Dragonflies are fascinating insects which can be particularly photogenic due to their bright colors and striking patterns. As with any type of wildlife, dragonflies can be challenging to photograph because they can scare easily and never seem to keep still. Moreover, it may be hardest than you think but not least to get a try on capturing insects.
Insects have wing beats ranging from 12 beats per second for a large butterfly to 250 beats per second for a honeybee. Photographing insects in flight is one of the greatest challenges for all wildlife photographers. However i am trying to describes how to capture crisp, sharp images of dragonflies through my last experience.
As they are slightly larger than other insects, dragonflies can be photographed with anything from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR. The accompanying images have been taken with a DSLR. However, many of the principles remain the same whatever equipment you use.
A good zoom lens ( 100-400mm) can produce decent results, but a dedicated macro lens has the advantage of providing closer focus for high magnification. If you are using a normal zoom lens, fitting an extension tube to the lens will allow it to focus closer and should produce good results. This is a cheaper option than buying a dedicated macro lens. However, if you plan to photograph insects on a regular basis, a macro lens may be a worthwhile investment as you will be able to take frame-filling shots from a comfortable working distance so as not to scare away the dragonflies. The macro lens is the best but here I'm used canon 100-400 is usm M2 is because avoid any chance of distraction during my capture.
Once you have spotted a dragonfly, take some time to watch its behavior. You will quickly learn where it flies and where it likes to perch, some dragonflies prefer the ground, but others prefer to perch on grass or rocks. I have notice many young photographers demands capture all at the right moment, they don't have patients to capture the next best moment. Keep patient and keep watching is the best tip while you are engaging insect photography.
Sharpness is vital in insect photography, and to ensure you get sharp images you will have to use the aperture to control the depth of field. You will need to have as much of the dragonfly in focus as possible and one way that you can maximize this is to photograph the dragonfly sideways on. Making sure that the camera’s sensor is parallel to the body of the dragonfly will enable you to use a wider aperture to blur out any distracting background while keeping the whole of the dragonfly in focus.
Getting such a clear, side-on shot of a dragonfly will not always be possible. In such instances, you can increase the depth of field by reducing the aperture. I have found it useful to start off with an aperture of f/5.6, then take a series of shots working down to around f/11 or smaller, changing the shutter speeds and ISO accordingly. However, always ensure that the eyes are in focus and as sharp as possible. As a result may get chance your images will be poorer without following this tip.
When lining up your shot, pay attention to the background. Ideally, an uncluttered background of a contrasting color to the dragonfly will produce shots full of impact. However, some damselflies will land in vegetation closer to the water surface making a clean background almost impossible. Larger apertures will help blur out any distracting backgrounds, this works well if you can take them sideways-on, as previously mentioned. A wider aperture will also help to produce bokeh in the background (circles of light from out-of-focus highlights) depending on your personal tastes. If possible, when selecting a spot to set up, try to place the subject as far away from any potentially distracting vegetation in the background. Moving a perch, or taking your own with you, may help with getting a cleaner background.
Dragonflies look great at rest, but if you can try to capture some of their behavior for some unique shots. I would recommend using a telephoto lens of 100-400mm create awesome depth of field and much more blurry background. Spend a few minutes watching how the dragonfly moves as they often follow the same path repeatedly. Once you have observed them flying, focus on a spot on their flight path and wait for the dragonfly to enter the frame. There is an element of luck with this type of shot. I have tried many clicks and sometimes the dragonfly will vary its flight patterns seemingly at random. Don’t give up though – patience is key with all wildlife photography and just enjoy the process of observing and photographing these amazing insects.
If you feel my experience beneficial for your next attempt on insect photography Please feel free to add your own comment as below, also mention you are facing any doubts during your workshop i will try to replay as soon as possible with my limited knowledge.