Tuesday 30 August 2011

Newly Emerged Dragonfly

In early summer, particularly May and June, I am always on the lookout for damselflies and dragonflies that are in the process of transforming from their aquatic nymph stage into their adult form. It's a remarkable transformation, on a par with that from a caterpillar to a butterfly, and one I never tire of watching.

On this particular day back in June, an early morning visit to one of my local reserves had provided little by way of photo opportunities and I was just about to leave when I noticed this Four-Spotted Chaser dragonfly, midway through its transformation. Unfortunately, I was already running late and wasn't able to hang around to see the full emergence of the dragonfly, instead having to make do with a few shots of it halfway out of its exuvia.


All images taken with a Canon 7D and Sigma 150mm macro lens.

I decided to return early the following morning and surprisingly found the fully formed adult dragonfly very close to where I had left it. I don't know for definite that it was the same individual but it seems very likely. The previous day had been very cool and it would appear that the dragonfly hadn't warmed up sufficiently to take to the air. It was very co-operative and allowed me to photograph it on two different perches with the buttercups next to the water's edge forming a nice yellow backdrop.

It's always a pleasure to be able to photograph a stunning dragonfly such as this but somehow this occasion seemed all the more pleasurable having been present at its birth the day before! Eventually the sun came out and after some wing vibrations it flew off into some reeds further out over the water.


  1. What?? No comments! Must put that right!
    Lovely series of shots. What always impresses me about yours is the superbly clean, clear backgrounds. You must go to a lot of trouble to get the subject in the right place, something I find not easy to do.

  2. thanks Graham. I tend to use a Plamp which I clip onto the stem or reed that the subject is on. This has the advantage of holding the stem steady but also sometimes allows me to bend it away from background foliage. I don't know whether you already use a Plamp but I think you'll find it a big help if you don't. Having said that, it obviously requires a co-operative subject so can only really be used if photographing early in the morning or in generally cool conditions.