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Dragons and Damsels - Odonata

Back in 2014 I started documenting Dragonflies and Damselflies that were native to my area. To find most of these, knowing what habitat they frequented and flight times were key. They like mosquitos and, for the most part, marshy swampy areas or lakes and small ponds. Needless to say, I suffered many insect bites and the family jewels were often wet from wading waist deep in water. Many of these species only fly three weeks of their life, so knowing when they hatched was crucial to finding them. What made this project troublesome are the many stages Odonates go through while becoming adults, and this applies to both sexes. Some, sexes look alike, but the vast majority look completely different. It drove me crazy trying to ID. them! Anyway, this is only a small example of the hundreds of shots that I collected. I tried to pick the rarest and hardest to capture.

These were taken with a bunch of different cameras and lenses, too many to list with the shots, so if interested, I suggest a browser plug-in to get the EXIF data.

Atlantic Bluet Damselfly.Atlantic Bluet Damselfly.Brown Dancer Damselfly.Brown Dancer Damselfly.Blue Dasher Dragonfly.Blue Dasher Dragonfly.Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly, Female(R), and Male.Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly, Female(R), and Male.Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly, Immature Male.Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly, Immature Male.Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly, Female.Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly, Female.Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly.Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly.

For this shot, I sacrificed face detail to get the spikes on the legs. I could have "burned" the face a bit in post, but since it wasn't what I was going for, I left it as shot.

Ebony Jewelwing Leg Detail.Ebony Jewelwing Leg Detail.Furtive Forktail Damselfly.Furtive Forktail Damselfly.Golden-winged Skimmer Dragonfly. Very rare in our area.Golden-winged Skimmer Dragonfly. Very rare in our area.Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly.Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly.Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly.Great Blue Skimmer Dragonfly.Needham's Skimmer Dragonfly.Needham's Skimmer Dragonfly.Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly.Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly.Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly.Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly.

I shot this using the EF-S 35mm f/2.8 macro IS STM on an EOS 7D mark II utilizing the built in ring light set to "bright". That is a piece of pine straw he's resting on, so you get an idea of how small he is.

Southern Sprite Damselfly. The smallest damsel I've ever photographed - 1/2".Southern Sprite Damselfly. The smallest damsel I've ever photographed - 1/2".Swamp Darner Dragonfly. The biggest dragon I've photographed - 4"Swamp Darner Dragonfly. The biggest dragon I've photographed - 4"Swamp Darner Dragonfly.Swamp Darner Dragonfly.Two-striped Forceptail Dragonfly.Two-striped Forceptail Dragonfly.Prince Baskettail Dragonfly.Prince Baskettail Dragonfly.Four-spotted Pennant Dragonfly, male.Four-spotted Pennant Dragonfly, male.Four-spotted Pennant Dragonfly, female.Four-spotted Pennant Dragonfly, female.

 

EOS R5, R6, R6II. RF 15-35 f/2.8L, 50mm f/1.2L, 85mm f/1.2L, 100mm f/2.8L Macro, 100-400mm, 100-500mm L, 1.4X.
5 REPLIES 5

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

I am impressed: both by the wonderful insects, and your impressive images of them! 


cheers, TREVOR

"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Thank you, Trevor! It was so much fun. I still shoot dragons, but not as often as I would like.

Newton

EOS R5, R6, R6II. RF 15-35 f/2.8L, 50mm f/1.2L, 85mm f/1.2L, 100mm f/2.8L Macro, 100-400mm, 100-500mm L, 1.4X.

Efrenton
Apprentice

This is no fairy tale. It is true that dragonflies were among the first flying insects to appear on our planet and they were enormous. But through the ages they evolved and became smaller, probably to adapt to a low, unhindered flight through shrubbery where their large wings would come in the way.

 

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Tintype_18
Authority
Authority

My complements on the photos which show color and detail, especially the leg spikes. Why not buy chest waders to keep dry? Priced anywhere from about $100 to $700.

John
Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG


@Tintype_18 wrote:

My complements on the photos which show color and detail, especially the leg spikes. Why not buy chest waders to keep dry? Priced anywhere from about $100 to $700.


Thanx for the comps! As for the waders, I actually welcomed the water in our hot, humid summer. The mosquitos, sand gnats, and yellow deerflies were the real fight, not to mention the occasional cotton mouth. I drape mesh netting over my boonie hat and wear a long sleeve shirt when I'm in wetlands. I don't use bug spray, or sunscreen for that matter, because of the oils they contain. I don't want them on my cameras. Probably being overly paranoid, LOL!

Newton

EOS R5, R6, R6II. RF 15-35 f/2.8L, 50mm f/1.2L, 85mm f/1.2L, 100mm f/2.8L Macro, 100-400mm, 100-500mm L, 1.4X.
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