Dragonflies and other Macro Photography

The past several years around July 4th when the bird photography is waning and dragonflies, butterflies and other insects are plentiful I find myself breaking out my macro gear and photographing other “critters” that fly. One of my favorite places within a twenty minute drive from home is the newly named Mass Audubon Museum of American Bird Art (MABA) in Canton, formerly known as the Visual Arts Center. This 124 acre wildlife sanctuary has a small field located behind the gallery and a flower garden behind the office that both offer some nice opportunities for several species of dragonflies, some butterflies and many other insects.

This past July 4th holiday weekend which for me was Thursday through Sunday and each morning I’ve arrived early and walked the path from the parking lot to the field, around the gallery and the flower garden. While there are many dragonflies in this area of the sanctuary they can prove just as challenging to photograph as any bird I have pointed my lens at. Many times just as I have the subjects lined up for what promises to be a very nice photo and I am about to press the shutter off it goes. “Missed another one!” Just like photographing birds ones needs to be patient, persistent and observe how each dragonfly acts and reacts to you the photographer. However when you do have a subject that decides to be cooperative it can be almost magical when looking at these colorful insects through a macro lens or in some cases a 400mm lens with extension tubes. Click here to view some dragonfly and other macro photos from MOABA and one video. And click here for more Painted Skimmer photos.

Macro photography opens up an entirely new world of subjects and for someone like myself that really specializes in birds. I find it refreshing and exciting every time I photograph a new species of dragonfly or butterfly. Plus now with digital SLR cameras having the option to also record video this to me is simply irresistible. I enjoy watching a dragonfly rest on its’ perch, fly off and return again and again. Or just sitting very still atop a the plant that will be it’s resting place for the evening turing it’s head quickly from side to side and fastidiously cleaning its’ head. The different colors and patterns of the wings many of which are translucent, how cool is that!  So if it has been awhile since you last spent a morning or afternoon looking for and at dragonflies now’s your chance and for all my bird watching friends don’t worry the birds will still be there the next time you go looking for them. Thanks for taking the time to read my latest blog, I hope you enjoyed it and remember please help to protect wildlife and the natural world we all live in.

Shawn P. Carey
Migration Productions

Eastern Amberwing
Eastern Amberwing

2 thoughts to “Dragonflies and other Macro Photography”

  1. Hi Shawn,

    Very nice photos! You can’t just call yourself a “bird photographer” anymore! If you move very, very slowly directly at the dragonfly (no lateral/sideways movement) you sometimes can get very close with shorter macro lenses for different perspective.

    Keep up the good job.
    Joe W.

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