It's been just over 5 years that I first photographed my first Emperor Dragonfly emerging and since then I have been lucky enough to photograph a good variety of other species emerging. Every emergence is special in its own way and it's just a privilege to be able to sit and study this before your eyes. The photos are always an added bonus to the spectacle but as ever, I try to achieve the best shots I can in the different circumstances I come across. With a few Emperor Dragonfly nymphs in my pond I was hopeful this year of seeing and photographing one emerging and the past few nights have seen me constantly checking the vegetation just in case. It was Thursday night around 21:50 that I went out to the pond with the torch to check again. The night was still, mild and no wind and I felt that this was a perfect night to emerge on. I was in luck as an Emperor Dragonfly nymph had climbed up some of the grasses as the edge of the pond and was in the process of thrashing its abdomen around to make sure there was enough clearance to emerge. I went inside and got all the necessary equipment and made my way outside again knowing I could be out there for a few hours. I stayed back as I normally do to let it settle and then moved slowly in and set up. It was a perfect night to be out, except for the midges which were winding me up every few seconds but after a while, even they got few up of me. I had a really pleasing view through the viewfinder of the grasses and then the blackness of the sky. I often like these backgrounds as it shows the subject off well and also provides me with that sense of the dragonfly emerging in the darkness. After a further wait the nymph skin started to crack at the back of the thorax and the emergence had begun. I sat there for a good hour or so photographing what has to be my best ever set of emergence photos. Whilst I am often hard to please and can be quite critical of my own photos, these are a set I will find hard to beat and am over the moon with. Thankfully all went well and I left the Emperor Dragonfly in peace and made my way to bed just before midnight. A check in the morning revealed just the exuviae there and a nice reminder of what had been a most fantastic experience again.
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) - female emerging