Sunday 31 July 2011

Hoverfly Heaven

With a good number of wildflowers in my wildlife garden, and the good warm weather of late (although nowhere near the 100's that Dave has been experiencing), the whole of the garden has been literally buzzing with more hoverflies than I have seen before, along with a lot of worker and Bumble bees taking nectar from many sources.

So, taking a short break in between work today, I popped out with the 5Dmk2 and 180 macro lens and grabbed a few images to share with you.  Nothing special and all handheld, but pretty typical of garden life at the moment.

I also found a Common Carpet moth which was probably one that I released from an overnight moth trapping session.

Robbie dropped in to see us yesterday, so it was great to  see him and catch up with things. I was also very grateful for a break from my slab laying work, and for helping me lift stuff around.  


Saturday 30 July 2011

Saturday Quicky

Sorry for not having much to say other than its still over 100 degrees, We have had 8 days this year over 100 and the record is 12 days and looking at next week its high 90's, I will still be without a driving license for another 2 weeks so am starting to get cabin fever, The hummingbirds are very active and there seems to be a constant aerial battle over our garden as they are very territorial, I must try and get some images in the next 3 weeks before we move out and into an apartment, The apartment is on the ground floor so i will put some feeders out and can shoot from the balcony which may be better than here as i will be able to keep in the shade,If you live in Europe and do not have a car then you just jump on bus or train, Where i live in NC there isn't any infrastructure and if you do not have a car then you are buggered, I am glad that we have good neighbours and can sometimes get a lift to the shops or a starbucks, But on the bright side in the next 3 weeks we will have moved and i will have my driving license back
On a brighter note all the forums are buzzing with speculation of new products announcements from both Canon and Nikon in the next month-Time will tell


Friday 29 July 2011

Friday Quickie

It has been a lean time for me photographically of late.  Not through being unlucky, but with a mixture of demands on my time.  It has been quite busy in my business life, and at home, we have been working hard on garden projects.  Today has been rustic table building, and prepping for a load of old reclaimed sandstone slabs to go down under my recently built pergola.

While working out there today, I was kept in the company of Wonky Wing.  It is always great to see that she (we think it is a she now - although still very juvenile in markings) has made it through another day.

She has been making good progress.  Her persistent cough seems to have disappeared.  The wing looks less wonky, and the nasty large growth seems to be subsiding and feathering over.  She still has the thread stuck around her leg, but appears not to be limping so badly either.

So it seems with making sure she has a regular supply of varied food and water, it has helped her out.

As I type this blog tonight, a juvenile great Spotted Woodpecker is on the fatball feeder, a row of about fifteen House Sparrows are sat on the fence and another dozen or so on the lawn eating bread and seeds that are out for them, along with other Blackbirds, and Goldfinches feeding on the seeds in the wildflower garden.

We still have a number of Swifts overhead, but they will be leaving us quite soon I expect.

I am looking forward to finishing the current projects I have and getting own to spending some photo time with 'our' wildlife.

As a quick note, Butterfly Conservation have extended the time for the Big Butterfly Count until 7th August so if you haven't taken part yet, there is still plenty of time.

I have made my recording last week which I will share with you another time.


Thursday 28 July 2011

Camera Bags odds and ends-Part 1

 I was cleaning out my camera and the other day and it was like going through a women's handbag-lots of stuff that you never think that you will need but keep it there just in case, A couple of years ago i met up with my buddy Phil Shaw and we shot together in Colorado, I met Phil at Denver airport and he instantly said that he wanted to go to Walmarts, There he bought some bird food and some Gaffer tape which made me raise an eyebrow but all was to be revealed over the next few days as we would stop at various places and Phil would dive into the undergrowth and come out with a nice looking perch which he would attach to something with a decent background with the gaffer tape, A sprinkling of bird food underneath the perch and we were ready to go and worked great, We got some nice Clark's nutcracker and Stellers Jay

If you carry a beanbag around then bird food is a good filling-you also keep a sachet of dog food in their incase you come across a fox.
Another item that i carry around are zip lock freezer bags which i cover my flashguns with if the weather turns nasty, If i set up for night photography i always cover my flashguns so that if it rains i do not have to leave my blind and disturb any wildlife that may be around, I like the zip lock bags as i can 'lock' them around the base of the flashgun stand and they cannot  blow off and it makes the set up extra water resistant, I normally use the small sandwich size but dont have any in the house and i threw the ones in my bag out so this bag is on the large size which isnt a problem unless its really windy and will make a noise
You may notice that the flashgun has some camo tape over the front as that where the red lights flash when you are in remote mode, I dont think it really matters although the fox seem more relaxed when they cant see the lights-all to do with confidence
Just make sure that you do not cover the area on the flash where the remote sensor is which is the small black circle on the side of a Nikon Speedlite


