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Dragons, Damsels, and a Butterfly, w/ Olympus 300/4 PRO

Discussion in 'Nature' started by faithblinded, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Best Dragonfly lens ever! Ok maybe not ever. I haven't tried every lens ever. But really, this package is so perfect. The maximum magnification is enough to fill the frame with a large dragon, at a distance that lets the bug be comfortable. At the minimum focus distance, it takes on a borderline microscopic quality, rendering macro level detail and microcontrast that it seems like it shouldn't be able to do. I keep being surprised how much I love this lens for large bugs, frogs, and anything near macro.

    So I went for a hike at my favorite spot today, and the dragons are finally getting up in numbers. I spent an hour and a half, stalking through the shallows in my rubber boots, squatting down with my rear dipping into the water(actually refreshing in the hot sun), chasing the dragons and damsels. I think it was worth it. I shot some dragons I've never seen before, and got some really nice shots of a pair depositing eggs here and there.

    This was the second perched dragonfly I saw, and it was one I haven't seen before. I really love the magical blend of blues in it's eyes:
    P6020541-X2.
    The last dragon decided it, I was going to take the time to stalk them for a while. I spent the first half hour with nothing to show, but saw lots of action in the air. I stumbled into this linked pair depositing eggs in the shallows, and they stayed close for 5 minutes, so I had great opportunity to shoot them:
    P6020581-X2.
    They kept going back and forth, so I had several opportunities to see them from front and back. I snapped this while they were facing away from me. The level of detail captured in the base of the wings feels microscopic.
    P6020698-X3.
    Then they turned back around. I think they laid an egg every few inches on this floating reed:
    P6020683-X2.
    And here's a shot with the focus on her dropping an egg, or making the motion at least. As I understand it, the female decides whether or not to do so, it isn't always a guarantee.
    P6020708-X2.
    After a few minutes, I guess they were happy with the work they did on this reed, and they moved on, out of my sight. I went back to looking for other dragons. I kept stirring up these tiny blue and green damselflies, but lost them in the grass just as quickly. This one wasn't as clever as the rest, and I managed to keep my eye on him, despite him dancing around the grass like a squirrel on a tree trunk.
    P6020853-X2.
    I guess it was lucky, as shortly thereafter I managed to spot another one take a new perch. I'm waiting on a friend to help ID them tomorrow.
    P6020885-X3.
    I spent another 15 minutes or more after that having little luck. I stepped out of the shallows onto spongy land for a minute, and found this guy chillin on a reed. I have never seen this variety before, and I am blown away by his color. These images aren't altered or juiced on color, he's really that neon green:
    P6020900-X2.
    He was the most agreeable dragonfly. Every time my movements startled him to fly off, he took a new perch a few feet away, offering me a different view each time. He's good people. I hope he has many thousands of offspring.
    P6020920-X2.
    I know it's the same guy, but he's just so damn beautiful!
    P6020944-X2.
    Only once did he land and give me a head on view. It's the only time I managed to freeze the eyes close enough to really capture the detail of the lens seperation demonstrably. They have a crazy number of lenses, at anything but absolute max magnification, they look smooth as glass, even in perfect focus.
    P6020969-X3.
    P6020970-X2.
    After that guy, I was completely satisfied with my day, and decided to begin the hike back to my Jeep. It was on the path back, when I saw my first butterfly of the season. Moths have been out for a while, but this was the first butterfly for me. I'm not sure if it's a viceroy or a monarch:
    P6021103-X2.
    A little ways down the path from the butterfly, I went into the brush to shoot a little video of the landscape, and stumbled into this lovely damselfly sunning itself and fanning it's wings. I only got a couple frames before it disappeared:
    P6021247-X2.
    I was nearly back to the small path that leads back to my Jeep, when I decided to pass it, and go a little further, to sit on a comfy log I knew about. It's a nice place to relax in the shade and have a last listen to the forest before I head homeward. Wouldn't you know it, two dragonflies, of a variety I haven't seen before, were fluttering on said log. They let me get close, and while my noise startled them when I approached, every time I stopped moving, they returned to the log. Here's the last dragons of the day:
    P6021374-X3.

