Archive for the ‘Dragonflies’ Category

I have been in North Dakota for the last 2 weeks and have been so busy traveling and taking photos to post anything.

I know this is no excuse, but I hope what I will be posting over the next few weeks will make up for some of my negligence.

I took this photo last week at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, which is north of Bismarck and south of Minot off of Highway 83. There is an 8 mile long gravel road along the south shoreline of Lake Audubon. Remarkably, during the day I was there ((admittedly a weekday), I met only one other person on the road and as a result I was able to park my car and sit and just see what was going on and wait for photo opportunities. When I was moving, it was often at one or two miles per hour.

While I was at the refuge I saw eagles, owls, egrets, antelopes, numerous birds that a birder could identify but I could just photograph and admire, as well as some spectacular scenery. Here is an example of what you might see (the bird in the distance is an owl carrying a recent catch).

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge

 

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Perspective is critical in photography for lots of reasons. Most critically, it is how you tell your story. The name of this blog, Points-of-View, could easily be translated as “perspectives.”

Below is a photo of part of a light that hangs outside of the garage at my father-in-law’s home in Minot, North Dakota. To most people, a casual glance at the photo doesn’t seem to show much that is very interesting.

Dragonfly on Light - 33 - July 04, 2012 (6x4 - Perspective)

If you were to have been where I was when I was photographing this garage light, you might have known that the garage light had a secret that could be better shown by a slight adjustment in my perspective (moving down and to the right, as well as zooming in a bit). Fortunately, it was a nearly windless day and nothing at all moved on to or off of the lamp as I changed my perspective to give another take on the light or rather …

Dragonfly on Light - 12 - July 04, 2012 (4x6)

the dragonfly resting on it. Sorry about the title of this post. If you only saw a garage light and not the dragonfly it might have been because the title “primed the pump” that is your mind. In other words, you were told to expect to see a garage light and that is all you looked for or saw. This is something to discuss at another time, but it is fascinating stuff.

Another way to change perspective is through the use of the tools of the digital tool box. Obviously cropping is one of the more important tools readily available to photographers. Other tools can be used to change, for good or ill, the look of one’s photo. The following is an example of how the use of filters (in this case software filters from Tiffen’s Dfx 3 collection) can change the mood, and thus the perspective of a photo.

Dragonfly on Light - 12 - July 04, 2012 (4x6) copy

I have had this blog for less than one year and recently I posted my 365th post so I decided to memorialize the occasion. Point-of-View.com has been pretty difficult for me. I suffer from a chronic disease that makes it hard to concentrate and to stay focused and I am often in pain and quite tired (thus the “fog”). When I started this blog I had no idea how much energy it would take and what a challenge it was going to be (thus the “war”).

I started this photo blog in part because the writing that used to come so easily to me now comes slowly and messily like the last bits of toothpaste squeezed out of the tube. Until relatively recently, I was able to work at least part-time in the career I had long pursued (I was an attorney working with intellectual property and technology law). That work is no longer available to me because it requires more energy, a better memory, and greater nimbleness of mind than I currently possess. I tell my friends that I am not dumber, but I am slower.

During the early days of my illness, boredom was a constant companion. Then, a few years ago, my wife bought me a new camera. While I had always enjoyed photography, suddenly I had a lot of time available in which to pursue it. So off I went on a photo binge. Many of my photos are taken of things very close to home – typically in our yard or neighborhood; indeed I have a category in my blog for “Photos Taken within 100 Meters of Our Home.” Many others are taken on the way to visit or at my in-laws. (My wife has a great family!)

As the years went by and the shutter clicked, hundreds and then thousands of images filled up space on my hard drive(s) and I began to think about sharing my photos. I am and always will be an amateur photographer. I do not have the energy nor do I have the desire to sell any of my work (although I do donate my work to non-profit auctions and the like).  Eventually I decided to try blogging and started start Points-of-view.com.

Keeping up with this blog has been difficult for me. What has made this easier is that many of you who have visited this blog have been extraordinarily generous with your thoughts about my photos. I am not too proud to admit that when someone says a photo of mine is “stunning” or “wonderful” or “amazing” it makes me feel good. That isn’t the sole reason for the blog, but it sure doesn’t hurt! More important for someone who had spent all too much time just sitting at home is that my blog brought me into a community of people from around the world whose blogging about their lives and travels has made boredom impossible and made frustration, fatigue and pain more bearable. While it is still so very much more difficult to write than it used to be, I have all of the time I want to do it and so it is okay.

This post contains some of my favorite photos from my first 365 posts. When I was looking through the posts to put together this collection, my biggest thought was how thankful I am that I have had this opportunity. Mostly I thank all of the people who have visited my blog. I also want to give a shout out to WordPress because I really doubt I would have had a “Post 366” had I not been blogging with WordPress, which has made setting it up my blog and keeping it going so much easier for me than would otherwise have been the case.

I hope you enjoy this collection.

It is a little known fact that dragonflies require a regular exercise routine in order to maintain their agility and the ability to fly so nimbly. It is somewhat rare to catch a dragonfly during its workout routine since they typically do it at night in protected areas such as thickets where photography is difficult, It has been hypothesized that they choose such areas for their exercise routines in order to protect the themselves from predators such as the bat, which would naturally be inclined to take advantage of the dragonfly performing its workout routine because, as you can see in the photo below, it is in a vulnerable position. One way that scientist locate dragonfly exercise areas is based on the little known fact that dragonflies sweat profusely during their routines. Dragonfly sweat acts as a powerful attractant to bats and it is not uncommon to find  bats in a frenzy where a dragonfly thicket (almost like a dragonfly gymnasium) is located. By using detectors set to locate frenzied bats, scientist are about to hone in on dragonfly exercise areas.

Dragonfly Workout

I want to make it completely clear that there has been no digital manipulation of the above photo aside from cropping and routine clean-up. You are seeing actual dragonfly behavior in the wild. However, I should also add that to the best of my knowledge nothing in the first paragraph of this post is actually true. One has to be careful about what one reads on the Internet. I want to apologize to anyone who thought I was serious, but the photo is so unusual that I thought it deserve a good story.

Posted in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

 

A Word A Week Challenge – Old II

Of course one of the questions that comes to mind when the word “old” is just tossed out of the dictionary to stand or fall as the case may be “on its own” (okay with a very nice supporting cast of photos, which at this moment is not helping my narrative much so I am setting them aside) is old as compared to what. For example, a mayfly – a favorite of many a trout fisherman – has a lifespan of anywhere between 30 minutes and 24 hours. Dragonflies, a favorite photo subject of mine have quite a party if they make it until their 4th month (okay, I’m not actually sure about that). On the other side of the longevity line there are tortoises alive today who were enjoying the beginning of their second half century of life when Charles Darwin was born. Bowhead whales can live for 200+ years. It is even arguable that mitochondria and a variety of other things (there is no need to go into detail) live more or less forever, which puts even the Egyptians and Incas pretty much to shame. My father-in-law, pictured here, who is still sharp as a tack, just enjoyed his 90th birthday and you could think of him as old although I can’t say I do. At least not until I have a useful reference. Here the touchstone is his youngest great-granddaughter. So is he old enough for the Word a Week Photo Challenge? It is hard to say. It is, like so many things, happily thought-provoking if you can stand a little good-natured rambling.

Dragonfly - A View from above

Looking down on a dragonfly that has settled on to an evergreen.

Dragonfly on Grass II

I have no idea why dragonflies would find grass interesting, but obviously they do.