Posts Tagged ‘dragonflies’

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

June 22, 2012

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted along “Heron Trail” at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by the pale blue pruinescence that does not cover its body completely.

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Notice the immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly resembles the female of the same species.

Males often go through an immature stage in which they are patterned much like females but then change dramatically at maturity by adding a layer of pruinosity (a powdery bloom much like the one we see on plums) to part or all of their thorax and abdomen. Most pruinosity is whitish to pale blue. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 696-698). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans)

June 14, 2012

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted during a photowalk through the “Wildlife Sanctuary,” one of seven small parks owned and maintained by the Community Association of Hollin Hills, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an adult male, as indicated by its blue coloration and the male terminal appendages (claspers) located at the end of its abdomen. Contrast the appearance of a male Great Blue Skimmer with two females of the same species.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (immature males)

May 25, 2012

The following photos show an immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA on 18 May 2012. This individual, possibly a teneral, was perched on grass in a meadow located at least 100 yards from the wetlands.

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I spotted another Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly, shown in the following gallery, in the same meadow on 17 May 2012. This individual is an immature male, based upon the appearance of the terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

ToonPAINT app, Take 3

January 13, 2012

I revisited ToonPAINT app ($1.99 plus in-app purchases) in my last blog post. In summary, I said I think the “ToonColor” output is too dark for both test photos. In order to illustrate my point, I used Aperture to adjust the brightness of the images, shown below.

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For both galleries (shown above and below), Photo 1 is the Aperture output, Photo 2 is the “ToonColor” output, and Photo 3 is the original photograph. Toggle back-and-forth between Photos 1 and 2 and I think you’ll agree with me that the brighter images look much better.

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Bottom line: I think ToonPAINT app — including ALL the bells and whistles — works remarkably well. That said, I have an issue with in-app purchases and I’d like to have options for a little more control over the “ToonColor” output. I suggest the developers add sliders to adjust the “ToonColor” output in the same way there are sliders that enable the user to adjust the shading of the “MagiSketch” output (default black-and-white), shown below.

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Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

ToonPAINT app redux

January 10, 2012

I reviewed ToonPAINT app ($1.99 plus in-app purchases) in my last blog post. In summary, I posed the question, “How much more “awesome looking” would these cartoon-paintings be if they were in color rather than black-and-white?” My first impulse was to say, “Who knows? I’ll never buy the ‘ToonColor button’ add-on feature.” Well, curiosity killed the cat and I am nothing if not curious so I purchased the auto-color option. I’m thinking the folks at ToonPAINT must be saying to themselves, “Gotcha, sucker!” Anyway, how does “ToonColor” output compare with the standard black-and-white output? You be the judge.

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Photo 4 of 4 in the preceding gallery shows the descriptors for ToonPAINT’s two optional add-on features. Can anyone tell me what “Photo Brush” does? I can’t tell from the descriptor and I don’t intend to be suckered into buying the feature in order to find out!

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I think the “ToonColor” output is too dark for both test photos. Sure, I could use an application like Aperture to brighten the images (or perhaps another image editor for Apple iOS) but that defeats the purpose of using ToonPAINT app, doesn’t it? ToonPAINT promises that “it’s as easy as paint-by-numbers,” so I shouldn’t have to post-process the output in order to get it right!

Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

ToonPAINT app

January 8, 2012

The description of ToonPAINT app at the Apple iTunes App Store says, “ToonPAINT allows you to easily create awesome looking cartoon-paintings with your photos.” Really? Decide for yourself by comparing and contrasting the cartoon version with the original photo in the following galleries.

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In the preceding gallery (shown above), the ToonPAINT output and the original photo are both 1024 x 1024 pixels square. In the following gallery (shown below), the original photo and the ToonPAINT output are both 557 H x 420 W pixels.

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How much more “awesome looking” would these cartoon-paintings be if they were in color rather than black-and-white? My commentary can be found in the following “Tech Tips.”

Tech Tips:ToonPAINT” app currently sells for $1.99 at the Apple iTunes Store. The App Store descriptor says, “Even if you have never drawn or painted before, ToonPAINT sets you up for quick success by providing a MagiSketch that you can simply color in. It’s as easy as ‘paint-by-numbers,’ but using your own personal images.” However the quality of the “MagiSketch” output is limited unless you spring for two in-app purchases that cost $0.99 each: 1) “The ToonColor button is an optional add-on feature for ToonPAINT that will automatically color your Toon for you.” 2) “The Photo Brush is an optional add-on feature for ToonPAINT that will allow you to paint directly from your source.” In other words, “ToonPAINT” actually costs $3.97 for all the bells and whistles! I’m not a big fan of apps featuring in-app purchases because they will not fully function as advertised unless you make all available in-app purchases. That’s misleading and in a very real sense a form of false advertising. I say apps should come fully-loaded and sell for one price point — that way consumers can decide fairly whether the full price is fair!

Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (male)

December 21, 2011

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A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans), one of the larger skimmers, perched on a twig at Huntley Meadows Park. Notice that the Great Blue Skimmer perches on four of six legs, with the two front legs curled around its head. This individual is a male, as indicated by its blue coloration. (Females exhibit brown coloration.) Photo 4 of 4 shows the dragonfly flying off his perch — a remarkable stop-action photo for an iPhone 3GS camera!

Tech Tips: The preceding photos were post-processed using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Photos © Copyright 2011 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

December 19, 2011

The following gallery features photos of an Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted during a during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park on 02 December 2011. Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies are the last species of dragonfly to emerge at Huntley Meadows. That being said, it was astounding to see dragonflies so late in the year — completely unexpected! It was even more astounding when a male dragonfly landed on my shoe and perched there for several minutes!!!

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Coincidentally, I was wearing the same pair of athletic shoes when a Comma butterfly landed on one of them in late June 2011. For details, see the related Posterous post: Comma butterfly.

Photos © Copyright 2011 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Dragonflies and Damselflies of Huntley Meadows Park

December 9, 2011

I created a new local mission at Project Noah, announced via Twitter on Thursday, 08 December 2011.

You are invited to join the mission and upload spottings of dragonflies and damselflies seen at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Common Whitetail: two- and three-panel diptychs

December 7, 2011

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The preceding gallery shows diptychs of Common Whitetail skimmer dragonflies (Libellula lydia) spotted during several photowalks. These individuals are female, as indicated by their brown bodies and mid-wing brownish-black bands that do not go edge-to-edge on translucent wings. (Males have a white abdomen and mid-wing brownish-black bands that go edge-to-edge on translucent wings.)

The diptychs (shown above), entitled “Whitetails Whose Tails Aren’t White,” were created using Aperture and Diptic app for Apple iOS mobile devices.

Related Resources:

See full-size versions of the photos used to create the preceding diptychs of dragonflies, arranged in reverse chronological order.

The following gallery shows four-panel diptychs of both male- and female Common Whitetail dragonflies.

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Photos © Copyright 2011 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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