All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

Photographic Techniques by Chris Brooks

Lighting and Composition

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Lighting

The use of good natural lighting in this field of macro photography is very important for the production of clear, sharp and bright images.

In reality this restricts my Odonata photography to sunny days or those where it is still very bright. This not only brings out the natural colours of the subject, which can be stunning but also increases the ability to create a greater depth of field. A wider depth of field will enable you to get the entire subject in sharp focus. (Please refer to previous narratives on this subject)

In addition you will find that dragonflies and damsel-flies are far more scarce on dull days and are less photographically appealing. There natural colours will appear somewhat drab as will their surroundings.

Dragonflies and damselflies relish hot sunny days and are not only more active and visible but are more prone to bask in the sun's warmth.

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Composition

When I first started out taking photographs of dragonflies and damselflies I was more than happy just to get a sharp image of the subject and didn't really take much notice of the background.

Now I give the composition of the image a lot more thought. It is not always possible to achieve the perfect composition because you have no ability to control where the subject perches.

Some Useful Tips

Here are a few tips that I have found useful. Always have the sun behind you as it will illuminate the subject and bring out the natural colours to the full but beware of the glare from the sun on the wings. This glare can be eliminated just by moving the angle of the shot either slightly up, down or to the sides.

If at all possible avoid confused backgrounds and especially those with bright colours in, for example flowers. A bright object, whether in or out of focus in the background will confuse the overall picture.

Also try to avoid shaded or dark areas in the shot as these will detract from the quality of your image, the eye being drawn to the blackened areas.

One of my main hates are water droplets for dew drops in the frame. When these are illuminated by the sun light it will result in bright sequin like dots all over your image. These are in my opinion real spoilers and should be avoided at all costs. One or two can be cloned out but I'm not a avid fan of this post capture editing process.

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