PHOTOGRAPHIC DRAGONNO WITHOUT A DREAM
To photograph wildlife, it is important to study well the living creatures you are going to shoot. A variety of shapes and colors of the same dragonfly simply admire. Their life cycle is associated with water, they usually live near rivers, lakes and swamps. What you need to know and take to get great photos of dragonflies that will interest many – from children to people engaged in odonatology.
If you want to take pictures of motionless dragonflies, it is best to get up early in the morning or wait until the end of the day. When the sun has already risen, and the temperature rises, these insects are mostly active and fly very quickly. But at dawn or dusk, you can get close enough to them and get a good macro.
Among other things at this time the light falls better and you can catch the moment when the dragonfly is covered with dew drops early in the morning! The only thing that will be difficult is to find dragonflies in the vegetation.
The photo of the dragonfly Lyutka-bride (Lestes Sponsa) was taken shortly before the sun disappeared on the horizon and it became cold. This species of dragonfly is included in the IUCN International Red Book.
Lestes Sponsa. Canon EOS 500D + EF100mm f / 2.8 Macro USM @ 100mm, ISO 800, 1/250, f / 3.2
On a cloudy or rainy day, the dragonflies usually fly a little. This is another way to get close to them and practice macro photography. A picture of a dragonfly called Beauty Brilliant (Calopteryx splendens) was taken on a cloudy day, when the light is not as intense as during sunrise or sunset.
Calopteryx splendens. Canon EOS 500D + EF100mm f / 2.8 Macro USM @ 100mm, ISO 1000, 1/200, f / 3.2
Of course, you can try to approach the sitting dragonfly at any time, even at noon on a sunny day. It is easier to approach them while eating, but you will have to recognize this moment, which is very difficult, given the small size of the majority of their “victims” … It happens otherwise – look at this greedy blue beauty Thin-tail graceful (Ischnura elegans)!
Ischnura elegans. Canon EOS 500D + EF75-300mm f / 4-5.6 IS USM @ 300mm, ISO 100, 1/400, f / 6.3
Taking pictures of a dragonfly while flying is usually much more difficult, but worth it! But, by the way, in most cases the flight of dragonflies is predictable.
Let’s start with male dragonflies. Their favorite activity is to fly around and patrol the area, pursuing every applicant who wants to occupy the terrain. If you look closely, you will see that while the dragonflies patrol, they often follow the same route and therefore you can plan the composition of the frame.
The author of the picture of the Little White Bearer (Leucorrhinia dubia) found an interesting shape created by the shadow of the vegetation, waited until the dragonfly appears in the frame and takes the picture.
Leucorrhinia dubia male. Canon EOS 500D + 120-400mm @ 400mm, ISO 1600, 1/2500, f / 5.6
Another thing that dragonflies like to do is hang in the air (and they are pretty good at it!). This happens when you are in their territory, and the male is interested in your presence. He pauses in the air for a few seconds facing you. Do not worry if you suddenly miss this opportunity to photograph it. He is likely to come back again and stay in the same place, as if wondering again, what are you doing here?
A good example of a dragonfly photo is the yellow-spathed Grandma (Somatochlora flavomaculata), which hung for a few seconds and repeated it more than 10 times, which allowed the photographer to get the desired frame.
Somatochlora flavomaculata. Canon EOS 500D + EF100mm f / 2.8 Macro USM @ 100mm, ISO 250, 1/3200, f / 2.8
What about females? Unfortunately, for us photographers, female dragonflies are less colorful than males, simply because they do not need to be very attractive, and since they give life, they are more valuable and they absolutely need to survive in any circumstances. That is why females often hide in the vegetation.
Depending on the species / family, some dragonflies lay their eggs in the stalks of plants, deep in the dirt, on flooded plants or on the surface of the water, while hanging over it. Yes, the last state looks very photographic!
Leucorrhinia dubia female. Canon EOS 500D + 120-400mm @ 400mm, ISO 640, 1/2500, f / 6.3
There is also a characteristic of the behavior of dragonflies, regardless of gender: during hunting, they, as a rule, return again and again to the same place where they can safely eat their prey and then fly out to catch their next “food”. This way you can focus the camera on this ledge and wait for the dragonfly to land (they are harder to catch on take-off, since it’s almost impossible to know when this will happen).