Today is a day for many firsts. First time posting photos to this blog taken after my PhD dissertation defense. Life got quite busy over the last week! First time using my new Lensbaby Composer with 50mm optic. First time seeing a dragonfly eating lunch.
Today is Day 18 of the #AmyShuttPhotoaday challenge, a photo-a-day project for this month coordinated by Amy Shutt of Amy Shutt Photography. Today’s theme was “fierce.”
When you see the brightly colored dragonfly, you probably don't think "fierce predator." The dragonfly in the image above is (I believe) an Eastern Pondhawk, or Erythemis simplicicollis. It feeds on small flying insects, and is quite a fierce and accurate predator. It sometimes even preys on other dragonflies!
“Pondhawks…commonly take prey as large as themselves, held by 3 large spines on each middle and hind thigh.” “They hunt from the ground or low perches…." - Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America
Like other dragonflies, the eastern pondhawk has two pairs of heavily-veined wings, with the front pair shorter and narrower than the rear pair. The abdomen is long and slender and divided into several segments. The adult eastern pondhawk has powerful biting mouthparts and large compound eyes that can detect the fast movements of its insect prey (4). - arkive.org
I took the photo above with a Lensbaby Composer and a 50mm optic. The Lensbaby mimics the effect of a tilt-shift lens, producing a "sweet spot" of focus that can be moved around the frame by tilting the lens. The lens is completely manual focus, and the aperture is also changed manually by rotating the lens to change the diameter of a 12-blade aperture device inside the lens. It's quite fun, but can be challenging for macro shots! In order to get better focus on the dragonfly in this shot, I focused using a zoomed-in live-view preview on my camera's LCD screen, as opposed to relying on my eye through the viewfinder.
Dragonfly Shot: Lensbaby 50mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 seconds.