Dragonflies and Damselflies

AlanF

Stay at home
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Aug 16, 2012
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I took out the old 100-400mm II on the R5 to remind myself how well it performs for dragonflies in flight. Some Banded Demoiselles were flitting around and a Female Emperor Dragonfly gave a cameo performance, photobombed by a Common Blue Damselfly.

309A1226-DxO_banded_demoiselle_flying-2_00x.jpg
309A1221-DxO_banded_demoiselle_flying-2_00x.jpg
309A1208-DxO_Female_empress_dragonfly_flying-0.4-2_00x.jpg
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
CR Pro
Nov 7, 2013
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Talking about highlights and backlit ... how about backlit DIF?
Again a green-eyed hawker. Those seem to be the "easiest" to DIF for me.

green_eyed_hawker_DIF18.JPG


green_eyed_hawker_DIF19.JPG


This second set is not so sharp and less detail but more for our avionic experts:
Look at the hind wings and the work angle. Looks like flaps on a plane, doesn't it?

green_eyed_hawker_DIF20.JPG


green_eyed_hawker_DIF21.JPG
 
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AlanF

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Aug 16, 2012
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Raptors

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Jun 26, 2013
83
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Canada
I really love those different colors and colorful wings compared to most old world dragonflies
:)
Thanks Maximilian. I think I identified them correctly, with the help from the app seek.

I’ve been trying to capture them in flight…easier said than done!
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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Nov 7, 2013
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I’ve been trying to capture them in flight…easier said than done!
If you want some advice, please let us know.
I cannot tell you about R5 AF settings but I am sure AlanF could do.
Most important is to observe their behavior and look for the spots where they hover for about 5 to 10 seconds.
But this can differ a lot between species. Good luck anyway. (y)
 

Raptors

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Jun 26, 2013
83
45
Canada
If you want some advice, please let us know.
I cannot tell you about R5 AF settings but I am sure AlanF could do.
Most important is to observe their behavior and look for the spots where they hover for about 5 to 10 seconds.
But this can differ a lot between species. Good luck anyway. (y)
I'd love your advice.:) You, Alan and several others have taken some really awesome shots!
I did observe them for about 2 hours (while waiting for the Osprey to arrive, what I learned is that this species
hover for about 2 seconds and not in the same location! I did try to pre-focus at the approximate distance but the auto focus
(and myself) really struggled.
I did manage to capture a few in flight but not the best shooting angle.

Prince Baskettail
R5 EF 100-400mm
_MS_3392-1.jpg
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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Nov 7, 2013
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Prince Baskettail
R5 EF 100-400mm
I think that pic is quite a start, isn't it? ;)

I'd love your advice.:) You, Alan and several others have taken some really awesome shots!
I did observe them for about 2 hours (while waiting for the Osprey to arrive, what I learned is that this species
hover for about 2 seconds and not in the same location! I did try to pre-focus at the approximate distance but the auto focus
(and myself) really struggled.
Yeah! Sometimes it's hard. See my post about my tries on anax.

When I go out with my 5D4+100-400LII+1.4xExt. for DIF I typically use the following settings:
Bright sunny day, you'll need light, more light.
5D4 in Servo AF, Mode 4, 9 center AF points, sometimes full AF area, if they don't hover well enough.
Metering mostly partial or sometimes spot metering, esp. with dark bg.
Manual mode with auto ISO. Edit: with 5D4 I try to stay below ISO2000 to get more detail.
1/1000 - 1/1600, f/8 - f/10, for dragonflies, if they hover long I try 1/800 for wing blur effects
1/1600 at least, f/8 - f/10, for damselflies

I move around the pond or lake to see where they are and where they come back and hover.
And when I find a promising spot I do the same as you do: pre-focus and so on.
I've trained myself to look through the VF and at the same time past the camera with the other eye.
And then: patience, patience, patience! And retry. The AF and I, we both had some hard times, too.
For the anax I've waited maybe 2 to 3 hours, had maybe 30 chances to focus, three times the AF worked and I got 20 pic with 3 mediocre keepers.
The green-eyed hawkers and the downy emeralds hovered so often for more than 5 sec, that I needed just 5 chances to get double the pics and really pleasing results.
And last year the downy emeralds never hovered. Last year the anax never came closer than 30 m. No chance for anything.
So return as often as you can and like and stay patient.

