Dragonflies, A Photo Shoot at the Lake

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

If this guy above has an estimated 30,000 eyes, I am pretty sure I was in many of them. No doubt, most of them were trained on me.

I guess that ‘dragonfly’ is a common name of any aquatic, predaceous, slender bodied bug with equal pairs of wings. They have many common names, about 80 in the dictionary, and have been around for around 300 million years according to The Dragonfly Site.

I looked for the type of red dragonfly and got two that looked like this one, but both are from outside the country, so I am not sure. One even said Damselfly, but according to Capella University, a Damselfly holds its wings together above their body when at rest. Dragonflies spread them like in my images. They also said, unlike other insects, their wings do not disengage and fold downward.

Those big eyes can see in 360° and are compound like other insects.

Males are territorial and I did see them chasing each other. A male stakes out an area awaiting a female to fly by. His area includes a couple of resting spots and he flies back and forth between them. I saw this behavior.

After mating, the immature dragonflies, or nymphs, live in the water and are predaceous, feeding on invertebrates. They breathe by gills located on the base of the abdomen. Gills also can propel them in water. Bigger nymphs can eat small fish or tadpoles and they overwinter in the water.

Common Whitetail Skimmer

After the nymphs grow, they leave the water and molt. They molt up to 15 times before adulthood. As adults, they search for food outside the water, like mosquitoes.  A great place for information on them is the Dragonfly Site. It has many stories and loads of interesting facts.

This is a pretty shot above of one ready to take flight. I did get him in a photo, but it was blurry. See, blurry.

I did not have a tripod to keep the big lens steady and still. Here are two more blurry ones.

At least you do get to see their habitat and breeding grounds. The water is teeming with life.

Where the Dragonflies Fly

This is the lake at the farm.

These two trees had numerous dragonflies in them, but most seemed to prefer the skeletonized conifers on the shores of the lake. Lucky for me too, since they were not as easily photographed in the deciduous live poplar saplings. The image, two above, was taken in the front tree. The image below is on a dead spruce. You can see them lined up along the shore in the above image.

I hope you have enjoyed my walk at the lake. It was so hot out today I almost jumped in.

What a pretty and wonderfully useful insect. Any skeeter killer is fine by me.

And don’t forget Word for Wednesday is Serendipity. If you post a Wordless Wednesday image that represents Serendipity, that would work out great too.

I will add a Mr. Linky if I can figure it out.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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46 Responses to Dragonflies, A Photo Shoot at the Lake

  1. Layanee says:

    I saw a red dragonfly just today but he was too fast for me. Great images. I love the dragonflies and the damselflies also although i cannot tell the difference. They are quite the acrobats.

  2. Sue Lentell says:

    Excellent photos and text. Thank you so much!! Sue

  3. Wow, I think those are the best dragonfly macros I’ve ever seen. Display quality! Took my breath away. (Oh, and I have a thing for dragonflies.)

    • Thank you so much. It was my first time shooting them at the farm. I have to remember the tripod next time. I do not walk to the lake that often because it is far out on the farm. I drove my Jeep yesterday because the trail was dry. Often it is to wet for vehicles that large.

  4. I LOVE dragonflies. They are by far the most exotic looking insect in my garden and I love to see pictures of them everywhere.

  5. chubskulit says:

    Wow, I love all your photos! I have never seen so many butterflies .

    http://www.spice-up-your-life.net/2011/09/bumble-bees-365244.html

  6. Lovely photos! I too love Dragonflies and get really excited when I see them dancing around!

  7. The dragonflies in you photo are beautiful, unlike the ones around where I live which are extremely ugly.

    I’m glad I’m not a dragonfly female. It would make going out to the shops a risky business.

  8. tina says:

    You got some beautiful shots and I enjoyed learning about them.

  9. Carolyn♥ says:

    Lovely pictures! The dragonflies in my gardens are always in a hurry to somewhere else. They zip right past me when I’m gardening and never slow down long enough to get a picture. So nice to see this little creature up close in your post.

    • Carolyn, thanks for stopping and a tip on getting them in a photo. The best tip is the tripod which I did not have, like you said, they never sit for very long. But the conditions I described is where there will be so many, you can not help but get a few stationary shots. Find a lake nearby. They like the still waters for laying eggs and also the mosquitoes are there for dinner. There must have been over one hundred of them flying about. Some really big ones never landed. Plus there were some other colors too that I could not focus on fast enough. Had I had a tripod, I could have positioned the camera on a branch that they kept landing on. The time it takes to focus is often too long for them to sit. I am going to try to remember the tripod next time.

