What’s my motivation?

True confession: I’ve struggled to stay motivated recently. The little voice inside my head kept asking, “Why do you endure long, difficult walks through chigger- and tick-infested vegetation, thorny vines, blood-thirsty mosquitos, hot and humid weather — all in pursuit of dragonflies and damselflies?”

Then I was reminded of the answer to my question: Sometimes Mother Nature gives me a glimpse of her awesome beauty. I enjoy sharing photographs of my good fortune, and I enjoy the opportunity for informal science education provided by my wildlife photography. I hope followers of my photoblog enjoy both looking at the photos and reading the related text!

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

I spotted a single Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) perching in a small meadow near a vernal pool.

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

This individual is a female, as indicated by its terminal appendages. Female Painted Skimmers have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment that are used to scoop and hold a few drops of water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

I’m especially fond of head-tilts in which the individual seems to display some of its personality.

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

I worked the shot until my stunningly beautiful model …

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

… decided the photoshoot was finished and flew high into the nearby trees.

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

Please look at the full-size version of the preceding photos in order to see the exquisite coloration of this dragonfly.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “What’s my motivation?”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Great shots, Walter, of a stunningly beautiful dragonfly. Your images captured an amazing amount of detail in the wings and the body. You pose some serious and thought-provoking questions at the start of the posting. What indeed motivates us to do what we do?

  2. Christy Says:

    Fantastic photos Walter. I enjoy the science too.

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