Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Difference a Tripod Makes

I was out of the house at 5am this morning where I hoped there would be some dew on the lawn and maybe a chance of some early morning dew damselflies shots but it was soon apparent that there was none around. I arrived just before the sun started to rise and it at least gave me the chance to go through a run through with the tripod and camera should I be lucky one morning with the dew. I found a few damselflies, one being a Small Red eyed Damselfly which was at rest in the early morning light and as the light picked up and some speed was available on the camera, I took a few shots face on. Despite not a lot of light at this point, it was nice to use the tripod and get an image which wasn't too bad.

Small Red eyed Damselfly

I moved on finding a few Common Blue and Blue tailed Damselfly and after getting into position with the tripod which can be a bit clumsy at times, I took a number of pleasing images of these two species, the background really showing off nicely in the early morning light.

Blue tailed Damselfly 

Common Blue Damselfly

By now the damselflies were active so I swapped the tripod for the monopod and had a wander around. As I walked in the long grass and reeds Common Darters were flying out at every step and a check of some reeds produced a few Common Darter which had just emerged and hanging on to their larval cases and a few drying out in the undergrowth.

Common Darter

A further check revealed a few more Migrant Hawker exuvia and I couldn't resist a few more shots of them.

Migrant Hawker Exuvia

Before going home for 8.30am I did a quick circuit where I saw 1 Emperor Dragonfly, c10 Black tailed Skimmer, lots of Common Darter and a few Ruddy Darter, c10 Emerald Damselfly and 3 Migrant Hawker. Tonight I spent 2 hours at Westbere Lakes from 5pm hoping to get a decent shot of a Brown Hawker and despite seeing c6, I still didn't get a single shot. It even rained at one point quite hard sending them for cover and despite seeing them go down, they were all in areas that I could not acesss. I did see lots of Banded Demoiselle, 1 Black tailed Skimmer and 4 Migrant Hawker with a few males showing well in flight but with not a lot of light I will save this task for another day. I expect if I forget about Brown Hawker shots that one will cross my path soon. Not looking too good for the weather tomorrow but hopefully a visit over the weekend to see what can be found and photographed.


  1. Marc.
    The background does make these shots look even better, you're right :-) I like that ant on the Hawker exuvia ! Those Brown Hawkers are leading you a merry dance by the sound of it, a good challenge though :-)

    1. I thought I would include the ant for a size comparison. Been trying to work on the background colours, seem to be moving in the right direction I think.

  2. Fabulous images, Marc. No.s 1 (for composition) and 5 (for detail) are particularly amazing, but the last one (of the exuvia with ant) has to be my favourite!

    I haven't got the stamina to cart around a tripod, but you've probably prompted me to dig out the monopod! Would you care to divulge what camera/lens combination you favour for your odonata photography, please.

    Best regards - - Richard

    1. Richard
      I am currently using a Canon 50d slr and a Sigma 150mm lens for most of the shots. When I cannot get too close I use a Canon f4 300mm lens which also works very well.

    2. Thank you for that info, Marc. I'm not likely to make the switch from Nikon to Canon (too much investment and familiarity) but have had my eye on a Sigma 150 for a while now!

  3. Yes....What a difference the tripod makes Marc. For me the Common Darter image is exceptional.

    1. Pete
      Thanks for your kind words. It takes a bit of patience but they seem to be turning out alright at the moment.