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Some Dragonflies Just Don’t Perch… Not…

April 21, 2013
Prince Baskettail

© jmillerphoto – Prince Baskettail

Saturday’s travels took me back up to Austin and the  Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory.  Awesome day of shooting.

I had the good fortune to be shooting with three other photographers on my visit.  One of them was a friend that usually meets up with me when I wander into town and is a wealth of local knowledge.  The other two were folks I’d never met before.  Well, at least one of them I’d never met in person but we’d talk repeatedly in e-mail over the last few years.  But three talented photographers and yours truly all going after the same basic thing: Odonata.

And photographically it was a really great day.  It would have been better had I checked the settings on my camera and had noticed that from frame 1 to frame 200 or so the camera had been set on an exposure compensation of  -1 1/3 stops.  Thankfully most of the images (except for the ones I had underexposed beyond the underexposure) could be salvaged.

The highlights for the day included getting numerous Prince Baskettails.  I only had one other Prince Baskettail in my collection, and it was an extremely teneral, just emerged specimen at South Llano River State Park from last year.  Today I probably got 6-7 different specimens.  The Prince Baskettail is one of those species that allegedly never perch.  Or certainly don’t perch where photographers can get to them.  Myth busted 🙂

Female Red Saddlebags

© jmillerphoto – Red Saddlebags (Female)

But in addition to the Prince Baskettails, I made a lot of images of other dragonflies.  This also included at least one other species that doesn’t perch:  Red Saddlebags.  As you can see from the image above, they certainly can and do perch where we photographers can use them.

I also made numerous shots of other odonates to include Black Setwings, Eastern Pondhawks, Blue Dashers, Rambur’s Forktails, Powdered Dancers, Familiar Bluets, Blue-ringed Dancers, and undoubtedly a few that have escaped my memory.

Great day of shooting.  Great day of conversing with fellow Odonate photographers.  And some really great shots in on the cards.  Weather is good today and I’m looking at an afternoon somewhere local, but I just haven’t figured out where that’s going to be.  Stay tuned.

About the Images:
Both images were shot, as always, on the Standard Gear, on the tripod, and with flash available and mounted.  The lead shot is my friend the Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps) in the classic creamy background pose.  The curvature of the lower segments is something very unique for this dragonfly.  Tech details were ISO 400, no flash fired, 1/320 sec at  f/18.  Yes, f/18 and a background like that.  Yep, I got lucky with the perch spot.   The Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta) did not have as creamy of a background, but the hints that there was a cactus in the background may add to the context of where she was seen.  Tech details: ISO 400, fill-in flash (ETTL -2/3 stop), 1/500 sec at  f/10.

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