A lot of the time I will wander somewhat randomly - checking flowering bushes and trees on the way - around my favourite paths and haunts. But sometimes I have a particular species in mind to photograph. Case in point is the wonderful - but shy - Rhyothemis triangularis; the aptly named sapphire flutterer, or lesser blue wing, which is a species of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae.
I knew that they were around the pond in the education centre in Tai Po Kau, as I had seen them on a previous walk; but as they are so shy and small, they really need a dedicated set up with a good telephoto lens.
So, on the 24th May I packed up my gear and left at 7am for Tai Po Kau, and on an overcast morning I arrived and set up my tripod near the pond where the dragonflies were already zipping around. And they did not land for over an hour!
You really need a good sunny day and a shorter telephoto but I used this opportunity to practise focus tracking, with the ISO set to 4000 I still only could get 1,600 of a second and f8, which is not ideal; so below is the best shot I could get.
This lovely beastie is a type of dragonfly. In fact they are similar in flight and habits to the wonderful Variegated flutterer, which acts more like a butterfly, or even a large bee, in the way that it flies. They love the marshy ground above the (fish) ponds.
Easily recognisable by the large rich blue and purple highlights on the base of all four wings, and by their flight. They also love to perch on the very tip of sharp grasses, as in these photos.
I knew of one favourite perch, and sure enough, eventually one of the flutterers landed briefly. The wind kept them bobbing about, so I had to keep the ISO high at 5-800, and the spread of wings meant at least f9. Even without the sun, the blue wings appear radiant. They then all disappeared, and shortly after the heavens opened, forcing me to seek shelter and then return home. "i'll be back" I told them.
Did you know dragonflies have been in existence for over 300 million years. Long before the dinosaurs walked the earth, Griffenflies, which were their prehistoric ancestors, flew the skies. The largest dragonfly fossil found had a wingspan of 2 ½ feet.