75cm and 350 Million Years

February 24, 2021  •  1 Comment

Blog 21 02 26 DragonflyBlog 21 02 26 Dragonfly

A Wonder Of Nature

Dragonflies are a wonder of nature, which so perfected themselves during the Permian era that they have hardly changed form since then, except for one thing – size. They were then the largest insects to ever fly, with a wingspan of nearly 1 meter. Our beautiful, frequently shimmering neighbours of today are smaller, but no less impressive.

They are perhaps the best fliers in nature, able to fly fast, far and in any direction: up, down, forward, left, right and even backward. They achieve 4G acceleration speeds and generate 9G in sharp turns!

Their eyes have a 360 degree view and in a sense they see in slow motion, because while we see only 60 images per second, a dragonfly can process 200. To achieve that, around 80% of their brain is devoted to its sight. They endlessly excite me and fascinate me. I always try and photograph them when they are in view. 

Glad to Capture One At Rest

Given their agility, you may have become very frustrated, like me, trying to capture them in flight. You will share my relief when I am offered the joy of photographing one of them at rest. Luckily, they love to sunbathe and tend to rest for long enough for me to scramble the camera’s settings to suit the moment.

I was photographing a ruined, traditional farmhouse on the beautiful Estonian island of Hiiumaa on a hot, sky-blue Summer’s day. The house in the forest was straight out of Hansel and Gretel and it’s garden was wild. Perfect dragonfly territory! I was concentrating on the weather-worn ancient door, (See my earlier blog from January 2017 at : 
https://www.photeinos.com/blog/2017/1/texture ) when this beautiful gift of nature settled on the wall.

Technical

On this occasion, there was no need to engage in the above-mentioned scramble to reset the camera, notwithstanding the change of emphasis from capturing a slow-moving building to imaging one of nature’s speedsters. Bright, Summer sunlight was my best friend, which meant that I had already set an aperture of f/10, ideal for picking out detail of the texture of the wood – and also the delicate form of a winged insect .

Since I was in my preferred “art” mode of Aperture Priority, I was lucky that the strong ambient light delivered a speed of 1/500s, despite that very narrow aperture. I do not remember whether I also helped in my need for speed by dialling up the ISO to 400. It is very probable, because I would normally prefer to image static objects at low ISO. I note that the photo taken of the door in my above-referenced blog was shot at ISO 100, so I think that I may have indeed taken such a quick and useful decision.

I was probably about 10 metres away from the subject, which, although very visible, was not particularly large in the viewfinder, notwithstanding the 200mm zoom. In post-processing, this required a quite severe crop, probably of 50% of the of the final image, but I could rely on the resolution capability of the camera’s 46 MP full-frame sensor to maintain detail. I hope you like the result.

Settings

Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR

Drive Mode: Single Shot

Focal Length: 200mm

Auto Focus-Area Mode: Single

Aperture: f/10

Shutter Speed: 1/500s

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation: +0.3 EV

Metering: Spot

ISO Sensitivity: 400

Format: Raw

Hand held

Place : Hiiumaa island, Estonia

Year: 2016

 

Copyright Paul Grayson 2021 All Rights Reserved

 


Comments

Eric Bontemps(non-registered)
Mais tu sais tout faire ! L'image est impeccable comme tu nous y as habitué. Les textures sont parfaitement mises en valeur. On a envie de toucher le bois. J'aime aussi la couleur homogène entre le bois et et la libellule.
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