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Posts Tagged ‘Variable Dancer’

I was thrilled yesterday to see that two of my favorite damselfly species, the Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis) and the Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis) have reappeared at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. It is definitely worth clicking on the images below in order to get a better look at the beautiful baby-blue color of the Blue-fronted Dancer and the spectacular purple of the Variable Dancer.

Blue-fronted Dancer

Variable Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On Friday I was delighted to capture this image of one of my favorite damselflies, the beautifully colored Variable Dancer (Argia fumipennis), while exploring Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. The red and yellow colors of the vegetation are vaguely autumn-like, a reminder that the clock is ticking for the end of the dragonfly/damselfly season this year. If only I could slow down the passage of time.

Variable Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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On Monday I was thrilled to get a shot of one of my favorite damselflies at Occoquan Regional Park, the beautifully colored Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea), a subspecies of the Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis). I love the color combination of this tiny beauty, a spectacular shade of violet on its body and the wonderful blue accents. Sharp-eyed viewers may have noted that a photo of this same type of damselfly has been my banner image for quite some time.

Violet Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love close-up photography, but sometimes it is good when necessity (or choice) compels me to shoot from a distance. This image has the simplest of compositions—a damselfly and a stalk on which to perch—but I like the way that the elements combined to create a sense of tranquility when I captured this moment this past Monday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge.

As I recall, the light was coming from in front of me, which caused the damselfly to appear as a partial silhouette. Without the normal color information, it’s hard for me to identify the species of damselfly with any degree of certainty. One of the experts on a Facebook forum, however, suggest that it might be a Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis), the sames species that appears at the top of my blog’s home page.  As for the dried-out stalk that serves as a perch for the damselfly, I have no idea what kind of plant it is.

tranquil damselfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Not all people like to have insects perch on them, but I thought it was pretty cool when an inquisitive Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis) landed on my hand Monday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge. The real challenge was getting a photo of the damselfly shooting one-handed with my DSLR and 180mm macro lens.

Sharp-eyed readers may have recognized that this is the same species of damselfly as the one featured in my blog’s banner. I just love the beautiful purple markings of this damselfly, which is also known as a Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea), if you use the name of the sub-species.

It was interesting trying to get shots as I tried to hold my left hand still and slowly extended my arm out as far as it would go. The damselfly was relatively cooperative, but moved about a little as it explored my hand. Steadying my shooting hand was an even bigger challenge. Normally I like to try to get as close to parallel with a damselfly’s body as possible, so that most of it will be in focus, but that was not possible in this situation, given the anatomical limitations of the human body.

Looking at these images, I have reached a sad conclusion—I am going to have to give up on my dream of becoming a professional hand model.

Variable Dancer

Variable Dancer

Variable Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Although I was still here in Northern Virginia, the colors and desolate character of the landscape surrounding this Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis violacea) reminded me of the desert Southwestern portion of the United States. It looked almost like the damselfly was posing for a photo while perched at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

The reality was a little less exciting. I spotted this Variable Dancer during the 4th of July weekend while I was exploring Pohick Creek in Springfield, Virginia, only a few miles from where I live.

Variable Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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How quickly can you change gears when a new subject unexpectedly presents itself? Can you make the necessary physical and mental adjustments to take advantage of a fleeting moment?

This past weekend I made another trip to Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge at nearby Fort Belvoir, Virginia to search for dragonflies and damselflies. I didn’t see all that many dragonflies, but there seemed to be a lot of damselflies. I focused my attention and my camera on these tiny beauties, attempting to get close enough to fill as much of the frame as I could with them.

As I was getting close-up shots of what I believe is a Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis violacea), I caught sight of some motion out of the corner of my eye and turned my head to see what it was. Here’s the subject on which I was concentration before I turned my head.

Variable Dancer

Looking up into the sky, I noticed a large bird approaching. At first I thought it might only be a seagull, but decided that I should take some shots in case it turned out to be a raptor. Obviously I was not going to have time to change lenses, so I quickly checked my camera settings and pointed my macro lens up into the sky and managed to get some shots of an osprey (Pandion haliaetus) as it slowly flew over the pond.

osprey

osprey

It’s amazing for me to look at these three photos and realize they were all taken at the same location within minutes of each other with the same lens and similar settings. The osprey images were cropped quite a bit more, but the details of the bird held up pretty well.

I tend to think of myself as an opportunistic shooter and this was definitely a case when I tested my ability to react quickly to a new subject. My trusty Tamron 180mm macro lens proved to be pretty capable too. The lens can sometimes be a bit noisy and slow when focusing and it has no built-in image stabilization, but as the osprey images show, it can capture some pretty nice in-flight shots under the right conditions.

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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