Bonding with Bender

Gray Petaltail dragonflies (Tachopteryx thoreyi) have a well-known preference for perching on gray or tan colored surfaces, including gray or tan colored clothing. Dressed appropriately, I visited a hotspot for Gray Petaltail where I hoped to shoot some “selfie” photographs of T. thoreyi perched on me.

The first photo is a “selfie” that shows a Fiery Skipper butterfly (Hylephila phyleus) perched on my left forearm. Thanks to several members of the BugGuide Facebook group for help in identifying the butterfly!

A Fiery Skipper butterfly perched on my left forearm.

The pained expression on my face says “You should have worn your glasses, you old fool!” I call it “going snake-eyed.”

The last photo is a “selfie” that shows a Gray Petaltail dragonfly perched on my Cabela’s Safari Series vest. This individual is a male that I nicknamed “Bender” because of his malformed abdomen.

A Gray Petaltail dragonfly (male) perched on my Cabela’s safari vest.

Open the full-size version of the preceding photo and zoom in on the dragonfly. Look at Bender’s face. I wonder what he was thinking.

Tech Tips

I used my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 superzoom camera to shoot the “selfie” photos featured in this blog post. The camera was set for manual focus at the hyperfocal distance for an aperture of f/4, based upon the instructions provided in the excellent video tutorial by Graham Houghton, “Panasonic Lumix FZ camera easier manual focus method — super point-and-shoot tip.”

The camera was mounted on a Sunpak 8001 UT medium duty aluminum tripod, with the articulating LCD facing forward. A JJC TM-Series Multi-Function Timer Remote Control was connected to the camera. I sat on a Coleman camp stool positioned a few feet in front of the camera, with the remote control in one hand.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to “Bonding with Bender”

  1. Michael Boatwright Says:

    Nice work!

  2. Mike Powell Says:

    As you probably recall, I love it when dragonflies choose to perch on me and I think we are similar in that respect. I am glad you explained how you got the selfies, because I was baffled as I tried to figure out how you were able to get those angles while holding a camera. I have taken a few one-handed selfie shots of dragonflies perched on me with a macro lens and can testify that the dragonflies have to perch near your extremities and you have to be really flexible.

    • waltersanford Says:

      The first photo was taken at ~1:45 pm; the second photo was taken at ~2:00 pm. While I was “posing” for the first “selfie,” I noticed a large dragonfly patrolling part of the seep about 20 yards away. I moved to the spot where I had seen the dragonfly and set up my “selfie” station. I waited, and waited, but I didn’t see the dragonfly. I decided to move back to the first spot. As soon as I stood up, the dragonfly appeared suddenly and landed on me. Long story short, the second “selfie” was taken with my camera in-hand as usual. Part of the remote control wire can be seen hanging from the camera.

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