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I Slough the Dragons…

May 19, 2013
Sulphur-tipped Clubtail

© jmillerphoto.com – Sulphur-tipped Clubtail

So last night, as I was finishing up my post about Mitchell Lake Audubon Center,  I had a pretty good idea of where I was heading.  Weather forecast seemed to be best out at Cook’s Slough Nature Park in Uvalde, Texas.  It was going to be hot as Satan’s toenails (projected high 101º F / 38.3º C), but the sun was going to be out.  And if I could get out there early enough (always the big “if”) then I could leave before the heat of the day set in and still would be able to get some good shots.

Of course, I missed the early that I was shooting for.  Two weekend nights in a row where I was hoping to keep to a weekday schedule to take advantage of the cooler weather turned into extended evenings with friends and family.  No complaints–without friends and family the world gets pretty boring.  But it doesn’t do much for getting the sleep I desire.

But regardless, I was on the road a little after 8 and made my first shot around 9:40.

It was a morning for which I had much to be thankful for.

I was thankful that the weather (for the most part) was cooperating.  The sun was out, the temperatures were not unbearable (from beginning to end), and the wind (again, for the most part) behaved itself.

I was thankful I ran into my friend, Bob.  Bob is a talented photographer.  His images of high school sports regularly grace the pages of the local paper out in Uvalde.  His nature work is outstanding as well.  And he is one of the best bird guides in the Hill Country River Region.  Not to mention that over the years he has probably put more miles in at Cook’s Slough than just about anybody else.   He was out making images as well this Sunday morning and I ran into him up near his babies–2 black vulture chicks on the south end of the park.  No… I didn’t get a very good shot of them.  Too much glass.  Maybe next time if they haven’t flown the coop by then.

I was very thankful for my Danner Pronghorn snake boots.  They may be the most comfortable pair of shoes of any kind that I own.  When Bob took me through some muck in search of an elusive dragonfly the boots kept my feet dry.  And when that snake did cross in front of me (about 10 yards up the trail), I was sure glad I was wearing them instead of anything else.  I’m not saying that my feet were completely comfortable after the 3.25 miles I hiked today–they were screaming pretty loud.  But I could only imagine how loud they would have been barking had I not been wearing them.  And we won’t mention the special laundry issue I might have had without the confidence I have in those boots.

And I was thankful that the Odes are really starting to emerge at the Slough.  Eastern Amberwings were by far the most abundant of the dragonflies.  Familiar Bluets held that title for the damselflies, though there were plenty of Blue-ringed Dancers and Blue-fronted Dancers making the rounds as well.

All in all it was a really good day.  Great images, fun walk, and good conversations.  And I was very thankful when I got home that I had the ice pack ready to go for the foot.

About the Image:
Though not the most abundant of the dragons I saw today, this female Sulphur-tipped Clubtail (Gomphus militaris) was representative of a number of this species that I saw today.  I liked this perch better than the rock she started on.  I tried get even lower by dropping the tripod legs another notch.  I even had the legs down.  But as I got down to where I could make the shot, she decided that her patience with me was over and she flew off.  Oh well… this one isn’t too shabby, I think.  As always, I was shooting with the Standard Gear.  Both the macro extension tube and flash were mounted to the camera, but I did not use the flash for this image.  Technical details are ISO 400, 1/160 sec at f/16.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 23, 2013 8:44 am

    I love your photographs and look forward to each and every one. She’s beautiful.

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