Last of the Slaty Skimmers for this year

Another Dragonfly season is pretty much over now so I will have to find other interesting subjects to photograph. Here are some Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly images from my last visit to Davidsons Mill Pond Park before they were gone.

4 Image Focus Stack, 300mm, f/6.3, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D
Slaty Skimmer, 300mm, f/11, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D
Slaty Skimmer, 300mm, f/11, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D
4 Image Focus Stack, 300mm, f/16, 1.4X Teleconverter, Canon 7D

Slaty Skimmer 5 Image Focus Stack

Photographing Dragonflies for this year is soon coming to an end. I am only seeing a random one here or there in the local parks. This image of a male Slaty Skimmer was taken with a 300mm lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter on a Canon 7D. The 5 handheld images were taken at different focus points along the dragonfly and branch @ f/8 to keep a softer background but have detail on the wings, body & branch it was on.

Slaty Skimmer – 3 Image Focus Stack

I was looking for dragonflies and found this Slaty Skimmer at a local park for a photo subject. I wanted a colorful, softer & smoother background so I was using a 400mm f/4 Canon DO lens, with an extension tube on a Canon 1D mkIV. I shot 3 images at different focus points @ f/11. This gives me enough sharpness on the dragonfly (wingtips & tail) but still gives me a very smooth background. This makes my dragonfly stand out more from the soft background.


Teneral Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly

We finally got to go to a local park the other day for a walk. We had not been to this county park this year because of the stay at home mandate. We heard it would be very crowded because of the lifting of the stay at home mandate. I liked photographing dragonflies here, but with the crowds I decided to travel light and just take an m43 Olympus Camera with a Panasonic 100 – 300mm Lens. These images were all @ 300mm (Full Frame Camera Field of View ~ 600mm). We have never seen this park so crowded. Cars were parked everywhere, even by the small boat launch area, where you are not supposed to leave cars. Some of the prime areas to photograph dragonflies were blocked by people spread out on towels having picnics. But it was nice to get out and walk around and see what dragonflies we might find. After battling the crowds, we were on our way to the car when I noticed this Teneral Dragonfly waiting in the bushes for it’s wings to harden so it could fly. I believe it is a teneral Slaty Skimmer. The newly emerged adult will have to wait several hours before its wings dry out and become strong enough to fly. The dragonfly at this stage is called a teneral which is a Latin meaning tender or soft or delicate. This is a very critical period in the life cycle of the dragonfly. The tenerals are generally weak and they cannot fly very well. This makes them easily exposed to predators. However, it doesn’t take long for the tenerals to gain sufficient strength to make their first flight. In our old home we saw quite a few teneral dragonflies by our pond, so it was fun to see one here.







Recent Dragonfly Images

Here are a few images of Dragonflies and a Damselfly from a few local parks in our area. Most were shot with a close focusing 300mm f/4 lens with either extension tubes to get closer or 1.4X or 2X teleconverter. A few I used a Canon 400mm f/4 DO with Extension tubes and 1.4X teleconverter. The featured image is a female Eastern Pondhawk that was quite cooperative for extreme closeups. Image taken with Canon 7D, handheld, 300mm @ f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400.

BlueDasher CU v3 2imgStk_DM 7 17

Blue Dasher extreme closeup – 2 image focus stack Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4X teleconverter, w/extension tubes

Blue Dasher v2 CU 2img stk

Blue Dasher extreme closeup – 2 image focus stack Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 IS, 1.4X teleconverter, w/extension tubes (f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO 400)

Damselfly v2a DM 7 18 _HP 43G9950

Damselfly – multi image stack, 400mm f/4 DO with extension tubes, f/8, 1/50 sec, 1600 ISO, camera on tripod


Female Eastern Pondhawk- f/11, 1/320 sec, 300mm f/4 w/ 1.4X teleconverter

Dragonfly_Slaty_Blue v1_MG_3790

Slaty Blue Dragonfly, f/11, 1/160 sec, +1/3 exp. comp, 300mm w/ 2X teleconverter, Single image, flew off before focus stacking images

Slaty Blue Dragonfly v1 3 img stack

Slaty Blue Dragonfly, f/10, 1/320 sec, 300mm w/1.4X teleconverter, effective 420mm

Dragonflies From Davidson’s Mill Pond Park

We went to a local park to look for Dragonflies or other investing subjects to photograph. It seems like it is a slow start for dragonflies at this local park compared to other years. But we did manage to photograph a few different types. It was still fun to see what we could find.


Blue Dasher – male


Eastern Pondhawk – Female


Eastern Pondhawk- Male


Common Whitetail- Male


Slaty Skimmer –  Male


Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly From Davidson’s Mill Pond Park

I am going through my dragonfly images shot earlier this Summer at various locations. These are Slaty Skimmers photographed at Davidson’s Mill Pond Park in Monmouth County, New Jersey. For these I used a Canon 7D (1.6 crop sensor) 300mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter to get closer since my subjects did not want to cooperate and come closer to the edge of the pond.

Slaty_Skimmer_v8_DM 960mm

Slaty Skimmer – Side View @ 960mm (Field Of View)

Slaty Skimmer v3_MG_8604

Slaty Skimmer Closeup Wing Detail

Slaty_Skimmer_v1_DM 7_18_MG_3804

Slaty Skimmer – Side View

Slaty_Skimmer_v2_DM 7 18

Slaty Skimmer – 3/4 rear view

Slaty_Skimmer_v1 2img stk

Slaty Skimmer – Side View

Slaty_Skimmer_v3 DM 7 18

Slaty Skimmer – Side View

Slaty Skimmer v1 DM 7 18

Slaty Skimmer Wing Detail

Slaty Skimmer Head-On View

I am always trying different ways to photograph Dragonflies and Damselflies. At one location most of the dragonflies are not where I can get close to get the detail I want. So I have to come up with different ways to photograph them. Here I was trying a 300mm lens with close focusing capability. I also added a 2X teleconverter, so using a Canon 1.6 crop sensor camera I had a FOV equivalent of 960mm of a full frame camera. Some shots I also added a short extension tube between the lens and the teleconverter which also enlarges the image on the sensor a little more. But doing this you cannot focus to infinity, but I did not need that ability to photograph Dragonflies.Slaty Skimmer v1 3img_960mm_DM 7 18Slaty_Skimmer_v8_DM 960mmSlaty_Skimmer_v9_DM_960mm_MG_3912Slaty_Skimmer_v1a_DM_7_18_MG_3920

Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly

We went to Davidson’s Mill Pond Park to look for Dragonflies and whatever else we could find to photograph. We found a lot flying around both the large pond and the small pond. There was a large variety but many of the larger dragonflies are constantly zooming by, so they are hard to get photos of. But we did find about 6 different types that were more cooperative for our photo interests. Along with quite a few damselflies. It is a hard location to get closeups because the ponds are lower than the surrounding grass areas with lots of vegetation and plants blocking the smaller plants on the shoreline where most of the Dragonflies were active. I was using a 300mm f/4 IS lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 1.6x crop body. The 300mm lens can focus very close without using an extension tube. So the whole combination gave me a field of view equivalent to a 672mm lens which helped fill the frame with my distant subject Dragonflies. This is a 3 Image focus stack assembled in Photoshop for more sharpness from the head to wings & wingtips and to the tip of the tail.

Original X-Wing Fighter.

While I was photographing this Slaty Skimmer, it reminded me of the X-Wing fighter in the original Star War movies. I wonder if the Star Wars X-Wing fighter was drafted from dragonflies. I guess we will never know.

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