August Activity: Dragonflies at Santee Lakes

For our August activity, please join us at Santee Lakes for Dragonfly Photography with our president Steve Cirone. Dragonflies are active during the day – when we meet at 10 in the morning they’re still warming up and are a lot more static, that makes photographing them easier.


  • Location: 9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee, CA 92071
  • Date: Saturday, August 18th, 2018
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
  • Admission fee: $5 if you park inside the recreation area (free if you walk in)

Steve’s Tips & Tricks

Dragonfly photography is best done with a regular telephoto lenses – not with fancy macro gear which requires one to get super close to the dragonflies (this is very difficult without scaring them off). In the photo below, a regular flash was used. An on camera pop up flash would also work well:

Dragonfly by Steve Cirone (Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 100-400mm II lens, Canon 600EX hot shoe flash)
Dragonfly by Steve Cirone. Gear: Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 100-400mm II lens, Canon 600EX hot shoe flash. Exposure settings: Manual Exposure mode, 1/250th second, ISO 250, f/14. Flash compensation +1 stop (this setting is a great place to start with dragonfly photography, so write it down an tape it to your camera.)

Dragonflies are active mid day. This makes them top lit by the sun and creates a poor lighting situation when photographing the dragonflies from the side. Adding flash erases this issue and fills in light on the dragonfly side.

Note that use of a crop body camera like the Canon 7D II (20ish megs) is an advantage in getting your small subject full frame. A high resolution full frame body with plenty of megapixels that leaves room for cropping will work just as well, of course.

Hope to see you all there!

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