It’s a Dragonfly Summer



Yellow-greenDragonflyThe dragonflies have been amazing this year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many. In fact, as I sit writing this post I can see them flitting around outside my window.

They have been gathering on the sun drenched bushes and shrubs allowing me to observe them rather closely (I’d venture to say that they are willing collaborators, one of them even perched on my nose for a while …). Mostly they are a yellow-green colour but there are a few other types, too, and they are all fascinating up close.







When we were canoe camping in Killarney a couple of weeks ago I saw a several cast off larval skins from dragonflies and here is one pictured below.
DragonflyShellDragonflies in their larval stage live underwater and when they are ready to metamorphose into adults they climb out of the water on an available reed or water plant and go through the process of emerging from their old skin.

DragonflyinSundewsNear the shed skin was this poor dragonfly caught in some sticky carnivorous sundews (Drosera). Sundews are rather beautiful, I will have to head to the bog one day and see if I can find some locally.

[These above 2 photographs are lacking detail as I didn’t bring a macro lens camping (all other images were taken with a macro lens), and my canoe kept shifting around – next time I think the extra weight of the macro lens would be completely worth it!]

A whiskered closeup:
Yellow-greenDragonfly9_crop(click on images to enlarge)

© Karen McRae, 2013

83 thoughts on “It’s a Dragonfly Summer

  1. I was about to ask you what lens this was and then I read you didn’t use a macro lens. What?! These may be lacking in detail but they are spectacularly gorgeous!! I love dragonflies! I used to try and catch them as a child. Can’t believe you took these while on a canoe! So cool. Great work 🙂

    1. Oh, they are all taken with a macro lens except the larval shell and the dragonfly in the sundews – I guess I should clarify that.
      Thanks, Polly, the dragonflies were pretty cool!

  2. Fascinating and beautiful photographs, Karen. We have some rather large dragonflies right now; the time must be right. I love those closeup shots. The other thing I found fascinating were the sundews; I had no idea they were in Killarney.

    1. Yes, sundews are so cool, aren’t they? I’m sure there are probably some growing in the bogs too. I’ll have to see because I was kicking myself I didn’t have a macro lens with me when I found them.
      Thanks for your comment, Judy.

  3. Dragonfly is hard to photograph, as they are not after honey like butterfly.
    You must be there as a part of nature. Well done Karen.
    (Two of your photos, which got the eyes separated and positioned both end of
    head —- and slim bodied, were Damsel fly = cousin of Dragonfly)

    1. (You know, I do know those are damselflies, I don’t know why I didn’t distinguish between them, I guess I should note that. Thanks for pointing that out. : )

      I’m not sure why they were so cooperative, it made me very happy, anyway! Thanks , Yoshizen.

    1. Hi Bente, there are many kinds here, too. These ones were the least shy ones I have happily come across.
      I think they sort of look to be wearing football helmets in some of the photographs. : )

      Thank you!

  4. It’s such a pleasure to see your work, always. The softer focus is refreshing. You present the insects like they’re beasts from another planet. And how lucky to see sundews in the wild, not in some conservatory. That shot has really nice scale, and colors.

  5. Lovely photos Karen. The pattern in the dragonfly wings is echoed in some of the petals/leaves they are on. I especially liked the one on the sundew, the delicacy of both the dragonfly and the plant work so well together, and the colours are so redolent of summer.

  6. Beautiful images. Dragonflies are great subjects (when they are motionless and you can get a shot).

  7. One could easily get lost there. Between the Drosera and the reeds.
    Your photos reveals the intimate and intense sensation of laying there, watching these beautiful critters coming and going. Magnificent images, Karen. The precious life of a photographer.

  8. Beautiful!!! Specially the last one and the one with the silliout of the wings (? Sorry I’m from The Netherlands. My English isn’t very good)!

  9. Magnifique Karen 😉

    Légères sont ces natures , frôlant nos espaces verts ,
    Au fil de courants d’airs , elles en colorent l’azur ,
    En Flore leurs ailes d’allures , zèbrent ce monde légendaire ,
    Où au nom de l’éphémère , ces dragons oeuvrent en mesure.
    Bel été hors norme

  10. You have captured some wonderful shots here; dragonflies are not always the easiest insect to photography. Nice use of backlighting and close-up imagery. It’s a good sign when you see dragonflies: they’re eating up the mosquitoes. 🙂

  11. Omword!!!! These are outstanding Karen! You should win some kind of award for them, like the Nobel Dragonfly prize! In fact – yes, you have won! 🙂 Apart from each image of each exquisite and adorable whizzing creature being sublime … the first little gut or girl looks like he is stage diving. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. absolutely wonderful pictures, magical and other-worldly in fact. You know, the last time I saw dragonfly in Ireland was also down the SW, in the almost deserted grounds of big house outside of Skibereen. I remember them as a boy around Wicklow, (Or think I do, seem to recall them) but I wonder if we even have them in the east of the country anymore. I haven’t seen them here anyway, not for years now. Or maybe I just spend too much time in Dublin town! 😦 Anyway, thank you, these are super.

  13. Willing collaborators for sure Karen! These are great! I like the symbolism of dragonflies: “When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life.”

  14. Karen,
    I really like the first photograph. It’s as if he’s saying “hi”.
    I have so enjoyed reading and seeing the photographs from your previous posts. Sorry that I haven’t commented much lately, the baby and Henry are keeping me way busy but I still keep up w/ your posts when I’m nursing Oliver or have a few minutes to myself. Your posts always awash me with a sense of peace and awe. Hope your summer is going well!

  15. I was at the air and space museum here in NYC and while I was supposed to be looking at the billion dollars worth of military history, I got really distracted by a dragonfly. I probably studied it while it perched on a wire for twenty full minutes. I was the only one.

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