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By Bigpoolman
First insect photo, some sort of dragonfly I believe.

Comments very welcome please.



Tags: Summer Nature Dragonfly Wildlife and nature 2017 PenworthamNatureReserve

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dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1848 England
17 Jul 2017 9:32PM
Not my area, as I suspect you know.

For me, the dominant thing is the out-of-focus foreground - it dominates in a way that is at odds with the sharpness of the main subject.

If it was - so to speak - artistically placed, it might make a pictorial shot: as it is, I think it simply spoils the image. I'm guessing that it was far less visible in the viewfinder, at full aperture.
18 Jul 2017 12:04AM
I like this and it is much better than any of the images I took. I believe it is called an Emperor Dragonfly. The only point that I have is that if there had been less flowers and vegetation near to it the Dragonfly could have been larger in the frame and a little more sharply focussed.
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
18 Jul 2017 8:14AM
It is actually a good try with totally the wrong gear. A male emperor I think.

For this type of shot, ideally, you need the insect a bit bigger in the frame, although this is a decent composition pictorially, and the body/head need to be pin sharp. The really long zooms are just not designed for this and you have done about as well as you could.

Insect macro or close up almost demands lowest possible ISO for sharpness and clarity and f16 to 22 for depth of field.

pablophotographer 9 1.9k 406
18 Jul 2017 11:20AM
each one has a certain budget for his gear. One of the reasons I've chosen my camera was the ability to create various aspect ratios not just the 3:2 I had on my 35mm film SLR or the 1:1 of my TLR.
Despite the money it costs 5D Mark IV offers one aspect ratio the 3:2 so this square frame makes them think this is a crop.
It fits the subject perfectly but.... includes a lot of the (un-necessary) foreground. Having siad that the focus on the main subject is superb.
The solutions most times are inside the problem so I suggest a fresh 3:2 horizontal frame to elimenate
the ''tiger claw'' marks Smile
pablophotographer 9 1.9k 406
18 Jul 2017 11:20AM
''eliminate'' I wanted to type
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2218 United Kingdom
18 Jul 2017 8:33PM
The out-of-focus parts spoil an otherwise good image, which is a shame, but I would not personally consider it a keeper if I had taken it.

dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
18 Jul 2017 8:55PM
The out of focus fol;iage just kills this as an image I'm afraid. Even so, the subject is too small and almost disappears intpo the rest of the image.
The technical issuies have been covered though I appreciate you wanted to get a record and not disturb it.

A good effort with the equipment availab;e thgough I do wonder why you weren't using a longer focal lentht setting. Use as much as you can.
i have to mention though that there was a member on here (I can't remember his username but I think he's been inactive fo a while) who used a 600 mm lens to photograph dragonflies across a pond, in order to getthe viewpoint. 'Wrong' gear perhaps but if it works...
18 Jul 2017 10:13PM
Thank you all for your comments. Some really good tips but I do have a question
Is the ideal lens a macro lens for these? Having said that this was the 'duracell' dragonfly and it was about the only time the b***y thing was still. It was a very hot day so presumably very active because of this. I don't know if other people manage to focus on it in flight but, if so, well done!

As you will see from my mod, I have now uploaded the version that I meant to put up which is closer to, but not as good as, Pablo's version.



paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2017 8:30AM
If you had used a longer focal length, the depth of field would have been even less.

Yes, if you are really interested in macro or extreme close up you need a macro lens. It is designed to perform well at tiny apertures to get the depth of field and your zoom is not. It is also designed to perform well at very close distances.

ALL macro lenses are fixed focal length. There is no such thing as a Macro zoom despite what the manufacturers like us to think!

They are not cheap, and you need the longer focal length to keep decent distance from the subject. The classic is the 105mm Sigma as good as or better than any mark lens. I use that and a 150mm Sigma, also very sharp indeed. The 105 is about 400 if you shop around. The 150 rather more.

19 Jul 2017 8:44AM
Thanks Paul, not an area that I know anything about but finding it quite interesting.


dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 769 England
19 Jul 2017 10:09AM
Agree with Paul on the macro lenses.

For insects the longer focal lengths, that is 150 to 180 mm lenses, give you a greater working distance but are expensive so you need to be committed.

The more common 100 mm type macro lenses are fine, you just need to be more cautious on the approach to your subject.

The warm conditions do make the insects very flighty. Usually they come back to rest on a favourite spot so a little time spent observing them and waiting is worth doing.
paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2017 5:16PM
Try spraying a bloom in the garden with a weak sugar solution in an atomising sprayer. The insects love it.

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2408 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2017 12:06PM
I'm a bit late here. As said above, the out of focus stem is the one defect in an otherwise excellent picture. So I decided to see what I can do about it...

First steps: I cropped tighter keeping your aspect ratio - I do like the diagonal sitting in the square. I darkened highlights slightly, and used the burn tool very gently on the blurred stem (first on highlights, then midtones, large brush, 3% exposure). That made some improvement but not a lot.

Next stage - I used the clone tool, large brush, 15% opacity, using suitable areas of blurred background to paint in a suggestion of foliage etc where needed. I built up the exposure in areas where it mattered more. My arts background is watercolour painting, this is a technique that I am far more comfortable with than using layers!

I then did some very gentle dodging and burning on the parts of the insect that are dulled by the blurred stem - tail and rear legs - and the flower immediately beneath the tail.

Finally, a bit of added brightness.

It's not perfect, but I find the blur much less of a distraction like this. I can see one small glitch that I want to correct though...

This was just a quick effort, only a few minutes. With your full-size file, it's a good opportunity to practise cloning!
20 Jul 2017 10:13PM
Sounds like a bit of a challenge Moira. I do like the results of your 'few minutes' effort, suspect it'll take me a tad longer somehow.



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