Monday, June 19, 2017


A dragonfly decided to take a rest on our deck this afternoon and I was fortunate to get a few photos of it with my macro lens.  The dragonfly was huge.  In fact, when I first saw it flying around the deck, I thought it might be a hummingbird, come to drink out of our hummingbird feeder.  The good news was that the dragonfly was nicely perched on our patio umbrella and seemed totally unfazed by me or my camera, regardless of how close I got.  The bad news was that the dragonfly was perched on our patio umbrella, which has a close-grained plaid pattern that created a terrible background fro trying to capture the dragonfly's delicate features.

In any case, here is one of the better photos that I got.

This was taken with the lens only about three inches from the insect, so distance was really not a challenge.  Use of a tripod was a virtual necessity because at close distances depth of field can be extremely shallow and any change in distance from the subject can put things out of focus.  To minimize depth of field problems, it is best to use a a narrow aperture, which necessitates a longer exposure.  This was not a problem in terms of the activity of the dragonfly--it was being a very quiet subject.  But even a small breeze could move the umbrella back and forth by enough to put things out of focus or to create motion blur.  For the record, the above was shot at an extremely narrow aperture of f/32 for 1/60 second.  I tried to minimize background distractions by opening up the aperture to f/4.5 (with an exposure of 1/400 second) in the following shot.

The eyes are in good focus.  However, while the umbrella is blurred out more, so are the legs and, more importantly, portions of the wings.  Not so good.

Another option was to convert the image (one taken at an aperture of f/32) into a black and white in the hopes that this would help.  It didn't.

Maybe another time, the fellow will land on a more neutral surface.  Meanwhile, I did want to show some of the closeup features.  Here are two heavily cropped shots that show portions of the insect's thorax, including body hair and nearly transparent wings, and its head, featuring enormous (relatively speaking, that is) compound eyes.

To view this detail, it might be necessary to click on the photo and then expand it on your device.


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