Posts Tagged ‘Libellula semifasciata’

Painted Skimmer dragonfly (teneral female)

March 19, 2017

Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) was spotted at a vernal pool in Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). This individual is a teneral female, as indicated by her terminal appendages and the tenuous appearance of her wings.

No. 1 | 31 MAY 2016 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (teneral female)

Shine on you crazy diamond!

No. 2 | 31 MAY 2016 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (teneral female)

Although Photo No. 1 and 3 look similar, I posted both pictures. Photo No. 1 shows the tenuous appearance of the wings best of all four photos, but I prefer the composition of Photo No. 3. Which one of the two photos do you prefer?

No. 3 | 31 MAY 2016 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (teneral female)

Teneral dragonflies are skittish and prefer to perch in “hidey-holes” that offer protection from predators like paparazzi wildlife photographers. The dragonfly is perching on “soft rush” (Juncus effusus), the common name for the shoreline/emergent plant with light green round stems and brownish flowers that appears in the entire photo set. Soft rush is common in wetland areas.

No. 4 | 31 MAY 2016 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (teneral female)

Painted Skimmer dragonflies do not display sexual dimorphism, that is, adult females and males look similar except for their terminal appendages. Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function; male dragonflies have three terminal appendages, collectively called “claspers.” The cerci are easy to see in the full-size version of the preceding photo.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Painted Skimmer dragonflies (males)

December 4, 2016

Several Painted Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula semifasciata) were spotted at a vernal pool in Huntley Meadows Park. All of these individuals are males, as indicated by their terminal appendages.

Sometimes you need to stop and smell the “soft rush” (Juncus effusus), the common name for the shoreline/emergent plant with a light green round stem and brownish-green flowers shown in the following photo. Soft rush is common in wetland areas.

You may be wondering, “Do dragonflies have a sense of smell?” The surprising answer can be found in an interesting article from Science magazine: Dragonflies Lack ‘Smell Center,’ but Can Still Smell.

The second and third photos in this gallery show the same male. Regular readers of my photoblog know I love a good head-tilt, shown below.

The following male must be a member of the Democratic Party, based upon his viewpoint to the left. Hah! I couldn’t resist a little good-natured jab at my friends from the opposition party who are still suffering over the outcome of the recent USA presidential election.

The last one’s for you, Michael Powell. Turns out it’s a rare photo (well, rare for me) shot in Aperture priority mode — looking along the barrel of the body, thought I’d need more depth of field.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Painted Skimmer dragonfly (female)

October 28, 2016

As I was reviewing my photo library in search of candidates for the “Top 10 Photos of 2016” catalog, I stumbled across an unpublished photo of one of my favorite species of odonates.

Turns out there are lots of good photos that weren’t published for one reason or another. Now that ode-hunting season is undeniably winding down, more of these photos will be published during the “off-season.”

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

31 MAY 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Painted Skimmer (female)

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) was spotted near a vernal pool in a remote location at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Painted Skimmer dragonfly (teneral male)

June 2, 2016

A first-of-season Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) was spotted on 26 May 2016 at Huntley Meadows Park.

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

This individual is a teneral male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. Its faint wing spots will darken gradually during the next several days after emergence.

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

My usual approach as a wildlife photographer is to “work the shot” from every angle. In this case, I didn’t want to spook the subject so I gradually moved as close as I dared and shot a time series of photos as the dragonfly changed its position slowly on the same stem of vegetation.

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

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

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

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Aperture versus Lightroom

March 4, 2016

Apple introduced “Aperture” in 2005, promoted as “the first all-in-one post production tool for photographers”; at the time, Adobe “Lightroom” did not exist. When I was ready to move from Apple “iPhoto” to a professional grade photo-editing application, I decided to stay within the Apple ecosystem and migrated to Aperture. As I gained experience with Aperture, I developed an efficient image processing workflow that produced excellent results consistently.

Fast forward to Summer 2014, when Apple announced plans to cease development of Aperture. At that point it was obvious that I would have to migrate from Aperture to Lightroom, sooner or later. As long as Aperture still works — its days are numbered by the next iteration of the Apple operating system — it is/was easier to continue using Aperture, an application with which I am familiar and comfortable. But the doomsday countdown clock is ticking, so I recently started working on a project to create a new “recipe” for a typical workflow using Lightroom CC that is similar to my tried-and-true recipe for Aperture.

