Dragonflies are not always loners like this one. They often group into swarms. Bees and Wasps can sting you, Mosquitos bite you but there is something exceptionally magical about Dragonflies. That is of course unless your a mosquito in which case they are your worst nightmare. Both the larval and adult form actively hunt mosquitos in their various life stages. They are certainly near the top of the local insect predator chain. I’m pretty sure a preying mantis will make a mess of a dragon fly though 🤔.
During the Carboniferous geologic period 300 million years ago, when coal swamps and high oxygen levels allowed it, Dragonflies grew to massive sizes. With a wingspan of up to 6 feet, they were a force to be reconciled with. They were likely a top level predator of anything they could pick up including small amphibians and proto-reptiles. There were numerous insects for them to feed on of course.
There are currently around 5000 known species, the identification of which I shall leave to a specialist. Their larval stage lasting up to two years is aquatic where they eat about anything that they can in the water.
They are amazing fliers putting most helicopters to shame. They only hunt on the fly, but they also mate there. Fly United is their only option. They are the best mosquito control out there. I’ve seen swarms covering large areas down in the ranches wetlands. I don’t see them a lot on barbed wire though lolol.
From 6 months ago, this rare summer Alpenglow twilight silhouetted this Angus Mother. Summer Alpenglow isn’t too common. This effect is due to atmospheric Ice acting as a projector screen. The projector is only capable of illuminating the ice with hard to stop red light. Dust and Ice in the atmosphere filter out all other colors but the red frequencies. All between the sun and the camera. In the real world, the horizon rises to cover the sun. Being down a while, a lot of air is between my lens/the projector screen here. The decimated shorter wavelengths are not available to refract off the suspended atmospheric ice for my cameras to harvest. They are after all, only photon gathering devices 📷
How could you tell this is a summer Alpenglow versus a winter alpenglow? Well all the flies buzzing around this poor gal sort of give it away.👀😜. I haven’t seen insects in a few months except for down in my greenhouse. We are pretty deep into winter currently here in Wyotana. Flies are a perpetual summer plague for cattle around the world. It’s a good thing the cattle are there as those flies could all be coming after us lololol.
Getting this close to a fly isn’t that easy. Usually they live up to their name and “fly away”. Truly not many insects like a big one eyed lens stuck into their face. The movement no matter how small triggers their built in escape and evasion mechanism. Flies pick random escape vectors to get away from danger. Really bright lights help as it tends to blind them too.
One of my macro-lenses has a bright ring of LED’s around. I’m sure it has the appearance of the sun incoming at the fly. Blind the fly and he won’t move as you approach is my take from this. The temperature was warm so he wasn’t torpid. So distraction, blind your subjects and move slowly is the lesson lolol.
Flies are never a “popular” image because they are generally nasty creatures. However they are engineered by the master of engineers
Three engineers are arguing which is the oldest of the three disciplines, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering
The mechanical engineer said ” Mechanical Engineering is the oldest profession, god was a mechanical engineer, just look at all the levers and tendons in the human body.”
The electrical engineer said ” Electrical engineering was gods work, had to make the nervous system first before any muscle could move. Electrical engineering was first.”
The Civil Engineer said “God was obviously a civil engineer. Who else but a civil engineer would run a waste canal through a recreational area. “.
Sneaking up on Western Painted Turtles Sunning is a matter of patience and position. If they see you, they will dive. I don’t care how far away you are. They consider humans dangerous. So, a proper lens (800mm), a nice warm summer day when I had a few spare minutes and a couple of sleepy turtles.
The really funny thing about the fly on the turtles shell, it that there are actually 2 flies there. They need to go rent a room. I think there are a few by the hour down in Gillette. 😂😂
Taken from 15 feet away, I was blending into the background motion of a pretty windy day. Tree Branches moving, lots of tall grass swaying in the wind. . I’m peaking my well camo’d head over a bank VERY slowly. They didn’t sense my presence for some time. I worked them for at least 5 minutes pretty much circling them on one side. You really have to move slowly though. First time you sneeze, your done lolol. I attribute my stealth to the moving limbs and trees all behind me masking my motion. Admittedly, I was moving very slowly.
These guys make lifelong pets with some living 50 years in captivity. Pet shops sell Western Painted turtle domestically raised babies. I’m sure many thousands have been released back into the wild. Soon after the novelty wore off, many have landed in the woods or a local pond lolol.
This is the third image I finished from this photo session with a Gold Tachnid Fly. Tachnid Flies as a group are wonderful things to have in your garden. They kill major insect pests that destroy our crops. Kind of a big fly, really bristly and quite a vivid appearance highlights this Tachnid Fly Gardeners Friend #3.. This capture is by far the best of 3 in the series technically. Also artistically really from this time line of finished images. The Asters were post frost pollen providers here.
In an unusual manner, SOME species of Tachnids actually have their eggs develop in their bodies. Thus giving birth to live larva which they deposit readily in caterpillars and other crop eating insects. As a group they do a tremendous service to us in general. The adulst are around your garden to drink nectar through that have their ulterior motive for visiting your garden. They inject their larva (or just eggs under the skin so the larvae will slowly digest the host bug. Killing the host as it develops. (more on this later).
