Thursday, 28 May 2015

In the Still of the Night!

After photographing the emergence of the Emperor Dragonfly a few nights ago from the pond, I was a bit like a kid on the best ride at a theme park, I wanted another go! Luckily there are a couple more Emperor Dragonfly nymphs in the pond and watching them throughout the evenings have seen one move into the shallows to prepare to emerge. I was very pleased with the photos I took a few days ago of the emergence, some of the best I have probably taken, but like any photographer, I am always looking for ways to improve and capture the shot. Most literature suggests that the Emperor Dragonfly nymph emerges after sunset and is fully winged by midnight. I also wanted to try to capture it on a green reed so that it would contrast nicely with the night sky. So they were my two missions to accomplish, try to get the feel of the Emperor Dragonfly emerging in the darkness of a still night on a reed. Last night (Wednesday) looked good and about 8pm, I checked the pond and could see an Emperor nymph sitting at the base of a reed in the water. I prepared the camera, tripod, monopod, torch and drinks and about 9.15pm when I checked again in the fading light, I could see the Emperor nymph climbing up the reed in a favorable position. Luckily for me, it was on the edge of the pond and I got myself comfortable and sat back and waited. It took a while to position itself and after a lot of abdomen wagging, it become still. I tested a few shots at this point and indeed, I had the view I wanted with the darkness and reed in view. Not long after, I could see the upper thorax starting to split and then slowly the emergence happened in front of my eyes. Like the previous few nights when I had observed them, it was just a privilege to watch this transformation happening and the added bonus of capturing it on the camera made it all worthwhile. Unlike some damselflies, the process is a lot slower and when the body was hanging upside waiting for the legs to harden, this took about 30 minutes alone before he levered himself back up and continued. I just loved watching the body pumping and the wings slowly going form a crumpled lump to superb formed wings. The process started around 9.15pm and the wings were fully formed by 11.20pm. Like the shots the other day, I am over the moon with them and think it captures that moment in the still of the night when the miracle happens. When I awoke this morning, I went outside to check and found that he was still sat on the reeds with his wings opened. I took a few shots and around 10 minutes later, when I checked, he had gone. A superb session and nice to not only watch the emergence happen, but to also see the plan pay off was very satisfying. I'm away for a few days in Norfolk with the family on Friday so no visits out until next week after work, weather permitting!










Emperor Dragonfly Emerging (male) 

'Teneral' male Emperor Dragonfly

21 comments:

  1. These are unbelievably good and I like the fly hitching a ride or having a rest.

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    1. Thanks Adrian for your kind words. I am very happy with these, something I don't say too often!

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  2. Stunning!! A very different feel to these, Marc, which I guess is inevitable "after dark". I don't imagine many people will have witnessed it let alone captured it. Very special indeed. Loved the first set. Love this second set just as much. Too different to compare. Very many congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Lucy. I wanted that quiet still dark sequence and I think iv'e captured it. Thanks for looking in again.

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  3. Stunning images Marc,I would love to see this in Day light,but you've mastered this at Night.
    You should give up your day job.
    John.

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    1. If only I could, would love to do this for a job. Many thanks for your kind words, its certainly great to watch it happen in front of your eyes.

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  4. You've captured a part of secret nature there Marc, all the hard work is paying off ! Fantastic to see so much detail, well done mate :-)

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    1. Thanks Warren. The past few sessions have been most rewarding, both from an observational and camera point of view. Can it get any better?

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    1. Thanks Bob, one of nature's moments that many have never seen. Just awesome to capture it on the camera.

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  6. Fantastic shots Marc. Would be great to see this process in a time-lapse video. Something for Springwatch maybe ;-)

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    1. Many thanks for the kind words. I was thinking of trying a time lapse video but didn't really know where to start. Something to look into I suppose.

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  7. My compiments on this stunning serie Marc. Just WOW!
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Thanks Roos, like you hopefully, I am really pleased with them. Thanks.

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  8. Fantastic series. A bit like childbirth without the gore.

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    1. Thanks Wilma. I was there with my warm towels. An impressive experience to photograph, the dragonfly emergence that is!

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  9. Totally blown away by this sequence Marc. Absolutely perfect shots of such an incredible phenomena.

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    1. Thanks Richard, a new sight for me to witness this year and every bit as incredible as I thought it would be. Nice to be able to gab some memories with the camera. Hope you are enjoying your week off!

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  10. Wowee, great piece of childbirth, only a few seconds, and he becomes fully fledged. Beautiful images Marc.

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  12. Fascinating and absolutely gorgeous!

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