I’ve had quite enough of all this snow and cold at this stage, so I thought I’d go back to some shots from my new project this year, dragonflies and damselflies. The shot I’ve chosen for today shows a very common kind of dragonfly we see a lot around rivers, lakes, and canals in Ireland, the Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). This shot was in some ways very serendipitous – I’d put my bike down along the canal and was waiting for some butterflies or dragonflies to come by, when I noticed that the yellow walls of the the tyres on my bike seems to actually attract this guy! Maybe it looked like a massive yellow flower or something, or maybe it was just nice and warm. What ever his reason was, he sat there happily for about 10 minutes, and let me get as close to him as my lens could focus. I tried about 100 shots from different angles, with different depths of field, and with and without varying amounts of fill flash, but I settled on this one as my favourite. To give you some idea of how ruthlessly I often edit my images down, of the approximately 100 shots I took of this guy, I kept five!

Common Darter
on FlickrFull-Size

  • Camera: Nikon D40
  • Lens: Nikon DX AFS 55-200mm
  • Exposure: 1/400 sec
  • Focal Length: 200mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera Mode: Aperture Priority
  • Flash: manually turned on (for fill flash)
  • Flash Exposure Compensation: -3.0ev
  • Processing: cropped to a square and tweaked with Aperture’s built-in Dodge & Burn plugin