Sample Dragonfly Images

A couple of weeks ago I was out at Hendrie Valley doing some bird photography and happened to capture some sample dragonfly images.  A few first thing in the morning, and a few more later on that same afternoon.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-800

My focus that day was on photographing birds-in-flight, specifically terns fishing. I didn’t bother changing my settings from AF-C with subject tracking as I had an initial thought that I may be able to capture the dragonflies in flight.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-500

It didn’t take too long for me to realize that I would need to study the dragonflies a lot more in order to develop a specific technique in order to capture them flying.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-900

I haven’t noticed very many dragonflies at Hendrie Valley at all this year. Perhaps the extremely high water levels of Lake Ontario played havoc with their habitat.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-800

Subsequent visits to Hendrie Valley over the past two weeks revealed that red-winged blackbirds perceive dragonflies as a ‘flying buffet’. I witnessed a number of mid-air captures by the blackbirds. Unfortunately the action was so fast and furious I had no chance to photograph the events.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-500

It was a bit of a challenge to even get images of perched dragonflies as they are very skittish at times, landing for a few seconds before they dart off again.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-360

My initial images necessitated some fairly aggressive cropping as I started out shooting them from a distance. As I became a bit more familiar with their flight paths I was able to get increasingly closer to individual subjects.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-640

Towards the end of my visit at Hendrie Valley I was able to get close enough to be just outside the minimum focusing distance of my 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm zoom. This enabled me to capture the image above. I only cropped it slightly to create some corner exits.

I’ll certainly look for more opportunities to photograph these fascinating creatures.

Technical Note:
All images were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 equipment as noted in the EXIF data. Photographs in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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2 thoughts on “Sample Dragonfly Images”

  1. Nice dragonfly photos! I also like to photograph dragonflies but they are not easy to get good photos of. You did get a lot of nice backgrounds on these. Too many of the photos I take of them have too much going on the background since I usually see them in tall grass at the sides of the trails I walk my dogs on.

    Was that the only color of the dragonflies you saw? There is a variety of different colored dragonflies that are near me.

    1. Thanks Joni – I’m glad you enjoyed the images! The only dragonflies that I could get close enough to photograph were the large brown/black/grey ones that are in the article. I did notice a few quite small, bright green ones and a few with blue colouring. They were only about 1/4 the size of the ones in the article and were too far away to photograph. As time permits I’m hoping to get back out a few more times to see if I can get more images. Like you, I really enjoyed photographing dragonflies.
      Tom

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