Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

September 10, 2009

Dragonfly on a Stick

Dragonfly on a stick

Dragonfly on a stick

This shop of a dragonfly was “collateral damage” on my second visit to find the Purple Gallinule at the Gilbert Water Ranch. It was taken within 15 feet of where I stood for the image of the gallinule in my previous post, with the camera still set on the ISO 500 value I’d been using for the moving bird in the shadows.

It was just one of those subjects that I couldn’t pass up – the orange dragon was in direct sunlight, while the water below that comprises the background of this image was in deep shadow. I would hope that any photographer would be keeping an eye open for such unplanned subjects whenever an opportunity like this pops up.

This is 100% natural light – no flash was used here. I moved the tripod so I could point the 300 and 2x at the dragonfly, and then manually focused to bring it into partial focus so auto wouldn’t hunt too much. I engaged the spot meter in the D200 with the function button on the front of the camera – I’ve dedicated this button to the spot meter so I can switch from matrix quickly in tricky situations. No need to take my eye away from the viewfinder and fiddle with the metering pattern switch!

Once the spot meter is engaged I lock in the exposure and focus with the AE-AF lock button and am then free to swing the lens around for a better composition.

So, don’t let a pre-set goal or target subject dominate your thoughts to the point of overlooking other opportunities in front of you. Keep open to the chance encounters and discoveries that add much of the fun to nature photography.


1 Comment »

  1. Nice one! I think dragonflies and damselflies are my favorite part of visits to this place, and you’re right about the lighting too. Gorgeous lighting. But you’re also right in spades about pre-set goals. I’ve gone for shots of insects and come home with cormorants, or gone for sunsets and come back with hummingbirds. Of course, it looks like you make a gorgeous shot out of whatever you find, no matter what!

    Comment by Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) — September 11, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

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