2008-09-20- 356_1 Dragonfly on wing (London Wetland Centre)
***5,000 views April 7th 2012***
We had a really great day today, and this was appreciated by the London Wetland Centre's dragonflies who obliged by hovering nicely in range of the lens for long enough to allow me to focus on them. This one hovered in front of one of the hides and I took dozens of photos, most of them good! I've blown it up a bit; there was some background noise which I smoothed out. I hope you like it!
Several people have asked how I got this shot. Basically, a lot of trial and error, I set the camera to ISO 800 and shutter 1/1000in order to use the smallest aperture. Dragonflies are territorial, so they keep to the same area. In order to get the focus I set the camera to focus on grasses that they used to alight on frequently. I didn't zoom in too close, instead I used minimum zoom; when a dragonfly came into view and hovered then I had the chance to go in closer. It does call for a LOT of patience however, there will be a lot of rejects (not that this matters with digital), plus a fair number of shots of tails, wingtips, and places where there was a dragonfly a moment ago!
Dragonflies do quite often settle on grass or rush leaves, they also seem to quite like wood. At the London Wetland Centre there are a number of bridges with wooden parapets, and they will settle on these and stay put for quite long intervals.
Another way to catch them is to watch out for other photographers! I've quite often looked round to find a queue has formed behind me!
Best of luck!