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Thursday, 3 October 2013

Damsels and Dragons - in September, 2013

After August's first forays into macro with my old Tamron 28-300, I did a bit more in September, although the opportunities weren't so good.

I'd been excited on 30th August when I photographed a Common Emerald Damselfly at Rutland Water. I was, therefore, delighted when I found several at a cattle drinking pond on my 'local patch' on 3rd September.  The images, below, show considerable differences ans I suspect that some of these are age-related. Any advice would be much appreciated! The first are, I believe of males. I should point out that the first was taken with my Sigma 150-500 (I don't usually manage as well as this with that lens on this type of subject!).

Common Emerald Damselfly (male) - my 'local patch'
This was (if I've got the identification right!) the only female of the species I saw.

Common Emerald Damselfly (female) - my 'local patch'
I'm not sure if this next one has suffered an injury or if it's still straightening itself out after emergence. As well as the bend in its abdomen, its head was permanently crooked to the left. I'm not even sure whether it was a male or female.

Common Emerald Damselfly (m or f?) - my 'local patch'
One thing I did notice was that these 'spreadwings' did not always rest with their wings spread!

Also there was a lone male Common Darter dragonfly.

Common Darter (male) - my 'local patch'
 On my 'local patch' on 27th September, the Emeralds had disappeared, but the Darter was still there. This one landed on top of my head a couple of times!!!

Common Darter (male) - my 'local patch'
Dragonflies in my garden are rare these days, since we filled in the pond. We've only had three sightings this year. The first two were of unidentified Hawkers which just passed through, but on 29th September a male Common Darter visited and stayed for about an hour. In an earlier post I commented that I'd love to have a photographic set up which would, for example, enable me to capture the compound aspect of a dragonfly's eyes. To my amazement I found I have (just!), with the D300s and the cheapo Tamron 28-300! I suspect that I'd have done even better if I'd shot at ISO200 rather than 400.

Common Darter (male) - my garden
OK, so not much variety here, but I suspect that I've shot my last damsel/dragon image of the year. With this new-found interest in macro, I'm looking forward to next year's season!


  1. I never fail to be impressed at the photographic results I see on the internet Richard. I'm sorry I can't offer any ID comments as this is not my subject in that regard.

  2. Can't help with the id, but they are stunning images plenty of feet (of sorts) action :o)

    1. Thanks Doug, but I'm a bit more fussy about feet than you are :0). Insects don't do it for me!!

  3. HI Richard Great shots and very impressive that last photograph.

  4. Amazing images Richard,love the Common Darter shots,I think your ID'sare spot on.
    lovely detail on the Green Emerald,the eyes really stand out,the first two images are Wow.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, and confirmation of the IDs, John.

  5. Nice sharp images you have of these bugs:) Eyes and wings are what I try to snap on damselflies and dragonflies, but the sun makes it tricky here. You have really nice clear and crisp pics:) Hope you have a good weekend with some fun planned:)

    1. Thanks Chris. I can understand your comment about the sun. Whilst really dull days are hopeless for photography, full sun can make things almost as difficult. I seem to do much better in what I think of as cloudy bright conditions. One of the problems I have with bright sunlight with my set-up is flare or ghosting (not sure what the technical term is - or the reason, for that matter) on the edges of pale areas of a bird.

  6. Nice set of pictures. Cant offer any advice about the variation. Bit rude of the dragonfly to land on your head - how can you take a decent picture there!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

    PS: sorry for slow reply - I have been out of phone / Internet range for most of the week - it was strangely pleasant!

    1. Thanks, Stewart. Yep, it's at times like that you wish you had someone with you to record it!

      I can imagine that, in a way, it is quite pleasant to be removed from phone and internet for a while but, depending on where you are, it could also be a little daunting. Although I watch very little television, I also enjoy staying in places where no television is available too.

  7. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for your kind word about my Water rail!
    I believe it is easier to take pictures in Spain rather than England or France but again, it depends on knowing about sites....
    Back to your dragons... Great and interesting shots!
    Since you have a pond (with water) you should be able to more species next season.
    Pics N°1, 2 and 3 are definitively males; 4 and 5 are females. The last one look indeed at the end of its aerial life!
    You should see Common darters until the end of the month, I guess, depending on your local temperatures.
    In the south of France we can see them way into December.
    I am quite impressed by N°1 if you took the picture with a zoom...
    Well done Richard, I bet you will look forward to more dragonfly macro next year!

    1. Thanks Noushka. I suspected that the last Emerald was a female. Thanks for pointing out that it's at the end of its life, rather than the beginning of its adult life!

      Was in my hide this morning and got thoroughly chilled (temperature had dropped to 10 deg. and it was windy - didn't get the shot I was set up for either!

  8. Great topic choice this week. Not my subject matter but still found it interesting and educational. Last week I had what I believe was a southern hawker in the garden, huge thing. Macro photography is growing on me but still feel a little hit and miss with it, bottom of learning curve at the mo.....

    1. Thank you Dave. I too am, as you say, "at the bottom of the learning curve", but I'm finding it fascinating as it's helping me to see details that I'd otherwise have missed, and prompting me to investigate deeper.

      Best regards - Richard


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