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And a Weekend to Boot

May 21, 2012
Black-necked Stilt

© jmillerphoto.com – Black-necked Stilt

The weather continued to cooperate with me (moderate temperatures and reasonably sunny skies), so I took full advantage of both Saturday and Sunday for photography.

Jade Clubtail

© jmillerphoto.com – Jade Clubtail Dragonfly

Saturday was at Cook’s Slough Nature Park in Uvalde, Texas.  Okay, so much for staying close to home.  But I so desperately wanted to go out there Friday but it was far too far away to do.  And I knew that as the weather gets hotter that this trip would be much more uncomfortable to do later (though I will do it later).  So I made the drive out and I was not disappointed.

There were a couple of highlights on the day, to include the Jade Clubtail (Arigomphus submedianus) which was a life list add.  For the moment I am at 7 Odonate life list adds for the year, but I’m expecting that number to climb by a few as I confirm a couple of my other sightings.

Spot-winged Glider

© jmillerphoto.com – Spot-winged Glider Dragonfly

Sunday morning presented cloudy skies, but I knew that I could at least work with those as the wind was very light.  So I made the reasonably short drive to Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (MLAC) to try my luck with dragons, damsels, and birds.  My first bit of luck was with the birds, as evidenced by my opening shot of a Black-necked Stilt.  My dragonfly luck caught up with me later in the trip with a plethora of Four-spotted Pennants and my lone (to my knowledge) life list add with the Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea).

All in all it was an outstanding way to finish up six days of photography over seven days.  It was back to the grindstone today, but if I’m lucky I will be adding post here and there over thoughts that occurred to me while sitting in the blinds and walking the trails (and now scratching my bug bites…I hate chiggers…)

About the Images
Leading off was a Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) that was in the east polder at MLAC.  I spotted this and a number of other shore birds at the shallow northern end of the polder and before a well-meaning but over agressive birder walked up on me I made a number of fine shots of this bird.  This shot is the rarity for me–it was shot hand-held.  The tripod was in the back seat of the vehicle and I didn’t wan to scare off the birds by getting in and out of the car more often than I needed to.  Image stabilization, being able brace on the side of a gazebo, and shooting 1/500th at f/5.6 (ISO 400) saved the day.

The Jade Clubtail was a work in patience.  I slowly eased myself, and my tripod, down to as close to eye-level as I could get on this beautiful creature.  I’m not sure this is the best shot of the bunch, but it is pretty darned good.  1/320th at f/16 (ISO 400) off the tripod on this one.  I went with the smaller aperture (thus bigger number) to try to get as much of it in focus as I could.

And finally the Spot-winged Glider.  I knew it was a special one when I shot it, but it took me a long while to figure out what it was once I got home.  My best guess is that this is a female.  1/320th at f/11 (also ISO 400) for this one.  I could have eased off the opening and gone a little quicker, but I wasn’t sure how far I could go and hope to get all of the wings in focus.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2012 6:04 pm

    I’m amazed you can get such good focus on those tiny critters. My damsels are always fuzzy. Perhaps I need to drag out the tripod… Good to see you getting out there!

    • May 27, 2012 9:51 pm

      Shooting dragons and damsels is not easy. Hand-held it is almost impossible. I’ve had good luck in the past with a solid monopod, but for getting solid focus nothing matches a tripod.

      I need to get up to your neck of the woods one of these days. It is getting too hot for a long stay, but I need to get back to Hornsby Bend and probably SE Metropark.

      • May 30, 2012 10:15 pm

        Yeah, it’s not definitely cool here. Hornsby will be very unpleasant this time of year, though. Stinky and like filled with massive bugs. But as long as you stay in the car… 🙂

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