The Butterfly Bush by our pond saw a lot of activity today. The most I have seen with butterfly activity. Between Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies and Painted Lady Butterflies plus a lot of bees and wasps, it was non stop activity for a few hours. They were about 14 ft away across the pond, so I was using a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens with a combination of extension tubes and Canon 1.4X Teleconverters to fill the frame. I also used a Flash to add some fill light to the shadows, from -2/3 thirds to -1 full stop. Using this combination you lose autofocus, but it lets you get some interesting closeups when you cannot get to your subject. The only problem I had with the Butterflies was they were constantly moving and I was trying not to go above ISO 1250, so my shutter speed was about 1/125, so I had some motion blur here and there. The Dragonflies are more cooperative sitting fairly still until they take off. Usually I only use 1 – 1.4X teleconverter plus extension tube narrower in front of the teleconverter and a wider extension tube behind the teleconverter which helps enlarge the image on the sensor. Gives me a lot of dragonfly image on the sensor, especially for the Blue Dashers which are only 1.5″ long. This combination works great out to 8-10 feet, giving me ample dragonfly image on the sensor.
Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, 36mm extension tube, Canon 1.4x Teleconverter, 24mm extension tube, Canon 1.4X teleconverter. Target Butterfly Bush in background. Usually I also use a better Beamer Flash Extender, helps batteries last longer. The extension tubes allow using 2 – 1.4 Teleconverters which are sharper than a 2X teleconverter, but also enlarge the image on the sensor more than just the teleconverters. Takes a little practice focusing consistently and adjusting exposure, mainly exposure compensation with shadows and highlights.