Sounds like an early Japanese Horror Film. Some species of Tachnids lay a live larva on a leaf and it will crawl around looking for a host to burrow into. Then it will eat and digest it slowly from the inside out. The larvae (of course) start on the least important parts of their host to keep it alive longer. Kind of like Cow birds and Cuckoos laying their eggs in another nest.
But these guys have the added feature of killing the host. Classy Lifestyle if I may say so. . Parasitic reproduction for sure but these are not animal carrion flies that carry disease about. As I’ve said, they are our friend. Good thing they only pick on other bugs that tend to eat our crops. The eat nectar, pollens and saps as an adult. This one is munching on pollen from the surviving asters after the first heavy frost. Not much else to eat out there.
The lens I used for this is a little odd being about 2 feet long. It is only an inch in diameter. It has LED lights at the end around the lens. They tend to be a bit yellow in general but yellow plus gold is vivid. . Being “Ultra macro” with a very deep focal field is rare. Getting the fly and mostly the flower in focus is an amazing performance . Even more so considering the “plus” size that these Flies are. He’s at least 1/2 inch long if not a tad larger. Getting this close to a fly feeding with a bright light….. Esier than without the bright light 🤔📸 or so I’ve noticed.
DragonFly’s Shadow. These baby ble eyed dragon flies are about 1/2 inch long had longer shadows here than their own bodies. This is definitely a dragon fly as it holds it’s wings outward when at rest. These guys Blue Eyes ROCK. I’m glad they don’t have a 6 foot wing span like their ancestors did back in the Carboniferous Swamps of Pennsylvania 😲 These guys have bcen around the planet for a long time….. just saying.🤔
Damselflies and Mayflies hold their wings to the rear at rest but they are all closely related. This little guy was casting a huge shadow…it must have been a big ego boost to the little guy hard to know lolol
This was from a few weeks ago before the recent snows just now making it’s way into my workflow. My time lag from capture to posting here is right at a week at the moment. Some much longer from the summer will crop up. I’m also refinishing a lot of older images to current standards so those will get reposted from years ago . There are some great images incoming if your just tuning in. 😊
Location: Backyard, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (I have a big backyard… 😎)
Satire: Seen… little areas of Zen detected about the homestead, capturing a Napping Gnome Last Day of Autumn. He was humming the “take my picture” song. My photon capture box was functioning within normal parameters and I facilitated his whimsical wish. These creatures all to a one want to get famous without doing anything. Made from the same publicity seeking mold that “Sneaky Pete” the Windmill was cast out from. These guys love publicity.so the game is don’t make a big thing about the gnome, but please notice the fly down on the piece of iron. It will drive them batty when they see it… 😜
These Gnomes harbor some of the Magic obtained from Halloween last night so I thought I’d post this the day after. What a life attitude. 40 degrees and sunny so pull up a sheltered spot and humm a tune …. . This guy is having a grand old time the day before a winter storm is incoming. (as I type this about a week ago as you read this). Little does he suspect 😂 I will endeavor to take this general photo say once a month through the winter and see how the old guy is doing… 😜📸
Gnomes as a group seem to move around on their own as I come and pass by their positions around the infield of the ranches homestead. One day this guy (and the other two of them) are seldom in the same place they were the last time I was aware of their presence. I have to watch where I drive if I’m mowing the yard in summer or pushing snow in winter. You never know where these guys are going to end up at. Ive seen them in trees before. Foraging I suppose🤣
Location: Some wheee around the infield of the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
Tachinid Flies are indeed a gardeners best friend. They are parasitic in their larval life stage of course and their favorite target are major insect pests to the garden. They eat pollen etc but kill pests with their larva. They are not mammal flesh eating flies per se.
I had to laugh about the hairy butt but there must be a reason lololol.
Location: in the garden (even after several hard freezes below 20 degrees). Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
Your not trying as a photographer if you can’t make a Fly’s butt look good lololol….
The Apple had fallen and a host of insects were taken advantage of the free meal. This guy was at the feed trough and some how I got in there up close and personal.
Sneaking up on a fly to get this kind of photo using a lens with a minimum focus of about 1 inch is not a quick process lol. Moving slowly is the game….really slow….📸
A Dragon Fly doesn’t need much of a landing strip, one of the longest surviving critters on the planet that were up to 6 foot in wingspan during the Carboniferous periods in Pennsylvania for instance. They got big. This one was about an inch long, jumpy and he didn’t like the big one eyed monster trying to come within 9 inches of him.
Location: the backyard of the homestead at the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
There is this one species of fly (I don’t have the time to look it up
🙁 ) and I figure one of you will certainly know who he is. What a fancy dresser though !. Holy smoly!!. This is on a flower petal where 3 of these guys were mulling about…. Saw them from across the deck they were so shiny….
Filed under things no one likes that are wonderfully colored and engineered to do what they do….. 🤔🤣🤣📸📸
That’s all I’m posting today. Miles of computer tangles to de-ratify….
You all have a great day and be safe in all you do.