Newly emerged Western Meadowhawk

Another one from 2016. That’s how far behind I am in hard drive housecleaning. (My house is only about a month behind…) This was from a local dragonfly workshop, focused on ecology and ID not photography, but I came prepared.

Specific Feedback Requested

All comments welcome.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon 5D3, Sigma 180 macro, 1/2000 sec, ISO 1600, f/5.6, handheld, VERY thin ice, but the compound eyes are tack sharp. Early morning dappled light. Minimal LR adjustments, denoise redone in the new Topaz. Liberties taken to smooth out the DOF with low-opacity cloning. I like the perch (Pennyroyal) but even at that f-stop too much was unpleasantly apparent.


Wow! I love the gold of the dragonfly against the soft green background. Love the details and how you can see the vegetation behind the translucent wings too. Nice capture!

Diane, the mix of gentle greens and slightly more saturated yellow in the DF’s body looks very good. The perch adds a good extra bit to the top of the image. Having the distal tip of the abdomen sharp would be a nice improvement.

Wow indeed. What @Vanessa_Hill said! This is exquisite.

1 Like

This is gorgeous. The dreamy colors make the hawk really stand out in the frame.

Diane, I am enjoying the soft green shades throughout the image. The position he is posed makes for a nice composition as well.

Thanks everyone! I wish I had gotten a focus stack with the abdomen sharp. I probably tried but didn’t get it. The group had been fixated on discussing another newly emerged one that wasn’t a good photograph and as they started to move on I saw this one and had to try for it. I was handholding and the group was rapidly disappearing and I needed to catch up.

I looked back at the raw file and now see that I had desaturated reds too much to give a more pleasant BG but that also changed the color of the dragonfly, which should be more of what I call a tomato-soup red. I could rework and mask it off, but would have to go back to the raw file – another day (or year…)

The softness of the scene is so lovely and different here. Most dragonfly images I see (including mine) are harder edged and more contrasty. This stands out and sure, it would have been nice to get all of it in focus, but what you got on the fly is terrific. I often go out with naturalist groups and get left behind so I know what it’s like to shoot and run!

Diane: A wonderful find and a terrific capture and presentation IMO. Really pleasing color palette and DOF management. Top notch shot. >=))>

I love the over all color and background as well as the details Diane. The green overall is very nice to see and adds to this photo. The angle you took this worked out very well