By Steve Cirone
On my image to the left, and on all my bird action images, I use Manual Exposure Mode, F 5.6, 400 ISO, 1/1600th sec. as a starter. Check your cameras LCD and adjust the shutter only to get desired exposure. Point your shadow at, but not on the subject. No flash. Auto Focus, AI Servo/ Continuous, center point only, high speed drive/ frame advance. Focus limiter on far only if your lens has one. The above shot I took with a Canon 400mm f 5.6 lens ($1300), and a Canon Mark IV, but a used $800 Canon 1D Mark 2 will do nearly as well.
For photographing micro subjects like my above dragonfly, I use Manual Exposure Mode, F 11, 200 ISO, 1/200th sec. as a starter. Use FLASH!! Check your cameras LCD and adjust the f stop only to set your background brightness, and adjust your flash intensity only to dial in your subject brightness. Manual Focus (auto if you can get away with it), single focus (not servo/ continuous), center point only, one at a time frame advance. Count to 3 in between each shot to give your batteries time to recycle.
Typical micro gear is a bit more complicated than gear for birds in sun.
Canon 100mm IS, 180mm micro lens, Canon ring light/ flash or twin light/ flash, monopod (Manfrotto 685 B is trick)
Neotec Monopod with Safety Lock, 234 manfrotto tilt head.
Lakesides are good spots for dragonflies in hot mid day weather in the summer.
Steven Cirone is the current and a past President of the Sierra Club Photo Section. Growing up in Southern California, Steve spent many days surfing, skateboarding, diving, and exploring our diverse environment.
In recent years he has turned the experience gained from decades behind the camera to capturing the beauty of the birds native to California. His style is influenced by his early training as a student of Art Morris – whom he still greatly admires. Art is the grandfather of the wonderful hobby of modern avian photography.
You can view Steve’s work by visiting his website at http://www.stevecirone.com.