Dragonflies 2015

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
Dragonfly season is now upon us, so I'll start a new thread for 2015.

I was at the marsh Thursday (6/4) when Terry and our friend Michael dared me to photograph a dragonfly in flight with my 5DIII + 100-400L II telephoto zoom + 1.4x III teleconverter. The design of the new series 100-400L zoom makes it much easier to find and manually focus on an object than my old 100-400 zoom.

Here are my best shots of a dragonfly which was hovering just off the #1 viewing platform.
560mm @ 1/1000, f/8, ISO/640
01.JPG

02.JPG
 
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squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
here are a couple from Juanita this afternoon... an 8-spotted skimmer and a blue darter. haven't gotten any in flight this year, but i imagine i'll grab a couple before the summer is over...



 

squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
here's another from Juanita... no idea what kind it is, but i did catch it in flight... 7SII, 150-600 lens @ 375mm, 1/1000 @ f/13...

 

squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Rocky,
"150-600 lens" Is that the Tamron? If so, how do you like it? That shot sure looks good.
thanks, Bob! yep, this was with the Tamron... i love it! i got it about the end of February, and my "keeper" rate for bird photos went way up! since i got my 7D Mk II about a month ago, it's gone even higher! the Tamron is an amazingly good lens for the price - it's sharp, with good contrast and color, to the point that many of my shots need little or no PP at all! for under $1100, you just can't beat it!
 

BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#6
thanks, Bob! yep, this was with the Tamron... i love it! i got it about the end of February, and my "keeper" rate for bird photos went way up! since i got my 7D Mk II about a month ago, it's gone even higher! the Tamron is an amazingly good lens for the price - it's sharp, with good contrast and color, to the point that many of my shots need little or no PP at all! for under $1100, you just can't beat it!
Well, gee, I'm really glad to hear that, considering one of them is someplace between here and New York City <Pace Picante Sauce>NEW YORK CITY?!?</> on it's way to my house right now. If things go well, I may be shooting eagles with it by the weekend. (That is if I can pry it away from Deb, she's never been so excited about me buying a new lens. "Will it work on my camera too?" "Yep..." "What are you waiting for? Buy it!")
 
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squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
LOL! you may have to buy another one, Bob... ;) I see 'em everywhere these days... they've become very popular, and with good reason. aside from the Sigma 150-200, which is 2 lbs heavier and costs more, you can't touch a 600mm lens of any sort for under about $10-12,000. even a used one is $8k or better. and while the Tamron isn't quite as sharp as, say, a Canon 500 f/4L "big white", the latter is a prime, so it's not really a fair comparison. besides, the images from the Tamron can easily be made to look just as good as those from the big primes, with a little judicious processing. and, of course, there's the flexibility and versatility of a zoom, which i find REALLY useful! i've heard the Tammy can be a bit soft around the edges on a FF body, but i use mine on a crop sensor, so i don't have a problem with that.

FYI, those first two dragonflies were also shot with this lens, along with pretty much all my bird pics from the last three months.
 

BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#8
The article on this page summed it up well for me:

https://photographylife.com/my-one-night-stand-with-the-tamron-150-600mm

He does admit the Nikon 800 mm is sharper. But he then adds:

Shot on the D810 with the Nikkor 800mm + 1.25x teleconverter (1000mm) and cropped from 36mp to 8.5mp, just enough for a full page at 300 dpi. By the way, could buy a dozen Tamron 150-600mm lenses for the price of the Nikkor 800mm and still have enough left over to buy a boat and get you closer to the rookery.
As for buying two, she has already jokingly suggested just that. My bank account replied "Yeah, not happening pal..."

She'll also be shooting it on a DX body, for an effective focal length of 900 mm, double what she gets with her current favorite, the 70-300. Not too shabby for a lens just north of $1k.
 
