Freezing Dragonflies in Flight

Ghislain Simard

Photographing butterflies from as early as ten years old, Ghislain Simard is now known as an expert of high-speed photography, especially when it comes to capturing insects in flight. Shifting his focus to dragonflies, he designed his own high-speed tools in order to freeze these agile fliers in motion. Using the H6D-100c and various HC lenses combined with a home-made laser system to trigger the flash, Ghislain created elegant, painting-like images of dragonflies frozen in time.

© GHISLAIN SIMARD
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD H6D-100C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/111.000S
APERTURE: F/6,3
ISO: 64
FOCAL LENGTH: 210MM (HC 4/210)

WHERE TO SHOOT DRAGONFLIES

Dragonflies are not very fond of photographers getting too close to them, usually changing their flight path to avoid any lens that gets in their way. Since they fly over water, this adds another layer of separation between the subject and the photographer. Usually shooting these insects in the south-east of France, Ghislain uses the telephoto Hasselblad HC 4,5/300 Lens to overcome the distance. But that seems to be the least of his problems when shooting these quick creatures.

© GHISLAIN SIMARD
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD H6D-100C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/111.000S
APERTURE: F/10
ISO: 100
FOCAL LENGTH: 120MM (HC 4/120)

#1: CAPTURING THE DRAGONFLY AT THE RIGHT MOMENT

There are a few matters to address when trying to shoot the speedy and elusive dragonfly. The most obvious is that of actually being able to take the photo at the exact second necessary. To solve this, Ghislain used a home-made electronic system in combination with a laser; this laser detects the subject as it flies into focus, triggering the camera at just the right moment.

© GHISLAIN SIMARD
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD H6D-100C

© GHISLAIN SIMARD
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD H6D-100C

#2: AVOID BLURRING THE DRAGONFLY

The second issue is to avoid blurring when freezing the fast movement of the dragonfly. “It’s even more difficult to freeze very rapid movement if the scene is framed close-up. A single wing-beat takes the subject right across the frame!” exclaims Ghislain. In order to overcome this, Ghislain used electronic flash systems that generate very brief flashes capable of freezing even the fastest actions. Upgrading to high voltage flash units, the exposure time was as fast as 1/111,000 of a second.

#3: SHUTTER LAG TIME

The third obstacle to overcome was the shutter lag time, as this brief time lapse is a big delay when your subject is moving very quickly. “The leaf shutter of the HC Lenses is very fast, and it helps to minimize the impact of shutter opening delay. For the fastest shots, with the assistance of Hasselblad, it was possible to make the medium format camera to effectively trigger the flash directly via the sensor, without any mechanical shutter, making my H6D far faster than any 35mm DSLR I’ve previously used,” says Ghislain.

© GHISLAIN SIMARD
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD H6D-100C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/111.000S
APERTURE: F/3,5
ISO: 64
FOCAL LENGTH: 50MM (HC 3,5/50)

The advanced characteristics of the H6D-100c result in unprecedented image quality in wildlife photography, but not only because of high pixel count. The higher magnification ratio required with larger sensors provides a nicer bokeh. There’s a kind of 3D effect with the H6D-100c that I have never seen delivered by a 35mm DSLR.

ABOUT GHISLAIN SIMARD

Nature macro photographer Ghislain Simard has had a passion for insects since childhood. From photographing butterflies frozen on flowers, he realized his images were missing something. Inspired by the high-speed nature photography of Stephen Dalton, Ghislain realised he wanted the thrill of capturing insects in flight. Wanting to push technical limits further, Ghislain had to develop his own high-speed tools that were not yet available on the market. “Since then, my pictures have made me discover a different planet – the world of insects where gravity plays no part.” See more of his work here.

邱子峰

当中画幅呈现,如此简单却又厚重

在专业美食摄影师邱子峰的印象里,中画幅曾一度是「不堪重负」的体验。随着 XCD 45P 的发布,哈苏 X 系统再次引领中画幅便携新高度,这将为商业摄影师的工作流带来怎样的提升与体验?邱子峰坦言:「我相信如此轻便而又强大的中画幅系统,将会改变我的拍摄方式。」

Read more

Tom Oldham

XCD 45P 下的街头肖像

哈苏 H 系列摄影师 Tom Oldham 是最早使用 XCD 45P 镜头的摄影师之一,带着它走出影棚在冬日伦敦街头即兴创作,测试这款轻量级的中画幅镜头。

Read more

Douglas Kirkland

遇见「传奇」的那天

Douglas Kirkland 用他的哈苏 500C 相机拍摄了玛丽莲·梦露(Marilyn Monroe)众多著名作品。在创造这些经典之前,他还曾在街头邂逅维克多·哈苏(Victor Hasselblad)先生本人。

Read more

行摄恒河的四位摄影师

印度“大壶节”是印度教的朝圣节日,每年吸引超过一亿人聚集至印度中部的恒河进行沐浴净身。四名摄影师 Gabriel Flores、Joe Greer、Jeremy Snell及 Dan Tom 前往印度,以自身视角及独特的摄影风格记录了这次文化之旅。

Read more

Mats Lind

滑雪赛道上的速度与激情

不同于普通体育摄影,Mats Lind 企图以抽象画面记录世界顶尖滑雪选手滑下坡道时的情景。当选手以 100 千米每小时的速度经过他身边,他几乎仅有一秒钟的时间去捕捉这个瞬间。Mats 将曝光不同的几张照片进行了合成,以油画般的艺术效果展现运动员角逐世界冠军的激动心情。

Read more

BROCK ELBANK

现在,你如何看待我?

历时 33 个月,Brock Elbank 拍摄了 30 位先天性色素痣患者,这种极其罕见的胎记最多可覆盖人体 80% 的皮肤,全世界仅有不到 1% 的人患有这种先天疾病。

Read more

背后的故事

Herring & Herring

Herring & Herring,一个在名人与乐坛领域备受青睐的摄影团队,它由创意大师 Dimitri Scheblanov 和 Jesper Carlsen 联手成立,两位天才的合作,背后又有怎样精彩的故事?

Read more

TOM OLDHAM

消逝中的艺术,应一「亿」记录

人像摄影师 Tom Oldham 花了将近 20 年,记录了伦敦东区的酒吧中随时代老去的爵士乐队,这组名为《最后的歌者》系列作品,被世界摄影奖评为「2018 年最佳肖像类作品」。

Read more