Odonata Hotspots

It’s always a delight when I stumble upon a pond or stream with dragonflies and damselflies flying around, defending their territories, basking, hunting, and propagating, their very existence a pleasure for me to witness. However, the rare joy is when I find a gem of a habitat – an area so ideal for odonate life that while I photograph one new species, I have to avoid being distracted by the other four or five more colorful new species I’m simultaneously seeing out of the corner of my eye. I had one such explosive pond-wading experience several days ago while visiting a spice estate near Kumily.  Continue reading

Blue Grass Dartlet

The first time I saw this species, I was dumbfounded, to say the least. We live in a 10th floor apartment in urban Cochin, which admittedly is on the banks of the backwaters. Nonetheless, I was quite surprised to see a dull-colored damselfly float through a window and over our dining room table, and out the door onto the balcony on the opposite side of the room. Fortunately, I gathered my wits quickly enough to rush back with my camera, and corralled the enigma into a corner in the balcony (non-violently, of course), and was able to get a few shots before it breezed off in the lethargic float I’ve come to associate with damselflies. The only time I’ve seen any damselfly zooming the way most dragonflies do is when they’re swooping in on their prey, at which point even the laziest, slowest, and smallest of them can put on quite a turn of speed.

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Bi-Colored Damselfly

As mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been developing my techniques for improved macro photography without a macro lens. Tough work, but highly rewarding. Besides areas I will soon explore thanks to a new array of equipment (extension tubes, magnification filters, etc.), I have currently enjoyed a great deal of success with the relatively unknown backward-lens trick. Although you lose the ability to focus and meter light, the technique is excellent for artistic photographs of small things. And if it hasn’t been made clear from my dozens of posts on the subject – I love small things. Continue reading

Pygmy Dartlet

The Pygmy Dartlet is a very widespread species of damselfly, surprisingly enough. Measuring about 16 millimeters, Agriocnemis pygmaea is undoubtedly the smallest damselfly or dragonfly I’ve seen. The species is known to have many different appearances, with both male and female displaying up to three or four different color combinations. The male is pictured above, and the female below.  Continue reading

Clear-Winged Forest Glory

These are the first good shots I’ve gotten of any glories before. I have seen Stream Glories (Neurobasis chinensis) in Gavi, but they were far too shy to be able to photograph them. Walking through the forest the other day, however, a single Forest Glory (Vestalis gracilis) flew past me into the undergrowth. Careful not to lose sight, I followed it, only to discover a total of  five damselflies lounging about in the shade.  Continue reading