Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Evolving Skills and Equipment Wildlife Watching

Yep, the things I used to do...take photos using a Canon G1...then a Canon SX100. Both good cameras that got me hooked on wildlife photography...beyond just birding. Here's an action photo (immediate below)...trying to capture a flying Mountain Emerald (Somatochlora semicircularis) digitally using the SX100. The next photo below is a close-up (Dot-tailed Whiteface) using the SX100. Well, can't very well identify plants or animals with fuzzy images. So, a mere three years ago upgraded to a Canon T1i with kit lenses. Immediate jump in quality. Discovered that the images were still not as sharp as needed. So, acquired a 100 mm macro (Canon, of course). Whew, much better (American Emerald shot below). Since then added the 70-300 mm for longer reach. Goals: capture wildlife as lifelike as possible (given budget, hardware constraints). Right now doing great (okay, not exactly National Geographic standards) and having great fun!!! You should give photography a go if you have not. It will broaden your horizons maybe in ways you will not envision. Check out +Stephen Ingraham evolving camera work on G+ with the Canon SX50HS. Finding something cool with today's technology...now found just about anywhere :-)
Photographing Mountain Emerald (end of red arrow)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (Leucorrhinia initacta)

American Emerald

Monday, September 23, 2013

Solar Power...Necessary for Late Season Dragonfly Watching

The dragonfly-watching (all bugs really) season is winding down, fewer species of lesser numbers are extant. The Bitterroot Mountain peaks have snow and daytime highs are only reaching low 60's F. Yes, time of year impacts watching these colorful insects. But, so do clouds blocking the sun in the heat of the summer; this can dramatically reduce dragonfly activity. The reverse is true in the spring/fall, solar power is the magic component for observing late season dragonflies and may be required for habitat occupancy (research). Conditions today close to acceptable, partly cloudy and about 60 F. So I made a quick trip (second time lately, visited on September 3) to Chief Looking Glass Fishing Access Site to find/photograph Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa); need a good flight shot for my G+ Dragonfly-'Darner' album. Waited several minutes at arrival for large patch of blue sky to effect dragonfly activity; yep, it worked had a Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum) perch on a rock in the shallow river.
Autumn Meadowhawk
Shortly thereafter had a darner fly past about a foot above the water. Followed and got a shot of a female Shadow Darner laying eggs in or near tree branch in river. Had success in finding a male Shadow, but the resulting photo not exactly National Geographic quality. Nature and Photography website has some good advice for photographing dragonflies. I'm going to try again, maybe multiple times if we have a typical 'indian summer' this fall. Find something cool yourself.
Shadow Darner (female)
Shadow Darner (male in flight)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Contributing to the Cost of the Journey...

Talented thinkers/writers have touched on contributing to the journey. I highlighted Robert Fulghum on this theme in a previous blog post and took a small action today...I bought two Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps.
I'm into wildlife and believe conserving the natural resources that shaped Americans and this country is a great investment for future generations. Here's a stamp buying testimonial from Cornell Lab of Ornithology at their AllAboutBirds Blog. If you look at wildlife as "living art" as I do, do not forget to mark the date September 27 & 28 for watching a stream of the judging of this years Federal Duck Stamp entries at Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio. Thanks for your consideration.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wading for Dragonflies...Not Required, but Still Fun

Still learning about dragonflies; however have come a long way since my last dragonfly-centric post Watching Dragonflies...Learning How. My Flickr site is my visual checklist for species I've found/identified. Made a quick trip this afternoon to Chief Looking Glass Fishing Access Site/Campground (Florence, MT) to photograph Shadow Darner (Aeshna umbrosa)...simply want a better quality photo to post online. So, this dragonfly, true to its name likes shadowy areas, especially the Bitterroot River "braids" that have slower moving water...Chief Looking Glass has been a reliable spot. Brought along the Nexus 7 along with my Canon DSLR to capture the action.

Clouds and rain cut my adventure down to about fifteen minutes but, in that time found, photographed and video'd a female Paddle-tailed Darner (Aeshna palmata) laying eggs in the river bottom. Dennis Paulson has authored two excellent field guides to assist/mentor you in your wildlife watching of these ephemeral, colorful animals. There is still enough summer to find some dragonflies near your home...go out and find something good!