Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photographing Dragonflies and Damselflies

 Eastern Forktail -Ischnura verticalis
I decided to update my blog on dragonflies and damselflies from July 21, 2011.  Most of my dragonfly/damselfly photography has taken place in southeastern Massachusetts and I have photographed around 21 to 22 different species of the hundred and 66 species that have been recorded in Massachusetts.  The hardest part, at times is identifying the species of Odonata.  I utilize two different books: "Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East" by Dennis Paulson, published by Princeton University Press, 2011; and "A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts 2nd Edition (2007) " by Blair Nikula, Jennifer Loose, and Matthew Burne
$20.00 ($15.00 per copy for orders of 25 or more)







Newly revised and updated 2nd Edition of this popular field guide.Features 197 pages of color photographs of adult males and females, illustrations of diagnostic characters for groups such as the Enallagma and Somatochlora, and range, flight period, habitat, and behavior notes. It is the first guide to cover all 166 species found in the Commonwealth, and as the range of many Massachusetts species extends well beyond our borders, will be useful to those interested in dragonflies and damselflies throughout the northeast.
Click here for Order Form http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dfg/nhesp/publications/nhesporderform.pdf   

My basic equipment includes DSRL, a macro lens (I usually use a 180 mm Tamron), extension tubes, tripod, remote shutter release.  I will have on a pair of knee pads to help protect my knees when I am kneeling.  The reason I use the 180 mm macro lens is because dragonflies and damselflies can be skittish and this lens helps keep me a further distance away, but still has 1:1 capability.  On occasions, I will utilize a flash attached to the front of the lens for fill flash.  Depending on the lighting, I choose my ISO, which can range from 200 to 800.  Because macro lenses being close to the subject have a shallow depth of field, I try to use an f-stop of at least  f/8.  My shutter speed is usually at the minimum, 1/250th second.  Try to get parallel to the Odonata so the whole subject is in focus.  Although, many times is impossible, so make sure the head and eyes are in focus.

An important fact, is to watch and learn the Odonata behavior.  With a number of species of Odonata they have predictable behavior and will land on or around the same perch all what time, which helps with you setting up your lens and getting them in focus.

On these hot days in summer, get up early, go out and photograph dragonflies and damselflies.

 Variable Dancer, Violet Dancer - Argia fumipennis

 Eastern Forktail -Ischnura verticalis

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Blue Dasher - Pachydiplax longipennis

Blue Dasher - Pachydiplax longipennis

Blue Dasher - Pachydiplax longipennis

Chalk-fronted Corporal

Common Pondhawk - Erythemis simplicicollis

Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus)

Ebony Jewelwing - Caloptryx maculata

Eastern Forktail -Ischnura verticalis

Ebony Jewelwing - Caloptryx maculata

familiar Bluet -Enallagma civile

Fragile Forktail - Ischnura posita

Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami)

Slaty Skimmer - Libellula incesta

Ruby Meadowhawk Dragonfly - Sympetrum rubicundulum

Ruby Meadowhawk Dragonfly - Sympetrum rubicundulum

New England Bluet (Enallagma laterale)

Slaty Skimmer - Libellula incesta

Slender Bluet - Enallagma traviatum

Slender Bluet - Enallagma traviatum

Violet Dancer - Argia fumipennis

Violet Dancer - Argia fumipennis

Violet Dancer - Argia fumipennis
Ebony Jewelwing - Caloptryx maculata

Violet Dancer - Argia fumipennis