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Prince Baskettail in Flight - Epitheca princeps - male

Prince Baskettail in Flight - Epitheca princeps - Male
Parkwood, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
July 9, 2005
In flight. One or more of these has been patrolling a particular stretch of shoreline on a nearby suburban lake every morning for the past several weeks. I spent a couple of hours snapping shots (100 or more) of them in flight with a 300 mm lens on my Canon 10D SLR. I got just a few usable photos. The main problem was focus--the flight was far to erratic for autofocus to be of any help--I would not hit the subject and the autofocus would lock in on the lake in the background. I finally switched to manual and pre-focused to about the right distance on some nearby vegetation, then panned with the dragonfly. If it flew slowly for a moment, I could adjust the focus by hand, or just fire when the image looked OK. The bright lake in the background made auto-expsoure unreliable. I set the ISO to 800 and settings to manual, then metered off of an 18% gray card under the same lighting. This shot was taken at 1/1500 second at f 5.6. This is a very tough photographic subject.

very impressive
I'll refer to your settings if I ever get brave enough to attempt a shot this difficult.

I had trouble following one with binoculars and seeing it. To great such a great shot is amazing!

What an incredible image! It truly captures the spirit of these guys: taunting the would-be collector by cruising just out of range, alternately gliding and jetting off at warp speed:-) I fully expect a specimen to thumb its 'nose' at me one day!

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