Wednesday 27 July 2011

Photo Tools App

A week and a half ago, in this post, I mentioned about a great photo tool app that I had found for my new Samsung Galaxy S2 phone.   I mentioned there were a lot of tools but didn't go on to list them all, and you probably thought I was being lazy.  Well that is probably pretty much true, but I thought there would be a better way to share than just write them all out.

One of the things you find when you upgrade a bit of kit is that sometimes you don't know what you don't know.  In this case, I just googled tips and tricks for the new phone and came up with a whole array of great features.  One of which was getting screen grabs as photos.

So having learned that, I can bring you the full array of  tools in this great little app.

I expect there is a similar one for the other phone as well.

I will test a number of these tools out in the future and let you know


Tuesday 26 July 2011

Saved by the flash

I went into the garden at the weekend and watched a huge digger wasp making a hole in some sand that i had put down, It must have been 3-4'' long, I grabbed my D7000 and Sigma 150 macro and tried to get a shot, In hind sight i should have grabbed the 200-400 and some extension tubes to give myself some distance as i just could not get close enough with it flying off, I even waited for it to go down the hole and then quickly got into position but it was too fast, I will keep an eye on the hole and hopefully get some shots, As i was laying on the floor the dragonflies buzzed overhead as i was near the pond, One landed on a thick stem and i slowly approached and too a shot, The background was quite bright and it was making the dragonfly dark, I cursed for not having a reflector or my SB900 flashgun, Then i realized that i had the pop up flash on the D7000 so up it went and it made all the difference, I never use the pop up flash but on this occasion it saved the day

Without the flash

With Flash

Monday 25 July 2011

A few Moths from the Garden

I put the moth trap out on Saturday night for the first time in a couple of weeks (Last weekend it was hammering down with rain).

It was a poor catch with very few moths,but I did get another couple of garden firsts again which is always nice to see.

Scalloped Oak, which I have seen before, but a nice specimen anyway

 Poplar Grey ( I think)

Swallow Tailed (tatty version)

If there are any moth experts viewing and my i/d's are wrong, please do let me know, as I am very much a novice at these confusing species and would always welcome a correction


Sunday 24 July 2011

Virtual Space

It seems i will stuck at home for at least 3 weeks due to not having a driving license until the government sort the paperwork out, It could actually be over 2 months unless somebody foots the $2000 to get it pushed through quickly, So i will have plenty of time to pack boxes and get ready for the move as well as plenty of time to go through images and get some processing done,
In the last couple of weeks i have noticed images on the web and even sent to me that show a flaw in the composition and that is the lack of space for virtual legs, Thats right virtual-you cant see the legs but your brain knows that they are there and without space in the image for the legs the image just looks wrong,
When i lived in Switzerland i got to know a small group of young Ibex-a mountain goat that have huge horns when the males reach adulthood, The young ones were easy to approach once you managed to find them which was the hard part, I remember getting up close and personal with one young male and getting some nice images, I put the image up on some forums and got some nice comments but one guy said that i should have left some extra room for the legs which were hidden by grass, As soon as i re viewed the image i could see his point and he was correct
Here is the image
Looking at the image now its not a great image, The light is quite harsh and the wildflowers in the distance are a bit distracting but the biggest flaw to me is that i have not allowed enough room  at the base for the virtual legs and to the left, It does not matter if its a bird standing in water or on land if you cut the legs off or do not leave enough room for the legs that you can not see the image will look right-Give and image room to breathe and it will look more pleasing to the eye


Saturday 23 July 2011

Southern Hawker in the Garden - at last

It has been a relatively quiet year for Dragonflies in the garden this year so far, with very few sightings.

That changed on Thursday when this lovely immature male Southern Hawker showed up and was very obliging for the camera.

So here are few for you on the first of the teasels that have grown in the garden, that I am hoping will be attractive to the Goldfinches when they are ready.

All taken with the 5Dmk2, Canon 180 f3.5L macro, on the tripod, plus Live View.

