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Posts Tagged ‘Lilypons Water Gardens’

The biological clocks of some species seem to be ticking as the summer winds down, compelling them into frantically mating sessions, like this pair of Halloween Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis eponina) that I spotted this past weekend at Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland. The challenge in photographing this type of activity is to present it in a way that is artistic rather than purely sexual.

halloween pennant

halloween pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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When it comes to dragonflies, what catches your eye? Is it their bright colors or their acrobatic flying skills? When it comes to male Twelve-spotted Skimmers (Libellula pulchella), it is definitely the bold brown-and-white pattern on their wings that irresistibly attracts me. I somehow feel compelled to chase after one whenever I spot it.

Yesterday I made a brief trip to Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland. This sprawling facility has over 150 acres of amazing ponds and water gardens with fantastic displays of water lilies, which are for sale. (I’ll feature some of the different colored water lilies in an upcoming post.) Although I saw a lot of dragonflies there, I saw only a few Twelve-spotted Skimmers.

Most of them were remarkably elusive, but one finally perched on some vegetation overhanging the water. The bank was fairly steep, so there was no way that I could get a side shot or a head-on shot, which is one of my favorite shots of a dragonfly. What was I going to do?

Then it dawned on me that I had a perfect view of the magnificent wing patterns as I looked straight down the body of the dragonfly, facing in the same direction that he was facing. Boldly I decided to commit what is normally a cardinal sin for a photographer—I intentionally chose not to focus on the subject’s eyes. Lightning did not strike me as I pressed the shutter and I captured an almost abstract portrait of the dragonfly. For me, there is a real beauty in the simplicity and minimalism of this image.

In case you get confused about counting the twelve spots, you’re supposed to count only the brown spots. According to Wikipedia, though,some folks prefer to count the white spots and therefore call this dragonfly a “Ten-spot Skimmer.”

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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The lotuses were a bit faded and past their prime last weekend at Lilypons Water Gardens, but the beauty and elegance of the lotus flowers was undiminished in my eyes.

I love the look of the lotus throughout its life cycle—from the elegant simplicity of the bud to the showy outburst of petals to the alien-looking seedpods.

The beauty of the lotus never fades, though it is transformed and changes as the flower grows and matures.

Lotus

Lotus

Lotus

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Last Saturday at Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland I spotted a large dragonfly that I had never seen before, a Black-shouldered Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spinosus). That’s definitely a cool (and descriptive) name for a spectacular-looking dragonfly.

The dragonfly remained perched in the vegetation surrounding a small pond long enough for me to get shots from a few different angles and distances with my macro lens. I was particularly struck by the length of the long black legs, which somehow reminded me of those of a spider.

Black-shouldered Spinyleg

Black-shouldered Spinyleg

Black-shouldered Spinyleg

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Perched at the edge of a lily pad, this frog at Lilypons Water Gardens was so small that I doubt I would have seen it by myself. However, one of my sharp-eyed fellow photographers spotted it and served as the hand model for the shot with the penny.

A helpful Facebook reader suggested that this is probably a Northern Cricket frog (Acris crepitans) and it certainly does look like the photos that I can find on the internet. Judging from the size of the penny, which is 3/4 of an inch in diameter (19 mm), I’d guess that the frog was less than 3/8 of an inch (9.5 mm) in size.

My fellow photographer tried to move the penny slowly into position, but, as I suspected would happen, the frog jumped away shortly after the second shot below. I would have liked to capture the frog in motion, but ended up instead with a shot of the vacant lily pad—the frog had jumped right out of the frame.

Northern Cricket frog

tiny2_frog_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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When shot from a relatively low angle, this Six-spotted Fishing spider (Dolomedes triton) looks especially fearsome, although it was actually pretty small, only about an inch (25 mm) or so in length. The spider was perched on a lily pad at Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland.

Six-spotted Fishing spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I haven’t taken very many damselfly photos this summer, in part because often I have been attempting to shoot dragonflies with my long telephoto lens. That lens has a minimum focusing distance of almost nine feet (2.7 meters) and it’s hard to see and focus on a tiny damselfly at that distance.

This past weekend, however, I was using my 180mm macro lens and was happy to be able to capture some images of this beautiful female Fragile Forktail damselfly (Ischnura posita) during a trip to Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland.

Damselflies are really small, but they pack a lot of beautiful details and colors into that tiny package. This particular species is special to me this year, because way back in April a female Fragile Forktail was the first damselfly that I spotted this season and presented in this posting.

Fragile Forktail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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