Dragonflies and Damselflies

Erik X

EOS RP
Jul 26, 2013
379
610
Sweden
Got this guy today, it was obviously checking out my camera gear and came within minimum focus distance several times. I have already realized that I am too slow..

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The yellow-spotted darter looks like some kind of russian tank..

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And an almost sharp ruddy darter..

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privatebydesign

I don't preorder, I'm not a paid beta tester!
Jan 29, 2011
8,861
2,792
120
Well I don't want you guys to have all the fun! Here is my first attempt at free flying dragonflies, not as good as most here but it was fun to play with the AF settings to see how it would work under a very different to my normal shooting style. He/she was going around and around above my swimming pool in a fairly regular pattern though it didn't have any features it was using, so no plant head or twig to prefocus on. The black is just shade of a bush way in the distance.

If it helps anybody here is where I set everything, 1DX MkII, 300mm f2.8 IS. 1/3200 sec, f2.8, iso 800, manual exposure mode as the differing background kept leading to bad dragonfly exposures, lens set to 2.5-6 meter focusing limits to speed up mis-steps, all three AF variables set to max plus value, I used single point center as acquisition spot then let the AF try to keep up with it. It was an ambient around 90ºF so it had a ton of energy and was very fast and erratic. It is a good sized crop unfortunately.

I believe it is a Golden Winged Skimmer (Libellula auripennis) but am happy to stand corrected.

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Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,609
1,970
Alberta, Canada
Scott, I appreciate the settings comment. So was it all AF points starting with the center? I like to use single spot but realize it's virtually hopeless in shots like these.

Jack
 

privatebydesign

I don't preorder, I'm not a paid beta tester!
Jan 29, 2011
8,861
2,792
120
Scott, I appreciate the settings comment. So was it all AF points starting with the center? I like to use single spot but realize it's virtually hopeless in shots like these.

Jack
Hi Jack, yes all points active with the center one as an acquisition point. It actually did better than I expected as the darn thing was certainly very active. I only tried it because of this thread and the lens was on the camera and I could see it buzzing about from inside. I might try again when it is a bit earlier or where they have a stop and start point, either that or drink more coffee to match their reaction times

When all the AF settings are set to max plus the spot dances around as fast as the dragonflies do, just not always in step!
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,609
1,970
Alberta, Canada
Hi Jack, yes all points active with the center one as an acquisition point. It actually did better than I expected as the darn thing was certainly very active. I only tried it because of this thread and the lens was on the camera and I could see it buzzing about from inside. I might try again when it is a bit earlier or where they have a stop and start point, either that or drink more coffee to match their reaction times

When all the AF settings are set to max plus the spot dances around as fast as the dragonflies do, just not always in step!
Pretty much what I try to do. I have the back button programmed with complete camera settings that are aimed at being ready for that spur of the moment flight shot, which has helped me on occasion. Shutter is single spot. Right now I also occasionally use the other back button for an alternate AF - usually spot with surround. I love the choices between shutter and back button since they take zero thought and virtually zero time.

It always ticks me off a bit that Canon will only give me such features in a lower MP 1 level camera and so I await the higher level R to see they'll be up to their old tricks again. Can't they get it through their head that we want the features AND more pickles! Surely, they could incorporate high speed and lower speed modes in a single camera.

Jack
 

Erik X

EOS RP
Jul 26, 2013
379
610
Sweden
Autofocus, what is that? :p I have given up such things.. Can't keep any of the center AF boxes on the target, they are too fast for me.. :rolleyes:
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,857
5,922
Well I don't want you guys to have all the fun! Here is my first attempt at free flying dragonflies, not as good as most here but it was fun to play with the AF settings to see how it would work under a very different to my normal shooting style. He/she was going around and around above my swimming pool in a fairly regular pattern though it didn't have any features it was using, so no plant head or twig to prefocus on. The black is just shade of a bush way in the distance.

If it helps anybody here is where I set everything, 1DX MkII, 300mm f2.8 IS. 1/3200 sec, f2.8, iso 800, manual exposure mode as the differing background kept leading to bad dragonfly exposures, lens set to 2.5-6 meter focusing limits to speed up mis-steps, all three AF variables set to max plus value, I used single point center as acquisition spot then let the AF try to keep up with it. It was an ambient around 90ºF so it had a ton of energy and was very fast and erratic. It is a good sized crop unfortunately.

I believe it is a Golden Winged Skimmer (Libellula auripennis) but am happy to stand corrected.
Good shot! Re your settings: 1DX MkII, 300mm f2.8 IS. 1/3200 sec, f2.8, iso 800 manual exposure, centre point. Manual exposure is pretty well standard for birds/dragonflies etc in flight. On the 5DIV and 5DSR I find central 9 points the most effective for small erratic subjects flying in and out of frame. f/2.8 is somewhat unforgiving in dof for dragonflies close up. The 1DX MkII + 300mm f2.8 is heavy gear to move around quickly for DIF, but you are probably used to it.
 

kodakrome

EOS RP
Oct 25, 2015
254
178
Why do I like dragonflies? I like dragonflies because they're good, honest, hardworking bugs. And they're not pretentious like butterflies. Butterflies are a bunch of phonies. Butterflies hide behind those big fancy wings, and they try to pretend that they're better than the other bugs. But if you look under the butterfly wings, you can see that they're just bugs like everybody else. Dragonflies are more straight to the point.
And suppose you go out shooting right after lunch? If you run out of toothpicks, you can just grab a dragonfly. In that stiuation, a butterfly would not help at all.



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AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,857
5,922
Why do I like dragonflies? I like dragonflies because they're good, honest, hardworking bugs. And they're not pretentious like butterflies. Butterflies are a bunch of phonies. Butterflies hide behind those big fancy wings, and they try to pretend that they're better than the other bugs. But if you look under the butterfly wings, you can see that they're just bugs like everybody else. Dragonflies are more straight to the point.
And suppose you go out shooting right after lunch? If you run out of toothpicks, you can just grab a dragonfly. In that stiuation, a butterfly would not help at all.
Nice shot. But, we don't like insect prejudice in CR.
 
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Reactions: Nat_WA

Click

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 29, 2012
13,200
1,514
Canada
Well I don't want you guys to have all the fun! Here is my first attempt at free flying dragonflies, not as good as most here but it was fun to play with the AF settings to see how it would work under a very different to my normal shooting style. He/she was going around and around above my swimming pool in a fairly regular pattern though it didn't have any features it was using, so no plant head or twig to prefocus on. The black is just shade of a bush way in the distance.

If it helps anybody here is where I set everything, 1DX MkII, 300mm f2.8 IS. 1/3200 sec, f2.8, iso 800, manual exposure mode as the differing background kept leading to bad dragonfly exposures, lens set to 2.5-6 meter focusing limits to speed up mis-steps, all three AF variables set to max plus value, I used single point center as acquisition spot then let the AF try to keep up with it. It was an ambient around 90ºF so it had a ton of energy and was very fast and erratic. It is a good sized crop unfortunately.

I believe it is a Golden Winged Skimmer (Libellula auripennis) but am happy to stand corrected.

First attempt? That's a very nice shot. Well done, PBD.
 

AlanF

Stay alert, control the camera, save photos
Aug 16, 2012
6,857
5,922
The good thing with sitting ducks is that they allow focus stacking :p

But it is definitely more fun to catch dragonflies in flight
Agreed that flying is more fun. But, you can use f/16 at 4m to get quite a lot in focus (on the 5DIV here, and you can't get much closer with the 400mm DO II, which isn't the best lens for dragonflies).

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