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Posts Tagged ‘Ischnura verticalis’

During a brief trip to Massachusetts last weekend, I photographed this beautiful damselfly, which I believe is an immature female Eastern Forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis), while exploring Horn Pond in Woburn.

When I looked at the range map for this species, it looked like it is not present in my home area of Northern Virginia. However, when I did a search of my blog postings, I was surprised to discover that I had previously photographed an orange Eastern Forktail at one of my favorite local spots. Obviously I am not someone who keeps a “life list” of all the species that I have seen and photographed. 🙂

Eastern Forktail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Orange is one of the colors that I tend to associate with autumn. Some leaves are already turning orange and pumpkin decorations and displays have started to appear on my neighbors’ doorsteps.

As I was exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge yesterday morning, my eyes detected some motion in the nearby grass. I leaned forward and was delighted to see this tiny damselfly decked out in the colors of Halloween—orange and black. I had no idea what species it was, but fortunately I have a really good guide for damselflies and was able to identify it as an immature female Eastern Forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis).

Although there are already lots of symbols for autumn, I think this tiny damselfly could be added to the list.

Eastern Forktail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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To crop, or not to crop—that is the question. At a certain point in time when we are processing our images, we are all come face to face with this question. To some photographers, composing perfectly in the camera is the ultimate virtue, and they take pride in the fact that they do not crop (and object when their images are cropped).

Moose Peterson is one prominent photographer who does not crop and he explained his views in a fascinating blog posting in 2012 entitled, “The Crop Revisited.” I am still pondering one of his conclusions, “When you don’t give yourself the option to “fix it in post,” photographers push themselves. This always make a better click and the story telling, the subject, that passion of that click becomes clearer and clearer.”

Most of us could not live with such a high standard and for various reasons we choose to crop. I am so used to cropping my images that even when I compose an image just the way that I want it, I am tempted to move in closer with my crop. That was my dilemma with this image of a damselfly on the edge of a lily pad, as it was framed when it came out of the camera.

damsel_pad_blogI really like the long sinuous curve on the left and the large expanse of green on the right. I worry, however, that the damselfly is taking up too little space of the image and is not prominent enough. So I cropped a bit and produced a second version.

damsel_pad_crop_blog

That’s not a very extreme crop, but somehow the image feels different to me. Does it make any difference to you? Do you prefer one of the two over the other?

UPDATE: Fellow blogger and local dragonfly expert, Walter Sanford, has identified this for me as an Eastern Forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis). Thanks, Walter.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Most folks are familiar with dragonflies, but damselflies, the smaller members of the Odonata family, are equally impressive. I spotted this little beauty yesterday in the pond debris at Huntley Meadows Park, the local marshland area where I take many of my nature photographs.

I don’t know damselfly behavior very well, but noted that the very end of the damselfly’s tail is in different positions in this series of photos. In the first image, the tip is curved upward and then gradually returns to a more straight position in the final shot. Sometimes movements like this indicate that the damselfly could be laying eggs, but I haven’t been able to determine yet the gender or species of the damselfly. There seem to be a lot of different species of damselflies that are blue. (If I had to guess, I’d say that it looks like a female Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis), because of the color, the forked end of the tail, and the two-tone eyes).

Although this looks like a macro shot (and the subject was really small), this is another case in which I was able to use my telephoto zoom lens to get macro-like results. Click on any of the photos to get a higher-resolution view of the damselfly and you may be surprised to see how many of the details the telephoto lens was able to capture.

damselfly1_may_blogdamselfly2_may_blogdamselfly3_may_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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