Tag Archives: dragonfly

Nature’s Disparity

Hi, cutie!

Hi, cutie!

Last week our front yard was a study of contrasts.

Hanging on to the butterfly plant

Love this side view

Near the front door perched delicately on our butterfly plant was a little dragonfly. It was nice enough to stay still and pose for me.

Juxtaposing that beauty?

Ugh!

Ugh!

This ugly cicada exoskeleton, which was hanging on a nearby rose bush.

At least I didn’t have to worry about it moving while I was snapping its pic!

One-Word Wednesday

A dragonfly blends in with the scenery at Imperial Park.

A dragonfly blends in with the scenery at Imperial Park.

Green!

Trash makes a nice resting place apparently.

Trash makes a nice resting place apparently.

 

Welcome Back!

A new cutie

A new cutie

Apparently our butterfly bush isn’t attractive to just monarch caterpillars.

Yesterday when I looked at the plant from the front door, I was surprised to see a little dragonfly hanging on for dear life amid the wind gusts. Of course, that meant I had to grab my Nikon dSLR and snap a bunch of photos before it flew off.

Love the big red eyes and blue nose!

Love the big red eyes and blue nose!

It’s been a couple years since we’ve had any dragonflies in the front yard, and I’ve really missed them. I hope this means that I’ll see them more often. Especially now that the butterfly bush’s leaves have been stripped bare once again.

The “welcome” sign has been turned on!

Spotting Discs and Nature

Imperial Park’s weeds provide an obstacle for Eric.

Our Southwest Handicap Mini disc golf series rotates among several courses from mid-March to late September. After we’ve had lots of rain during the summer, one of those venues—Imperial Park—is so overgrown on three straight holes that spotters are as essential as accurate putting.

So last Tuesday I spent most of the 18-hole round standing in a clear area past the high weeds, potential poison ivy, and especially the hornets’ nest that Marcus’ disc found, watching round plastic sail near me on hole number 7. When one landed in the crud, I would race over and spot where it was for the disc golfer who probably had no idea where in the world it had gone. But, being extremely sensitive to poison ivy, I did not under any circumstances go into the weeds to find the exact location. Not even for my beloved bearded baby boy.

A lost disc is preferable to a miserable month of itching and swelling. Just sayin’.

A shy sunflower peeks out.

In between sighting discs, I had time to also spot some of the beautiful inhabitants of our local park.

Passion flowers are a favorite.

Wildflowers, of course, caught my eye and my Nikon 105mm macro lens.

Love the pretty purple.

Although they weren’t plentiful, the pretty petals lent nice spots of color to the overwhelmingly green landscape.

Purple weedy stuff

Even the weeds were vibrant.

But my favorite find of the evening was a friend who kept me company for the longest time as I scoured the sky for flying discs:

Poser!

A pennant dragonfly! This little guy kept flying around and landing on a small patch of dirt near where I was standing. It seemed like he was trying to get my attention.

I’d say he definitely wanted to be spotted!

Snapping Away at Cullinan Park

Dewberries look tasty.

My friend Jess has encouraged me to shoot at Cullinan Park here in Sugar Land for as long as I can remember.

This was one of the few wildflowers I spotted.

So last Saturday morning, I decided to finally check it out . . . with Jess as my guide.

A large, white flower absorbs the sunshine.

The two of us had a great time walking the trails, chatting away and listening to the birds chirping. I discovered that Cullinan Park is a local, natural treasure.

A heron takes off across Oyster Creek.

As I prepared to leave for the park, I had one main thought: What camera equipment will help me best document this adventure? How will I be able to shoot both near (macro) and far (telephoto)?

Sidebar: My second thought? Don’t forget the bug spray!

A butterfly enjoys the local cuisine.

I opted for a two-camera approach. On my Nikon D700 was my trusty Nikon 105mm macro lens for closeups. Attached to my monopodded Nikon D300 was my Nikon 70-200mm lens for long-range photo ops. I used both and was glad I had brought everything along.

A large dragonfly just hangs around.

Although the park isn’t very big, it’s filled with interesting sights and sounds. I was hoping to see some dragonflies, and I wasn’t disappointed.

A green dragonfly tries to blend in with his surroundings.

We spotted a few of the flyers in the woods among the butterflies.

A blue dragonfly rests on the lake’s plant life.

But we scored big at the park’s lake. D-flies were buzzing about, enjoying the water and plants.

A green dragonfly is happy to pose.

Although I was sad that there were no alligators to shoot, just watching the dragonflies flit about made me smile.

Is this curious caterpillar hungry?

After our adventure, Jess and I sat on benches, resting and talking. This little critter shared where I was sitting, so, of course, I snapped some pix with my macro lens.

I wonder what he’ll be the next time I stop by Cullinan Park. Which I’m sure will be sooner than later.

 

Danged Dipping Dragonfly

Not a very inspiring photo

This is the story of some frustrating photography.

After I pulled into our garage Sunday morning and got out of my Honda Pilot, I looked at our driveway. Dancing, darting, and dipping around it was a beautiful, blue dragonfly! It mesmerized me for minutes until I suddenly realized . . . hey, go grab your Nikon dSLR!

