I spotted this beauty on a visit to Schoepfle Garden in beautiful downtown Birmingham, Ohio, last weekend. Schoepfle is a property of the Lorain County Metropolitan Park District. I had attached my 50mm macro lens to my camera and was exploring the plant world at a different scale from what I was used to. The intense color of the lily flower attracted me as it might an insect. I pushed in close to try and fill the frame with the petals and focus on the center of the flower. This was a handheld shot and I had to steady the flower against a light breeze by grasping one of its petals between fingers as I composed my picture and checked focus.
Trying out some new equipment today, we visited Schoepfle Garden, a Lorain County Metropark. I shot all manner of subjects including a favorite: dragonflies. The most abundant seemed to be the Blue Dashers and they were very active! One little fellow I photographed was resting in a shaded area of water plants with a natural spot of soft light falling over him from the cloudy sky. It wasn’t until I got home and processed the image that I discovered one of the insect’s wings was badly damaged. The resulting image is somehow a bit saddening; the dragon appears to be marooned, so I gave it a sad title. Not to worry, however, as the little guy seemed perfectly capable of excellent flight!
During our visit to Schoepfle Garden I was able to continue my pursuit of dragonfly photographs. One beauty was (I believe) a Little Blue Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax minuscula) who alighted on a leaf not far from me on that very warm Sunday. I shot several photos in a series, hoping to draw closer and refine my focus. As I watched, he slowly raised his abdomen (tail) higher into the air, pointing towards the sky. I’d seen that behavior before though I don’t think I’ve ever photographed that pose. I thought the insect was advertising for a mate. Apparently it is understood that dragonflies take their “obelisking” posture in order to reduce their exposure to the sun in very hot weather. So it seems that, while a dragonfly may look sexy, it takes hot weather and not hot mates to inspire a Little Blue Dragonlet’s obelisking.
A leisurely road trip to Schoepfle Garden Metro Park in Birmingham, Ohio was rewarding both in its journey and its destination. We enjoyed the long, relatively slow drive on state and county roads through green countryside, windows down to admit the warm late-spring air. Schoepfle Garden was its usual beautiful self — a mix of woodlands, naturalized and formal gardens — and presented us both with many gorgeous subjects for photography. It’s late now, so I’ll post only one image, through I am sure you will soon see several more from this little trip. Until then, see “Shadow Lightning” as I saw it!