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squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#9
yeah... and if he's shooting a 36Mp camera, he can crop like crazy and still have enough for a good sharp print! even on my 20Mp 7DII, i can crop pretty heavily and still have a very nice, sharp image... maybe not big enough for an 8x10 at 300 DPI, but then again, since you only really need 200 DPI for a clean, sharp print, even that isn't a problem!

seriously, he's comparing it to an $18,000 800mm prime? hell, if the Tammy's even in the conversation with that lens, it's doing damn well!

he was also unhappy with the long twist to zoom from 150-60mm, but really, how often do you do that in the field? i rarely, if ever do... i'm at 350-400 minimum most of the time, so if i do need to zoom in, it's a quick 1/4 turn. as for low light focusing, while i haven't tried it during the 'blue hour', i've shot with it in pretty dim light that required ISO 3200 just to get me 1/200 @ f/7.1, and it's always focused just fine, especially on my 7DII. the only issue i have, and only with really small subjects at long range, is that occasionally it'll lose focus if the subject moves between focus points, but i can manually focus easily enough in those situations, and i can probably correct that by just changing how fast the camera switches between AF points with moving targets...
 
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BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#10
I took the whole article as a "tongue-in-cheek" write up, found it a rather refreshing change from the usual "We found that when compared at a 3 micron sub-pixel level on the Snitzlefritz scale, the camera had a delta variation of 8 gammaflux..."

Yes, he DID compare it with an 800 MM prime. He did also say obviously it's better. Then he pointed out just how ludicrous the whole thing is by saying that for what it cost, you could buy a dozen and have some money left over for a boat. (Kayak, not yacht, but still)
 

squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#11
that's the whole thing... the Tammy is under $1100... but it punches way above its weight. the money you save with one of those would go a long way toward that kayak, or perhaps a trip to shoot wildlife somewhere exotic...
 

BobH

Administrator
Staff member
#12
that's the whole thing... the Tammy is under $1100... but it punches way above its weight. the money you save with one of those would go a long way toward that kayak, or perhaps a trip to shoot wildlife somewhere exotic...
Yes, or it simply brings the lens into reach of a budget where an 800 or even 400 isn't something that can be considered. Heck, even the somewhat comparable Nikon 80-400 is $2700.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14
Terry and I stopped by the fish hatchery after lunch on Monday (6/22/15). No birds were present, so we had to settle for photographing some insects.

This dragonfly kept coming back to the same perch.
02.JPG

03.JPG

04.JPG
 

squirl033

Super Moderator
Staff member
#19
got this 8-spotted skimmer resting on a purple loosestrife blossom at Canyon Park yesterday, 7/16... 7D2, 600mm, 1/2000 @ f/7.1

 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
#20
Red Saddlebags

I received this e-mail via Tweeters. I am posting it here as someone may spot a red saddlebags in the field and be able to provide photo documentation of its presence in the PNW.

I can't be all over the state at the same time, so this is a plea to watch for Red Saddlebags, Tramea onusta, as you are out in the field in Oregon and especially Washington. This tropical and southern species has pushed northward this summer farther than ever before, reaching northern California and finally today southwestern Oregon in Curry County. It is a far-flying species with broad hindwings and can move northward on these same winds that are bringing us all our warm weather. They could be seen at water or just about anywhere else moving over the landscape.

They are good-sized members of the skimmer family (Libellulidae), comparable to those black and white Eight-spotted Skimmers, Libellula forensis, that you see at all the lakes and ponds. They are close relatives of the Black Saddlebags, Tramea lacerata, widely resident in Washington and recognizable by being all black with big black patches at the base of the hindwings. Red Saddlebags are red rather than black, with red hindwing patches--unmistakeable. You can easily find photos online if you're interested.

A photo or a specimen would be necessary to document the occurrence (first state record for WA), but I'd be interested in even a good sighting.

Oh yes, they might be more likely along the southern coast, a great place to go for shorebirds at this time of year!

Dennis Paulson
Seattle
 
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