Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Damsels, but seemingly not in distress

with 43 comments

After all the attention to dragonflies in this column a few weeks ago, let’s give a day to the slenderer members of the Odonata, the damselflies. On September 6th, at the edge of a small waterfall on Bull Creek, I found this pair engaged in the acrobatics that you see here. The sparkling of the water behind them accounts for the conspicuous orbs of light in the background.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2012 at 6:19 AM

43 Responses

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  1. Incredible detail Steve!! Their wings look like wire mesh. Excellent once again :).


    September 29, 2012 at 6:21 AM

    • Thanks, Cindy. This time the detail is due to my telephoto lens and not the usual 100mm macro lens that produces so many of the pictures you see here. I’d sent the macro off for repairs the day before and was feeling bereft, but the telephoto did a good job.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 6:47 AM

  2. What a beautiful photo Steve!!! I second the sentiments in the previous response…

    Agnes Plutino

    September 29, 2012 at 6:27 AM

  3. WOW! What an awesome photo!

    The metallic colours of the animals are amazing, those purple eyes are fascinating.


    September 29, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    • Thank you. Yes, damselflies are wonderful creatures, and their eyes are among their most prominent features. (I just did a search to see how to say damselfly in German: it seems to be Jungferlibelle, with Jungfer being one of the words for maiden.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 7:44 AM

  4. WOW!. Your best “bug” shot so far.


    September 29, 2012 at 7:09 AM

  5. WOW! Such a wonderful shot!

    Anne Jutras

    September 29, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    • Merci, Anne. You’ve made it three wows in a row. (Je me suis rendu compte que même en français on a commencé à dire wow.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 7:50 AM

  6. A wonderful shot!


    September 29, 2012 at 8:03 AM

  7. Amazing composition. I love the reflection on the leaves……and I’ll just say “wow” to myself.

    Marcia Levy

    September 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    • I’m glad you appreciate the reflection on the leaves. That seemed special to me, too. I’ll count your silent wow all the same.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 8:32 AM

  8. Great capture–it’s as though they have their own Cirque du Soleil act.


    September 29, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    • That’s a good comparison. Luckily I didn’t have to pay a lot of money to see this acrobatic feat; in fact I had a command performance all to myself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 8:37 AM

  9. I do love the damselflies. They’re always beautiful, but this? My goodness! You’ve captured a truly extraordinary image.

    I just learned “Odonata” this morning, as I tried to track down a dragonfly I found last weekend. You probably know of Odonata Central , but it’s worth a mention anyway.


    September 29, 2012 at 8:57 AM

  10. Amazing photograph! I think you should start a “Wow” button in addition to the “Like”.


    September 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    • Now there’s an idea; I don’t have any way to implement it, but you could suggest it to the people who run WordPress.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 10:53 AM

  11. This is incredible. The detail, even to a reflection. The person commenting before me proposes a “Wow” button in addition to the “Like,” and I agree!

    Susan Scheid

    September 29, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    • Thanks, Susan. I was fortunate that enough water had splashed out of the little pool at the base of the waterfall to wet the ground nearby and allow for a reflection.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      • All things come to those, like you, who are there and fully attentive (not to mention talented with a camera). PS: Still getting the hang of WordPress, and realized I hadn’t clicked to follow you. (I find you in my RSS feed, of course.) Anyway, done now!

        Susan Scheid

        September 29, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        • Cultivating talent helps, of course, but a big part of nature photography is putting yourself out there often enough (and enduring enough discomfort) that things come your way. Woody Allen is supposed to have said that 90% of life is just showing up, and that encapsulates it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 29, 2012 at 11:13 AM

  12. This won’t be very original but… Wow!


    September 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

  13. Absolutely beautiful images! 🙂


    September 29, 2012 at 2:39 PM

  14. You are always good, but this is truly your best! IMHO at any rate. Simply beautiful.
    ~ Lynda


    September 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    • It’s true that I maintain a standard of quality below which I won’t show a photograph, but admittedly some pictures stand out from the rest. I’m glad you found a new favorite.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM

  15. I can’t even tell where one begins and the other ends. Cool.


    September 29, 2012 at 4:47 PM

  16. Whoa! Incredible on a whole host of levels. This may possibly topple the FP’d fly shot from a while back, (And I am so partial to yellows.) I really do like this one; posed arabesque, purple “surprised” eyes, disco ball background lighting, what’s not to like?


    September 29, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    • I’m glad you like this scene as much as (or even more than) the one of the tiny fly on the resurgent sunflower, and I appreciate your imaginative descriptions of an arabesque, purple “surprised” eyes, and disco ball background lighting. I also can help pointing out that now, at the end of the day, the repeated wow of the morning has metamorphosed into whoa.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

  17. Steve – every time i think you have reached sublime, you surpass yourself. I am so grateful I found your blog and followed it. I tend to be ‘big picture’ and you have shown me the minute beauty in this world.

    Thank you


    October 1, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    • You’re certainly welcome, Claire. The part of the United States I live in doesn’t have the grand scenery of places like Yellowstone and Yosemite, so I turned to the smaller-scale world around me. As long as I keep putting myself out there often enough, I expect to find new things to photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2012 at 2:51 AM

  18. Wonderful shot. I use my telephoto for everything and get some very good macro shots with it.

    And yeah, they don’t look like they’re in distress. Quite the opposite in fact * cough * looks like some nooky going on there * cough *.



    October 1, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    • Using a telephoto has the advantage that we can stay farther away and not scare a subject away, but of course the telephoto won’t let us get as close when there is a cooperative subject.

      As for the damselflies, you’re right. I hope you get over your cough soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 1, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      • I was at the botanical gardens yesterday and had a mockingbird just griping at me. I’d swung up my lens trying to see where it was at when it popped out of the tree right in front of me. I only got three shots – the bird looking at me, big old blur, and then the tail flipping me off. I think I’m going to post all three too – it was pretty funny.

        BTW – a year or so ago you gave me some hints on trying to take pictures of reds and yellows without my sensor blowing out. I’ve switched to raw and using Lightroom and have done much better with it. Thanks again for answering questions.


        October 1, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        • Fishermen have their stories about the one that got away, and so do photographers. A few hours ago some sort of blue heron suddenly flew right past me, but there was no way for me to react quickly enough to even try to get a picture.

          I remember your question about the the blown-out reds and yellows. To my mind, you’ve made the right choice in switching to raw. It’s rare that I end up with a raw file so blown out or so underexposed that I can’t salvage it.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 1, 2012 at 4:45 PM

  19. You wow me again!!!

    Sheila T Illustrated

    October 21, 2012 at 6:38 AM

  20. Reblogged this on PhoPort and commented:
    Beautiful photography.

    Jerry Stolarski

    January 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM

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