Bouncing Down the Dusty Road
Yesterday was as good of an Odonata day as I’ve had all season. But maybe I should back-up just a little on the timeline.
So it was an awful busy week. Work. Family (close & extended). Pets. It was a train wreck. Long days. Short nights. Reasonably high stress.
But I get home after work on Friday night, take a look at the forecast, and I see it is gorgeous up in the Austin area. So I give a call to a fellow photographer who lives and shoots up there and I ask him what he’s up to. Yep, he’s going to be out shooting. He had been shooting Friday as well with a group of folks, and all were going to be out and about Saturday morning, starting at Southeast Metropolitan Park. I ask if they’d mind if I joined the party and the basic response came out as the more the merrier.
So I wandered up fairly early Saturday morning, though as always not nearly as early as I would have liked to. The group consisted of 2 locals (my friend and another photog I have shot with before), 2 folks from further away than me, and a gentleman from Denmark who was spending part of his vacation in the States looking for Odes. Awesome group of folks.
Things were a little slow at SE Metro Park. But I managed to pull off some nice shots to include a few species that were the first that I’d seen this year.
After a while the general consensus was that the Odes were just too slow to stick around there. So instead we decided that it was time to do a little traveling. We briefly stopped at another park were my Austin friends had been successful at before (no luck though today), and then moved on to Lockhart, Texas. The park we went to was crawling with folks, but we still managed some nice Ode photography. I picked up a couple of species I hadn’t photographed this year, plus I saw my first Cyrano Darner (but is as my practice, it doesn’t go on the life list until I get a picture of it).
After a stop for some barbecue in Lockhart, about half of us headed down to Luling, Texas and spent some time on the San Marcos River. Shooting conditions could have been a lot better–there were a ton of people enjoying the cool waters of the reasonably shallow river and waiting for a canoe race to come through. Lots of neat shots in this location, to include the American Rubyspot that started off this blog entry, to include a life list add of a Common Sanddragon. But for the dragonfly set, my favorite image from this location was this Halloween Pennant.
The day was not without a minor catastrophe. For whatever reason my flash did not secure properly to the hot shoe and one good bump knocked the flash onto the ground. The flash still works, but the wide-angle diffuser popped off. I’m now contemplating whether I want to pay $15 for a replacement part and fix it myself or send it back to Canon (for a number that undoubtedly will be more).
In spite of the flash drop, the day was still outstanding. I traveled much further than I expected on the day–nearly a total of 200 miles on the road. I have 2 more places to go Ode hunting, and I can’t wait to get back into the field again. Actually I’m going to have to wait because the weather today has been ugly, so I guess it will be sometime next weekend.
About the Images:
All three images were made with the Standard Gear, on the tripod but without use of the macro extension tubes. The flash was used on all but the Rubyspot image. And speaking of the Rubyspot, it is a male American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana), shot on the San Marcos River. Both Rubys and Smokys were present, though I didn’t get what I would consider to be a usable image of the Smoky. Tech details are ISO 400, 1/160 sec at f/18. The Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis) was both incredibly cooperative and uncooperative. He returned to his perch over and over and over, which made him a very cooperative specimen. But the perch was in the shade and the flash was a necessity. Tech details are ISO 400, 1/50 sec at f/10. And last, but not least, my good friend the Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina). I haven’t made a lot of good images of this particular species in Texas. Certainly nothing compared to the great shots I got in Ohio. But this one was pretty darn good. The tech details were ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/10.