« on: October 08, 2014, 03:39:11 PM »
Thanks for all the replies guys.
Static shots for me are not such a problem (if you have even a moderate amount of patience) but in-flight shots appear to be orders of magnitude more difficult. I imagine it takes dedication and fair bit of luck to get good in-flight shots. I can't really control my luck but I can understand my equipment, improve on my technique and be prepared for how the subject might behave.
In my case, practice makes "not terrible all of the time". When they hover, there is a decent chance of getting some shots in flight. Or, soon after they take off is another option.
In terms of bodies I'd probably be using a 5D-III or a 60D attached to Tamron's 70-200mm f/2.8 VC or 150-600mm VC but was also considering using the lightweight 135mm f/2 L. (I got a "free" monopod with my 70-200 which I hardly ever use so I should definitely give it a try...)
Fast focus is critical, so I would think that a 5D3 (which I have) would be light years better than a 6D. The not-yet-real 7D2 looks like it would be a perfect camera as well if you're thinking about getting another one.
I'm quite interested in learning more about their behavior. They tend to fly quite erratically so the better I can understand what they might do, the better I can frame up shots or know where to spend time setting up and waiting for the kind of shots I'm looking for. Hopefully it's not all about running and gunning. Any recommended reading/viewing?
http://www.amazon.com/Dragonflies-Damselflies-Princeton-Field-Guides/dp/0691122830 is the bible for the Eastern US.
A couple more questions in terms of techniques:
Do you guys actively track with single point or expanded-AF, or do you rather use manual focus and shoot a burst as they fly through the DoF?
I use both MF and AF. If I'm using the 400mm and an extension tube, or if I'm shooting damselflies, I almost always use MF and take a few shots while moving in and out. The DoF is so micro-thin that AF will miss the eyes as often as not (mostly because of my shaky hands.)
What shutter speed will allow for just a tiny bit of motion blur? 1/1000s or 1/1250s? I've attached a shot I took in my garden a couple days ago similar to what I want to achieve in terms of the look of the flight (with motion blur in the wings). The shot of the bee is at 1/800s.
This shot was at 1/1600, so depending on how much blur you're looking for, around 1/1000 should help keep the body sharp while showing some wing blur.