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Posts Tagged ‘damselfly’

Whenever I walk along the edge of a pond, I always like to look for damselflies, which love to perch on the vegetation growing out of the water. Footing can be a bit problematic and more than once I have slid down a slippery bank into the water. Normally, though, I just lean out as far as I dare to get some shots.

Last weekend as I was exploring Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, I spotted this beautiful little damselfly that was looking in my direction. I knew that depth of field would be a problem from that position, but did my best to focus on the damselfly’s beautiful eyes. When I returned home and began to review my shots, I was a little shocked to see what looked to be the discarded exoskeleton (exuvia) of another damselfly (or possibly a dragonfly) on the underside of the leaf on which “my” damselfly had perched. How did I not notice that when I was shooting?

I really like the way that the head of the exoskeleton is facing that of the damselfly and the shadow in between the two of them. Is it the shadow of the one looking down or the one looking up? Common sense says that it is the former, but the slight degree of ambiguity adds interest to the photo for me.


damselfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s still a bit early for dragonflies in Northern Virginia, but when temperatures soared to almost 80 degrees (27 degrees C) yesterday in Columbus, Georgia, I decided to see if I could find some here. I had a wonderful time exploring some of the area of the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center that is not far from Fort Benning, where I was staying.

I came up empty-handed for dragonflies, but did spot some beautiful little damselflies. Later in the spring, these will be fairly common, but after a long period with no odonates, they seem rare and exotic.

The first one looks like a Fragile Forktail damselfly (Ischnura posita), but I am not sure about the others. Several of them flew so weakly that I wondered if they had only recently emerged.

Fragile Forktail

damselfly

damselfly

damselfly

damselfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This female damselfly blended in almost perfectly with her surroundings yesterday as she deposited eggs in the shallow water at the edge of Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge at Fort Belvoir. I love the way that the shadows changed as she dipped the tip of her abdomen into the water.

I have real difficulties in identifying female damselflies, but in this case I am not too concerned.  I was so caught up with the colors, shapes, and lighting in this image that identification seemed of secondary importance.

damselfly ovipositing

 

damselfly ovipositing

damselfly ovipositing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This past weekend I managed to get my first damselfly shot of the season of what appears to be a pretty little female Fragile Forktail (Ischurna posita). Like the Springtime Darner dragonfly that I featured in yesterday’s posting, this photo was taken at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia. Fragile Forktail damselflies are only about one inch (25 mm) in length and it was my eagle-eyed fellow odonata enthusiast, Walter Sanford, who first spotted this tiny damselfly.

Fragile Forktail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Two things really struck me when I first encountered this damselfly—its captivating blue eyes and its extraordinarily long abdomen.

Most damselfly fold in their wings when they are at rest, but damselflies of the Lestidae family keep them open and are commonly known as spreadwings. Only two members of this family are on the species list for my marshland park—the Swamp and the Slender Spreadwing—and this looks to me like might be a male Slender Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes rectangularis).

I would welcome a correction or confirmation of my identification, because I feel almost clueless when it comes to identifying damselflies.

damsel_blue1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Looking at my recent postings, you might come to the conclusion that I neglect damselflies, the smaller, less colorful members of the Odonata family, in favor of dragonflies. Actually, I really like damselflies, but they are so small that it is difficult to see them most of the time and quite a challenge to get a clear shot of one.

As I was searching for dragonflies, I came upon this beautiful black and blue damselfly perched on a small branch near the edge of a muddy creek and was able to get an unobstructed shot. You might think that identification would be easy, but there is a whole group of damselflies, the bluets, whose members have various combinations of black and blue.

So far, I haven’t been able to identify this damselfly, but I find its combination of black and turquoise to be elegant and really attractive.

damsel_bnb_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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To crop, or not to crop—that is the question. At a certain point in time when we are processing our images, we are all come face to face with this question. To some photographers, composing perfectly in the camera is the ultimate virtue, and they take pride in the fact that they do not crop (and object when their images are cropped).

Moose Peterson is one prominent photographer who does not crop and he explained his views in a fascinating blog posting in 2012 entitled, “The Crop Revisited.” I am still pondering one of his conclusions, “When you don’t give yourself the option to “fix it in post,” photographers push themselves. This always make a better click and the story telling, the subject, that passion of that click becomes clearer and clearer.”

Most of us could not live with such a high standard and for various reasons we choose to crop. I am so used to cropping my images that even when I compose an image just the way that I want it, I am tempted to move in closer with my crop. That was my dilemma with this image of a damselfly on the edge of a lily pad, as it was framed when it came out of the camera.

damsel_pad_blogI really like the long sinuous curve on the left and the large expanse of green on the right. I worry, however, that the damselfly is taking up too little space of the image and is not prominent enough. So I cropped a bit and produced a second version.

damsel_pad_crop_blog

That’s not a very extreme crop, but somehow the image feels different to me. Does it make any difference to you? Do you prefer one of the two over the other?

UPDATE: Fellow blogger and local dragonfly expert, Walter Sanford, has identified this for me as an Eastern Forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis). Thanks, Walter.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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