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Posts Tagged ‘obelisk pose’

Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis) are one of my favorite summer dragonflies. I spotted this one recently at Huntley Meadows Park, perched on the railing of an observation deck in the obelisk pose.

The dragonfly was pretty cooperative and I was able to try few different angles and shooting positions. Although I had my camera’s aperture set to f/10, you can see that the depth of field was relatively shallow and I tried to take advantage of that to isolate the subject and the specific rail on which it was perched.

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) have become for me one of the signs of summer in the area in which I live. When the weather turns hot and humid, they can often be seen flying lazily over the marshes and ponds, perching frequently on vegetation growing out of the water.

On a recent trip to Green Spring Gardens, I captured some images perched male Blue Dasher dragonflies. In the first shot, the dragonfly was perched on the edge of a lotus leaf. I really like the curves and softness of the leaves, which contrast with the details of the dragonfly. I think too that the shadow cast on the lower leaf adds some additional visual interest to the  image.

The second image features a Blue Dasher in the obelisk pose. It is generally believed that some dragonflies assume this pose to dissipate heat by reducing the amount of their bodies that is exposed to direct sunlight. I was shooting partially into the sun, which forced me to overexpose the image a bit and accounts for the lighter background. However, the surface of the water was covered with a lot of duckweed and was not uniform in color. As a result, the background ended ended up with some ugly gray patches that I seemed to be impossible for me to remove.

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher

© 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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When it is really hot and the sun is directly overhead, Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) will often perch in a handstand-like pose that is generally referred to as the “obelisk posture.” By doing this, they minimize the direct exposure of the abdomen’s surface to the sun and stay cooler. Some other dragonflies will also engage in this kind of postural thermoregulation, but I see it most commonly in Blue Dashers.

Blue Dashers, one of our most common dragonflies,  were largely responsible for my initial fascination with dragonflies. In fact, almost three years ago my very first posting on this blog featured a Blue Dasher in an obelisk posture.

Since that time, I have grown in experience and knowledge and have cranked out over 1600 posts. My fascination with dragonflies has broadened and grown into a quasi-obsession, but I am always drawn back to the little Blue Dasher dragonfly, whose acrobatic poses never cease to amaze and entertain me.

dasher1_june_obelisk_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One year ago today I made my first posting on this blog, an image of a Blue Dasher dragonfly in a pose that I later learned was called the obelisk pose, and it seems appropriate on this anniversary to post a similar shot that I took yesterday.

Blue Dasher Undulate

I remember well that first day, when my photography mentor and good friend, Cindy Dyer, sat me down at her computer and helped me set up my account. She was pushing me to get more serious with my photography and she somehow sensed that a blog would be a good creative outlet. Given the fact that this is my 723rd posting on this blog, it turns out that she was amazingly prescient. I could not have done it without here constant support, encouragement, and inspiration. Thanks, Cindy.

I have learned a lot about photography this past year, but more significantly I have learned a lot about myself through all of these postings. I have also had the wonderful experience of being part of an incredibly supportive community of fellow bloggers, who have been extravagantly free in providing encouragement and assistance. I look forward to my daily interaction with so many of my readers.

Statistically speaking, I’ve had over 23,00o views of my previous 722 posts from readers in 85 countries. I am honored that 479 of them have chosen to follow my blog.

My audience is a diverse one—some of you take photos of the same subjects as I do, but many of you express yourselves in words and photos of different themes. I looked over some of the statistical formation that WordPress provides to see if I could determine what type of postings were the most popular, based on the number of views, and realized that there is no magic formula. Some photos with single posts worked well, but sometimes ones with multiple photos and a lot of text were equally popular. Creepy bugs and beautiful flowers—there seems to be an audience for all kinds of images.

I continue to follow the approach that I started with a year ag0, to post photos that I personally find interesting or beautiful and share some of my thoughts about the subject or the situation in which I took the photo.

Some of you may be curious about the posting that had the most hits this past year. I though about reprising the photos themselves, but I decided that it was better to include links instead, so that you could read the text that surrounded the images, in order to understand better the context.

Here are the ten most popular postings this past year on my blog, starting from the one with the most views:

The dominant theme that connects these diverse subjects my insatiable curiosity to know more about the world around me and to capture some of nature’s beauty in my photography. Somehow in the process of this ongoing journey of discovery, I have come to finally consider myself to be a photographer, and not just someone who takes pictures.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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