Dragonflies are the new “birds”

July 30, 2012 at 4:14 am (Atlanta, Dragonflies and Bugs, Georgia, Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, , , , , , , , )

Halloween Pennant female, Panola Mt. Georgia. This is one of those dragonflies whose wings can assume various angles independently of each other.

I certainly spent more time photographing dragonflies this week than I did birds, so I guess I’m getting a new hobby.

Despite the summer heat, I spent all day last Monday walking in the sun at Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and Panola Mountain State Park near Atlanta.  There weren’t too many birds, at least none that would admit to it.  But the dragonflies….  An odonate lover (the insect order encompassing dragonflies and damselflies) would have been in bug heaven. 

Halloween Pennant second view

It helps to have a book such as “Beginner’s Guide to Dragonflies” in the Stokes series.  Without a more specific book of Georgia odonates, I might have gotten my identifications a little wrong, so I do hope I will be corrected if necessary.

Great Blue Skimmer male. His lady (dressed in green) was busy depositing eggs in the little pothole nearby. See accompanying video.



I have a new Canon SX-40 mini-SLR – I decided against getting a larger camera with a huge telephoto because I need to keep down the weight and bulk when I hike.  The bokeh isn’t the best and the auto focus SUCKS when it misses, but is SUPERB when it hits.   After seeing Bob Zeller’s bird pix using this baby, I checked it out.  It even does some darn good videos. I may do a separate blog review about the pros and cons, but for the price and weight, I am fairly happy by what it can do.

Carolina Saddlebags

Actually I spent a lot of time cussing at the damned auto focus, and the manual focus wouldn’t work, either.  But dragonflies tend to pose long enough for the lens to settle down and do its job.

Widow Skimmer, male

Calico pennant – likely an immature male – in the obelisking position to reduce exposure to the sun on a hot day

This dragonfly came up to me. He was hovering right in front of my face, and I was really examining him, thinking, How does he see me? I became enlightened. – Ziggy Marley


  1. Anarya Andir said,

    Such wonderful photos!

  2. Bob Douat said,

    Very nice Cindy.

  3. Bob Zeller said,

    Cindy, I thank you for the shout-out. I appreciate it, but I must admit that I use the SX40 very little for my birds. However, when I do the results are great. I use it if I am going to go hiking on foot and want to travel light. But with this west Texas heat, I have done very little walking since I bought the camera. But it is handy to grab, when I don’t have time to set up my big stuff.

    Your dragonfly images are superb. I have never thought much about photographing them. I am still trying to master the birds. 🙂

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      You are definitely better off with the pro equipment all the way around, but I needed the lightweight rig, so I have to suffer the drawbacks in order to enjoy the benefits. It doesn’t do macro as well as the Canon G-11, so I carry both on my hip belt with my water bottle.

  4. Kathy said,

    Gorgeous pictures, Cindy!

  5. Cindy McIntyre said,

    Thanks to everyone for the nice comments!

  6. Jim Miller said,

    Nice work on the dragons, Cindy. It is nice to see somebody else venture off the bird path and onto the odonates. I couldn’t imagine try to focus with the point & shoot but you have done very well here. I have problems enough with my dSLR rig–often I have to get close, manually focus, then move from auto-focus to manual focus to shoot a few frames where I want it focused.

    If I may suggest another book, try Dennis Paulsen’s Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. It is an incredibly thorough guide with great images and very good background material.

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      Thanks for the book recommendation – I’ve got it on order! Dragons are so much more cooperative than birds when it comes to photos, aren’t they? 🙂

  7. allthingsboys said,

    Great pics!

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