The Wonders of Photography

Have you tried watching, and identifying, dragonflies buzzing around your favorite local wetland?

I found it to be quite a challenge to try to spot a dragonfly, locate it in my binoculars, focus, and then follow it as it darted here and there.  If you’ve ever seen the original version of the movie “The In-laws” with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin, then you will appreciate the concept of dragonfly flight patterns being called “serpentine”.

 

Female ovipositing – male hovering

Female ovipositing – male hovering

 

As I grew frustrated trying to watch a perpetually cruising “red” dragonfly, I decided to resort to my camera.  I set the ISO to 2500, the f/stop to f/11, and the shutter speed to 1/500 second.   I then focused on a plant in the flight zone, pushed the shutter button half way down, and waited.

 

Re-establishing tandum flight

Re-establishing tandum flight

 

When the intended target buzzed back into range, I went into “point and shoot” mode, and fired away on the multiple exposure “burst” shutter setting.  Given the distance and the size of the target, I really couldn’t tell much from the camera view screen, but I fired off a few sequences anyway.

 

Tandum flight

Tandum flight

 

After enlarging and cropping, what you see is what I got.  Although the images are somewhat fuzzy and blurred, one can see the dragonflies and their behavior.  I suspect that with practice, patience, deeper boots, or a longer lens, I can improve the technique and results.  For the present, however, I at least have enough visual information to make a guess at the identity of these dragonflies.

 

Carolina Saddlebags - male

Carolina Saddlebags – male

 

After a false start or two, and based on some views and photos of these same “red” dragonflies in the momentarily perched mode, I believe these “flying appetites” were (are) Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina).  The color patterns of the perched males seem to fit, and the ovipositing behavior I observed, and crudely photographed, agrees with the text materials in the dragonfly identification books that I have available.

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