  10. TufaGirl says:

    So nice to see so many different kinds of dragonflies. My favorite is dragonfly-6, colors and the bokeh were very nice. I love that you included your blurry photos as well.

    • Is bokeh not intentional out of focus? I would love to say I wanted these, but that lens is too heavy to hold still, so I could not have the camera shutter and aperture in the right combo to get a non blurry image even with the ISO high. 😦

  11. One says:

    I captured a red one just like yours today. A blue one too! That’s serendipity?

  12. Karen says:

    The variety of dragonflies you have shown here is amazing. I love the little buggers for their mosquito-harvesting ways. To think I used to be afraid of them when I was a little kid but once I found out they weren’t going to ‘bite’ me and how much good they do, I was a fan.

    When we canoe, they love to hover and sit on the bow of the boat or even on my paddle at times, so fascinating to watch. Have a great weekend, Donna!

  13. Donna says:

    The pond draws dragonflies to the gardens and they visit all over…I love to watch them darting to and fro…I have seen more varieties this year and was able to get a few far away pics. One was huge…and I too love them for their appetite for skeeters…great pics

    • I saw really large ones too, but they did not land. Ponds are great for attracting all kinds of wildlife. The lake has turtles and frogs. Snappers and Bullfrogs too. Plus there were ducks, but I did not shoot any of them. They were very wary of me since the property is used for hunting.

  14. Greg says:

    Donna great photos. From a hovering perspective I like dragonflies better than bees, even though bees have more audio. They just don’t feel as menacing as a bumble or carpenter bee zooming around your face. I hope to see more df’s when the stock tank gets installed in my new garden room. ya. Greg.

  15. wiseacre says:

    I find them frustrating as a subject. First, they won’t hold still and I have even a harder time trying to ID them. Thanks for the link. I’ll be using it in the future. Hopefully with some luck I’ll be able to post some dragonfly pics of my own. But first I need to do that white worm coral post 🙂

  16. Malinda says:

    They’re beautiful Donna. I love their little faces – they look like they’re a cartoon caricature. My favorite is the blue dragonfly with the bokeh – beautiful! A couple of weeks ago a brownish red one landed on my pear tree and stayed still long enough to snap a few close up shots.

    • On the Dragonfly Site they tell why their faces are flattened. Pretty interesting stuff they had on that website. I will have to look for your dragonfly images. I saw a brownish red one, but it did not sit and wait for me.

  17. b-a-g says:

    Donna – I’m not a fan of insects, but your shots make them look so attractive, especially these dragonflies.

  18. Les says:

    Fantastic pictures of a remarkable creature. My son and I had our own Dragonfly encounter this summer when we were tubing on the James River. They would land on us, many at a time, looking for any perch on the water. My favorite were the red ones.

    • I always read that they land on people on boats, but with all of them flying around, they avoided me like the plague. I had to use my 300mm lens, the 135mm could not get in close enough. I did not enlarge any of my images because they were not as clear as they should have been. I probably should have not zoomed in all the way and them made them larger in Photoshop. I had to switch off VR on the lens too. My next trip with the tripod, I will improve. I never have that great of luck with them in my garden. It is hard chasing around only one of them.

  19. I am so glad you posted these shots. I never really get to see them up close because they are so quick. The detail in your shots allows me to really see every aspect of their beauty and complexity. Fantastic!

  20. Bernieh says:

    I so enjoyed my visit today. Loads of great information and some stunning photos! Dragonflies are such beautiful creatures.

  21. Alistair says:

    Donna, Dragonflies or Damsels, these really are the best shots which I have seen of them, and in such a beautiful setting.

  22. Great shots! I love dragonflies and see them in my garden, but not as often as I like. I’m hoping when I install my little pond, I’ll have more.

  23. dona says:

    Superb macros, Donna!

  24. Masha says:

    Thank you for this wonderful walk. I enjoyed a close look at the dragon flies. Great information too, I always learn so much through your blog.

  25. Stunning images Donna. I particularly liked the Common Whitetail Skimmer, probably because I have never seen anything like it here. I always have trouble deciding which of the flitting lovelies is a dragonfly and which a damsel, I will have to remember your tips.

  26. Amazing shots! Thank you for sharing the beauty!
    I believe dragonflies are one of the most challenging and most interesting macro photography subjects 🙂

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