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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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