Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Note of Gratitude

Dear Arlyn,

Thanks so much for lending me your superzoom camera. I must admit that I am still trying to figure out basic things -- like adjusting the white balance and understanding focus.

Walking with it today was pure pleasure. I missed a number of good shots (a newly emerged damselfly eating a big wormy thing!) because I couldn't figure out what option to use under what circumstances.

That said, I can illustrate to my friend Winnie how I know the sex of a dragonfly. Many perching Calico Pennants provided the opportunity for some show and tell. Both male and female are yellow when they emerge, but as they age, the male turns orange and then red. If color is confusing, the end of the abdomen gives away the sex. The male has two claspers, which are used to hold the female behind the the head during mating. The claspers, sort of like white teeth, are visible in the three males here. (They almost look like cocktail forks, I just realized.)
teneral (immature) male Calico Pennant
maturing male Calico Pennant
mature male Calico Pennant (note the bit of orange at the end of the abdomen)
female Calico Pennant
By the way, Arlyn, I also tried photographing a flyer -- a Common Baskettail. That is one aggressive dragonfly. He picks out a little territory and stakes his claim by chasing away any other threat (i.e., any other dragonfly). Here's one, a bit out of focus, but still . . . trying to take the shot was great fun.
As promised, I am delivering!


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