Marginally better

Which I did. And then I spent awhile trying to catch the danged darter with my lens. It wasn’t easy!

You can kind of tell what it is.

That darned dragonfly kept moving to and fro all around the driveway, refusing to alight.

Flying high among an abstract-looking tree

In situations like this, manual focus is your friend. But you’ve got to be as fast as the flyer, and that ain’t easy.

Just stop for one minute, please!

If only the darting d-fly would rest on the fence or bush or, gosh, anywhere, I could get a decent photo. But it just kept dancing around.

A nearby spectator

Why couldn’t the dragonfly be like this gecko and pose for me? Guess that would make it less challenging . . . which was fine with me.

Got it!

After what seemed like an eternity, the dragonfly finally hung in the air in front of me for about ten seconds, allowing me to snap a halfway-decent photo. And then it flitted away.

Leaving me only with a bunch of mediocre pictures. Definitely an unhappy ending!

Surprise Visitors

Hello, cutie!

When I walked past my front door this morning on the way into my office, something hanging on the bricks outside caught my eye. I took a closer look . . . and ran for my Nikon dSLR. It was a big, green dragonfly!

Such a poser!

I think because it’s windy and chilly (believe it or not!) this morning, the dragonfly wanted to get out of the elements and rest for awhile. I’m so glad he chose the brick by my front door!

I believe that dragonflies are lucky, so I’m always glad to see them around me.

A second green dragonfly clings to the wall close to his buddy.

Especially when there are two of them! Happy double-lucky Friday, y’all!!

A Wing and a Prayer

This dragonfly is beautiful . . . but flawed.

Here’s a basic rule of thumb when it comes to photography and my beloved dragonflies: When you don’t have your Nikon digital SLR and 105mm macro lens with you, they’ll be posing for you. Mockingly.

Case in point? Yesterday at a nearby park. My younger son wanted to practice some disc golf shots on one of the holes there; it’s the location of tonight’s handicap mini finale. He drove us there in our old Mercury Villager so he could get in more practice before he tests for his license in December and parked near the hole’s tee box. When he put his disc golf bag on the ground, he said, “Look at that!”

The dragonfly rested in between trying to escape.

“That” was a gorgeous dragonfly, which was motionless on the ground. At first, I thought it was dead, but then it started buzzing about. Of course, I had left my good camera equipment at home, because I planned to shoot the action today. Fortunately, I usually carry my Canon S90 point and shoot, so I whipped that out and tried to get as close as I could.

Wonder what happened to its wing?

All too soon, it was apparent what was wrong with the d-fly: Part of its wing was missing. The poor thing could kind of hop around, but it couldn’t get off the ground. I really felt sorry for it, because now it’s a sitting duck to be picked off by a bird.

As we left the park, I bade the dragonfly goodbye, adding a brief prayer that it’s able to stay alive for the rest of its lifecycle. Wonder if it’ll be there tonight? You know I’ll be looking for it . . . with my Nikon D700 and 105mm lens!

Update: When I checked the park last night, the wounded dragonfly wasn’t in the same area. I’m hoping somehow it managed to hop into the nearby woods where it will be protected.

My Pants Are On Fire

The hot tub

Want to know what makes me feel old? Lower back pain. The aching came on suddenly Sunday evening, and before long I was hobbling around as if I needed a cane and a senior citizen’s home.

When Bayer Back and Body didn’t knock out the throbbing yesterday, I decided to climb into our literal hot tub (the 104-degree air temperature made the water temp 90 degrees) and try to soak my discomfort away. Ah, it felt so good!

What have we here?!?

As I was letting one of the hot tub’s jets work on my back, I looked at the brick wall that surrounds our backyard. Remember the last time I did that while in the hot tub? Once again, I couldn’t believe my eyes: Hanging out near the grass was a pennant dragonfly! And right after I had typed my latest blog post about not seeing any of my favorite flyers this summer (not that this was happening in our front yard . . . but, still, the timing!).

Love those wings!

Just call me an accidental liar liar.

Such a Sad Summer

I sure miss my dragonflies! (August 2010)

The Houston area has been suffering through an extended drought all year. Everyone’s grass looks brown in places, not helped at all by our unrelenting heat (today’s expected high? 105 flippin’ degrees!).

Where did our petunias go?

Personally, our front yard landscaping has taken a beating. Our agapanthas didn’t bloom, our Knock Out roses refused to show up, and our petunias literally disappeared after a couple months.

Our society garlic hasn't been sociable to dragonflies this summer.

Which probably is why there have been no dragonflies visiting us this summer, unlike last year when we usually had one friendly flyer almost every day in August (three entertained us on one amazing day!).

Hello, gorgeous! (August 2010)

Oh, how I miss seeing their cute, little faces as they posed on our plants just beyond our front door! I still check for them every day, only to be disappointed. This has been such a sad, hot, dry summer for us. Will it ever end?

Hope does spring eternal, though! Not only is Thursday’s high supposed to be a relatively “balmy” 86 degrees, but . . . wait for it . . . rain actually is forecasted. It could make for a wet Labor Day weekend, but, hey, we need it, and we’ll take it!

Hope it’s good weather for the dragonflies, wherever they are.