Test shots: Tachopteryx thoreyi exuviae

Two Gray Petaltail dragonfly (Tachopteryx thoreyi) exuviae were collected on 23 May 2018 by Walter Sanford near a forest seep at an undisclosed location in Northern Virginia USA. Gray Petaltail is a member of the Family Petaluridae (Petaltails).

Here’s a photo of the actual seep from which the two exuvia were collected.

23 MAY 2018 | Northern Virginia USA | forest seep

A word of caution: Seeps are sensitive habitats and great care should be exercised when you visit them. In the preceding “habitat shot,” I was standing on a small footbridge that crosses the seep when I took the photo (looking upstream). I was in the right place at the right time: Light rain raised the water level just enough to cross the footbridge, barely; the two exuviae that I collected had washed downstream and were trapped temporarily by the guardrails along the sides of the bridge. No tramping around in the seep for me!

Dorsal view

Although both specimens are similar, they aren’t identical. For example, twin rows of setal tufts (hook-like structures) are clearly visible on the dorsal side of the abdomen on the lower exuvia, and almost invisible on the upper exuvia. The upper exuvia is dirtier and appears to be more “worn” than the lower one. Notice the “schmutz” on the face of the lower exuvia, probably a piece of leaf litter.

Ventral view

Both individuals might be male, as indicated by vestigial hamules that appear to be visible on the ventral side of the specimens.

Related Resource: Tachopteryx thoreyi exuvia, another blog post by Walter Sanford.

Tech Tips

Test shots of the specimens were taken using a relatively small aperture of f/16 for greater depth of field. Each photo is a “one-off,” that is, not a composite image. Focus stacks will be created sometime in the near future, after the exuviae are rehydrated, cleaned, and posed for better composition.

The following equipment was used to shoot both of the preceding photographs: Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital camera, in manual mode; Kenko 20mm macro automatic extension tubeCanon EF100mm f/2.8L Macro lens (set for manual focus); and Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite set for “Master” mode, and several external flashes set for “Slave” mode including Canon 580 EX- and Canon 580EX II Speedlites and a Godox TT685C Thinklite TTL Flash fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen both images.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Test shots: Tachopteryx thoreyi exuviae”

  1. Michael Boatwright Says:

    Nice work Walter!

  2. New odonate exuviae in 2018 (by family) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Test shots: Tachopteryx thoreyi exuviae [Gray Petaltail] […]

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