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Damselflies, Dragonflies, Robber Fly??
Lens: SMC Pentax A 50mm f1.4, Makinon 135mm f2.8 Camera: K-x Photo Location: Louisiana ISO: 200 
Posted By: Paleo Pete, 07-22-2010, 03:54 PM

I shoot a lot of insects, and especially dragonflies and damselflies. The past few days I've gotten a few more, and another dragonfly I've never shot before, or even noticed that I can recall. Also have tried to shoot Robber Flies and Bee Killers, (very similar) several times with little luck, finally got a couple of nice shots today, with the 135mm no less. To get a good shot with it I have to be able to see some detail, this time it was there.


I've shot this one before, but don't think I got anything this nice. SMC Pentax A 50mm, 200 ISO, f 4, 1/1000. About a foot away. I think for this shot i set it on minimum focus distance and leaned in and out to get good focus.

Another damselfly, same day, same location, same settings. First time I've had a chance to get a few photos of this one. Also about a foot away so again not true macro.

Dragonfly. I've shot this one before, this is a smaller one about 1 1/4 inch long. 50mm lens, f 4, 1/180 sec ISO 200.

Dragonfly I've never even seen I don't think, 50mm Pentax, f 4, ISO 200, 1/180.

I'm not sure if this is a Robber Fly or Bee Killer, both are very similar. I'm leaning toward Bee Killer. About 1 1/4 inch long. Shot with the Makinon 135mm, f 2.8 I suppose, since it's a full manual lens, 1/1000, ISO 200. About 4 feet away, minimum focus distance for this lens.

Also got a few nice shots of this guy, I think it's a Tachinid Fly but not positive. My insect book is not very comprehensive, although it's published by the Audobon Society, it just shows a couple of specimens and this is not exactly like any of them, but very close. eyes, antennae and body hair is identical to Tachinid Fly. Same for the Robber Fly above. Very close, but not exactly like any of the Robber Flies or Bee Kiiler. Going to do some looking online later...

50mm Pentax, ISO 200, f 5.6 1/180.

Click on the pictures to view full size images.
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07-23-2010, 04:33 PM   #2
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Here's another Robber Fly I see around here now and then, first one that would sit still long enough to get a decent shot.

There's one more I see pretty often too, but alas still no pictures, missed yet another one a few minutes after this one was taken this morning. Smaller, maybe an inch long, and mostly brown with none of the markings on these two.
07-24-2010, 04:52 AM   #3
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A very nice series, Pete, particularly with that lens. I like the shadow in #2. You should consider joining the Macro Photography social group.
07-24-2010, 09:16 AM   #4
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Very nice series indeed Pete. Especially #4,5 & 7. Excellent work.

07-25-2010, 04:30 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot to both of you. I shoot a lot of insects, butterflies, and the occasional lizard, and try to gt birds now and then but don't have a long lens to really reach out there for most birds.

Tamia - These are not true macro, they are 1024x768 crops from pictures 4x that size, so not really macro. I've done a lot of macro from 4-6 inches, with my Samsung P&S, but this 50mm has a minimum focal distance of around 14 inches, that's not really macro. I might try a few more with the kit lens, but I really don't like it that much, even though I have gotten some very nice shots with it, and can get really close, around 6 inches. But it gets a decent shot once out of every 30 or so, and is very difficult to get nice clear focus at all, manual or auto.

I also did some tinkering a few days ago, since I have several older manual 50mm lenses for the Pentax, and I've used them for magnifying glasses for years. So I taped two together objective lens to objective lens. IT works as a macro lens, I got some neat shots of tiny fossils in some rocks I've collected, but it has a lot of distortion on the outside edges. Looking at the pictures I'd say it has a useful focal area of maybe 1/4 inch, everything else is blurred. For example a shot of a fossil 1/8 inch in diameter was barely all in focus, outside that it was horrible. I might take it out and try it to see what it will do but I think a tripod will be mandatory, even a tiny movement and it's out of focus. And there's no focus ring, I have to lean in or out to get it to focus. One has a broken focus ring, the other is still usable and in great shape.

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