Meanwhile, as I write this, It is great to have some warm sunshine in the garden at last, so don't forget your Big Butterfly Count while you are at it.


PS - Best UK dragonfly book below and App for your iPhone - yuk!  :-)

Friday 22 July 2011

All Change

Get ready for a rant-My driving license runs out today as thats when my visa runs out, I was told that if i came along with a form 797c i could retake my test no problem so i was at the DMV at 7am today, It opens at 8am and i was number 3, I go in and the 797c form that i had was the wrong 797c-how fucking stupid is that, So i was turned away and as from midnight tonight i have no driving license-So thats the weekend away screwed and money lost, Why has my visa extension not been done well in advance-well life is sometimes out of your hands and put in the hands of others, If those other hands cant be arsed to fill in said documents your life gets screwed and there is absolutely nothing that you can do, So now its going to be lots of phone calls and waiting, I hope it does not take too long as my wife does not drive so we are house bound, Apart from that we can not leave the country as we would not get back in and so if i have a family emergency which happens i cant go and help out, Just keep in mind if its your job to fill forms in that affect other people please do it, We started chasing this last December as i was afraid that something like this would happen, Now i all can do is put the kettle on and have a cup of tea-how very British, Did i mention that life is very stressful at the moment



Whilst NC is cooking in 100 degree heat and with all the stress caused by selling and buying a house we have decided to have a couple of days at the beach, We are going to an area that we have not been to before but looks good on Google Earth!! so i will tell you if its a good move or not in my next blog-either way it should be a little cooler and a welcome break


Badger Culling-Again

For more years than i care to remember the British government has been trying to eradicate one of Europe's most evocative animals and one if not the favorite European mammals of mine -The Badger-due to pressure from farmers, Lets not forget that the badger in the UK is a protected species and yet here we are gain with another culling about to begin, I remember reading an article many years ago where scientists actually put the boot on the other foot and blamed the farmer-why-well why do you think that badgers hang around farms and especially dairy farm? Well the answer is simple-easy food, They found that farmers either left the sheds open at night or that the doors etc were in bad repair and made it easy for the badgers to enter, Whilst i am not in the UK anymore i find it appalling that this still continues to happen, More details here

Thursday 21 July 2011

Wonky Wing

A couple of blogs ago, I mentioned Wonky Wing, a blighted juvenile Blackbird that has taken up residence in the our garden.  It doesn't have too much going for it, as it hops around mostly on one leg as one of them appears not to be able to take much weight on it.  It's right wing is set off out to one side at an angle, which may be because of an expanding growth below the wing, that is bald of feathers.

As if that wasn't enough it also has a cough, or what seems like a cough ever few seconds.

However, it is eating well as we put down plenty of food, and it can fly of sorts. But it does seem so vulnerable that I wonder how long it will survive.  It has been around for about three weeks now.  

 Here is an image of it taken last night.

Poor scruffy little thing!!

It is not phased by me and is quite happy to be very close, an came about two feet away from me while I was photographing a Southern Hawker dragonfly last night.

I will keep my fingers crossed for it, and keep feeding it while it remains alive.


Wednesday 20 July 2011

A Bugs life 2

I have been watching some Paper wasps (polistes annularis) busily making their nest just outside my front door for the last few weeks. We have a company come around every few weeks to clear any bugs away and so i thought that it would be a good time to get the camera out and take a few shots before they would be exterminated, I am quite happy for them to be around but as the house is sold and there will be an inspection soon they will have to go, I put up a set of steps to gain some height and be closer to them and as i raised my camera-Nikon D3s and Sigma 150mm macro they turned and faced me, One of them hanging off the nest to get a better look at the stranger slightly below, This with the shallow depth of field gave a 3D view through the view finder and i was very unsure if there they would attack, After a couple of minutes of a stand off they carried on with their work, I used a SB900 set to -2.7 to give a slight pop of flash
 Very heavy crop of the above image-not too bad considering its ISO1600


Tuesday 19 July 2011

Swifts not doing so well

Regular readers will know of the great pleasure I get from a lovely little bird that spends only about three short months with us here in the UK and that is of course, the Swift.

It seems that there are some sad tales associated with this, among many other bird species.

The RSPB is keen to hear from you if you have Swifts near you, as they have suffered about a 30% population drop over the recent past and  unbelievably are on the Amber list.

Full story can be found here and the link to the RSPB Swift site here.  Please do let them know as all data they receive is useful, even if only to say that you used to see them but don't know.

