Dragonfly on lotus bud

17 08 2012

I haven’t been able to identify the exact kind of dragonfly this one is (yet). Any guesses (other than the obvious “black dragonfly”)? Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

UPDATE: Special thanks to a visitor to my blog, Robley Hood, for identifying this beauty—it’s a Slaty skimmer (Libellula incesta).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Runway traffic

17 08 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We’re next in line for takeoff.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher dragonfly

17 08 2012

As much as I prefer shooting in diffused or overcast light, I’m kind of liking these dragonfly shots with the strong shadows—there’s something stark and graphic about them! Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis), photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ready for my closeup!

17 08 2012

I read that Eastern Amberwings are some of the wariest of all dragonflies and rarely land, preferring to hover over the water instead. I was lucky that this particular one kept coming back to the same spot and kept still long enough for me to focus for this closeup portrait.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eastern Amberwing dragonfly

17 08 2012

Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera). The Eastern Amberwing is very small, measuring just 3/4 to 1 inch long. Its scientific name, “tenera,” means delicate, referencing its small size. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Distracted by dragonflies and damselflies

17 08 2012

This much is true—I think photography has made me a more patient person (I think I just heard my dad mutter “hmppph” all the way from Texas). It is all at once stimulating, frustrating, exhilarating, overwhelming and all-consuming—and it requires immense patience. No more so than when I’m trying to photograph dragonflies! Today I sought a little time out of the studio at lunchtime—taking advantage of cooler temperatures—and headed to my favorite spot, Green Spring Gardens.

Mid-August is a time of fewer blooms, so I headed down to the ponds, which I rarely frequent when the gardens are ablaze in color. I found a semi-shady spot at one end of the pond where a few lotus flowers were in full bloom, spread out my traveling cushion (a plastic trash bag) at the edge of the bank, and set up shop to try and capture some dragonfly images. It was full sun—never my favorite for shooting outdoors—but I decided to work with what I had at the time, shadows accepted begrudgingly.

The pond was a flurry of activity with what seemed like hundreds of dragonflies and damselflies—staking out their territories, looking for love in all the right places, dipping into the surface of the water to drink and knocking fellow insects off their perches.

The first thing I did upon my return was ask Michael to set up my Nikon D300 so that I am unable to shoot without a card. Why was this important to do? Well, after the first 10 minutes of my photo session, I tried to review my images and got that dreaded “NO MEMORY CARD” alert. I actually said out loud, “Are you kidding me?” I am truly fortunate that this is only the second time I have forgotten to put in a memory card. Michael set it up so I can’t even shoot without a card now! I shot some truly spectacular images of dragonflies and damselflies in that brief 10 minutes. Alas, they are now just committed to my memory. I think I made up for the loss, though, by deciding to shoot continuously for the next hour to make up for my ineptness.

I tallied up the total of clicks—728—more than 8 gigs of images in just over an hour of shooting! These include overexposures, underexposures, out-of-focus, just-missed-its, but there are definitely some keepers, which I’m sharing below. I’ll have many more to share in future posts.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lyle Lovett at Wolf Trap

16 08 2012

Last night I went to Wolf Trap to see Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group perform. Nancy Dunham, my neighbor/friend/freelance writer, interviewed him last week for a music publication and he invited her to the concert and she in turn invited me. We picked up our guest passes and my photo pass, which allowed me to photograph from a designated spot on the sidelines for the first three songs.

Obviously, flash was out due to the distance from the stage. This didn’t stop some people in the audience using their iPhones with flash from 100 feet or more away! I definitely knew I had to bring my longest zoom—my Nikon 80-400 VR lens f/4.5-5.6. Next time I’m able to do something like this, I’ll be bringing a monopod, too (another photographer was there and used a monopod, but he didn’t have a powerful zoom, so I imagine his shots weren’t nearly as close as mine were). I braced myself against a wall and held my breath for all of these shots. I was also shooting at my highest ISO—3200—and wide open at 4.5. Some images were shot with exposure compensation, too. All in all, not too bad for handheld—in low light and variable light and with distance restrictions.

After the concert we went backstage to meet him, and Nancy introduced me as “a fellow Texan,” so that definitely helped to break the ice. Mr. Lovett (may I call you Lyle?) is as gracious, humble and down-to-earth as he is talented! The last shot in series of photos below is Lyle with Nancy. I highly recommend that if you have a chance to see him in concert, do so. While his upbeat songs had me bobbing my head and tapping my feet, I loved the ballads—heartfelt and passionately delivered.

I’ve told Nancy that I’m available “anytime, anywhere” to accompany her as a guest to a music venue; she’ll have her own personal photographer! Nancy, thank you, thank you, thank you for this opportunity. I’m a new Lyle Lovett fan and had a blast photographing and meeting him.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.