Finally A Blue Dasher In My Yard

Usually we have a few different types of Dragonflies in our yard. But this Summer we have only had Amberwing Dragonflies around. But they were very skittish and very small, so I did not get any good images of them. When I was out looking in our garden for other Praying Mantises  I noticed a female Blue Dasher on our Dogwood tree in the front yard. I finally had an interesting Dragonfly in our yard that was very tolerant of being photographed. It was on one of the Dogwood Bracts basically at almost eye level. I was using a 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter on a Canon 7D. It would take off, fly around then return to the same spot on the Dogwood. I was able to shift my position to get backgrounds in the shade and in the sun. I also was able to try different f/stops and a few image stacks. The featured shot I was at f/11 for more depth of field (so I did not have to do a focus stack) with a sunlit background.

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Shifted my position angle for a shaded dark background for a more dramatic look. Same f/11 exposure.

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Blue Dasher Female – 300mm f/11, 1250 ISO (busy background)

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Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly, angled for a cleaner background, 300mm, f11, Canon 7D

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Blue Dasher Female, f/13 – busy background version

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6 Blue Dasher FM_CU Crop 9img_Pano_v11_300mm f5_6_300mm 1_4X _7D

Blue Dasher Female – Cropped from below image – 9 image focus stack, 300mm f5/6, 300mm With 1.4X teleconverter, Canon 7D

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Blue Dasher Female, 9 Image focus stack, Handheld, f/5.6, (for a smoother background), 300mm with 1.4x teleconverter

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Female Blue Dasher, 300mm, f/ 5.6

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Cropped version of above image for face detail

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Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly, f/11 – 300mm w/ 1.4x teleconverter.

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Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly,  300mm, f/5.6

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Blue Dasher- female, 300mm f/11

Seaside Dragonlet Dragonflies

These Seaside Dragonlet dragonfly images were from a previous trip to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. It is a little over a 3 hour trip, but is fun to find a few different types of Dragonflies besides the usual ones by my home. A good spot to photograph dragonflies is around the main observation platform near the start of  the Wildlife Drive. It has a long ramp instead of stairs to the main platform. So there are many dragonflies all around the platform. Plus easy access to dragonflies in the plants along the ramp sides. Another spot is the wooded area along the Wildlife Drive that has some water on both sides of the Drive. But dragons along here seem to move around much more and do not stay in one place long. The featured image is a male Seaside Dragonlet. Because of the angle, I shot 4 handheld images at different focus points. When adjusting my files I loaded the 4 images into 1 layered Photoshop file. Then I aligned the layers and then blended the layers for the final base file. All images were taken with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a Canon 1.4x teleconverter & Canon 7D.

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Screen Grab showing the final finished merged Layer and below that what Photoshop chose as the sharpest areas on each layer. 

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Female Seaside Dragonlet Dragonfly

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Male Seaside Dragonlet Dragonfly

Seaside Dragonlet FM_300mm_1_4X_7D_MG_5179

Female Seaside Dragonlet

Female Seaside Dragonlet

A couple of images from a trip to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Some of the dragonflies already seem to showing a lot of wear already. Missing wing parts and just looking a little worn. It is amazing that some with almost no wing on one side can still somewhat fly. This is a Female Seaside Dragonlet and has a bent and damaged Segmented Abdomen.It amazes me the males and female dragonflies are so different in coloring & markings.  Which also makes it difficult to ID sometimes. Then throw in immatures and it get more confusing! All images taken with a Canon 300mm lens with a 1/4X teleconverter on a Canon 7D.

Seaside Dragonlet??

Seaside Dragonlet – Male

Needham’s Skimmer Dragonflies From Blackwater NWR

Needham Skimmer Dragonfly images from a previous trip to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, outside Cambridge, Maryland. The featured image is a  Needham Skimmer Dragonfly made from 3 images, focused at 3 different focus areas on the dragonfly and blended in Photoshop. I focused on near wingtip, body, then far wingtip. Even at f/14 with a 300mm lens I only needed 3 focus areas to get a sharp dragonfly from wingtip to wingtip and still have a smoother background. If I stopped down more I would get a more distracting backgrounds, so focus stacking helps the dragonfly stand out more.

