Category Archives: dragonfly

One-Word Wednesday

A pennant dragonfly on a windy morning (Nikon D300 and Nikon 1.7x teleconverter)

Dragonfly!

Sunflowers and More

A bunch of sunflowers grow near a neighboring community’s lake.

Few flowers make me smile when I see them as much as sunflowers.

The promise of a future sunflower looks intriguing.

It could be because yellow is one of my favorite colors. But it’s really because they look so friendly.

Good morning!

As I was walking through our neighboring community recently, I was thrilled to see several patches of sunflowers along the bike path. I couldn’t wait to return with my digital SLR to snap photos of them.

The view behind the sunflowers also is fascinating.

Of course, I knew that I wouldn’t just snap pix of sunflowers.

A cattail lives close to the lake.

When I was walking along the lake earlier in the year, I was saddened by the lack of vegetation due to a freeze.

A bee grabs pollen from a purple lake plant.

Fortunately, that was only temporary. Now the reeds and plants have grown back along the lake’s banks. And you know what else has returned to the body of water?

A red dragonfly flies above his blue brethren.

Dragonflies!

A blue dragonfly tries to blend in.

Always a challenge to photograph, you know I’m looking forward to clicking lots of pix of my favorite flyers.

A fly takes front and center on a flower.

This kind of fly? Not so much.

Disc Golf Helps Us Commune With Nature

My younger son drops in a putt.

I don’t know about other families, but when we have an open Saturday, we tend to head to a park.

Especially one that has disc golf baskets.

The Mister putts while seated for some reason.

While the Mister and our younger son concentrate on throwing discs, I focus on snapping a few photos of them . . .

An Indian Blanket shows off its multicolored beauty.

. . . along with many more of whatever nature has to offer.

The pine trees stretch high into the sky.

A couple Saturdays ago we visited Timber Lane Park in Spring, Texas, which features a nine-hole, very-wooded disc golf course.

Crimson clovers dot the landscape with red.

It wasn’t a very big park, but there was enough eye-candy nature to keep me busy.

A purply stalk stands tall.

It doesn’t take a lot of room for wildflowers and flora to grow.

Despite the drought, the grasses look healthy.

Of course, I wasn’t going to be content to just snap disc golf and plants. I needed to have a “flying” challenge to keep my photographic juices going.

I’m glad it’s not an aggressive kind of bee.

Fortunately, there was a spot that had a different kind of bee than those aggressive honey bees that don’t like me snapping pix of them. That was a welcome change!

A damselfly rests.

Close by was a small damselfly. Those flyers were nice, of course, but you know what kind of winged insect I like best, right?

Hello, gorgeous!

A dragonfly, of course! This was the only one I saw, and it was nice enough to stop and pose for me.

All in all, it was a wonderful Saturday adventure: The guys enjoyed playing disc golf, while I got my fill of nature, both firmly planted in the ground and usually buzzing around in the air.

One-Word Wednesday

This unusual-looking dragonfly was resting on the outside of my house last Sunday.

Dragonfly!

A New Dragonfly Hangs Around

Not much to see on our pathetic-looking society garlic, especially not dragonflies.

Every day I gaze out on our front yard—specifically at our society garlic plants—hoping to see a dragonfly. But it’s been at least a month since one of my flying favorites has hung out. There.

Look at what’s hanging near the top of the minivan’s antenna!

Apparently, I needed to widen my view!

Last Saturday as I was pulling out of the garage in my Honda Pilot, I looked at the Mercury Villager sitting forlornly in the driveway, missing its former driver, my older son. As I slowly drove by it, I suddenly stopped and said, “Look at that!” To which my younger son, who was in the passenger seat, responded, “You know the window’s been broken for years, right?”

The wind whips the dragonfly’s wings forward.

That wasn’t what had caught my eye. Instead, I had seen a dragonfly clinging to the minivan’s antenna in the face of a brisk wind. My #2 son and I were on our way to meet the Mister for lunch, and we already were a little late. So, of course, I stopped the car, ran inside, and grabbed my camera. I wasn’t about to miss this opportunity!

The dragonfly kept adjusting his position to stay on the metal.

