Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“And the winner of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award is Mr Stuart …” and it’s at this precise moment that I wake from my dreams. It’s all to easy to take for granted the amazing wildlife images we see in magazines and on the telly. That is until one tries to take a photograph of something.

It seems to me that one needs either a very powerful telescopic lens, and/or bags of patience, neither of which I have. Or else that the beast-to-be-photographed isn’t inclined to move: dead in fact … cue the cat. So this broad-bodied chaser (libellula depressa) has passed on, is no more, has ceased to be, has expired and gone to meet 'is maker, helped on its way by one of our domestic cats in hunting mode.

Now I’m not going to make much of a career as a wildlife photographer if I have to kill all my subjects first. So the next opportunity I got was another dragonfly emerging from its nymph, rather than heading for its coffin. I found it stuck to the side of the pond that is at the end of our grey water treatment system the other morning while doing the rounds of the animals. I initially thought it was a pair of mayflies having a shag but when I checked the guidebooks, I realised that I was wrong and went back out with my camera. I assume that the newly-emerged beastie has to dry its wings and adapt psychologically to its new incarnation before taking flight. Whatever, it was conveniently static whilst being very much alive.

In the picture of the two together, the nymph is empty and unzipped down the back. It’s interesting to see that the dragonfly that has emerged is noticeably bigger than its previous suit, much like the contents of an overstuffed holiday suitcase once unpacked in the hotel room. Still immobile, I couldn’t resist testing out limits of the macro facility of my compact digital camera (a Panasonic Lumix TZ7). Newly “born” it might be, but this dragonfly (top photo) needs a shave !