Wednesday, 27 August 2008
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Early afternoon on a blustery day, the sun shines through ragged clouds hurrying across the sky over the RSPB reserve at Fen Drayton Lakes. Approaching the lakes, first one lonely marauder patrols the skies, then more appear till, on a small sunlit bridge, the Stansted of Dragonflies appears. Basking on the wooden railings are Common Darters in varying colours from greeny browns to reds, whilst thin flashes of blue indicate their relatives, the Damselflies.
This was a good opportunity for macro-photography with a 80 - 300mm equivalent telephoto lens and a 25mm spacer. The main challenge was focal depth which was countered with a reduced aperture as the light still permitted a 1/200s exposure.
Damselflies fold their wings together over and along the body; Dragonflies spread them out horizontally.One of the key indicators for individual species is the wing venation, with small triangles and colour patches on fore and hind wings being of particular importance.
The walk extended over three miles and it was with reluctance that I dragged myself away from a second session with the living helicopters at the end of the afternoon.