I snapped a few pics with the Nikon 70-200mm lens and then reluctantly drove off.  When I returned home about an hour later, guess who still was hanging around grooving on that antenna? I hustled inside and added the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter to the 70-200 so I could get closer to the dragonfly without physically getting in its face.

The d-fly hangs in there.

After taking a bunch of photos, I bid the d-fly a fond farewell and went inside. Later when I checked the antenna from the kitchen window, it was minus its winged visitor. I doubt that I’ll ever drive past the old minivan again without checking its antenna for an occupant.

You never know what will attract a dragonfly!

No Itsy-Bitsy Spider

A huge spider hangs on its web on a tree branch.

The circle of life smacked me in the face last Saturday morning.

I was soaking my aching legs in our cold spa after a short run and looked at a tree branch hanging over the corner of our backyard. A single leaf fluttered in the air without falling to the ground, and there was a big, dark blob near it. After getting out and drying off my legs, I got closer to the blob and could see it was a huge spider.

Can you say “photo op?” I certainly did! I ran inside the house and grabbed my camera equipment.

The web traps a victim.

I quickly snapped the top photo. As I was trying to figure out how to get a better shot lightingwise, I saw a dragonfly hovering nearby. When it stopped moving, I realized that the poor thing was caught in what was a huge, nearly invisible web. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of a National Geographic documentary.

The spider paralyzes the poor dragonfly.

Before I could react, the battle between life and death was over. The spider quickly moved to the dragonfly to inject it and paralyze it. Gruesome yet fascinating.

Admiring its helpless prey

At first I thought I should try to save the dragonfly by knocking down the web. But I must admit that the possibility I might inadvertently cause the spider to fall on me totally cut that idea short. Gross!

Guarding its snack

Later that day when I checked on the spider and the dragonfly, I saw that the arachnid had used the web to tightly wrap up its meal. Spidey was hanging on a thread and occasionally seemed to snack on the remains.

And that fluttering leaf that had caught my eye, alerting me to the presence of a spider web? Ironically, it also was wrapped up with the d-fly.

Still Not Quite There

Pathetic!

Brain to Susan. Brain to Susan: “Get it through your thick skull! The time of day does matter when it comes to capturing quality reflection photos. So try, try a third time!”

Perhaps I fear success. Maybe I’m just not very bright.

Yesterday I drove to the lake in our neighboring master-planned community to try to score a great fall reflection photo for the second straight day, and once again I failed because I was too late (around 10:30 a.m.). Woe is me!

A white egret contemplates the meaning of life . . . or bugs.

Then again, if I had been at the lake earlier, maybe I wouldn’t have snagged these wonderful photos.

The long beak is great for hunting insects.

Perhaps these birds would’ve still been asleep.

Pretty purple flowers stick out among the reeds.

Maybe the purple flowers would’ve looked muted instead of vibrant. And most important . . . .

Red dragonfly #1 eyes me warily.

Perhaps some of the red dragonflies I saw playing among the reeds might not have posed for me.

A much-friendlier red dragonfly #2 seems to smile at me.

Imagine how excited I was that I not only saw red dragonflies, but that a couple of them stopped to rest within the range of my Nikon D300 and Nikon 70-200mm lens. I got as close as I could and happily snapped away.

Until Thug D-fly decided to get up into my grille and buzz around me aggressively, clearly sending me a message (while scaring the bejeezus out of me!).

Now that I think about it, maybe it would’ve been better if I had been on time, and the dragonflies had stayed away!

Reflecting on Non-Dragonfly Nature

A dismal photo of a dragonfly in the air

After I lucked out shooting those red and blue dragonflies at that old ball golf course with my Nikon 105mm macro, I decided I wanted another shot at them. But this time I would use my Nikon 70-200mm lens, so I could get up into their grinning grilles.

A few weeks ago, after I dropped off my #2 son to play disc golf with the Mister, I made the short drive over to that old golf course and got ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, not one single, solitary dragonfly was near that same lake. Although there were plenty of d-flies buzzing around close by, I only snagged one pathetic photo.

Kind of depressing. I had been looking so forward to snapping great pix; it was such a letdown.

An egret warily eyes me.

But then I did what every photographer does when his/her subject disappoints: Look around for something else to shoot.

The egret flies away and is about to land on the opposite side.

