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Old 2008-08-31, 14:12   Link #44
Ledgem
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northeast USA
Age: 28
Summer Insect Photography: Dragonflies

It's been quite a while since I updated this thread. Part of the reason is that I finally gave in to a friend's requests and opened a Flickr account. Flickr is sort of like DeviantArt, only it caters toward photographers more than artists in general. Putting pictures there is a lot easier for me to do than to put them here. However, even though it's filled with photographers, people are loathe to provide criticism.

Quite a bit has changed since my last update. Briefly:
Spoiler for Equipment updates:


Most notably, I have returned to academia as a graduate student. I believe I'll still find the time to take pictures, but my activity at AnimeSuki in general will likely drop off for some time. There are loads of picture sets I've taken and would love to share here, as I think that they put all of my previous pictures to shame, but I'm having difficulty finding the time and the motivation to update this thread regularly.

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During the summer a lot of interesting insects come out. Two of the most widely photographed tend to be butterflies and dragonflies, as they are both colorful and relatively friendly (easy to work with) insects. I chose to focus on dragonflies. None of these pictures are what I would consider to be true macro photography, but perhaps you'll notice something about dragonflies that you didn't before. All of these dragonflies are from the New York area, and I believe there are a few color combinations that I didn't get. Enjoy:


Black Dragon

This was one of the very first pictures that I took with the E-520. I wanted to ensure that it was able to capture images in as sharp detail as the E-410 was capable of. Examine the detail on the wings and I believe you'll agree that the image is as sharp as ever.

This was taken using a tripod and the Zuiko Digital 70-300mm lens mounted on the Olympus EX-25 extension tube (allows for boosted magnification but is harder to use than using the lens alone). The image has been cropped a bit so that the dragonfly's details are more apparent.



Blue Dragon

Taken with the 70-300mm + EX-25, Olympus E-520, no tripod. Uncropped, because I love the background on this one.



Blue Dragon - Intimacy

This is the same blue dragonfly as above, just much closer to me and on the ground. Same equipment combo as before, uncropped.



The Golden Emperor

This must be my favorite dragonfly color combination out of all of the dragonflies in my area. It may not be obvious from the picture alone, but the gold on the dragonfly's body reflected the sunlight in a somewhat dull manner. The wings also displaced light somewhat.

Same equipment combo as before, uncropped.



The Golden Emperor - Reign

This is the same dragonfly as above, just at a new location. The gold on the body appears duller than before, but the way that the wings interacted with light is apparent here. I did not crop the image to give the dragonfly greater focus because the background blur ("bokeh") really appealed to me.

Same equipment combo as before.


Green Dragon

Same equipment combo as before. Uncropped, because I loved the background.



Green Dragon - Intimacy

Up until recently this was my #1 most popular picture on Flickr. I don't like the background much, but I suppose that the positioning is the redeeming factor for this picture.

Fun fact: in going over some Flickr discussions about photographing dragonflies, I found someone making the claim that you could get a dragonfly to perch on your finger. All you had to do was to be relatively near to one, and then to slowly bring your finger to its legs (people who have experience with pet birds: this is the same method as getting a bird to step up onto your finger). I wouldn't have believed it, except for the fact that the guy had a picture of a dragonfly on his finger.

After taking many pictures of this green dragonfly and seeing that it wasn't going anywhere, I decided to try it out. I slowly offered my finger. The dragonfly jumped up when I brushed against its leg, and then it quickly perched on my finger. It was a very exciting moment. Unfortunately my camera and lens combination was pretty heavy to be using with one hand, and it also required a fair distance to be able to focus properly (my arms aren't that long). So I have no pictures as proof, but wanted to share that bit of knowledge. If a dragonfly ever lands next to you, try it out. It's a nice way of bonding with nature!



Blue Tail

This coloration isn't so spectacular or even rare: I believe it's relatively common in the UK. This either is or resembles a species of dragonfly called the broad-bodied chaser. What I like about this picture is how the wing muscles are very clearly visible. It almost seems mechanical.

Taken with the E-520 and the 70-300mm lens (without the EX-25). Image has been cropped relatively heavily so that the details of the dragonfly stand out.



Orange Dragon

One of the more interesting color combos - note that the wings are also tinted with the orange coloration.

Taken with the E-520 and the 70-300mm lens (without the EX-25). Image has been cropped very slightly.

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As always, comments and criticism are appreciated, but not required Look forward to (but don't anticipate too heavily) the next batch.
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