Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (male)

The following photos show a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) spotted during a photowalk around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

The sky was completely overcast and rain had just started falling when I shot the pictures. The photos were taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 superzoom camera (superseded by Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 superzoom camera) using the following settings: Aperture priority; ISO 250; shutter speed 1/60 s; f/3.2; focal length 4.5mm (25mm, 35mm equivalent); no flash.

The range of focus for the DMC-FZ150 lens is 30 cm (~11.8 in) to infinity at maximum wide angle; in “AF Macro Mode,” it is possible to take pictures of a subject as close as 1 cm (~0.4 in) from the lens. I’m not sure exactly how far I was from the dragonfly, but I vividly remember the camera lens was almost touching the dragonfly’s face when I took the first photo — what an amazingly cooperative model!

Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (male)

I love the way in which foreshortening caused by the shallow depth of field makes the sign post look like it’s hovering in space, similar to the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the classic film by Stanley Kubrick.

Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (male)

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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