Out In The Field – Back to Where I Last Saw My (Tripod) Foot
Last weekend’s wet weather was replaced with warm temperatures, clear skies, and calm winds. The perfect elements needed for some good dragonfly shooting. So after doing a quick look at weather conditions in some of my favorite haunts, I picked Uvalde, Texas and Cook’s Slough Nature Park.
I had not been back to Cook’s Slough since early September last year. And in that visit, I had the second of my two equipment misfortunes for the year. The first one was my flash falling off my camera and busting off the diffuser out near Luling, Texas. The second was at Cook’s when I had put my tripod into wet, mushy soil and then raised it up only to find that the rubber foot on one of the legs was no longer attached to said leg (and was buried deeply in the muck). I have been using the tripod since, but it lacked a bit of stability and had a penchant for collecting dirt. The travails I have had with the tripod and the process to get the replacement parts are really fodder for another post so I will officially shift back to today’s shooting…
So it was fitting given that the parts arrived this week that I would go out to Cook’s. I met up with a friend at a little before 8AM, shattering my “never getting out of bed on time” reputation, and got right to enjoying the hike and the outstanding conditions.
The recent rains (up to 8″/20 cm over a couple of days) has made the place a brilliant shade of green with scattered puddles left from last weekend’s deluge. Dragons and damsels were popping all over the place. Not a great spread in species, but the usual suspects were present and it made for some outstanding images.
There were a few serious photographic highlights for the day. Leading off was the Sulphur-tipped Clubtail (Gomphus militaris) that found its way onto a flower–an unusual perch for a dragonfly that normally enjoys the comfort of solid ground. But the flower it landed on was pretty darn sturdy, too, so it all worked out.
I had some good solid shots on both Roseate Skimmers (Orthemis ferruginea) and Eastern Pondhawks (Erythemis simplicicollis) as well. Nice to get some pink and blue in with the yellow from the Sulphur-tipped.
I also had a couple of really nice opportunities on a different species of Robber Fly from my Austin trip. Struck out again in terms of getting one with prey, but they are always a welcome addition into my portfolio and I think I had at least one portfolio worthy shot today.
The unfortunate thing about the clear skies was that by 11AM the light had become nearly unusable. So I packed up, rehydrated, and headed back to the homestead. The weather is supposed to be similarly beautiful Sunday, but home tasks will take up the day. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to sneak away and process a few images tomorrow night.
About the Images:
All images were shot on the Standard Gear, on the newly mostly repaired tripod and with no flash. The Roseate Skimmer was shot towards the end of my day as the light was coming up and losing the softer qualities from earlier in the morning. Tech specs were ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f/14. The Robber Fly (species not yet identified) was shot towards the middle of my hike and was very tolerant to my moving around. Tech specs were ISO 200, 1/160 sec at f/13. And the Sulphur-tipped Clubtail was also shot towards the middle of the trip and may be one of my top 5 favorites from the last couple of years. ISO 400, 1/160 sec at f/18.