Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dragonfly on a stick with cumulus cloud

with 18 comments

Behold a red saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea onusta), apparently a female, on the Blackland Prairie in far north Austin on August 1st. I hurriedly found a vantage point that aligned the dragonfly with the cloud. I originally processed the image to be darker, then changed my mind and did this brighter version.



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A currently pending bill in the United States Congress has proved controversial. Supporters signaled their belief by naming the bill the Inflation Reduction Act. Opponents derided the name as Orwellian, claiming that spending $700 billion the country doesn’t have at a time of 9.1% inflation, the highest in 40 years, is hardly likely to reduce inflation. Who’s right? Well, only time will tell (assuming the bill passes, which now seems likely).

And that leads me to a proposal. Last year I described a few amendments I’d like to see added to the American Constitution. (You can see examples here, and here, and here.) The current controversial bill gives me an opening to bring up another of my fantasy amendments. This one would require every person who votes on a bill in Congress to put in writing a statement of the things (including specific numbers) the bill will—or for opponents, will not—accomplish. If, after a specified amount of time, any of the predictions prove false, all members who were wrong would be removed from Congress. It’s a version of “Put your money where your mouth is.” It would also be a de facto form of term limits, given the large number of false promises politicians make. What do you think?


© 2022 Steven Schwartzman








Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2022 at 4:28 AM

18 Responses

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  1. it so looks like a fairy!)


    August 8, 2022 at 6:15 AM

  2. Beautiful photo of saddlebags dragonfly! Your dream amendment would leave no one in Congress.

    Alessandra Chaves

    August 8, 2022 at 8:04 AM

    • That’d be okay with me. Maybe then a new crop of legislative candidates would come forward who would stick to the facts and stop making wild promises.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2022 at 8:31 AM

  3. So much luck getting this unique vantage point for the dragonfly photo, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    August 8, 2022 at 9:50 AM

    • There was luck in finding the cloud and the dragonfly where they were, but skill and experience in looking for a position that would line them up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2022 at 9:54 AM

      • Your skill level and experience in photography were given facts before I ventured to comment on your lucky shot, Steve.

        Peter Klopp

        August 9, 2022 at 11:50 PM

        • With enough time, techniques become habits—for better and also for worse. I often find myself doing the same thing, and approaches that would show things in a new light, literally and figuratively, are harder to come by.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 10, 2022 at 6:56 AM

  4. Extremely lucky for the dragonfly to sit on a stick long enough to find the “right” vantage point, I’d say. Would have liked to have seen both sides of the cloud and the dragonfly. References to 1984 seem to be relevant today as they were back in 1984, or even 1985, when Back To The Future was placed in the time-space continuum.


    August 8, 2022 at 11:03 AM

    • Maybe I could’ve worked my way around to the other side of the dragonfly (though as I recall a fence was in the way), but getting to the other side of the cloud is “far above our poor power to add or detract” (as Lincoln said.

      I remember that when the year 1984 arrived, the main library at the University of Texas had an exhibit about the book. The big card catalogs were still there then, and at the time were the main way to find things. I’ll take today’s computerized searches, thank you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2022 at 11:13 AM

  5. The subject, composition and colors all work together beautifully!


    August 8, 2022 at 11:33 AM

  6. Quite a nice circumstance that the dragonfly held that perch while you maneuvered yourself to line it up with the cloud. Luck was with you and it stayed put.

    While I think your fantasy amendment has some merit a) it would never make it to a national vote because those who need to vote it into a national referendum would basically be signing their pink slip although the states could hold their own referendum but we know they would never cooperate with each other and b) not everyone who describes the merit of a bill is lying and it is possible for the fact, true though it might be at the time of passage, to not bear fruit in the long run. Many folks want term limits but when it comes time to pass some legislation the enthusiasm wanes.

    Steve Gingold

    August 8, 2022 at 12:48 PM

    • The cloud was moving so I had to keep adjusting my position as I got off five shots over a span of a minute and a quarter. After that the cloud was too far over.

      I think of my proposals as fantasy amendments because, as you pointed out, politicians will resist them. It’s a matter of self-preservation for them. I’d thought about your second objection. Even if a politician isn’t lying (that occasionally happens) and sincerely believes a bill will do X, if X doesn’t happen it seems to me the politician should pay some price. I’ll grant you that circumstances can change for reasons over which the politician has no control—two recent ones are a pandemic and a war—so maybe my amendment could be changed to give each politician a couple of freebies. After the third incorrect prediction the politician would be ousted. Three strikes and you’re out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 8, 2022 at 1:04 PM

  7. I’ve seen some birders denigrate the sort of photo they call ‘bird on a stick,’ so they probably wouldn’t appreciate a dragonfly on a stick either: with or without a cloud. On the other hand, it’s a wonderful way to capture details, as you have here. I especially enjoyed the symmetry of the wings.


    August 9, 2022 at 7:44 AM

    • I believe I most often see dragonflies near the tips of dry branches, so I won’t denigrate the sort of place that provides me with the most dragonfly pictures. I wonder whether birders who denigrate a ‘bird on a stick’ would soften their objection if the bird were surrounded by a soft cloud, as here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 9, 2022 at 8:01 AM

  8. Oh didn’t you do a super job with the composition … top shot Steve


    August 14, 2022 at 1:47 AM

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