No lockdown for wildlife.

So here we are still in lockdown. It is admittedly a bit looser than a few weeks ago, but there are still many restrictions.  Lockdown does give me plenty of time to watch, and photograph, the wildlife in the garden.  We have a good-sized garden pond and it has lots of critters in it; newts, frogs, damselflies, dragonflies, snails, etc.  Sometimes they decide that they want to leave the pond, and that’s the case with the dragonflies.

The first thing that they do when they come out of the pond is that the larva crawls up a pond plant, in this case an iris.  The adult dragonfly then emerges from the larval case and leaves the empty case behind.  It’s called an exuvia.  This case is from a broad-bodied chaser, libellula depressa.  I took the leaf into the studio and photographed the exuvia with my macro lens.  The lighting is just an LED light on a flexible “stick”.  You can see the hole that the adult emerged from.

This is an adult female on some dogwood.  You can tell because the top of the abdomen is yellow/gold in the female and blue in the male.  It was sat still enough to get a nice crisp image with my 300mm lens (600mm equivalent).  They are quite obliging, in that they rest for a reasonably long time.  When they take off they just suddenly go.  There’s very little warning they are about to fly.

This is the male captured a few days later.  The top of his abdomen is blue.  One benefit of using a long focal length lens is the ability to throw the background out of focus.  The diffuse green isolates him nicely, but still shows it’s outside.

My next dragonfly project is to photograph them on the wing.  Olympus “Pro Capture” should help, but on a warm day they move very fast, which will be a challenge.

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