Migrant Spreadwing
Migrant Spreadwing

Often when I’m searching for dragonflies, I first start with a telelens, either my 300mm or the 70-200mm with a 1.4x or 2x converter. That way I don’t have to get too close to the dragonfly and I can get some shots at least. When I have got these shots, I switch to my macro lens to get the proper shots. However, sometimes that isn’t the best way to approach the situation. Last weekend we found some spreadwings and I started straight away with my macro lens. That turned out to be a bad idea. As it was warm enough the spreadwings had enough energy to fly away when I even got a little close. And there weren’t a lot of them… So after chasing them for a while, I decided to change back to my 70-200mm with 2x converter, so I could keep my distance. This turned out to be a good idea. With this lens I have to keep at least 1.2m distance, which didn’t scare them. In the end I found a Migrant Spreadwing that found some nice leaves to rest on. I like decided not to place the damselfly too large in the frame, in order to get a bit more of the leaves in the picture. I really like that the picture only consists of different shades of green.

I hope you like it too.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


  • I love the shot. The colors are so soothing and the touch of color on the damselfly’s back really pops out in the sea of varied shades of green. Thanks too for sharing your approach to photographing dragonflies. I have tried everything from a 100mm macro lens to a 135-400mm zoom to a 55-250mm zoom, with occasional success with each of them, but it really seems situationally dependent. Sometimes the dragonflies are cooperative and sometimes they seem reluctant to land.


  • I like the picture especially because of the plant on the blurry background. The softness of the light is also beautifull.
    With photographing butterflies and dragonflies it helps a lot when you go out early in the morning. Especially when temperatures drop down below 15 degrees Celsius. And of course, use a macrolens of 180 mm, provides you a bigger distance to the subject.


    • I’ve used a 180mm macro for years and changed to a 100mm last year. Now I have to make the choice: either really close up with the macro, or a bit bigger distance with the 70-200mm with 2x converter. Must say that I like this configuration as well.
      Oh, and getting up early isn’t really my strong point 😉

      Thanks for the comment!



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