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Old Aug 25, 2008, 12:00 AM   #11
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Wow !
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 10:38 AM   #12
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Rodney9 wrote:
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Wow !
hey rodney. long time no see. how ya been? thanks for the comment.

- hung
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Old Aug 26, 2008, 7:39 PM   #13
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absolutely beautiful.

the first three look like helicopters!

tips, please.

ellen fl
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Old Aug 29, 2008, 8:42 AM   #14
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Awesome photographs! Dragonflies are also one of my favorite subjects when I happen upon them...sadly, I don't get the results that you do.

What camera and lens combo are you using?

Edit: Surely you're not manually focusing, are you? These pics speak volumes on the quality of your lens and camera's autofocus.

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Old Aug 29, 2008, 9:24 PM   #15
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Awesome!!!!

dennis
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Old Sep 4, 2008, 5:43 PM   #16
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Thanks Ellen, J. Price, and Denis for your comments. I appreciate your input very much. Since there have been a few inquiries about how I got these shots, I will try to give as detailed an explanation as possible.

- Equipment: Canon 20D, Canon 400mm f5.6, Kenko 36mm Extension tube with internal circuitry to allow metering and autofocus as normal. I used the extension tube to shorten the minimal focus distance which in turn increases the magnification. There is no glass in the extension tube so there is no degradation in light or image quality. The canon 400mm f5.6 is not really a macro lens, but it can be used for closeups of large sized insects: dragonflies, butterflies, praying mantis, etc. It gives the advantage of a very long working distance so as to not scare off the subject.

- Settings: Apeture priority f8 for increased dof. Iso = 400. Ec = -1/3. Partial metering. Center point autofocus. Continuous shooting mode. AI Servo

- All shots handheld. Natural light. No flash.

- Inorder to photograph dragonflies in flight you need to spend some time by a pond watching them fly around. You will notice that they tend to be territorial. Each will have an area that he/she hovers over looking for food. When you find one of these circling, then I will find a spot upwind with the sun behind my back to stand and wait.
- Waiting is an important part of shooting dragonflies in flight because most of the time they are constant flitting back and forth very erratically. I do not try to shoot them when they are flying like this because it is too hard to get a focus lock.
- However there will be times when they will stop in mid air and just hover for a few seconds. That is your window to shoot.
- I having been using the canon 400mm f5.6 lens to shoot birds in flight. It is lightning fast to autofocus which helps tremendously for shooting dragonflies because that moment which they hover in the air will only last about 1-5 seconds.
- One area that I like to shoot is in the dirt paths between the ponds A and B at SJWS. The reason is because there are tall reeds that line the path. I think these tall reeds block the wind. Then the wind blows unidirectionally in an eastward direction. I will stand upwind from a circling dragonfly. I will notice that as it turns into the wind, it will fly slower and slower and then will come to a full stop and just hover in one spot. When I see it slowing down, I will raise my lens and get ready to shoot. Once it stops, I just let rip with continous shooting.
- Sometimes the dragonfly I am watching will take a break and land on a reed. I will then take some dragonfly "sitting" shots. If I am careful about not making any sudden movements, I will often have the luxury of shooting the dragonfly from as many angles as I can so that I can choose the best one at home when I am reviewing the shots on my computer.

So that's what I do. Take care guys.

- Hung

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Old Sep 4, 2008, 7:13 PM   #17
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Hung, Fantastic Shots. Thank you for the detailed method as to how you took these shots. I will have to give it a try soon.

Mugmar
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Old Sep 4, 2008, 8:52 PM   #18
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thanks for the reply, hung.

your description of your process is great. it helps me, and i'm sure others as well, to know how shots are taken to make US better photographers. i took a couple of photography classes in college . . . but that was over 35 years ago!

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Old Sep 5, 2008, 5:39 AM   #19
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royce10 wrote:
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- I having been using the canon 400mm f5.6 lens to shoot birds in flight. It is lightning fast to autofocus which helps tremendously for shooting dragonflies because that moment which they hover in the air will only last about 1-5 seconds.
As usual, a great series. The f5.6400mm really works out magic in your hands. Peter


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Old Sep 6, 2008, 8:44 AM   #20
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Super job on these Hung! Great colors and detail. Got to love the 400 5.6 for critters in flight with good light.

VP


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