After a total of 6 hot hours focused on shooting dragonflies (or snakefeeders, as my husband calls 'em) I now know a thing or two about the little boogers.
First, they are fast, but with a bit of patience, I learned there is a vague pattern to their behavior, depending upon the particular variety.
Second, the day must be hot and sunny for the dudes and damsels to come out and play. I used my macro 105 mm 2.8 lens and my 80-200mm 2.8 lens in manual focus mode only. Forget any fantasy thoughts of using the camera in continuous auto-focus mode in capturing dragoflies. My technology ain't there yet.
My original mission was to shoot dragonflies in motion in their habitat. I know. That was a funny. After a dose of reality and more than enough sweat in my eyes, I altered my self-imposed goal to simply be happy getting a successful image at all. I found 3 locations around the pond at Valle Crucis to sit in wait. All photos were taken in the afternoon between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. I found that overexposing a wee bit helps bring out the shadows on the bodies of the dragonflies. Most of these shots have minimal post-processing although some curve and contrast correction in Photoshop was necessary. I found the percentage of shots in focus increased when I increased the depth of field, especially when trying to capture more than one insect in a frame. I shot hundreds of photos which had either the face, tail or wings of the bugs in focus--depth of field in macro mode at high shutter speeds just isn't as easy as it sounds. When shooting dragonflies, bring a sit-upon otherwise you will get a wet butt.
This is my husband's favorite shot. I think probably because they look like bad asses here. By the way, I asked my him why he calls them snakefeeders and he said that his mom always called 'em that because where you find snakefeeders, you'll find snakes...