Friday, May 29, 2015

Setting Up for Dragonflies

One of the great things to learn about photographing dragonflies is that they have to land sometime. The vast majority of the time they tend to pick the same place to perch and return to after they hunt. You can use this to your advantage when photographing them by prefocusing on the landing spot and waiting for them. That is what I did in the first image. I watched where the dragonfly was landing after it returned from hunting insects. You can take it one step further by visualizing what the background behind the dragonfly will look like by trying several different angles and picking out the one that looks best. That is what is illustrated in the second image. I got down really low so that there wasn't any vegetation in the image except the perch. The dark shadows from the trees provide the back drop and it really makes the dragonfly stand out. For the third dragonfly image I placed my own backdrop behind the landing spot. It's a piece of masonite painted with green and black spray paint. The last image is showing the set up. The pink is my dauughters yoga mat which makes a nice soft place to sit. One other tidbit of information I can offer is that dragonflies tend to land on vegetation that is slightly higher than the plants around it. If you place your own small slender stick on the banks of a pond many times dragonflies will start using it. I have successfully used this technique in the past to help me choose what kind of perch and background I wanted. Good luck and have some fun. God bless, chris all images were created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600 lens with a 38mm extension tube for close focusing.


  1. I've been eagerly waiting for dragonfly weather and it's finally here. :) I've only seen a few in my area, but no luck on getting a clear shot, but like you mentioned once you find one with a favored perch that is accessable eventually you'll get some shots (with a little patience).

  2. Renee, I hope that your weather warms and that you get the opportunity to create some beautiful dragonfly images.