For the demoiselles in flight it took me 5 years for decent results as they are always totally erratic in flight behavoir.

I hope, that helps a bit.
 
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AlanF

Stay at home
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Aug 16, 2012
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My technique is very different for dragonflies in flight. Wide open lens, no extender and preferably 400mm on full frame. Fully manual settings as I don't want auto iso changing exposure during a burst when I track against different backgrounds. With the 5DIV and 5DSR I used centre 9 points (or group with Nikon DSLR). With the R5 I use full tracking mode. I don't have Maximilian's patience, and neither does my wife when she is waiting for me, so I have to be quick.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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... I don't have Maximilian's patience, and neither does my wife when she is waiting for me, so I have to be quick.
It would be great to get similar results with less effort. And for sure, if wife and/or children are with me I'll have to be quick, too :ROFLMAO:
And I gained the patience mostly because of the COVID lockdowns because I simply had more time to spend.
 
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Raptors

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Jun 26, 2013
83
45
Canada
I think that pic is quite a start, isn't it? ;)


Yeah! Sometimes it's hard. See my post about my tries on anax.

When I go out with my 5D4+100-400LII+1.4xExt. for DIF I typically use the following settings:
Bright sunny day, you'll need light, more light.
5D4 in Servo AF, Mode 4, 9 center AF points, sometimes full AF area, if they don't hover well enough.
Metering mostly partial or sometimes spot metering, esp. with dark bg.
Manual mode with auto ISO. Edit: with 5D4 I try to stay below ISO2000 to get more detail.
1/1000 - 1/1600, f/8 - f/10, for dragonflies, if they hover long I try 1/800 for wing blur effects
1/1600 at least, f/8 - f/10, for damselflies

I move around the pond or lake to see where they are and where they come back and hover.
And when I find a promising spot I do the same as you do: pre-focus and so on.
I've trained myself to look through the VF and at the same time past the camera with the other eye.
And then: patience, patience, patience! And retry. The AF and I, we both had some hard times, too.
For the anax I've waited maybe 2 to 3 hours, had maybe 30 chances to focus, three times the AF worked and I got 20 pic with 3 mediocre keepers.
The green-eyed hawkers and the downy emeralds hovered so often for more than 5 sec, that I needed just 5 chances to get double the pics and really pleasing results.
And last year the downy emeralds never hovered. Last year the anax never came closer than 30 m. No chance for anything.
So return as often as you can and like and stay patient.

For the demoiselles in flight it took me 5 years for decent results as they are always totally erratic in flight behavoir.

I hope, that helps a bit.

Wow, thanks Maximilian and Alan! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge.

The dragonflies that were on my property have now moved on, so my recent images were taken along the Grand River (largest river in Southwestern Ontario, 280km). Its been pretty humid here recently, sometimes reaching 35°C, but feeling like 40°C when you factor in the humidity…too hot for me lol

When it cools off, I will head out and try your suggestions.

Thanks again!
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
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Nov 7, 2013
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When it cools off, I will head out and try your suggestions.
We here in Germany heard about the high temps and the burns in the news, esp. in BC. I hope it will get better soon.
Lower temps could mean that maybe the dragonflies could be a little bit slower/less active.
Maybe this helps to make DIF easier. ;)
 

Raptors

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Jun 26, 2013
83
45
Canada
We here in Germany heard about the high temps and the burns in the news, esp. in BC. I hope it will get better soon.
Lower temps could mean that maybe the dragonflies could be a little bit slower/less active.
Maybe this helps to make DIF easier. ;)
A few years ago (before covid) I had planed to move out west as their summers are warm, cool nights and fairly low humidity…at least they were.
They say they can’t directly attribute this heatwave to climate change, but experts say the fingerprints of global heating are all over it.

Finally some relief by tomorrow, but they are calling for rain :( I suppose dragonflies, like many insects, are known to be strongly affected by changes in the weather. Either way, being close to nature is what I live for.




 
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