Twelve-Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly Images

A series of Twelve-Spotted Skimmer Dragonfly images taken with a Canon 400mm DO lens with an Extension Tube added for closer focusing on a Canon 1D mkIV. I was also using a Canon 600EX-RT Flash with a Better Beamer Flash Extender for filling in the shadows & to get more detail on the Dragonfly. All images are full frame, not cropped. I was shooting @ f/8 or f/11 for a smoother clean background.

2 – Twelve-Spotted Skimmer 5 Image Focus Stacks

I was going through my some of my back-up drives to clear up space for newer images. I am trying not to add even more drives that I have to deal with! As I was clearing up space I was finding interesting images that I have not posted here. These 2 images are of a Twelve-Spotted Skimmer dragonfly that was visiting my pond at my old home years ago. Both images are a series of 5 images focused at different points along the wings, tail & head. I used to use this technique when I could not get closer to my subject Dragonflies because they were out in the middle of my pond. I lowered my camera to look a little more up and to get a more colorful background on the Featured Image. I was using a Canon 7D with a 400mm DO lens with a Canon Flash with a Better Beamer Flash Extender to fill in more details on the Dragonfly. I was also using stacked Teleconverters with extension tubes in between so I only had a limited in-focus window. Arranging the Teleconverters & Extension Tubes in different orders or different size Extension Tubes gives you different zones of focus. So it takes a little practice to get used to using this technique for predictable results! The Dragonfly was 15.4 feet away (according to the Raw Data). The focused-stacked images were loaded into a Photoshop file and auto-aligned & auto-blended for the final images. The images of the Camera Setup showing the Extension Tubes & Teleconverters placement were on a Canon 1D MkIV. I did not have an image showing the 7D with this setup!

Twelve-Spotted Skimmer, 5 image stack with very close overlaps, 400mm DO, Fill-Flash w/ Better Beamer Flash Extender.
Camera Setup with Flash Extender & flash, Teleconverters & Extension Tubes (This was from a different day so camera here is a Canon 1D mk IV)
Camera Setup with Flash Extender, Teleconverters, Extension Tubes & Flash

Twelve-Spotted Skimmer Wing Detail

The Twelve-Spotted Skimmer has an interesting wing, between the textures and the color patterns of white and black spots. If you are photographing them, they fly off to get their meal and usually return to the same perch so be ready to capture more images.

Twelve-spotted Skimmers

We have a large number of Blue Dashers at the pond, but it is fun to find other kinds of Dragonflies that are also there. The Twelve-spotted Skimmer is another dragonfly that seems to always be around, both a male and female. The Blue Dashers usually chase them off their perches and they swirl around, then come back and land. When they are feeding on bugs, it is non-stop taking off, grabbing their meal and landing to eat. So you can get a lot of shots of them in different positions, angles and most importantly, different backgrounds.

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Twelve-spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

I found this Twelve-spotted Skimmer resting on a tall grass by the pond. I liked the side view, showing the shape and body details of the Dragonfly.

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Twelve-Spotted Skimmer


This Twelve-spotted Skimmer has been hanging around the pond. It does not sit still for long, darting back and forth, chasing bugs and the Blue Dasher Dragonflies. It is constantly grabbing bugs and going back to roost and eat, then off to get another one. It seems to spend the night higher up in an evergreen tree. Then I was trying to get it flying back and forth. I am out of practice for these, but it is a start.


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Twelve-spotted Skimmer. Canon EOS1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO, Canon Extension Tube 25mm, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/7.1, 1/640 sec., ISO 800

For the flying photos I opened up to f/5.6 to try to get a little bit more shutter speed for the fast moving dragonfly. I also shot with a -0.33 exposure compensation to also boost up the speed a little more, then opened up the shadows in Camera Raw. I usually use a little fill flash with a Better Beamer for this, but did not have a flash with me. A little out of practice, but it was fun to try. Also manual focus is more reliable for these small subjects, moving in and out of grasses, etc.

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Twelve-spotted Skimmer Flying. Canon EOS1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO, Canon Extension Tube 25mm, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/5.6, 1/320 sec., -0.33 exp. compensation, ISO 800

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Twelve-spotted Skimmer flying away. Canon EOS1D MkIV, Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO, Canon Extension Tube 25mm, Canon Series III 1.4X Teleconverter, f/5.6, 1/500 sec, -0.33 exposure compensation, ISO 800

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