I was off work on leave yesterday, working in the garden, and certainly enjoyed stopping to watch them overhead from time to time.


Monday 18 July 2011

Funky Remote

As both Martin and myself have mentioned before we are both big fans of Capture One software, They now have an App where you can take control of your camera by using an iphone or an ipad, There are millions of apps available for all kinds of things but this actually looks like a good one
If you are curious about Capture one or any of the phase One products just go to you tube and enter their name and lots of videos and tutorials come up-excellent product-Highly Recommended


A Bugs Life

Its been hot hot hot here in NC and also very humid, This normally means that the bugs come out in force, But not all bugs are bad and a pain, We have a huge variety of exotic looking bugs of all shapes and sizes, Last year i cut an orange in half and impaled it on a metal pole to try and attract some birds but all it seemed to attract was bugs and in particular the leaf footed bug ( Leptoglossus fulvicornis) which you can by looking at it where it got its name from, I have my D7000 with Sigma 150mm macro permanently set up at the moment so if i do see an interesting bug i can quickly grab a shot, This one landed on my garden table yesterday evening and although was a bit skittish as long as i moved slowly it was calm, I started to shoot with F8 but when focusing on the eye the body was completely out of focus, When shooting macro close up you are talking about DOF in millimeters, F11 helped a bit and thats what you see here, I think at some point i will have to invest in some photo stacking software


Sunday 17 July 2011

Sunday Quickie

Well it rained on Friday - St. Swithuns day and has continued to do so over the weekend, which is unfortunately coincidental with the start of the Big Butterfly Count that I mentioned earlier in the week.  So I shall hang on until it is warm and dry here and the butterflies can be tempted out to fly.  We have until the end of the month yet.

In the garden the wet weather has got the little froglets jumping around.  I haven't seen too many so far yet this year, which is surprising given the record number of tadpoles we had this year.

But in a similar image to Dave's from earlier in the week, here is one of them, but fully developed in that it's tail has disappeared now.

Although, it still seems to have that fat black middle section of the body of the tadpole, but the topsides are now the right colour.

Elsewhere in the garden, we are inundated with juvenile birds on the feeders from a range of tits, house and hedge sparrows, starlings and notably goldfinches, which look strange without their signature red and gold flashes

One of the young blackbirds has a bit of a problem in that it has a wonky wing, a bald patch under it, a gammy leg and seems to have a persistent sort of cough.  Other that that it is fine and is eating well.  I do worry about its chances with a few cat predators that come in to the garden, plus the ever present sparrowhawk that seems to prefer the larger birds.

The downsides of the bad weather is the cost of wife orchestrated trips to garden centres and a list of those 5 minute jobs.  Guys - there are never any five minute jobs - but I guess you already knew that.

They always take at least an hour, and involve pain at some stage, even if it is when you are just trying to find the bloody tools.

Right better go and tick off some more more chores.


Saturday 16 July 2011

Cyberpower PC

Finally its arrived, The new high spec/high tech PC from Cyberpowerpc, First impressions when i opened the box was that the packing was minimal, There was just some foam top and bottom and that was it, Upon opening the PC box and taking off the PC side they had put some packing in the PC compartment to stop things bouncing around in transit, I would have liked to see more protection around the main box but saying that it all arrived in good condition, The PC is huge compared to my old Dell, Its a full size gaming PC with lots of fans all round to keep things nice and cool, I quickly set it up and it booted up very quickly and silently, So far i have just put my mail, firefox and breezebrowser, Over the weekend i will add Capture one and Photoshop and try them all out together and see how it handles it, My old PC would bog down weh everything was open, This now should not happen, Being a guy i like my gadgets and this is one awesome gadget, Something that should last for years and allow me to add and grow as new technologies come out


