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Archive for August, 2014

It’s not hard to figure out the source of its name when you spot a colorful Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) waving in the breeze. These dragonflies also remind me of pole vaulters, attempting to thrust their bodies over a crossbar while holding on to the very end of a long pole.

I have not seen one yet at Huntley Meadows Park, the place where I take the majority of my photos, though earlier this summer one of my fellow photographers, Walter Sanford, spotted one in the park for the first time in years. I shot this image at edge of a small pond during a recent trip to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) at my local marsh seem to have grown accustomed to the presence of people and some of them like to fish near the boardwalk. This one was so close that I had to lean backwards over the edge of the edge of the boardwalk to fit the entire heron into these shots—zooming was not an option, given that I was using a lens of a fixed focal length, a 180mm macro lens.

While I was observing the heron, it concentrated its activity around a rock that stuck out of the water, sometimes perching on it and sometimes circling around it. I hope the heron had better luck during the rest of the day, because it did not have any luck at all as I watched and waited in vain to capture a big catch.

Great Blue Heron Huntley Meadows Parkheron3_rocks_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I know that damselflies come in many colors, but my brain wanted to cramp up when I was told that this stunning orange damselfly was a bluet. An orange bluet? Aren’t bluets blue?

Apparently that is not always the case, and this little beauty is in fact a male Orange Bluet damselfly (Enallagma signatum). This shot looks like it was done with flash, but I double checked the EXIF data and confirmed that it was simply an effect caused simply by using exposure compensation and metering carefully on the subject. Normally, I am not a big fan of a black background, which can be caused when the light from the flash overpowers the ambient light, but I think that it works well in this shot, which looks almost like it was shot in a studio.

In the second shot, the brown color of the muddy water shows through in a way that is a little more natural. I took this shot when the damselfly was farther away than in the first shot and I like the way that it shows a bit more of the environment than in the first image.

One of the advantages of shooting in bright light and on a tripod was that I was able to shoot at ISO 100 and at f/11, which gave me images that were a lot cleaner than I often get.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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While at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond,Virginia last weekend, I visited the butterfly house. It was hot and really humid inside of the glassed-in conservatory, but it was worth it to be surrounded by all of the colorful, exotic butterflies. Normally, I try to identify the species that I photograph, but in this case I neglected to photograph the placards inside the butterfly house.  My brain is full enough trying to remember the species indigenous to my area, so perhaps viewers can forgive me and simply enjoy the delicate beauty of these amazing creatures.

Click on any of the tile to see all of the shots in slide show format.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the highlights of last weekend’s trip with some friends to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia was the giant lily pads outside of the glass-encased conservatory. I think they are from the Victoria genus of water lilies (possibly Victoria amazonica) which, according to Wikipedia, can grow to almost ten feet in diameter and support a weight of up to 70 pounds.

The turtle in the background was a bonus—I didn’t even realize that it was there until I looked at my images on my computer.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Most of time when I see Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) take off, they fly high into the air. This heron, however, decided to fly very low over the surface of the big pond at my local marsh—I think he was on his way to harass one of his fellow herons, because there was a lot of loud squawking shortly after I took these shots.

Generally, it’s not hard for me to decide if I want to crop a shot in landscape or portrait mode. This time, though, I vacillated and ultimately decided to do one each format.  Who says you have to choose? You can have it both ways.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s hard to imagine a simpler composition—a tiny damselfly in the green growth of the marsh—but I find real beauty and power in this image.

Look closely at this damselfly, which I think is a female Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita), and you will see some amazing colors and details, all packed into a body that is only about an inch long.

Click on the image to see a higher resolution view of the image.

Fragile Forktail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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