Best weather for photo-ing dragonflies?

I live in Hong Kong and I’m trying to do more dragonfly/damselfly photography, especially scarcer species.

What are the best conditions (weather, time of day) for them to be found perched, rather than on the wing?

There’s going to be quite a lot of rain next week, I wonder if that helps at all.

Last year I had enormous difficulty getting a good photo of Saddlebag Glider, even though it is common here. It took me till mid-autumn to spot one sitting on a hedge right next to me, which was a pleasant surprise.
And those Emperor dragonflies… do they keep flying and flying. They seem never to need rest. I can’t really get an adequate photo of them like this.


Early morning, while it’s still cool. They need to perch in the sun and warm up before they fly. If you have a relatively cool day in the middle of a streak of warm days, they may be perched on rocks, or some other surface that retains heat.


Windy days can also be good. Look for dragonflies perched on the downwind side of trees and shrubs.

Also, I’m a fan of creating perches for them on the shore of a water body. If there’s not a good perch site where you stand to try to get photos, put some tall sticks into the shoreline mud and create some perching spots.


Definitely the best time, plus you usually get softer light.

However, the opposite is also true, as we found out when going to the Zzyzyx oasis on a day when the temperature was 111°F…the dragonflies were mostly just perching and super approachable. They were probably wondering what the heck us stupid humans were doing walking around in those conditions…


Yes, super hot days (eg 100-115 deg F) are also good for finding dragonflies hanging out in the shade. Of course that’s the best time for the human observer to also be in the shade.


Last week I made a trip to a reservoir. Not in HK. A rather big dragonfly was laying eggs on top of some water plants. The dragonfly would be momentarily still for like 1 second, and then fly off to another spot and return. Light was falling. I couldn’t capture a decent picture of it. I think it is possible to pre-adjust the focus to the spot and wait for it to come back. Some dragonflies indeed are flying all the time. I guess only the best cameras can catch those in flight.

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