Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dragonfly Summer

Canon EOS 20D - EF 300mm - 25mm tube - f8 - 1/2000sec - flash - ISO 1600

Canon EOS 20D - EF 300mm - 25mm tube - f8 - 1/750sec - flash - ISO 800

I had been wandering around aimlessly and had stopped at a wetlands that I frequently stop at as I had not stopped in some time. I commented to myself that I had been noticing a lot of Dragonflies as well as Damselflies this summer, as I made my way along the edges looking for likely subjects for my camera. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could shoot a photo of a Dragonfly while he was hunting Mosquito's. It proved to be a whole lot more challenging than I thought it would be. I had been at it for some time with nothing to show for my efforts but a lot of blurry out of focus Dragonflies pics, and decided that there had to be a better way. I had given up and was half sitting and lying on the ground observing what was going on around me when I noticed that I had seen a Dragonfly going past me on a regular interval. I started paying more attention and realized it was the same Dragonfly and he was following a pattern.

Not only was he following a pattern but I came to realize that he had a territory that he flew the perimeter of as he hunted Mosquito's. The area of his territory was about 5 meters by ten meters and he kept other Dragonflies out of his territory if they dared to stray within it. I set myself up on one side of his territory where he passed by me at a distance of about two to three meters every minute or so. Having found some consistency in his flying proved to be the key to my getting some photos of a Dragonfly in flight. As to my set up I had my 300mm lens with a 25mm extension tube in place on my camera. I had the IS (image stabilizer) turned on and the AF ( auto focus ) turned off. I also used fill flash as part of my setup. I had a mono pod in place for support as it helps steady the camera, although I leave the locks loose so that I can pan as the Dragonfly approaches and passes by.

As to settings, I found that I needed a shutter speed of a minimum of 1/2000 of a second or I got blurred images. I found that I liked the results I was getting with a aperture setting of f8. I found the behaviour of the Dragonfly quite interesting as I observed him picking off Mosquito's in mid air. He checked out any flying insect that strayed in his territory, however he seemed to have a liking for mainly Mosquito's. Not once in a hours time did he ever land and seemed to have a inexhaustible source of energy. I found that I managed to get a good capture for approximately every six shots I fired. As to the other bugs I have posted here, they wandered within firing range of my camera while I was on Dragonfly patrol.

You may see more results if you click on "Bugs" in my galleries.

Canon EOS 20D - EF 300mm - 25mm tube - f16 - 1/30sec - flash - ISO 800

Canon EOS 20D - EF 300mm - 25mm tube - f16 - 1/45sec - flash - ISO 400

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