Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Sissinghurst Challenge!

The plan for yesterday (Friday) was to take a drive down to Sissinghurst to hopefully see some Downy Emeralds and attempt some shots of them in flight, something I have not done very well in the past with this species. The forecast for the morning was for cloud but by mid afternoon the sun was to come through so I took my chance and took the hour drive just after midday where on arrival it was still quite cloudy. I took a walk around the 2 lakes and predictably did not see any flying so had a walk around the meadow area above the lakes where I was able to find a few Azure and Blue tailed Damselfly. With the skies getting a little brighter it was back to the lake where as I watched I had a brief view of a Downy Emerald zooming across the lake and out of view, a good sign at least that they were around. I spent the next 30 minutes or so looking for likely areas that they may appear if the sun was to come out. Whilst walking around the lakes I returned to an area I visited last year to see the Golden ringed Dragonflies and hope that I will return soon to see them again when they are flying. A check of the skies revealed some blue in there and around 3.30pm the skies started to clear up and the sun made its appearance. It wasn't long until I could see the familiar sight of c6 Downy Emeralds flying across the lakes and disappearing into the trees overhanging the water. The next mission was to try to get a shot of them in flight but as anyone will know who has photographed them before, they are probably the hardest species to get a decent shot of, purely because they hardly ever stop and only pause for a few seconds before whizzing off again. I set about finding a few individuals that were flying into the bays and after a search, found a good area with the sun behind me. I spent the next hour taking a lots of photos, most of them were either out of focus, bits of a dragonfly missing or the popular one was no dragonfly at all, such is the speed of them as they fly off. I was really struggling to get on to them quickly and manual focus but with a bit of patience and many shots later, I eventually got the shot I had come for. I could have said that I planned for the wings and abdomen to be out of focus and for the attention to be on the sharp face but I didn't think I would get that so I am very pleased with the effort below. I'm sure I will be back in the next month or so to try to get a few more shots of them, along with hopefully Golden ringed Dragonflies and Beautiful Demoiselles, of which I saw 2 of the latter also today. Despite the challenge of capturing this dragonfly on camera. I left having had a superb time and a few shots for my efforts.

Downy Emerald


  1. Nice one Mate, that is a stunning effort. Glad you got there and got such a great result :-)

  2. Well I set the standard the other week, you've surpassed that Marc and set the bar higher ! I'll have to have another go soon!

  3. Well done Marc. Maybe arrange a meet for the GR later ?

  4. Unless you catch them hatching, it's probably the only way to take their picture!
    Very well done, Marc!