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FRGorga Contributing Member • Posts: 803

Well, we've had a few dragonfly threads among all of the birds (not that I have anything against birds! :-D) which has been nice.

How about some damselflies?

All of these were made using a 300 mm lens and a 36 mm extension tube on an APS-C camera. The rig is mounted on a monopod which provides for some stability and decent mobility in the tight quarters of a wetland... think dense grasses and sedges.

These optics provide enough magnification to fill the frame with a dragonfly at about a meter (roughly its close focus distance). However, it is not enough to do the same for the smaller damselflies. Thus, these photos are moderate crops of the full frame.

I have tried more extension (i.e. higher magnification) but you run into problems of steadiness (the more magnification you have the steadier you need to be. You also tend to have to get closer to the subject than they want. So you compromise.

Powdered Dancer (male)

Powdered Dancer (female)

Eastern Forktail (male)

The dusky dancer is among largest damselflies in the northeastern US at about 1.75 inches (4 cm) in length. The eastern forktail is more typical in size at about 1 inch (2.5 cm).

One can't be afraid to get wet if you want to photograph dragonflies or especially, damselflies. The photos shown here were made kneeling in the water.  These subjects spend most of their time at a few inches off the water among the emergent vegetation.

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