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.

 

Praying Mantis With Prey

I was looking for dragonflies in our gardens when I found this praying mantis with it’s bug meal. I was setup for dragonflies with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. So I shot a series of images, handheld, to do a stacked multi-row panorama. I ended up with 7 images for my pano. 2 rows of 3 images and an extra shot for the center. The centered shot sometimes helps for a smoother blended area in the center of the composite layered Photoshop file. I loaded all files into 1 layered PSD file and let Photoshop align the files. Then I use auto-blend to blend all the layers and combine elements for the final file which goes to the top layer. I also save the Master Layered file (just in case I need to go back for a tweak here or there). I then flatten the file for the final image. At this point if I wanted, I would run the flattened file through Nik’s Detail Extractor, then use dFine to smooth out any added noise from the Detail Extactor.

Praying Mantis_v3_300mm_1_4X_300mm_7D_MG_1225Praying Mantis_v1_300mm_1_4x_7D_MG_1244

 

 

Blue Dasher Dragonfly Focus Stacks

Here are two different Blue Dasher focus stacks. The featured image is made with 3 images. First image is focused on the head, then fore wings & then front of the hind wings. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens on a Canon 7D with a 1.4x teleconverter. I loaded each image into a layered Photoshop file and let a Photoshop align & blend the sharpest areas. The second image I wanted to mainly focus on the face but the plant was in the same focus plane as the face. I thought that might reinforce the roundness of the dragonfly head because of the roundness of the plant. I was shooting @ f/ 5.6 for a shallow depth of field.  I then focused on the fore wing because I wanted a sharp edge on the fore wing and let the rest go softer into the darker background.

Blue Dasher_v6a_MG_2271_7D_f5_6_300mm_1_4X _7D

Damselfly 8 Image Focus Stack

When I was photographing this Damselfly, I decided to shoot with the aperture wide open. I wanted a very smooth background to highlight the Damselfly and the water drops and keep a smooth background. So I shot a series of 8 images focusing on the Damselfly and the water drop covered stem. I shot a series focused on 8 different focus points, going from left to right. I was using a Sigma 150mm Macro with a 2x teleconverter. With the 2x teleconverter on my 150mm f/2.8 lens, my maximum (Aperture) f/stop was f/5.6 wide open.  (With a 2x teleconverter you loose 2 stops). I loaded the 8 images into 1 Photoshop layered file and used Photoshop to automatically align the 8 layers in the file. Next I used Photoshop to automatically pick the the sharpest areas & soft background areas in each layer for the final image. I saved that file in case I need to make minor touch ups here or there. After that I flattened the layers for my final image.

Red-Spotted Purple Butterflies

Since we are following stay at home guidelines these were taken on a photo walk at Plainsboro Preserve last year to look for dragonflies. We only saw a few dragonflies and most were very worn looking. But then we saw quite a few Red-Spotted Purple Butterflies. I was shooting @ 600mm and for closeups I did a series of different focus points and then let Photoshop align and combine the sharpest areas into the final image. The featured image was 3 shots, the one below was only 2 before it flew off.Red_Spotted Purple_Butterfly v1_PP_76A5316

Macro Sampler

WARNING _ LONG POST!!

Being we are not supposed to be out and about, especially here in NJ, I thought these images would give some an inspiration to see what you can find interesting to photograph in their own yards or close to home. You can post yours so we can see what is happening in others areas. They closed all the Parks and other outdoor spaces here and limit travel basically only for food & essentials. They are even limiting the amount of people in the stores. So here are some macro images I have taken in my own yards over the years with different types of cameras and lenses. I tend to use a variety of cameras, lenses & different types of m43 and Canon Cameras. Many times for macro images I adapt older Canon FD manual focus lenses on my m43 Panasonic or Olympus Cameras. Doing this I get an approximate FOV of 2X on these manual focus lenses plus get a longer working distance to my subjects and with increased depth of field (in simple terms). It is fun to see what you can come up with. The featured Damselfly image is taken with a Canon FD 200mm f/4 macro lens on a m43 camera. My most used FD macro is the 200mm because it gives me a longer working distance to my subjects. The following sampler of macro images are with both m43 Cameras and Full Frame Canon Cameras for an interesting Macro Mix.

Blue Dasher v2 CU 2img stk

Blue Dasher Head Shot – 200mm Canon FD Macro on m43 Camera (Full Frame Equivalent View – FOV ~400mm)

Praying_Mantis_2img stk_v4_150mm_w1_4X_210mm_6400_ISO_76A4856

Praying Mantis Portrait – 150mm Macro Canon R

Eastern Pondhawk V3_MG_2625

Eastern Pondhawk – 200mm Canon FD lens on m43 Camera (Full Frame FOV ~400mm)

Blue Dasher_v2_f16_420mm_DM 6_19_76A0627 copy

Blue Dasher, Male – 300mm Canon EF lens with 1.4X Teleconverter

WaterDrop_web_2img blend

Water Drop Panorama – 2 images, 200mm Canon f/4 FD Lens, m43 Camera

Water_Drop_stk v4

Water Drops After Rain – 3 image Panorama, 200mm Canon FD lens – Panasonic m43 body

