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Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight In-flight dragon shots are always difficult You need that precision standard of focus with the complication that the bug is moving, and not particularly slowly either. Add to this, that the opportunities for the next single shot could be quite a wait.<br />
<br />
The complication of the movement means that the relatively slow speeds of the flash range are not going to be of any use. So no secondary lighting and it is all about exposure times and available lighting.<br />
<br />
If the day is overcast and dull, you might as well forget it and do something else. Ideally you want exp 4000th sec, ISO 400, F11. But for these settings, you are going to need arc lighting conditions. Settings have to be compromised.<br />
<br />
I have a few very good shots as slow as 1000th sec, but I never go any slower. I control my setting from shutter priority mode.<br />
<br />
The aperture setting needs to be small in order to achieve a depth of field. However if light is not perfect, aperture must be opened rather than compromising speed.<br />
<br />
The ISO setting is a good way to maintain speed, but there is grain degredation, especially as you will be cropping in on the image. I have shot at ISO 2000 but it is woolly at best. I would say ISO 1000 is the limit for me.<br />
<br />
If you keep the sun behind, you may be able to under expose by a stop, and pull the image back at the lab, during the editing process.<br />
<br />
Focusing is not realistically possible, things just move too fast. You must first pay attention to the dragon movements, then pre-focus at a distance close enough to give you something to work with back at the lab, and far enough away to give you more successful shots. If you want a full screen 20Mp shot, it could take a couple of thousand clicks and several weeks. If you settle for a 1200px square, you might get half a dozen contenders in an hour and a hundred clicks.<br />
<br />
The beauty of flavescens is that they fly in clouds and are inquisitive. If you keep still, they will explore you. I have arrived at the shoot with not a dragon in sight, and within the time it takes me to set-up, a dozen dragons arrive. This was when I was shooting them daily.<br />
<br />
One last point; the DSLR and 105mm lens are heavy when continuously being held to the face. I use a monopod and tuck it into my trouser belt for continuous support.<br />
<br />
Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/38605/pantala_flavescens_globe_skimmer_in_flight.html" title="Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2784/38605_thumb.JPG?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1574899210&Signature=xIKUGMgR1HuMz69UhFNZ8Lc2E9U%3D" width="200" height="134" alt="Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38606/pantala_flavescens_9571.html Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer" /></a></figure><br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/38607/pantala_flavescens_globe_skimmer_in_flight.html" title="Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2784/38607_thumb.JPG?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1574899210&Signature=f9mTT2QWNyChMMAAe2uv%2B8nAUs4%3D" width="200" height="142" alt="Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38606/pantala_flavescens_9571.html Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer" /></a></figure> Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight

In-flight dragon shots are always difficult You need that precision standard of focus with the complication that the bug is moving, and not particularly slowly either. Add to this, that the opportunities for the next single shot could be quite a wait.

The complication of the movement means that the relatively slow speeds of the flash range are not going to be of any use. So no secondary lighting and it is all about exposure times and available lighting.

If the day is overcast and dull, you might as well forget it and do something else. Ideally you want exp 4000th sec, ISO 400, F11. But for these settings, you are going to need arc lighting conditions. Settings have to be compromised.

I have a few very good shots as slow as 1000th sec, but I never go any slower. I control my setting from shutter priority mode.

The aperture setting needs to be small in order to achieve a depth of field. However if light is not perfect, aperture must be opened rather than compromising speed.

The ISO setting is a good way to maintain speed, but there is grain degredation, especially as you will be cropping in on the image. I have shot at ISO 2000 but it is woolly at best. I would say ISO 1000 is the limit for me.

If you keep the sun behind, you may be able to under expose by a stop, and pull the image back at the lab, during the editing process.

Focusing is not realistically possible, things just move too fast. You must first pay attention to the dragon movements, then pre-focus at a distance close enough to give you something to work with back at the lab, and far enough away to give you more successful shots. If you want a full screen 20Mp shot, it could take a couple of thousand clicks and several weeks. If you settle for a 1200px square, you might get half a dozen contenders in an hour and a hundred clicks.

The beauty of flavescens is that they fly in clouds and are inquisitive. If you keep still, they will explore you. I have arrived at the shoot with not a dragon in sight, and within the time it takes me to set-up, a dozen dragons arrive. This was when I was shooting them daily.

One last point; the DSLR and 105mm lens are heavy when continuously being held to the face. I use a monopod and tuck it into my trouser belt for continuous support.

Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.

Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38606/pantala_flavescens_9571.html Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer

Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.<br />
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38606/pantala_flavescens_9571.html Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer

    comments (11)

  1. Truly educational post, thanks for the write up. I think it has solid advise and the challenges you mention are exactly what I had in mind. Posted 3 years ago
    1. Thanks.

      I have so much more to write on flavescens. I never really thought of it as a favorite, but it has caused me to do a lot of research into flight and evolution.

      Dave
      Posted 3 years ago
  2. The whole series is fantastic! EXIF settings are very good, although in this type of photography is better if you work with 200 or 300mm focal length. The results can be even better just because you no longer have to crop the frame more than to adjust it. Very good! Thanks a lot for sharing! My best, cheers* Posted 3 years ago
    1. I agree about the lens. Unfortunately I could only afford to buy one lens with the body, so I went for the 105 macro with VR. It works well for bug work, but I lose out with birds and stuff like this.

      Dave
      Posted 3 years ago
      1. Much more cheaper you have the Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, the cheapest on the market, and quite versatile. I've intensively worked two years with one, misfortunately I broke it completely. Cheers Posted 3 years ago
        1. Thanks, I will keep it in mind. My next purchase will be a new body, probably a D800. If I do a couple of years in Sulawesi, I want a spare body with me.

          Dave
          Posted 3 years ago
          1. That's awesome* I'm still dreaming on the newest D750... Perhaps I'll keep on dreaming... ;) life's though for a biologist my friend ;) All the best, cheers* Posted 3 years ago
  3. Wow almost have the urge to take up macro photography , just a ripper of a shot. Posted 3 years ago
    1. Yes, it is a macro lens, BUT, this is not macro photography. This could be shot by any lens.

      Thanks :)

      Dave
      Posted 3 years ago
  4. Wow - that's a stunning shot. Very nice indeed. Posted 3 years ago
    1. Thanks very much.

      Dave
      Posted 3 years ago

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''Pantala flavescens'', the Globe Skimmer or Wandering Glider, is a wide-ranging dragonfly of the family Libellulidae. This species and ''Pantala hymenaea,'' the "Spot-winged Glider", are the only members of the genus ''Pantala'' from the subfamily Pantalinae. It was first described by Fabricius in 1798. It is considered to be the most widespread dragonfly on the planet.

Similar species: Dragonflies And Damselflies
Species identified by Vodkaman
View Vodkaman's profile

By Vodkaman

All rights reserved
Uploaded May 7, 2016. Captured Mar 15, 2014 11:35 in Jl. Lavender No.8, Ciwaruga, Parongpong, Kabupaten Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat, Indonesia.
  • NIKON D7000
  • f/4.5
  • 1/4000s
  • ISO1250
  • 105mm