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Old Oct 7, 2007, 2:40 AM   #1
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I had just gotten home from work today and stepped out into the backyard to enjoy the cool breeze. As my eyes scanned over my morning glory covered fence, I spotted a dragonfly hanging out in the shade. I guess my luck with backyard dragonfly shots is still running strong. I quickly ran inside grabbed my gear and put on my extension tube.

1)



The area where the dragonfly had landed was completely in the shade. Even at ISO 800, I was only get a shutter speed of 1/100. I decided to attach my monopod for more support.

2) This was a 100% crop.



It's amazing when you examine a dragonfly closely, you discover how colorful they truly are. This particular dragonfly was quite large actually. It was about 10cm long. I actually had trouble getting the wingtips and tail end into the shot. As I tried to get in closer, I would clip some part of the dragonfly in my shots. Looks like this fellah has a moustache!

3)



Thanks for looking and commenting.

- Hung
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 8:01 AM   #2
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Truly stunning shots Hung. The moment I thought of taking its picture it would have flown away.
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 9:24 AM   #3
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The shots are elegant, the detail crisp, the lighting phenomenal.

Can you explain how you got the exquisite lighting ?

What type of equipment (make)...settings did you use ?
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 9:43 AM   #4
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Razor sharp in focusing. Things will be in the manual mode for both light metering and focusing when the ext tube is on, but evidently, they were well managed here in the shots. Congratulations! Keep up with the good work.
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 11:17 AM   #5
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Thanks guys.

Bynx - I was lucky with this guy. I found him late in the afternoon. Looks like he was done for the day and had settled down for the night. I had plenty of time to get my gear and get my shots. Actually today is the morning after and when I peeked out my backyard, he is still in that same exact spot. I'm sure when the sun hits him, he'll warm up and fly off. If you want to shoot insects, early morning is probably the best time to catch them sitting still on a branch because they haven't warmed up yet.

lesmore49 - I shot this guy in the shade. There was no direct sunlight on him. Sometimes direct sunlight is too harsh and will blow out the subtle details and colors. However when you shoot in the shade you are not going to get as fast a shutterspeed. This becomes a problem when it comes to hand motion or just the wind blowing the branch that the dragonfly is sitting on. I used a monopod for this shot to steady my camera more. As for the wind, I just had to wait and shoot in between gusts. I did try a few shots with the onboard camera flash, but I didn't like the look.

As far as my camera gear and settings:

canon 20d, canon ef 400mm f5.6, 36mm kenko extension tube, opteka monopod
i shoot in apeture priority, partial metering, jpg, auto white balance and continuous shooting mode
tv= 1/100, av= f7.1, iso= 800, ec= +1/3

wk7leung - actually i use a set of auto extension tubes from kenko.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Tube_Set.html

they have circuitry which allows full communication between the lens and the body. thus i have full autofocus and metering like normal. this set is more expensive than a plain extension tube without circuitry, but it allows me much faster shooting since i don't have to manually focus and manually set the tv and av. i find that the added expense is worth it since i mainly use the extension tubes to shoot insects and small birds which most of the time do not stay in one spot too long. i originally got the extension tubes to shoot hummingbirds, but i have yet to try it out on them.

- Hung
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 1:19 PM   #6
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Amazing, shotsHung - really superb. The lighting is surreal. It actually looks like it is sitting on a light bulb.:shock:

I'm glad you gave the size, which makes it easy to identify - it is the largest North American dragonfly - a male Giant Darner (the female is smaller and green rather than blue). And you are right about the temperature - this thing is like a piece litmus paper for temperature - that purple color is not an artifact - the normal blue color turns purple as the temperature cools! And here I thought those disposable thermometer strips they use now were a brilliant invention, but as is so often the case, Nature got there first!

BTW - Next time you try the built-in flash and findthe effect is too harsh close-up, try one or two layers of handkerchief or kleenex wrapped around with a rubber band as a makeshift diffuser -- it will soften the light (provided the flash raises up and isn't flush with the body of your camera). If your camera is on a mono- or tripod, just holding a piece of white paper in front of the flash with your free handcan do in a pinch - I've used all of these on occasion when I needed something in a hurry, and grabbed whatever was at hand. I've even usedtwo fingers held against the flash, varying the distance between them until I got the effect I wanted.
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 9:07 PM   #7
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royce10 wrote:
Quote:
...I used a monopod for this shot to steady my camera more. As for the wind, I just had to wait and shoot in between gusts. I did try a few shots with the onboard camera flash, but I didn't like the look...
Amazed. Monopod is monopod, not tripod. You just have strong arms, great patienceand, the most important of all,themeans to stabilize. By the way, last time, you asked aboutthe choice for monopod. What did you come up with finally?
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 9:26 PM   #8
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penolta - the reason why it looks like the dragonfly is sitting on a lightbulb is because i flipped the original image upside down. the dragonfly was originally facing upward.

wk7leung - i ended up buying an opteka m100 monopod off of amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-MP100-P...674&sr=8-1

it was only $22 USD and had gotten very good reviews. the monopods by manfroto and gitzo are quite a bit more expensive. i don't really see how the extra cost is going to help me getting better pics. its really just a stick. i still shoot handheld 90% of the time, but when the light gets low, i bring it out. also when i am shooting sports and am standing around for long periods, it helps alot.

- hung
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Old Oct 7, 2007, 9:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
penolta - the reason why it looks like the dragonfly is sitting on a lightbulb is because i flipped the original image upside down. the dragonfly was originally facing upward
So then it looks like it is hanging from a lightbulb.:G

Sorry. I couldn't resist.:roll:




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Old Oct 8, 2007, 8:25 AM   #10
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simply amazing... superb clarity and sharpness, wonderful detail... worthy of a magazine!two thumbs up!
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