One of my favorite summer activities is observing and photographing the colorful summer fliers – butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies. The process of obtaining a good photograph of one of these insects is satisfying and educational: much of what I’ve learned about photographing wildlife and nature came from this quest, experimenting with aperture, speed, focal length, shooting angles, etc., in pursuit of dynamic subjects in ever-changing background settings.
One group of dragonflies is particularly photogenic: the skimmers. Several species are large, colorful, very common and tend to forage in fields, forest edges and clearings, far from their wetland habitats. Consequently, I usually have close encounters with them while hiking and have ample opportunities to photograph.
In this post I’ll feature the Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa), a species that can be found over much of the U.S.and into southern Canada.
The skimmers, like other dragonflies and damselflies, are powerful, highly maneuverable fliers and voracious predators. They consume huge quantities of flying insects such as gnats, flies and mosquitoes, and are therefore more than just a “pretty face”!
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.