2008-09-20- 356_1 Dragonfly on wing (London Wetland Centre)

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    ***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!

    @lbyper, HorányiMari /very busy/, and 100 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Irfan Mirza 77 months ago | reply

      this is a perfect action shot, your planning really paid

    2. pe_ha45 77 months ago | reply

      Fantastic macro!

    3. cusp kid 77 months ago | reply

      thanks for the tip about how to capture the critters.
      great shot. love the very much story too.

    4. SussexSnapper 77 months ago | reply

      Stunning inflight capture.

      You deserve "Another Diamond" on your Great Photo!
      I have seen your Great Photographic Art in:
      Flickr Diamond: The Diamond Class Photographer

    5. uberschnapp 77 months ago | reply

      Great close up, is this at Barne's resevoir, the Wetlands and Wildlife Trust site in West London?

    6. d_A_v_E_ 75 months ago | reply

      Great dragonfly shot! Outstanding :)

    7. moczkoś 75 months ago | reply

      that's an amazing shot..i have many dragonflies in flight, but non of theme as good as this one,..congrats..

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    8. Edith Hoffman 74 months ago | reply

      Great capture my friend!

    9. ExeDave 72 months ago | reply

      Amazing in flight capture! I know how hard that is to get!

    10. The.Lord 71 months ago | reply

      Wow nice shot!!
      It's so difficult take a photo while insects are moving!

    11. Co1nCo1n 70 months ago | reply

      I confirm.. It is really hard to take a dragonfly in flight... You need a lot of patience and to know a little bit how they proceed to secure their aera.


    12. cassandra204 69 months ago | reply

      This is one of the best in-flight shots I have seen! Gorgeous! I have been using the same technique for some time now and can relate to everything you described. I also like to use maximum zoom with a set focal distance and shoot multi-frame each time they pass through the range. The real hard part is I have to aim over the camera because you will never find them in the view finder at that zoom.

    13. ukstormchaser (A.k.a The Bug Whisperer) 66 months ago | reply

      Wow, brilliant shot! Fantastic detail :-)

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    14. jon_2005_br 58 months ago | reply


      Excellent shot, congratulations !!!


      See My Dragonfly

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