First photos: Dragonflies

Discussion in 'Nature' started by fluffy, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. fluffy

    fluffy New to Mu-43

    9
    Jun 29, 2010
    SW Florida
    My first photos uploaded, not my first ever taken. A blue dasher and a green darner.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Oh nice, as one insect photographer said to another

    Barrie
     
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  3. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    655
    Mar 14, 2010
    Toronto
    This is getting insectious.

    Bokeh D
     
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  4. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    the last insect i approached was a lovely specimen of a flyawayicus Fromylensicus, plainly i missed the shot........................... [ recycled humor]

    im in awe of the quality of these macros , keep em coming
     
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  5. Jim

    Jim Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    May 30, 2010
    Great photos, I love macro shots.

    Hope I'm not going to steer your thread off in a direction you don't want, but I just wanted to ask you and others how you get these fabulous shots. Do you sit and wait, hoping a Dragonfly will land on the leaf you've focused on? I'd really love to capture sharp shots like this but I find it so difficult and yet macro photography is probably my favourite type of photography.

    I tried to take some pictures of some honey bees buzzing around some lavender the other day, and they were either out of focus of only half the bee was in frame.

    I have some macro tubes to fit my minolta 50mm f1.4 lens, is this a good place to start, or should I really be looking into buying a proper macro lens.
     
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  6. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Jim,
    Your not off topic at all...I would love to have a better understanding about this also...I think many members would.

    Steve,
    I love the way you did these.....really a beautiful presentation....
    anxious minds wanna know.....
     
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  7. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    If I may be permitted to chip in as someone who also tends to specialise in macro photography.
    I think extension tubes have their place, but not for insects on the move, more for static subjects such as flowers.
    These days my lens of choice is a 4/3 mount Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro with a 4/3 to :43: adapter, this retains auto stop down but not auto focus which is no problem, close ups like this are best manual focused. This focal length of lens is good for reasonable frame filling and yet tends to keep you at a distance just outside the disturbance radius of the insect.
    Accept the fact that for moving subjects you will get a high proportion of non keepers.
    Know your subject, some insects and male dragonflies are a prime example set up a territory and will return time and time again to the same perch, so pre focusing on that perch is often a good ploy.
    My moth photographs are of moths taken from a trap and posed, but again there are moths that will co-operate and those that will not, some will fly immediately and others will sit on your finger and allow themselves to be positioned on a suitable perch for photography.
    Also early and late in the day are best, when insects are cooler they are less flighty, also if they are engaged in activities such as feeding they might be more willing to accept closer approach.
    I tend to begin taking photographs when I am further away than I really want to be, slowly moving the camera closer and adjusting focus taking pictures all the time, then if the insect does fly at least you have something, and often your shot, even if further away than intended, puts the insect in context and becomes a keeper.
    I hope this gives you guys some ideas about how to begin to tackle this subject, believe you me it's not easy but can be very rewarding.

    Barrie
     
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  8. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Thanks Barrie, that's a very good start....
     
  9. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Further thought, sometimes easier to rock the camera backwards and forwards to bring things into focus rather than trying to adjust the lens.

    Barrie
     
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  10. Jim

    Jim Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    May 30, 2010
    Thanks Barrie, excellent tips.

    I already use the method of keeping it the lens at a fixed focal point and then moving backwards and forwards to focus.
     
  11. fluffy

    fluffy New to Mu-43

    9
    Jun 29, 2010
    SW Florida
    Usually it's watching where the critters land. They're near impossible to catch in open flight - the bigger dragonflies can reach 30-35 mph - but you might catch them landing if you're sitting ready.

    Sitting and waiting is a huge help. If you know where they like to land, prefocus and preset EVERYTHING, set your camera to it's fastest fps speed, and take lots and lots of shots. Did I say take lots of shots? Use the fastest possible shutter speed: 1/100 or faster for sitting critters as they are really in constant small motion, 1/1000 or much faster if you want to try fliers. Depth of field matters, especially as speed also matters. I try some shots at f/4 or so but don't expect much; f/8 to f/11 seems optimal (you tend to get CA if you close more than that).

    Sometimes a ringflash helps, but good units are pricey.

    Start with bees, they're slow when around flowers; then dragonflies I guess. I have to admit it took me a couple of years to get a dragonfly keeper. Practice on spiders. They're interesting and don't move a lot.

    Insect shots are rarely true macro (1:1) so most lenses will get you to near macro which is what many insect shots are. The kit small zooms will even work.
     
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  12. fluffy

    fluffy New to Mu-43

    9
    Jun 29, 2010
    SW Florida
    The blue dasher was almost tame. It would sit on the warm aloe leaf and sort of pose. I could just sit there and shoot as many hundreds of shots as I needed to get it right. And I could put the front element of the lens way in close. Had to take the lens hood off for some of the shots. Every now and then it would spot something small and tasty and it would dash off, have it's snack, and return. We have a very bug rich environment around here. The green darner was more skittish, but sitting still would usually lure one of them in. Dragonflies like sun and heat. I remember long ago rowing for a few hours way up on the Hudson River. I had a dragonfly perched on my nose looking up at me for about 2 hours, never really moving.
     
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  13. fluffy

    fluffy New to Mu-43

    9
    Jun 29, 2010
    SW Florida
    YES! If you only learn one trick, this is it. Even way stopped down you have only a small DOF to work with. Pros often work on tripods with precise moving racks and sometimes double racks for movement in two dimensions. But that's almost always way over the top for near macro insect photography. Nice for studio macro, though.
     
  14. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    Wow, that is quite something!

    Great shots, fluffy. Very impressive.