Dragonflies and Damselflies

Aug 16, 2012
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#1
Birds have become so scarce this time of year and the heat keeps them hidden in the thick foliage, so what does a bird photographer do? Well, I have suddenly become hooked on dragonflies and damselflies. Portraits can be fun and you can sneak up on them easily. And it's perfect for the opportunistic photographer with lightweight gear, and you don't need very long telephotos. Dragonflies in flight are something different - they can be really difficult to track and focus on. I thought I could never capture them but the 100-400mm II on a 5DIV or 5DSR has proven to be brilliant. So, I am starting a new thread just devoted to dragonflies and damselflies. I'll start with a couple of Banded Demoiselles in flight. They are tiny and fly very erratically. I must admit I didn't even know their name or that they even existed a week ago. But, I am now addicted.
bandeddemoiselle_inflight3Q7A6186-DxO_VVG.jpg
bandeddemoiselle_inflight_3Q7A6233-DxO_bVVVG.jpg
 
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Aug 16, 2012
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#4
Here are two from yesterday of which I am quite proud. Again on the 5DSR + 100-400mm II. These are much closer, much larger and far more difficult to capture because they are close.
commondarter_flying_3Q7A5877-DxO_darter_flying.jpg
commondarters_M&F_3Q7A5905-DxO__flying_ovipositing_.jpg
The first is a male Common Darter in mid flight. The second is of a male and female Common Darter in the process of ovipositing - spraying eggs into the water. The male guards the female. What is remarkable is that by shear fluke you can see the eggs being released from the female.
 
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Nat_WA

Thinking of a new line... Ow, that hurts
Aug 15, 2017
573
130
Netherlands
#5
Birds have become so scarce this time of year and the heat keeps them hidden in the thick foliage, so what does a bird photographer do? Well, I have suddenly become hooked on dragonflies and damselflies. Portraits can be fun and you can sneak up on them easily. And it's perfect for the opportunistic photographer with lightweight gear, and you don't need very long telephotos. Dragonflies in flight are something different - they can be really difficult to track and focus on. I thought I could never capture them but the 100-400mm II on a 5DIV or 5DSR has proven to be brilliant. So, I am starting a new thread just devoted to dragonflies and damselflies. I'll start with a couple of Banded Demoiselles in flight. They are tiny and fly very erratically. I must admit I didn't even know their name or that they even existed a week ago. But, I am now addicted.
We've had some dragonflies and damselflies before in this forum, but not that many "in flight"... So hard to get and keep them in view and in focus!
Great shots Alan, and very nice to see the 'banded' with its special wings.
The one with the Darters oviposting is also quite special! V. well done.
Wiebe.
 
Likes: AlanF
Apr 5, 2013
101
8
#6
Very interesting new thread, Alan.
And several great shots above to get it started.

I can add a few shots of (in Danish) Blåbåndet Pragtvandnymfe - in Latin Calopteryx splendens from June 2016.
All made with Canon 6D and Tamron 150-600 (Mk I).
IMG_2681.jpg


A comment on technique: On the following three shots, I focused on the bud of the plant, as I had noticed, that the insects returned to that place regularly.
IMG_2908-2.jpg
IMG_2956.jpg
IMG_3021.jpg
 
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Aug 16, 2012
4,418
640
#13
Ruddy Darters mating. The Ruddy differs from the Common Darter most obviously by its club-shaped body. I had the 400mm DO II + 1.4xTC on the 5DSR for this - a fearsomely sharp combo. It's as sharp at 560mm as the 100-400mm II is at 400mm, but with the added 2x number of pixels.


ruddydarter_mating_3Q7A4283-DxO_ruddydarter_pair.jpg
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,263
146
Germany
#14
Hi Alan!

Really great shots you made here!
I tried such (DIF) myself this summer but miserably failed :(
Even though I know that those demoiselles have a territorial behavior and start from and return to a certain raised hide.


...
Dragonflies in flight are something different - they can be really difficult to track and focus on. I thought I could never capture them but the 100-400mm II on a 5DIV or 5DSR has proven to be brilliant.
...
As I have similar equipment (5D3 and 100-400 II) I'd really like to know more about your settings and photo technique here.
Thanks in advance for your help.

Very interesting new thread, Alan.
...
A comment on technique: On the following three shots, I focused on the bud of the plant, as I had noticed, that the insects returned to that place regularly.
...
Thanks for those hints, PK. Also great shots.
I've tried similar things but the demoiselles were to fast for me, in an out of the framing :(
 
Aug 16, 2012
4,418
640
#15
Hi Alan!

Really great shots you made here!
I tried such (DIF) myself this summer but miserably failed :(
Even though I know that those demoiselles have a territorial behavior and start from and return to a certain raised hide.



As I have similar equipment (5D3 and 100-400 II) I'd really like to know more about your settings and photo technique here.
Thanks in advance for your help.


Thanks for those hints, PK. Also great shots.
I've tried similar things but the demoiselles were to fast for me, in an out of the framing :(
Neutral on tracking, manual speed 1/3200s, wide open, auto iso and centre 9 points on focussing. We old'uns are pretty fast with our hands and feet.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,263
146
Germany
#17
Neutral on tracking, manual speed 1/3200s, wide open, auto iso and centre 9 points on focussing. We old'uns are pretty fast with our hands and feet.
Same settings here, although I've tried 1/2000 to reduce high ISO values.
So it seems that next time I've got to work more on patience, fast refexes and hands ;)
 
Aug 16, 2012
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#20
You don't need the fanciest of equipment. Here is a female Banded Demoiselle taken by me with the 5DSR and 100-400mm II at 400mm, and one from the opposite side by Mrs point-and-shoot at 100mm with the M5 and EF-M 18-150mm (which I really do think are great). The colours are quite different because of the different backgrounds.
Banded_demoiselle_female_2B4A0633-DxO_damselfly.jpg
Banded_demoiselle_female_IMG_5070-DxO_.jpg
 
Likes: Berowne