The new recipe is almost finished. The heavy lifting is complete; I’m currently working to refine the process. As a test, I decided to use both recipes, old and new, to edit the same image, in this case a male Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted on 20 May 2015 near a vernal pool in a remote location in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park.

Apple Aperture

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

Apple Aperture | standard recipe

Aperture features several options for “Auto” adjusting White Balance: “Natural Gray”; “Skin Tone”; and “Temperature & Tint.” In my experience, Natural Gray works better for vegetation; Temperature & Tint works better for wood surfaces such as trees, the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park, etc. I like the lush greens that result when Natural Gray is selected.

Abobe Lightroom CC

In contrast, after making comparable settings in Lightroom, I think the greens that result are too bright and too yellow.

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

Adobe Lightroom CC | Edit 1

In Edit 2, shown below, I tweaked the “Tone Curve” for “Darks.” In my opinion, Edit 2 looks better than Edit 1, although I think the greens are still a little too bright and yellow, more noticeable in a head-to-head match-up with the Aperture version.

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

Adobe Lightroom CC | Edit 2

Lightroom is similar to Photoshop in that there are many ways to do the same task. In Edit 3, I reset the Tone Curve adjustments in Edit 2 and tweaked “Luminance” (brightness) for “Green.” I like the results, although I might have decreased Luminance a little too much. Which version do you prefer, Lightroom Edit 1, 2, or 3?

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

Adobe Lightroom CC | Edit 3

Lessons Learned

What are some of the take-aways from my experimentation? First, both Aperture and Lightroom produce good results. In fact, if I had never seen the results from Aperture, I’m guessing I would have been satisfied with Lightroom Edit 1.

More steps are required in Lightroom in order to create an image that has the same “look” as I get using Aperture. And it’s worth pointing out that because I think Photoshop does a better job of noise reduction and image sharpening than Lightroom, the extra steps involved in “round-tripping” between Lightroom and Photoshop are added to my typical workflow.

All of that being said, Lightroom is the way forward, so I am divorcing Aperture and marrying Lightroom, for better or worse. I’m still working on refining the workflow I use in Lightroom. At some point in the near future, I will publish my new “recipe.”

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Painted Skimmer dragonflies (females)

February 21, 2016

The following gallery features photos of several Painted Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula semifasciata) spotted on 20 May 2015 near a vernal pool in a remote location in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park.

All of these individuals are females, as indicated by their terminal appendages. For those species of dragonflies that do not display sexual dimorphism, such as Painted Skimmer, males and females are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages.

Like many species of dragonflies in the Skimmer Family, the Painted Skimmer usually perches on four of six legs, with the two front legs curled around its head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Is it spring yet?

January 12, 2016

Almost nothing lifts my spirits on a cold winter day quite as much as looking at photos of colorful dragonflies! Like this Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata), spotted perching in a meadow alongside Barnyard Run, Huntley Meadows Park.

This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages. For those species of dragonflies that do not display sexual dimorphism, such as Painted Skimmer, males and females are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More Painted Skimmer dragonflies (males)

December 23, 2015

Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) is another species that should be added to “Top 10 Most Beautiful/Handsome Dragonflies of the Mid-Atlantic USA.”

These two individuals are males, as indicated by their terminal appendages. They are perching in a small meadow near a vernal pool/small permanent pond.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Painted Skimmer dragonflies (males)

December 11, 2015

Flashback to the first week in June, when I shot the last photo set of one of my favorite species of odonate: Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata).

No. 1

These individuals are males, as indicated by their terminal appendages, perching in a small meadow near a vernal pool/small permanent pond. As I recall, the images show two different males but it’s been so long since I shot the photos I can’t be sure.

No. 2

Although all three photos look similar, each one is slightly different from the others. I decided to post all three photos since A) I thoroughly enjoy looking at this colorful species of dragonfly; and B) I couldn’t decide which photo is my favorite. Please look at the full-size version of each photo and let me know which one is your favorite. I’m curious to know how many people pick the shot I’d choose if I were forced to select just one.

No. 3

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Glamour shots: Painted Skimmer dragonfly

August 15, 2015

Two new additions to my “Odonart” portfolio are showcased in this post. Please look at the full-size version of the following photographs in order to appreciate the exquisite beauty of this dragonfly.

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

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

The beautiful model in this photo set is a female 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.

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

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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