Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Answer Comes to Those Who Seek

A few years ago, a friend bragged about how superior his camera system was, being able to capture by continuously focusing on a flying dragonfly. No one knew how he did it, No one saw how he did it. I did not have the answer.

A few years later, the answer revealed itself to me. If you look at this image, it was not that difficult to guess how I got this Dragonfly in Flight photograph. It was so simple, so easy, that sometimes we seek answers at all the wrong places. Note that I was using Single-AF, not continuous.

Image taken with Olympus PEN E-PL7 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens. 

Well, I could have said along the lines of "OMG the E-PL7 has improved Continuous AF that it can track flying insects!". That was the exact same thing that the friend did years ago, with his system. 

I guess those who have shot enough dragonflies will know the answer. I shall keep it open for you to guess, if you have not already known it!

23 comments :

  1. Hey Robin,

    Did you clone out the stem/weed/branch/flower the dragonfly was sitting on, while it was "stretching" its wings?

    Peter F.

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  2. Robin, Here's another idea I have done with grasshoppers. Put them in the freezer/refrigerator for a while. It slows them down. But first you have to capture them, and a grasshopper is easier (?) to capture than is a dragonfly.

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  3. Waiting for it to stop midair (they often do, for a second or so) and be ready to shot? You just need good reflexes and a fast one-shot AF

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  4. Ouu My GOD !.. This is my dream...

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  5. My guess..........manual focus on something at a similar distance beforehand with a small enough aperture to get the whole insect in focus.
    Then just wait..................and shoot!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think that would work for something so small!

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  6. The dragonfly is resting on glass and you shot it from below.

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  7. The DF is floating on the surface of water which is reflecting the sky. Either that, or you picked up some tricks from the popular kids' movie "How to Train Your Dragon(fly)"

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    1. Watch closely, I was shooting from bottom up, not from the top. I would have to be underwater to have your idea work. But I like your second idea!

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  8. Watch the dragonfly's flight pattern for a while (they usually follow the same path). Pre-focus on one spot and wait until the dragonfly hovers at that spot, then you can shoot without having to wait for the autofocus to kick in.

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  9. Look it through screen and when dragonfly is steady touch the screen for focus and click the shot.

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  10. OK I shall reveal the answer.

    The dragonfly was hovering in midair, at that exact same position without moving. For like..... 10 seconds. I moved in closer, then it flew away, and came back, and hovered again at that position without moving. I got almost 10 shots, all in focus.

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    Replies
    1. very observant of u to have noticed that the DF comes back to hover over the same spot for a second/multiple times....:)

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  11. I'm envious of your tame dragonfly. Mine are wild and fly away very quickly when they see my big glass eye :-)

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  12. Beautiful image as I know how difficult is to catch a dragonfly in full flight!! I captured on sensor a swallow in full flight but a dragonfly in this position, never!!!!
    Congratulation also for the image treatment!!!!

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  13. If we was using a DSLR then he probably had a right to brag about continuous AF - as blazing fast as CSC's are at single focus shooting they still don't hold a candle to mid to high end DSLR's in tracking. They are just that much more reliable. The A6000 is as close as I've experienced, followed by the XT1. Tried an EM10 and that was...disappointing. Even Tony Northrup's video's had the lowly D3300 edging out the EM10/Sony A6000. Regardless, what Robin has pointed out is that there is certainly more than one avenue to achieve the shot - and he achieved it perfectly in a manner that not all of us would be willing to see or discover.

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