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September 2, 2012
Comet Darner

© – Comet Darner

Wow… what a great three day stretch of photography.  Admittedly I really needed it because I’ve been putting in a lot of hours at the job that pays my bills and puts a roof over my head.  Stress levels feel so much lower.

I’ll recap things in reverse.  Today I was out at Southeast Metropark in Austin, Texas.  It is a park run by Travis County and is mixed use.  The southern portion of the park is devoted to sports fields and other traditional park like features.  The north end is devoted to nature.  Three sizable ponds, long hiking trails, and lots of critters.  The highlight of the day was my life list add: a Comet Darner (Anax longipes).  Stunningly pretty dragonfly, though it was a beast to try to get a picture of.  They like to perch high and this one was no exception.  But it was cooperative and I made a lot of good shots.  The secondary highlight was I got images of Black and Red Saddlebags.  Both species were perched, but the Black Saddlebags was far more cooperative.  I’ll share those images at another time.

Roseate Skimmer

© – Roseate Skimmer

Yesterday was a trip out to Mitchell Lake Audubon Center.  I can’t sugarcoat this one…it went past fragrant and straight to it stunk pretty bad.  At the bird pond with the wind blowing from out of the south, the aroma was unmistakable as to what the site used to be used for.  But, it was bearable and I made a decent number of images in about an hour of shooting.  Roseate Skimmers were still running strong and were more cooperative than they have been in the past.  But I also had good luck with a number of other species to include Common Whitetails, Eastern Pondhawks, Pin-tailed Pondhawks, and Blue Dashers.  It also appeared that the Black-bellied Whistling Ducklings on that pond have gone through their molt, shedding their jailhouse look for a more adult-looking plumage.

Widow Skimmer

© – Widow Skimmer

Friday morning I was out at Cook’s Slough Nature Park in Uvalde, Texas.  Nice walk around the place.  For once it wasn’t stifling hot and I was able to do a lot of good work.  My highlight for the day was a Widow Skimmer that was incredibly cooperative.  But there were also a wide range of other dragonflies out there and I did a dandy job of nearly filling my card.

I’ve been busy doing some other things, too.  But that will have to wait for another blog entry.  No shooting tomorrow–other tasks to knock out and I’m not sure I want to be on the road when everybody else is trying to get back.  And on that same note, have a very safe Labor Day and watch out for the other guy when you’re on the road–he’s probably texting.

About the Images:
All three shots were made with the Standard Gear.  The Comet Darner was an add to my life list (20th confirmed dragon, 22 overall this year).  Tech stats were ISO 400, 1/100th @ f/8 with the flash to help fill in some of the shadows.  The Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) was also ISO 400, but 1/60th @ f/20 (thank goodness for a sturdy tripod).  The Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) was also ISO 400, 1/100 @ f/16.  The Widow Skimmer  made repeated returns to the same perch, making my life a little bit easier.

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