Friday 15 July 2011

New phone = new apps

Recently I asked if any of you had any favourite apps that you use on your smartphones. Well I changed out my phone a couple days ago for a Samsung Galaxy S2, which I understand is a rare beast in the States at the moment but coming through in good numbers here in the UK. Makes a change for us on this side of the water.
Anyway as part of the setting up process I have found a cracking app called Photo tools. It is aimed at the serious photographer and brings together a mass of tools all in one app.
With something like 30 tools there are too many to go through here but they cover the DOF and hyperfocal stuff that I mentioned recently along with flash and exposure calculators. I particularly like the blue and golden hour tool that will tell you sunrise sunset, dusk and twilight times based on date and your location.
Another good tool links to calculating exposure times with ND filters. Now for low stops it is simple to just let the ttl metering take care of it but if you read our articles on the 10 stop filters you will know that composituon and exposure calculation can be a little tricky. Now it wont solve the composition problems but it will help when you run out fingers as you keep doubling ever increasing numbers of seconds as you mentally calculate the exposure time.
So if you are an Androidist get into the Market and download it.
There is one other great app that we dont have yet but you Applists do.
The Photographers Ephemeris which I have blogged about before is available as an iOS app. This tool also gives sunrise and sunset times but the best extra is the compass angles when set on the map. A perfect tool when planning your landscapes.
The good news is that is will be coming to Android soon.

Thursday 14 July 2011

When the orders stop coming in

What do you do with your gear?


Mounting Excitment

I have been tracking the new PC as it left California yesterday, It went from LA to Texas to Florida and then onto South Carolina and is now making its way North so its well travelled, I actually paid extra for packaging to make sure that it arrives in as good a condition as it left-Fingers crossed, We spend far too much time behind a computer screen so its worth the money to get a good one and one that you can grow with over the next few years, We are having the survey done on our house tomorrow and i have a few things to tide up so i am afraid its a quicky from me today


Wednesday 13 July 2011

Strange Parallels - Nature and Machine

Sitting outside in my garden last week as dusk was falling, I was marvelling at the aerial ballet and dogfight-like flying of the Swifts overhead.  As I have said before on the blog, I love to watch these birds fly.

It took me back a few years, in fact all the way back to my early childhood and got me reminiscing about watching Spitfire and Mustangs at airshows and how they jinked and flew about to entertain us.  

I haven't been to a decent airshow for a few years now and haven't really missed it to be honest, particularly when you have your own daily airshow each day with the Swifts.

As recent as last night, with the young now fledged, we have had over a hundred flying a few hundred feet up overhead as they flock for the night.

In taking me back to my previous enjoyment of airshows , I was saddened to hear this weekend of the death of one particular beautiful bird, the P51D mustang - 'Big Beautiful Doll'.  She was my favourite, beautiful restored and cared few, superbly flown and always a pleasure to see.

Sadly, she collided with anther aircraft and was destroyed in the resulting crash.  The good news was that Rob Davies the pilot/owner managed to parachute clear.

Here she is in better times from a few years ago.


Tuesday 12 July 2011

Pond Life

Just after i finished scribbling the blog i popped into my garden to check the bird feeders which are next to the pond, I noticed something on the rock in the pond and on closer inspection its a minute froglet complete with tail, About 1/2''-3/4'', So i grabbed the Nikon D7000 and the ultra sharp Sigma 150mm Macro along with a 32mm extension tube and grabbed a few shots from the front and side-smallest frog i have ever seen, The light was low as was the shutter speeds so i am lucky to get some sharp images, I can see why Sigma have just added OS (Optical stabiliser) to this lens


Stressful times

I am not sure why but everything seems to come at once, Our house is sold and we will be moving into a rental for 5-6 months whilst our new home is being built, It will be on 2.5 acres of woodland which has big gardens all round so in essence i will probably have 4-5 acres or more to make into my own sanctuary, The long term looks great for my local photography, They say that moving house or buying a house is the most stressful thing that you do in your life, It shouldnt be for us as we have done it many times, This will be the first new build and its quite exciting and scary all at the same time, My driving license runs out at the end of next week so early next week i have to retake it which is a pain, The new owners want the top floor repainted as its all white at the moment and the government is being slow in sorting our visas out, Add all that with dog sitting ect and there have been a few sleepless nights, The new land is mainly woodland, The house will be central with a long drive up to it so nice and private, There is a small wetland section so dragonflies etc should be good and there is a couple of small grassy areas in the woodland so that will be great for deer and bird set ups, There are some nice characterful trees for my night time opossum/raccoon and fox stuff so i will have a few blinds set up around the property for myself and hopefully those that want to learn the art of wildlife photography, The house will also have a studio in it for portraits and times when its miserable outside, Its a dream really for me, I had 2.5 acres when i lived in France and its a good size plot that allows untold possibilities, So we have a list of stuff to do and on that list is the new PC, It seems a while since i ordered it but in reality its only a couple of weeks, The Motherboard has changed from an Asus to a Gigabyte and the build started yesterday so i am hoping that it will be shipped either today or tomorrow-another tick off of the list, A couple of days decorating to finish the house off and some boxes to pack and then i think the best thing to do is grab the camera gear and head off out somewhere to get my head back into some order a fun page of everything that you will never need but will make some good Xmas gifts


Monday 11 July 2011

Big Butterfly Count coming soon

Regular readers will know that I enjoy seeing and photographing the butterflies that come through my garden and around my local patch.  with the much warmer weather at least, butterflies are coming out in quite big numbers now.

