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Posts Tagged ‘Anacostia’

I just love the vibrant colors of the tropical water lilies at Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, like this one that I photographed on Sunday during a brief trip there. These gardens, located in a part of Washington D.C.,  are run by the National Park Service and have acres of ponds with all kinds of lotuses and water lilies. The tropical water lilies are in small cement ponds behind the visitor center and are one of my favorite spots to visit.

tropical water lily

tropical water lily

tropical water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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With most of my dragonfly shots, I try to get as close as I can to the dragonfly, either my moving or by zooming, in order to highlight my subject. If I am not able to do so, I will often crop the image during post-processing.

Sometimes, though, I will intentionally keep my distance and will carefully compose the image to include more environmental elements. That was the case yesterday during a quick trip to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens with my photography mentor Cindy Dyer. Cindy needed to drop off some prints at the gift shop and I had a few minutes to grab a few shots.

Dragonfly perches generally are not very interesting, often just dried-out branches sticking out of the water. I was excited, therefore, when I spotted a male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) perching on a purple Pickerelweed plant (Pontederia cordata).  I positioned myself to capture an additional pickerelweed plant in the background, pretty sure that it would be out of focus and not be too distracting. The cool colors and the sinuous curves of the plants in the background combine to create an “artsy” image that I really like.

 

Slaty Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There is something really special about water lilies (g. Nymphaea)—it’s easy for me to understand why impressionist painter Claude Monet was obsessed with them. During my recent visit to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C. many of the water lilies were closed up, probably because of the extreme heat of the midday sun, but I did manage to get some shots.

The traditional white water lilies tend to have a calming effect on me. For those folks looking for a bit more passion, there were also some fiery red water lilies.

Water lily

water lily

water lily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Normally I try to move in really close to my subjects using a telephoto or macro lens. Yesterday, however, I decided to try to “see” the world differently by using a wider lens (24-105mm) during a quick trip with my photography mentor Cindy Dyer to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in the Anacostia area of Washington D.C. to check out the water lilies and lotus flowers.

The trip was a spur-of-the-moment decision while we were eating lunch, so we knew that we would miss out on the soft early morning light that we both prefer. However, the weather was beautiful, with the temperatures and humidity less oppressive than in recent weeks, so we decided to brave the Washington D.C. area traffic to check out the park.

Cindy is no stranger to the park. Last year four of her images of water lilies from the park appeared on US postage stamps, which were so popular that half a billion were printed. Check out this link to see information about these stamps. Earlier this year, one of Cindy’s images of Sacred Lotuses at the park was on one of the 16 postage stamps issued to commemorate the centennial of the National Park Service. Check out this link for more information about that stamp.

Here are some of my images of Sacred Lotuses (Nelumbo nucifera) from yesterday as I tried to step back a bit and see the flowers as part of a larger landscape. Initially I struggled a bit as I kept focusing on details, but my mind and my eye grew accustomed to the idea that the lens was not going to let me get in close. Gradually I started to see things differently and to frame my photos accordingly.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Acres and acres of lotuses

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Lotuses fading into the distance

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Lotus and seed pod

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I should probably be able to remember my own anniversary, but I am a guy. Therefore I was caught a bit by surprise yesterday evening when WordPress notified me that it was the fourth anniversary of the start of my blog. Where has the time gone?

Blogging has become part of my daily life since I first started. I never suspected that I would get such joy and satisfaction from exploring my creativity in words and in photos and from sharing that journey with the wonderful folks that I have encountered through the blog. Thanks to all of you for your support, encouragement, and helpful tips. I sometimes like to say that I write this blog primarily for me, but I know that is not entirely true—I write it for all of you too. My photography mentor, Cindy Dyer, deserves special thanks. She helped me to start the blog and has been a continuous source of inspiration for me.

WordPress statistics indicate that I have made 2030 postings (which includes a dozen or more repostings of  posts written by friends) and have had 110749 views from well over 100 countries. Statistics are only a relative measure of success and I know that my best postings and my best photos are not necessarily the ones that have had the most views.

Over the past four years my skill and my confidence with my camera have grown. I now consider myself a photographer, albeit not a professional. My interests have expanded and my winters are now spent chasing birds, something I never imagined that I would find interesting. My fascination with dragonflies has remained constant and I have learned a lot about them. I think it is altogether appropriate to reprise today the short text and photo from my first posting

Text of my first posting in WordPress on July 7, 2012:

I photographed this Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this morning.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Blue Dasher

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