    P6021331-X3.
    Thanks for taking the time to read and look through. It was a really rewarding day for me. I may become obsessed with shooting dragons after this...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
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  2. Zuri

    Zuri Mu-43 Regular

    155
    Apr 20, 2016
    Wow... beautiful shots. Very impressed by this lens. Such a small and interesting creatures.

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Mu-43 app
     
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  3. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks Zuri!
     
  4. Zuri

    Zuri Mu-43 Regular

    155
    Apr 20, 2016
    Were you using just the lens or any type of macro adapter/tube?

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Mu-43 app
     
  5. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Just the 300/4. No extension tubes, or add on lenses. It's incredible at minimum focus range. High magnification for a super telephoto.
     
  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Great story and even better photos. That lens does seem like it will make a great larger small thing closeup lens. I really hope the EM1mk2 is what I'm expecting so I can pick up a 300/4.
     
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  7. Harvey Melvin Richards

    Harvey Melvin Richards Photo Posting Junkie

    Feb 15, 2014
    Southwest Utah
    Great photos. For me, the close up capabilities of the 300 are more impressive than the distant abilities. Now if I could just find such a magnificent bunch of dragon flies.


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
     
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  8. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Regular

    181
    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    No matter how great the lens is, capturing those little flying critters is pretty damned tough. Nice work.

    Now, does anyone have $2499 I can borrow?
     
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  9. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Congrats on making the front page, well deserved.
     
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  10. mpresley

    mpresley Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Sep 13, 2012
    Wolfe City, TX
    Michael
    Stunning shots! Don't know if it's the perfect lens for this, but it definitely works well for you.
     
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  11. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks! You'll have to look elsewhere for your lens fund. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to pay for the 8mm and the 7-14...
     
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  12. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks man. A pleasant surprise for sure.
     
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  13. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks. I get better results with dragons and damsels now than I ever did with my real macro lenses. It's mostly the working range. If Panasonic or Olympus released a super telephoto true Macro lens, I'd be on it in a heartbeat. Maybe a macro version of the venerable 4/3 150/2 Little Tuna. That would rock my world in so many ways. For now, I really can't complain. The results with the 300/4, particularly when focus stacked, can be remarkable.
     
  14. dh202

    dh202 Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Dec 27, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Absolutely wonderful captures Ken !Thanks for posting!
    David
     
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  15. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Not real sure what lens would work better for this type of photography. You don't need 1:1 ability for dragons if you are wanting to photograph the entire dragon (for head shots sure, but not full body). I can think of no other telephoto lens out there that gives close to the reproduction ratio of the 300 Pro. It is the working distance and reproduction ratio that the 300 Pro that makes it very well suited to this type of photography. Plus the focus bracketing of the OMD's make it a wonderful combination and much faster then trying to focus bracket a living insect manually.
     
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  16. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    Wonderful work Ken!

    Been wondering about just this application of the new lens but don't own it yet. Been thinking I'd try focus stacking using fast bursts & moving a bit closer during the burst. Will give that a try w/ the MZ75-300.
     
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  17. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Thanks David. These bugs are fun to chase.
     
  18. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    Yeah I do sometimes wish I had the option to pull closeups headshots of the dragons. But for everything else here it's pretty darn awesome. I need to take out my extension tubes and see if they will work with Micro Tuna.
     
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  19. faithblinded

    faithblinded Mu-43 Top Veteran

    929
    Nov 25, 2014
    Cleveland, OH
    Ken
    It's an amazing lens for focus stacking. The in camera bracketing makes it so easy. Can't you use focus bracketing with the 75-300?
     
  20. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Should be able to. In camera focus stacking is the only one that limits which lens you can use. Well focus bracketing is limited to only ยต4/3 lenses, so no focus bracketing with the little tuna.