Friday, March 16, 2012

The Big Surprise and Banished's Golden Rule of Bug Photography

It was 80 degrees yesterday which is ludicrously warm for March, even here. And so I was out in the yard tracking down the growing numbers of early season damselflies. Lots of Fragile Forktails (Ischnura posita ) which as you might imagine are kind of, well, fragile. More of them tomorrow when I've had time to go through my pictures.

But this is about the picture I don't have.

The various damsels were perching on the bare branches of shrubs and I was poking about trying to get on the right side to avoid the evening sun being directly behind and trying not to annoy too many bees in the process. Now I'm looking for tiny things, maybe an inch in length and very slim. I'm not looking for anything big. So when I stick my head into the shrub and there is a loud clattering of wings next to my head I'm not a little surprised. And when a mating pair of Darners whizzes past my ear and out the bush I'm really very surprised. I hadnt seen a dragonfly of any sort so far this year. Its hardly surprising as we dont really expect to see much before May. And here is a pair of our biggest dragons already mating.

So I'm annoyed because I should have been paying attention. But then lo and behold they have flown only about 5 feet and are hanging in another shrub. This though is where I become really annoyed. I got into position for a picture. The view isn't perfect, there are a few twigs between me and them but not enough to ruin the shot. And here is where I broke my own golden rule.

Banished's Golden Rule of Bug Photography.

Then worry about getting the picture.

As it was I leaned in a little closer and tried to avoid those twigs. And before I took that picture they were away and over the fence into our neighbors yard.

So I didnt get the perfect picture...I didnt get any picture at all. I don't even know what species these Darners were. There are a few possibilities and without a picture I'll never be certain.
Darners mostly cruise up and down the shoreline of the pond, non-stop and any photo-op is a rarity but a mating par like that come around once in a blue moon Most likely they were Common Green Darners  (Anax junius ) like the one I photographed in the very same bush back in September 2008.

Or maybe...

the Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros) taken just down the road at Hofflers Creek Preserve
But I'll never be certain.

Thats why its the Golden Rule

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