The Butterfly Conservation  are interested to hear from you about your sightings, and in the same way that the RSPB do their Big Garden Bird Count each year so it is with butterflies also.  Unlike the BGBC, with butterflies you have a two week window starting this weekend.  Details can be found here so you can either do it in your garden or at other locations.

It would be great if a good number of our readers in the UK could also do this and if so, we would like to hear of your results.

I will be doing mine through the garden so will let you know in due course.

Great book for butterfly ID can be found below and should be a must have in all wildlife enthusiats reference library.


Sunday 10 July 2011

Carry a camera at all times

I read that some people carry a camera at all times and some say that a Dslr is just too big to carry around and others have a compact just in case, The last couple of weeks i have had my D3s and 24-70 plus flash gun with me at all times, I have been busy looking at houses as ours is sold and having some pics for reference can help in the decision process, Yesterday we had a long day out on the road looking at lots of property, We stopped to grab a coffee at a well known coffee house and on the way back to the car my sharp eyed wife called me over and asked what was stuck on the side of a crape myrtle tree in the car park, On closer inspection it was obviously a moth and a very large and beautiful moth at that, I grabbed the camera out of the car and took a couple of picks before deciding to grab the flash and add some fill light to the moth, The crape myrtle had 4 or 5 small trunks and made getting the lens and flash difficult to get in position, At the end of the day i was very glad to have a decent camera with me to document a new specie for me, The flash certainly helped bring out the blue in the spots on its back, Looking at my field guide it turned out to be a Giant Leopard Moth (ecpantheria scribonia) a very large moth not far short of 4'' long, I wish i had my macro lens with me but in a way i like the wide angle approach which shows some habitat, I know carrying your camera gear around with you in the car can be a pain as well as a worry that it will get stolen but how many times have you cussed for missing a one off situation, Make sure that your gear is well insured and that it IS covered for being in the car


Saturday 9 July 2011

Garden - Wildflower update

With the strange weather patterns this year, the wildflowers in the garden have been coming out at slightly different times, but this year has definitely been better than last.  Whether that is because my management is getting any better or whether it is a time related thing I don't know, but it has been pleasing to see some great blooms, and certainly the birds and particularly the butterflies have been taking advantage.

Here are just a few images that I have been taking recently.

Purple Loosestrife by the pond

 Ox Eye Daisy

Fabulous mass of poppies

Well I had a cracking day at Silverstone yesterday and enjoyed watching the Swallows darting and hunting low over the track picking up flies and insects on the wing, while watching the Formula 1 Grand Prix cars splashing their way round in the wet.  Fabulous action and sounds, but no images to share as I went primarily to enjoy the spectacle as from my vantage point photography was poor due to various trackside bits of clutter and granstand stanchions.  So enjoy the show if you are either there tomorrow or plan to watch it in the television

Friday 8 July 2011

New Guy in Town

A couple of weeks ago i found our ponds resident Common Whitetail dead on our patio, I dont know if he flew into the storm door or if it was in a fight with another dragonfly which is more than likely, Well its place has been replaced with another large dragonfly which now competes for space with the other resident Blue Dasher, I am not sure of the specie of the new arrival, Its quite a bit bigger than the Dasher, I thought it looked like a seaside dragonlet but its much bigger so i will have to have a trawl through the internet, The new guy takes pride of place on the stick i placed there leaving the dasher to perch on leaves or grass, I nipped out with the D7000 and 200-400 to grab a few images, It was quite breezy but that worked to my advantage as the leaf that the dasher was perched on was turning my way giving good top views of the dragonfly, I shot at F8 and had a shutter speed around 1/1000 and was lucky that most images were nice and sharp considering i was hand holding and it was breezy, The small pond has been great for attracting all kinds of wildlife and we now even have dragonfly larvae in it which will keep the tadpoles on their toes,

The new guy

 Blue Dasher loves to pose with its tail up

I used some fill flash as the light was harsh