Digiscoping Dragonflies

Halloween Pennant. Photo courtesy of Mike McDowell.

Dragonflies are often considered one of nature's most neglected beauties. When I'm out digiscoping birds and happen upon a perched dragonfly, I seldom pass up the opportunity to capture an image of it. I don't usually share dragonfly images, but digiscoping is an excellent way of photographing them. The dragonfly to the right is called a Halloween Pennant.

Like birds and some butterflies, dragonflies migrate, but very little is understood about the process. I like to keep a copy of Karl Legler's Dragonflies of Wisconsin in my backpack in case I happen upon a species I can't identify on sight. Though it may never replace birding, watching and digiscoping dragonflies will help round out your inner naturalist. All the equipment you own for birding can be used for studying these colorful insects!

Widow Skimmer. Photo courtesy of Mike McDowell.

Back in the days of my SLR camera, I used a macro lens and had to get within a foot of the dragonfly in order to capture details. Digiscoping allows me to be as far as 30 feet away and still record great detail. Shown to the right is a Widow Skimmer that I digiscoped at Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Article and dragonfly photos contributed by Mike McDowell, an avid digiscoper, amateur naturalist, and Eagle Optics employee. Visit Mike's Birding and Digiscoping Blog.