Dragons, damsels and more

Halloween pennant: Nikon D300 & Sigma 180mm f/3.5
f/8 @ 1/125, ISO 400

We all wish we could travel to exotic destinations and photograph beautiful landscapes, plants, and animals. The truth is that it’s all right outside our doors. We don’t need to go far to find beauty and a never ending supply of interesting subject matter. I hate to refer to our fellow flora and fauna as “subject matter.” They built the world we live in and are the reason we even exist. Whether you’re an atom or elephant, we’re all built from the same stuff and we owe it to these beings, through our illustrations and writings, to convey our awe and curiosity.  Every time I see and photograph a new plant or animal, I’m driven to find out as much as I can about that species.  The more you know about your subjects, the better your understanding and ultimately, the better your images will be.

The shame: an unidentified damselfly – but I’m working on it…
Nikon D300 & Sigma 180mm f/3.5
F/5 @ 1/125, ISO 320

I’ve got a long way to go to understand all of this and wish I had many more lives to go. If you’re bored, you aren’t looking!

Baltimore checkerspot: Nikon D2x & Nikon 200mm f/4
f/13 @ 1/125, ISO 125

In order to photograph this Baltimore Checkerspot I first had to find out that they would be flying in this area. I put this one “to bed.” I marked it’s roost spot and returned in the morning. The reward: this dazzling butterfly drinking a dew drop  before it’s first flight of the day.

Common whitetail, male
Nikon D300 & Sigma 180mm f/3.5 + 1.4x tc
f/14 @ 1/15, ISO 320

Common and friggin beautiful, these dragonflies hunt the edges of a tallgrass prairie in our yard. Dragonflies are the harriers, goshawks and peregrines of the insect world. They fly up to intercept prey from habitual perches or cover ground patiently. Some, like the Dragonhunter take prey as large as Monarch butterflies.

Common whitetail, female
Nikon D300 & Sigma 180mm f/3.5
f/18 @ 1/20, ISO 250

Dumb luck: We like to keep our property as wild as possible and that means a lot of new trees every year.  I had to remove this young Black cherry and moved it’s remains to our field. A day later I found this stunning female Common whitetail perched on it. The irony: serendipity or set up shot………?

Question mark: Nikon D300 & Sigma 180mm f/3.5 + 1.4 x tc
f/18 @ 3 sec.. ISO 320

Happy or sad?  This Question mark butterfly was killed by a car on our road. I prefer to make these sorts of images from live animals but made this from a roadkill. OK or wrong? I would be interested in hearing your comments.

Thank you for looking and reading and I hope you will find and photograph the beauty in your backyard.


~ by David Stimac on July 12, 2013.

4 Responses to “Dragons, damsels and more”

  1. David: I think it’s fine to photograph a dead animal, although like you, I prefer the ones that are still alive. I found a dead Blue Jay in my backyard this spring and took a close-up photograph of its wings before burying it in the woods.

  2. Darn! You got a Baltimore Checkerspot!!!! Lovely images and a great read David!!!

  3. Your photos are breath-taking, David. I appreciate your sharing your knowledge and philosophy…. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the feedback everyone! Jim, I haven’t had any luck with the Baltimores this year.

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