 

H Dandelion v1 6img 200mm

6 image Focus Stack & Pano –  200mm f/4 FD Canon Lens on Panasonic m43 Body

Dandelion Natures Fireworks v2 7img stk

Dandelion 7 image Pano & Image Stack, 200mm Canon FD lens, Panasonic m43 body

Dandelion stk 5 img a1

Dandelion 5 image Image Stack for more Depth of Field, 200mm Canon FD lens, Panasonic m43 body

Spider 6 img stk m43 200mmFD v2

6 image, 200mm Canon FD macro, Panasonic m43 Body

Water_drops_flower_v1_MG_7659

1 shot, Canon FD 200mm Macro, Water Drop, Panasonic m43 Body

water drops leaf_MG_7897

200mm, Single Image – Aligned camera so I was shooting straight in to subject eliminating the need for stacking multiple images.

_MG_7679 v2

Water Drops – Single Image

Blue Dasher FM v4 yd_MG_9828

Female Blue Dasher Head Shot – 100mm Canon FD macro lens

Damselfly v3 DM 7 17_MG_8691

Damselfly – 200mm FD Canon Macro lens

Lily 9img stk v2Lum 150macro + 1_4X f4

Flower detail – 200mm Macro lens, Panasonic m43 Camera

Day Lily aftr Rain 6 17 v2

Day Lily After Rain – FD 200mm, m43 Camera

Dandelion 4img stk v2

4-images stacked in CC Photoshop, 150mm macro @ f/8

 

bud Tree wat_dropYard 6 17 v2 m43_200FD_1400394

Starburst on bud, 200mm FD on m43 Panasonic Camera

Milkweed bug eggs_onleaf v2 6 17_43G4555

Milkweed bug eggs on leaf – Panasonic m43

Day Lily stamen v1 shrt stk

Day Lily Stamen v1 – Short Stack (2 images) for softer background

Rain dropstack 3_10img

Water Drops after the Rain – 10 images @200mm m43 Olympus Camera

Raindrops 21 3img v2

3 image Short Stack – @200mm m43 Olympus Camera

Feather v1 DM v2 2017_43G7187

Single Shot – 200mm @ f/4 for Softer Background

raindrop-v1_1080512

Water Drop On Leaf – 50mm, Panasonic m43 Camera

raindrops-v1_1080610

 

catepillar-v3-lg-2016

lady-bug-v4-davidsons-mill-2016_43g6456

Lady Bug – 100mm macro

Echinacea stk end_1370720 v3

Echinacea Multi-image Pano, 200mm FD Macro lens, Panasonic m43 Camera

_Korean dogwood v1 3X 1360782

Korean Dogwood – 200mm, m43 Camera

lg bug wings v4_HP 1360998

TreeHopper (?) 200mm, Panasonic m43 Camera

1 feather fish stack  v2

200mm macro, RainDrops on Feather (looks like a fish) Panasonic GH2

Zinnia stk v3

Multi-Image Zinnia Image, 200mm m43

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damsel v2_43G2829

Teneral Eastern Forktail Damselfly, 200mm Canon FD lens, Panasonic m43 Camera

Eastern Carp Bee v3 brig 2015_MG_0230

Eastern Carpenter Bee, 200mm FD Lens, Panasonic GH2

jagged ambush bug v3_43G7000

Jagged Ambush bug, 200mm FD lens on Panasonic GH2

RainDrops on Web v1_MG_7388

Rain Drops, Multi-Image Stack, 100mm, Panasonic m43

_1260344 lichen

Lichen on Wood, 200mm, Panasonic m43 Camera

_MG_8669 damselfly v3

Damselfly, 200mm FD Macro lens, Panasonic GH2

_MG_8695 pond daselfly v3

Closer View – Damselfly, 200mm Canon FD macro, Panasonic m43 body

_1260772 v3

Water Drops on Flower Stamen, 50mm FD macro, Panasonic m43

 

Blackwater NWR Sunset

We got to where we wanted on the Wildlife Drive to photograph the setting sun, but it was not as dramatic as we had hoped for. It was still fun to photograph and got a few good images. Then we moved a little closer, around the bend towards the straightaway to the exit. These are combinations of exposure  blends for darks & lights for shadow detail and bright detail along with multi-images for size. I was using 2 cameras, one with a 24-105mm, the other with a 12-24mm. The featured image is at 105mm (5 images, blended). If you see any specks in the sky, they are birds flying through. After the sun went below the horizon we then headed back to the motel to rest up for sunrise the next day.

BWR_Sunset_v8_5img_24mm

Series of 5 images blended in Photoshop, 24mm

BWR_Sunset_v1_105mm_MAL7029

Three image blend @105mm

BWR_Sunset_v1_MAL7183

Four image blend @24mm

BWR_Sunset_v11a_MAL7027

4 img blend @88mm

BWR_Sunset_12_MAL7407

3 image blend – Sundown @24mm

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