Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lazy afternoon, with busy dragonflies

In midafternoon, on a summer day, the birds and beasts lie low. Walking through the bush, we hear an occasional sleepy peep from deep in a shrub; maybe a squirrel chitters at us from far above. On the shore, even the gulls are napping.

We found benches with a hint of shade along the Maplewood Flats path, and sat to watch the birds off-shore.

Burrard Inlet and Maplewood tide flats.

Far across the water, a raft of Canada geese.

On a sandbar, a couple of families of cormorants. Caspian terns beside the gulls, and a pair of unidentifiable ducks.

Swallow nest boxes. "Keep Out!" the sign says. That means us, not the swallows.

We saw no bears. But a big doe crossed our path and bounded off into the water meadow.

We ended up sitting on a log on the beach. A pair of dragonflies teased us by circling right in front of our noses. We tried to time them and get a photo; they varied their speed and route, but made sure it always included buzzing us. They kept it up until we'd taken dozens of useless photos and put the cameras away.

Here's our best shot:

Nasty critters, they are.



  1. I too have tried to get a shot of those dragonflies ... even tried a movie! Haven't been able to get anything decent yet.

    You know my newest camera died (Canon G9) ... caput. I've read on the internet and there seems to have turned up a problem with them. Mine was 3 months past the warranty. A couple hundred to fix. I don't think it is worth it so am pondering a DSLR but am not sure which one and if it is worth my having such a camera. I like video too so that is a possibility. I've reverted to my old Pentax Optio S4 for the time being and you know, for the little thing that it is, it takes pretty good pictures!

  2. Dragonflies are uncooperative much of the time. I occasionally have them visit my yard and sit still, basking on the flowers. I've caught a few good pictures that way! But only when they're sitting still...

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  4. This is the best I've been able to do. It was taken from a point-and-shoot 5 megapixel, cropped to look like I was actually shooting for him :) Your photos seem to turn out better than mine though, so you'll get them eventually :)

    If you're using any camera with manual focus (or focus-lock), lock the focus on something approximately the distance from the dragonflies first. Set the aperture to as small as you can get without sacrificing shutter speed (you'd probably want faster than 1/200 shutter speed). The smaller aperture will give you a greater depth of field, making your pre-focus more forgiving when the actual subject flutters into view.

  5. Cis, A movie sounds like a good idea. Maybe I'll try that.

    I "splurged" on a camera that I thought was a bit too much for me. But it was well worth it; I can suddenly get shots that I would have missed before. Not dragonflies, though. Yet.

    Jan, And they're so beautiful flying!

    Tim, Yes, I try to set the focus and hold it; then these guys came in closer. Or further away; no second-guessing them.

    I'll try playing with the shutter speed.


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