Needham's Skimmer_v2_FM_7img_300mm_1_4x_f14_7D_MG_4520Needham's Skimmer_FM_300mm_1_4X_7D f14Needham's Skimmer_FM_300mm__1_4X_7D_MG_5596Needham's Skimmer_v2_HP_300mm_1_4X_f14_7D_2imgNeedham's Skimmer_FM_7img_300mm_1_4x_f13_1_320sec 7D_v2

 

 

Female Common Whitetail Dragonfly

A few images of a female Common Whitetail Dragonfly taken along a walk at the Audubon Plainsboro Preserve in NJ. I was using a Canon 300mm f/4 lens on a Canon 7D, mainly because it was lighter to carry for a long walk. The background is a little busy with the sandy & pebble path. But it cooperated by not flying off!

Common Whitetail Female v2_MG_8077Common Whitetail Female v3_MG_8109Common Whitetail Female_MG_8064 v2Common Whitetail Female v2_MG_8103

Dragonfly Eyes

An assortment of Dragonfly closeups focusing on their eye & face details. Images taken with 300mm & 400mm lenses with extension tubes.

BlueDasher CU v3 2imgStk_DM 7 17Eastern Pondhawk V3_MG_2625

Blue_Dasher v3 cf_MG_9050Blue Dasher FM v4 yd_MG_9828

 

 

Tree Swallow Nest In My Carport

When I was going to my car in the carport I noticed a Swallow flying in food to it’s chicks in a nest in the eaves of the carport. So I went to get a camera to photograph the chicks. The nest was in a very dark corner on the inside below the roof edge. Because of how dark it was and I was using a 300mm f/4 lens @ f/5.6, I upped my ISO to 3200 ISO to get a little higher shutter speed to get to sharper images in the dim light.
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New Growth On Evergreen Trees

It is interesting to see Spring’s Bright Green new growth on the evergreen trees by our sidewalk. The bright growth really stands out from the older branches. Also our flowers in the garden are starting to bloom. It is nice to see new growth and a new beginning with all that has been going on in the country lately. We seem to also have a semi-permanent resident Garter Snake in our garden now.

New Growth v2_MG_7729

More CloseUp American Alligator Images From Florida

 

An assortment of close-up images of Alligators from 2 Florida locations, along the paths at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s Rookery. Featured image taken at Ding Darling NWR with 300mm f/4 Lens, Canon R.

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Alligator Teeth 560mm, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, Florida.  Canon 1D mkIV, 400mm DO lens, 1.4X Teleconverter

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Alligator @ 400mm, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Canon R, St. Augustine Alligator Farm

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Alligator @ 226mm, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Canon R, , St. Augustine Alligator Farm

Following is information on Alligators from Ding Darling NWR’s website.

One of only two alligator species in the world, the American Alligator is a large reptile found in freshwater habitats throughout the southeastern United States. Adult male alligators can grow up to 4.6 meters long and weigh over 500 pounds while females are generally smaller and average only 3 meters long with a weight of 200 pounds. Commonly portrayed as green, the skin of an American alligator is actually a dark grey color with pale yellow on the underside, and the juveniles have bright yellow stripes along their backs until they mature and the striped fade. The dark coloration allows this predator to better blend into the swamps, marshes, and wetlands it inhabits and camouflages the animal while it hunts at night. Another adaptation that allows the alligator to better hunt within its watery habitat is a double set of eyelids. One set of eyelids is much like a humans, they close up and down and protect the eye from debris and light. A second set of translucent eyelids, called a nictitating membrane, close front to back and are used to protect the eyes while the alligator is underwater. Like other reptiles, American alligators are cold blooded and need heat from the sun or other sources such as warm water to be active or even to digest their food. Special bone plates called scutes grow between layers of skin along the back of the alligator, giving the animal an armored appearance and acting as a solar plate. The scutes collect heat from the sun when the alligator sunbathes and warms the blood that runs through the vessels of the skin, transferring the heat throughout the body. Despite their appearance as slow, lazy, or unresponsive which sunbathing as alligator is capable of running up to 11 miles per hour on land in short bursts. This species is much better built for water travel, where it is able to utilize its tail as a paddle and rudder to guide the torpedo-shaped body through the water at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.

 

Flying Sandhill Crane Panorama

As we were walking the trails at Lake Woodruff NWR we saw these Sandhill Cranes flying by. I wanted to get the whole group in one image. I was using a 300mm lens, so I shot 5 images in a quick series to combine into one Sandhill Crane flying panorama. I could not let Photoshop align and blend the panorama because of the movement of the wings confused Photoshop auto alignment of images. I used a series of soft masks to blend the images manually in the panorama and spaced them by the spaces between the Cranes.Sandhill_Cranes_flight_v1_MG_9542

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