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Posts Tagged ‘Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly’

We are now in prime dragonfly season and many familiar species are reappearing, like this beautiful Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) that I spotted on Wednesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

I love the beautiful orange-gold color on the leading edges of the wings of this species, a color that really sparkles in the sunlight. I was fortunate to capture this dragonfly in a way that blurred the background. Depth of field is always an issue in situations like this and you can probably see that the tips of the wings are not in sharp focus, but I am ok with that and think it helps draw the viewer’s eyes to the dragonfly’s main body and, in particular, to its wonderful eyes.

Needham's Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I don’t expect to see dragonflies flying in the rain, so I was a little shocked to see this one in the air this past weekend at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I captured this shot when it landed and hung vertically in the vegetation in an apparent attempt to drip dry.

I not certain of the identification of this dragonfly, but think it might be a Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami), judging from the markings. Normally Needham’s Skimmers perch horizontally rather than vertically, but the unusual perching behavior might have merely been a consequence of the rainy conditions.

If you click on the image, you can see it in slightly higher resolution, including the tiny drops of water at the lower end of the abdomen (the “tail”).

Needham's Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Two different colored dragonflies, a Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami) and a Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans), were peacefully sharing a prime perch on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Why is it so hard for us to peacefully coexist with one another?

peaceful co-existence

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I love the stunning red-orange coloration of a male Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami), especially when the sunlight dances across its gold-tinged wings, as it did on Monday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Generally I prefer an uncluttered background for my subjects, but in this case I think the soft patterns of the grasses in the background enhance the image more than would have been the case with a uniform single color.

Needham's Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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What a difference a background makes. Recently I have been seeing a lot of beautiful female Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is often a challenge to try to separate them from the background vegetation so that you can focus in on the dragonfly’s wonderful details, like its gorgeous speckled green eyes.

Here are two images that I was able to capture with uncluttered backdrops, one with sky and one with vegetation. I tend to like the first shot a little bit more because of the beautiful blue sky, though I like the lighting and the wonderful Eastern gamagrass in the second shot.

It is fascinating to see what a different feel the background gives to images of similar subjects. Do you prefer one image over the other?

Needham's Skimmer

Needham's Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Dragonflies have to eat too, but I was a little shocked when I stumbled upon this Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) munching on a ladybug or two yesterday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Woodbridge, Virginia. Although I know that dragonflies are fearsome predators, I guess that I am not used to thinking of ladybugs as prey—they are usually depicted as cute, which is why they are seen so often on children’s clothing and furnishings.

dragonfly and ladybug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Two weeks ago, during the waning days of summer, I captured this image of a beautiful Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) at Huntley Meadows Park, the local marshland where I do a lot of my shooting. The vivid red of its body made it really stand out—camouflage did not seem to be a viable option.

Although this dragonfly species is pretty common, I only saw a couple of them this season and this was the only one that I managed to photograph. The dragonfly was perched on a dried stalk in a field and it was tough to try to get any kind of clear background, particularly because I did not want to move too much and risk scaring away the dragonfly.

In these two images, you can see two slightly different approaches that I used. In the first one, I was not worried that there were some horizontal stalks in the background. In fact, I actually like the repetition of the horizontal line and don’t find them distracting, given how blurred they are. In the second image, I tried to get as uncluttered a background as I could, which isolates the dragonfly a little better. I tend to like the first image a little more, but I welcome any thoughts about which image you prefer.

Needham's SkimmerNeedham's Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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