Here are a few meres of water and the life they sustain in just a few metres is simply amazing. Over the course of an hour or so I noted lots of aquatic species, such as Newts, Frogs and of course loads of Dragonflies. I have to admit, I’ve never been one who’s been that interested in bugs and insects until recently after hiring a macro lens for a garden safari feature I was creating for a magazine. Definitely a whole completely new world of subjects, amazing! I’ve also noticed the odd Dragonfly/Damselfly in recent summers but never really studied them or read up on them. Thankfully I came across a couple by the mere who definitely knew they’re stuff, very interesting to talk to and their wealth of knowledge was huge. After seeing a few different ones flying passed, thought what the heck, here’s a challenge – let’s get some in flight!
The Emperor’s flight is very erratic and they rarely hover in one place. Chasing off other males who venture into their territory in a dogfight across the mere ending in a tangle of buzzing wings descending towards the water and one coming off the victor. Amazing to watch.
They are super hard to photograph in flight. Not only the speed they move, but even though they’re Britain’s bulkiest Dragonfly, locking onto them is near on impossible with any sort of AF region. Spot point is just too small to try to keep these guys in the centre, and zone AF is too large. It was a case of using expanded centre point and using a mixture off manual focusing a set distance, tracking an out of focus Dragonfly until it came near to the focus plane, then trying to pump the AF with back button getting them pin sharp was just do-able. There were a lot of duffers, but thankfully managed to get a couple I’m happy with. Looking at them now you can see some wing damage, no doubt caused by the savage battles they have with each other – a pretty amazing spectacle none the less.
Head down to your local pond asap if you want to see them as they’ll be gone before the summer’s over.