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South by Southeast (Metropark)

March 22, 2013
Plateau Spreadwing

© jmillerphoto.com – Plateau Spreadwing

After a great Saturday I was hoping for a good Sunday.  The order of the trips was set by what the weather forecast had told me throughout the week- -Sunny skies both Saturday and Sunday though a little windier on Saturday.  Given I figured I was doing birds in Boerne and dragonflies in Austin, I opted for the lighter wind on Sunday in Austin.  Besides, most of South by Southwest would be over by then I wouldn’t have to deal with all of the craziness that comes with the event.

So I met up with a local photographer on Sunday morning only to find that the weather forecast had changed from sunny all day to the ever dangerous AM clouds/PM sun.  This time of year there isn’t enough ambient heat to get the dragons and damsels going, so early radiant heat from the sun helps.  And cloudy in the morning creates for possibly slow movement.

I arrived at Southeast Metropark at about 9 am and the sun looked like it was trying to peek out from the clouds.  But it didn’t.  Sometime after noon the sun did peek through well, but by then the best light was gone for the day.

Not that it was an unproductive day.  On the contrary it was a very productive day.  It just could have been that much more productive if Mother Nature could have cooperated.

Grasshopper

© jmillerphoto.com – Grasshopper

We then meandered over to Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory.  That is, the part that we could meander to.  Over the winter they’ve had some issues with a smoldering fire in what I can only assume are the compost piles.  They have a good deal of the property closed except for the Platt Lane entrance.  So we drove over there and walked where we could.  And honestly it was very underwhelming.  Only a couple of dragonflies to be found in almost two hours of walking around.  I did make some dandy images of other things I found, to include the grasshopper in this section.

A bad day shooting is better than a good day doing just about anything else, but I’d still prefer a good day shooting to a bad day shooting.  But it was neither good nor bad…just decent.  And I’ll take that, thank you.

About the Images:
As usual, both images were shot with the Standard Gear, on a tripod, with no flash used.  Actually my flash was misbehaving (or translated…  Jim just didn’t know what the heck he was doing).  The Plateau Spreadwing  (Lestes alacer) was not a new species for me, but it was probably the best image I’ve made to date of one.  His girlfriend is currently posted over at Flickr.  Tech specs was ISO 400, 1/50 at f/14.  The grasshopper, which I am told is probably a female Green-striped Grasshopper (Chortophaga viridifasciata), might be my favorite image from the day.  Tech specs on that was was ISO 400, 1/640 at f/6.3.

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