I don’t do much wildlife photography, let alone macro stuff in the field. However, while photographing various species of heather, calluna, erica and daboecia, I was taken by the antics of several damsel flies. Some were hunting, but one couple were busy working on the next generation.
I was using my Sigma 28–300mm ƒ3.5–5.6 on the Canon EOS 7D for the plant work, and had been pleasantly surprised at the macro capabilities. When my colleague pointed out the damsel fly pair, I was initially sceptical I would get anything worthwhile. I was, after all, working handheld, and I wasn’t really convinced the lens would give me good results on something so small.
I perched on a small stool, rested my arms on my knees, and zoomed right out to 300mm. The camera was set at ISO400, and I’d been working in Aperture Priority mode. The insects were quite small in the frame, and the AF couldn’t quite latch on to them. I should point out I’ve adopted the back-button focus system now, leaving the shutter button for exposure reading and capturing the shot. Once the AF locked on, I took my thumb away from the button and kept shooting.
The shot above was 1/500th at ƒ/11, and I seem to have dialled in a negative third of a stop. Aside from some mild detail and contrast enhancement on import in Aperture, and a crop to home in on the critters, this shot is the best of the bunch. I am amazed at the crisp detail in the wings. Such a relatively cheap lens, and it still surprises me.