Photography is a combination of talent, learned skill, and pure dumb luck. All three of those things came together the day I captured The Laughing Dragonfly.
The year was 2013 and I remember it as the summer of dragonflies. I can’t remember another summer when there were so many dragonflies. They were everywhere!
This particular July day found me once again in my mom’s beautiful garden, trying to capture the treasures she lovingly grows. And, since it was the summer of dragonflies, I was trying to capture a few of those as well.
Dragonflies are tricky to capture because they are fast. They’re always flitting and floating from one place to another, or darting across the garden to a new flower or plant.
You can chase the dragonflies with your lens and you might get lucky, but more likely you’ll get frustrated. A better way is to get familiar with the patterns of the insect or animal you are photographing and anticipate where they are going. You set your camera up where you think they will land, and when they move in front of your lens you snap away.
The day I took this photograph I used both methods with a little luck. But then I got really lucky. I noticed a beautiful little dragonfly sitting on a perfect white daisy. It wasn’t moving. At all. Jackpot!
I snapped a few photos from behind as I slowly moved around to the front of the dragonfly. I held my breath and kept as still as possible. Still, it didn’t move. Hoping against hope I didn’t scare it away, I slowly hunched over and began snapping.
Inch by inch I moved forward, all while taking photograph after photograph, until I was inches from the dragonfly’s face.
In a rush of dragonfly wings the moment was over. I wiped the sweat off my face and headed for the shade. I was excited I had gotten so close, but it wasn’t until I got home and put the photographs on my computer that I realized what a gift I had been given.
A dragonfly posing for me atop a perfect white daisy with a bright yellow center, all against a soft green and white background – it was a gift from God, along with a little talent, a little skill, and a lot of dumb luck!
Just 10 days later I was given the gift of A Dragonfly’s Lunch. Yes indeed, 2013 was the summer of dragonflies!
And that my friends, is the story of how I captured The Laughing Dragonfly. Click to Tweet!
Until we meet again,
FlyTrapManNovember 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm
Nice image! I think that particular dragon might be a type of meadow hawk, but I could be mistaken. You’re right about learning the behavior of biological entities — it certainly increases your chances of success. Good luck!
Josie SilerNovember 27, 2015 at 3:11 pm
Thanks so much!