As usual, nature failed to let me down. I stayed around the small lake and took advantage of what was there instead of lamenting about what wasn’t.

A bright damselfly rests on a leaf shooting out of the lake.

Although there weren’t any dragonflies, several damselflies, a similar insect, perched on leaves. Small with long bodies, damselflies have a penchant for posing for short periods of time.

Reflective ripples paint a dreamy portrait.

As I began to lose my light, I was drawn to the lake itself. I love reflections. They have that dreamlike quality, looking so much like an impressionist painting.

Reflection or upside-down photo?

It’s hard to feel frustrated when there’s so much beauty all around . . . real and reflected!

Low Flyers

A blue dragonfly rests for awhile.

Remember that old, overgrown former golf course I wrote about last week? The one where nature mixes with disc golf?

A red dragonfly finds a nice perch.

I returned there last Saturday for yet another disc golf tournament. And, once again, I concentrated more on flying nature than flying discs (although I did watch my head) with my Nikon 105mm macro lens.

Red and blue share quality time.

And this was my reward! I focused my photographic efforts around one of the few lakes that still contains water. With dragonflies buzzing all around, two 0f them—one red and the other blue—thoroughly entertained me by actually stopping to rest on the few plants growing out of the moisture.

A red dragonfly sails through the air.

I even made the above lucky capture (first time I had snagged a d-fly airborne) my photo of the day!

A skipper spreads its wings.

But the dragonflies weren’t the only low flyers having fun in the sunshine.

Skippers look like miniature butterflies.

Delicate, little skippers danced and played in the grass. They don’t soar as high as butterflies, but they still seem to enjoy their low flights.

A fly perches on the Mister’s hat, which was in his golf cart.

Then there was this guy. Funny how he has “fly” in his name yet no one thinks he’s as cute as those with “dragon” added on. As we’re ooohing and aaahing over the graceful dragonflies, we’re swatting this pesky fella.

But he’s also a part of the low-flying acrobats I photographed close to the lake. I could’ve added a shot of a mosquito, too, but I was too busy trying to end their lives before they could bite me, successfully turning their low flying into no flying.

Bugs and Berries

Berries grow on trees at the golf course.

When my #2 son played in a handicap mini disc golf tournament last week, I knew I wasn’t going to shoot many pix of the players. And I didn’t.

I’ve always called these weeds “ticklers.” That’s what they do to your nose!

With the venue being an old, now overgrown with weeds golf course, I figured that I might get some good nature shots.

A solo tickler

So, with my Nikon 105mm macro lens in hand, I tried to look at the old golf course as a park full of natural surprises.

These kind of look like berries.

And it was! I had such a good time snapping away that I almost forgot that a tournament was going on. I’m just glad no one hit me in the head with a disc!

A hummingbird moth hangs around.

Two of the biggest surprises were of the flying variety. First, I actually saw a hummingbird moth for the first time. I’ve read about them and wondered if I would ever get the chance to see one, especially with camera in hand. When I saw this guy hanging from a weed, I almost added the natural blur of shaking with excitement to my slow shutter speed!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get close enough to him to take a decent photo, but at least now I know what hummingbird moths look like. I hope I get another photo op under better conditions.

A dragonfly rests on a huge pipe.

Second, I actually got a dragonfly to pose for me! As I walked the course with #2, there seemed to be a gazillion d-flies zooming about; unfortunately, none of them wanted to land and wait for me to snap their photo. How selfish!

But then I was near one of the few lakes that still contain water (most now sport tons of weeds) and saw the above blue d-fly resting on a pipe. Of course, it was too far away to get a crisp, clear pic. Frustrating.

A green-headed dragonfly likes modeling.

As I moved away from the pipe, something blue flying through the air caught my eye. It was a green-headed blue chaser dragonfly! Best of all, this little cutie liked hanging around a nearby bush that was close enough for the 105 to zoom in and get solid photos (even at 1600 ISO; glad I was using my low-light king, the Nikon D700).

Wish I could take this d-fly home with me!

This little guy really made my day! I was so glad that I decided to shoot a disc golf tournament as if it was a nature hike.

A beautiful sunset caps the day.

From bugs to berries to a gorgeous sunset, it actually made the 10 mosquito bites I endured worth it.