tubes and different sizes of the teleconverters gives you different zones of manual focus. Also you have to try different exposures because Auto Exposure does not work with all the extension tubes & teleconverters. After trying this for a while you can get nice closeups of distant Dragonflies. Also you usually get nice “clean” & smooth backgrounds. It takes some practice but you can get some interesting images of distant Dragonflies.

Great Blue Skimmer, 2img Pano, 400mm DO lens, 1DmkIV, f11, Extension Tubes & Stacked Teleconverters
Great Blue Skimmer, 400mm DO lens, 1DmkIV, f11, Extension Tubes & Stacked Teleconverters
An iPhone image of the of 400mm DO lens with extension tube, teleconverter, another extension tube & another teleconverter

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

Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

I was photographing dragonflies at a local park when I noticed this female Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly off to the side. I quickly switched from the usual dragonfly subjects and got a few images of this one before it flew off. I was using a 400mm lens with an extension tube to be able to focus closer for Dragonflies. All images were taken @ f/11 giving a little more depth of field yet still have smoother cleaner backgrounds.Great Blue Skimmer_FM_DM_300_1_4X_v2_76A5733

Great Blue Skimmer_FM_V3_76A5723

Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly Detail Shots

One of my favorite subjects are Dragonflies & Damselflies. The trouble is l have a wide variety of favorite subjects! This series was shot a few years ago at a somewhat local tree covered stream in Mahwah NJ. I could not get real close because of the stream they were over so I used a Canon 400mm DO lens with extension tubes. This enabled me to get somewhat frame filling images with a very smooth background. With the extension tubes I lost quite a bit of light so I used a Canon flash for filling in the shadows somewhat. Also because of the extension tubes, I had a limited depth of field that gave me extremely soft smooth backgrounds.

The Featured image was shot at f/8, 1/200th second @ ISO 1250, 2 images for a focus stack to get detail in the left wing, with an exposure compensation of -1.33 because of the fill flash. This also made the background a little darker

Great Blue Skimmer_v1_400mmDO_Fill_flash_Ext_Tubes_43G5662

Image taken @ 1/60 th sec., f/11, -0.67 Exp. Compensation, ISO 1250

Great Blue Skimmer_v2_f8_1-60sec-400mm_Fil_Flash_43G5800 copy

Image taken @ 1/125 th sec., f/8, -1.33 Exp. Compensation, ISO 1250

Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly

I have not photographed as many Dragonflies this year as I have in other years. Maybe because I have been working on a few personal projects. I found these female Great Blue Skimmers at Plainsboro Preserve which is a Preserve and Nature Center along with an Audubon Center. It is about 1,000 acres, with a 50 acre lake and miles of nature trails. So it is a fun place to wander around and look for photo subjects, especially Dragonflies! On this day we mostly saw Great Blue Skimmers. Lately I use a 300mm f/4 Canon lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter for photographing Dragonflies. It allows me to get close images and seems to work well @ f/11 for getting detail, but still have a somewhat soft background. Sometimes I will go to f/8 for the series if the background is busier and shoot a series with more focus points. I then blend the images in Photoshop, to keep a softer background for my Dragonfly images but still get more of the dragonfly in focus.

Great Blue Skimmer_FM_DM_300_1_4X_v2_76A5733

Head-On View, 300mm w/ 1.4X Teleconverter

Great Blue_Skimmer_V2_FM_DM400mm_1_4X_ v1

Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly – 3/4 view from behind

Great Blue Skimmer_FM_DM_300_1_4X_v3_5746

Female Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly – Side view, Single image

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