Photographing Dragonflies in Flight – Terry Thormin
Getting good photographs of dragonflies in flight is a real challenge. It generally requires a lot of patience and skill and a good portion of luck. I have deleted many shots that were badly exposed or blurry because of using the wrong camera settings. To have a reasonable chance of getting a good in-flight photograph the dragonfly needs to be hovering. Certain species are actually quite easy to get in flight, one of the best examples being the Paddle-tailed Darner which often hovers for quite a while and often quite close to the photographer. In fact I have been frustrated at times by this species when it was hovering so close to me that my camera would not focus on it.
There are some species that I have never seen hovering and I have essentially given up on them, but then there are those that do hover occasionally, but almost always for such a short period of time that it is impossible to get on them in time. These are the ones that I keep trying for and getting frustrated about, but I know that eventually I will get them. So here are two photos of species that I just recently added to my list of in-flight shots, species that I have been trying to get for quite some time and finally did get.
Blue Dasher male in flight
Four-spotted Skimmer in flight
The big challenge now, and one that is the source of my greatest frustration, is the Common Green Darner. I have come so close so many times but still have not succeeded. That photo will be posted right away if I ever do succeed.
If you are interested in seeing more of my in-flight photos of dragonflies, as well as perched dragonflies, you can find them on my Smugmug site here: http://terrythormin.smugmug.com/InsectsandSpiders/Dragonflies-and-Damselflies