A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A One in a Million Shot

Or at least that is what I would have thought about photographing dragonflies in flight.
 In fact it was surprisingly simple.

I have wanted to get some dragonfly photos but had little success. Well to be honest, I hadn't really tried that hard. But after seeing some great dragonfly photos on Steve Borichevsky's blog Shooting My Universe I was encouraged to give it a try. He was kind enough to send me a link to a video he had made showing how he got those great shots. Now armed with all this intelligence I went into the field.

Well the little buggers never did land as they did in the video, but I discovered they had the same flight pattern. After making several hit and run forays driving off intruders from their territory, they would resume a holding pattern in the same general air space. I had my 70-300mm lens mounted on a monopod. I would leave it set at 70mm in order to locate the dragon in the view finder, zoom in to 300mm, manual focus and click. It was all too easy.

These shots were about the best of the lot, as you can imagine there was a lot of camera movement trying to keep him in view long enough to focus and click. I then thought how I should up the shutter speed to freeze the wings in motion. I got one shot at another location and then the show was over. They zipped off to other places and never returned. So I figure they were just curious with me, and eventually got bored moving on elsewhere to do what dragonflies do.

I include this image not only for the south end view of a northbound facing dragonfly,
but I like the background colors. Bokeh effect it is called. I just learned that.

A big thank you to Steve.



  1. Fantastic shots... I tried a too shoot one a couple weeks ago, but I wasn't quick enough. Love the colors of these lil dudes, and, as you said, the bokeh, too! =)

  2. ooh, the bokeh is gorgeous on that butt shot! but i like the helicopter poses. nice!

  3. Whoo-hoo! Dragons in flight! I'm really digging that boken in the last shot. The third shot has a lot going for it too.

  4. Beautiful, and so is the colours of the background:-)

  5. Wow! I'm glad I stopped in, your photograpghs are incredible, nice work throughout your blog! Seeing as you visit some of the same blogs I do, I thought I'd pop in & snoop around.

  6. it was the bokeh effect that I was referring to yesterday in that second photo. in some circles that's become a joke-word due to overuse and obsession over chasing the effect, but love it in the photos just above the last. those colors and swirls lend a motion effect even besides the dragonflies buzz. fantastic John. truly.

  7. Love the bokeh effect too, and actually the South end shot too.
    I though the movement of the wings added interest to the dragonfly. Good stuff.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving the nice comment.
    Yes the reflection is from the drainage ditch in the sunrise. Now that doesn't sound as pretty as early morning reflections on water does.

  8. terrific shots, and I agree to bad birds aren't easily captured

  9. These look pretty good, I can't recall getting any photos to talk about in flight with dragonflies. Perched dragonflies are easy. Enjoyed your enthusiasm.

  10. These are great John. I've never had any luck trying to get them in flight. Nice work! . . . Oh and I do love the bokeh in that last one.

  11. wow, these are great! Love the bokeh in the last one but the previous ones are just awesome! Thanks for sharing how you did it!
    I'm going to have to find some dragonflies ... none in my backyard!

  12. These are just amazing. That is some camera you have there.

  13. Simply beautiful and amazing shots.
    I was watching the dragonflies last weekend and darn they are fast!
    I'll have to check out those tips and see if I have any luck.

  14. What a great idea... using a zoom to get dragonfly images! Yours are marvelous and the bokeh effect in the last is stunning! I've tried to capture them with my macro lens and not had much success. Next time I go out in an area where they frequent, I'll give it a try with my 70-300mm lens. :-)

  15. I know that took a lot of work. Great capture!!

  16. Wow. These babies are amazing in their fancy colours.
    I love the background colours in the last one.... bokeh, eh?..... must look that up.....


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