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Photo Shoot Report: July 24, 2011 @ Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

July 25, 2011

© jmillerphoto.com - Roseate Skimmer dragonfly

My friends who have served in the Navy often talk about shakedown cruises.  A shakedown cruise is a short trip out to sea where they test out the ship’s systems to make sure that everything is working as it should.

My trip out to Mitchell Lake Audubon Center was a shakedown cruise of sorts for my new Canon 60D.  And I’m happy to report that all systems were good to go.

First about the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.  It is on the south end of San Antonio, just off of the I-410 loop.  Entrance fee is $2 per person. It caters primarily to birders as you would expect from the organization named in James Audubon’s honor.  But looking at the maps and the information online told me that there was a great likelihood that butterflies and odonates would be present as well.  And indeed there were quite a few odonates to be found.

Temperatures were brutal.  If I may steal from a picture I saw on the Internet this weekend, “Satan called… he wants his weather back.” Hot, humid, and nasty.  And that was 10AM.  And likely that was part of my problem.  I left far too late and got lost getting there which put me further behind.  Add to it I had two people with me who weren’t prepared for the heat and the humidity and it made for an abbreviated trip into the center.

I spent the majority of my time around the visitor center and around the first main birding pond.  Odonates were present in good numbers, though not nearly the quantity as compared to places like some of the Five Rivers Metroparks locations in and around the Dayton area.  The primary species I saw were Roseate Skimmers, Common (Eastern) Pondhawks, and Blue Dashers.  I also saw a small number of Red Saddlebags, Common Whitetails and three other species that I have yet to identify.  Those will be life listers for me.

© jmillerphoto.com - Four-spotted Pennant dragonfly

On the photography end of things, I was very impressed with the performance of the 60D.  It was both quicker and quieter than the 30D.  Color temperatures were just about spot on with Auto White Balance.  Other than getting the focusing point to where I wanted it to be and struggling a bit to find the format command for the memory card, the day proved to be nearly problem free.  Shot of the day was of one of those life listers, though I was also very pleased with the Common Pondhawk and the Roseate Skimmer shots.

All in all it was a good shakedown cruise of the new rig.  Admittedly the hot weather limited the number of shots I made, but the ones I made were good ones and I can’t wait to get out and shoot some more.

July 27th Update:  My friends at the Texas Ode Yahoo! Group have helped me with the identification of the bottom image as a Four-spotted Pennant.  As often is the case, what I thought were two different species turned out to be one, just male/female so my life list climbed to 30.

Image count to date on the 60D:  126

About the images (Edit July 27th): The top image is of a Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea).  The bottom image is a female or immature male Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida).  Neither image has been subjected to any significant work in Photoshop.  The Roseate Skimmer was cropped, had a minor levels adjustment, and was sharpened slightly to compensate for the reduction in size for the blog.  The Four-spotted Pennant had a similar amount of work done with it.  The background was not modified in Photoshop…it is what I got out of the camera.  My continued thanks to both Odonata Central and the Texas Ode Yahoo! Group  for assistance with my identifications.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bruce Foreman permalink
    July 27, 2011 3:04 pm

    Those pix look SUPER!

    Great job, Jim

    Bruce Foreman

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