Spangled Skimmer: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Maine, USA — The Spangled Skimmer is one of my favorite dragonflies to see in flight. The white stigma near the wing-tips reflect the sun and draw intricate spirograph patterns around the moving dragon. (Do they still make spirographs? I had hours of fun with mine as a child.) And, like most skimmers, they perch nicely for photos. This one landed closer than the 1440mm zoom on the Nikon B700 will focus so I had to back to to about 1000mm for this shot. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Four-spotted Skimmer: Kennebunk Bridle Path, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — As I said yesterday, it was definitely a skimmer day, with Painted, Twelve-spotted, and Four-spotted all in flight over the little pools in the marsh along the lower Mousam River here in Kennebunk. This is two shots of the same 4-spot. Nikon B700 at 2880 (2x enhanced digital zoom) and 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Painted Skimmer: Kennebunk Bridle Path, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — It was a skimmer kind of day, or perhaps just skimmer season, at the little brackish pools in the marsh along the lower Mousam River here in Kennebunk yesterday. I had Twelve-spotted, Four-spotted, and Painted Skimmers from the same spot along the Bridle Path. The nice thing about skimmers, from a photographer’s point of view, is that they occasionally perch long enough for a shot…the hard thing about skimmers is that they generally perch on the top of a tall thin stalk waving in the wind. These shots are at 1440mm equivalent with the Nikon B700. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Jack-in-the-pulpit: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine, USA — taking a break from lupines for a day 🙂 I know of one place where I might find Jack-in-the-pulpits growing “in the wild” but have not gotten there yet this year. This plant is from the small and very overgrown demonstration garden (some ranger’s, or more likely, summer intern’s, good idea from several years ago, now pretty much abandoned) at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters buildings in Wells Maine. The Jack-in-the-pulpit is a very strange flower…with a very strange name…but I am always delighted to find one growing where I can photograph it. Nikon B700 at about 80mm equivalent with Macro setting. Program mode with my standard birds and wildlife settings. -.3 EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
The lupine stands, of course, attract large numbers of bees and other pollen feeding insects. This large bee was among hundreds working the patch. You can see by the swollen pollen sacks on the hind legs that life is good for the bees among the lupines. And, of course, the bees are doing their part to ensure another crop of lupines in this meadow next year. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Vivid Picture Control. Low Active-D Lighting. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Cooper’s Hawk: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I was at the little drainage pond at Southern Maine Health Care in Kennebunk, photographing mostly dragonflies, when the resident pair of Red-winged Blackbirds suddenly increased their racket. The male in particular seemed upset, and his high pitched alarm calls were echoed by an even higher pitched call that I thought might be a Cowbird…but I had not seen any Cowbirds around the pond. Suddenly a big bird burst out of the dense little evergreen at the pond’s edge, where it had obviously been sheltering from the RWBB’s attentions, and dove into the birch cluster above the RWBB’s nest. The RWBB was on it in seconds, and it flew out and across the parking lot to one of the ornamental trees. Cooper’s Hawk! By shape and size and what little feather pattern I caught in flight. The RWBB was not giving it any rest, and before I could get the camera on it, it flew back across in front of me and landed up under the eves of the forest abutting the pond, about 40 feet from me. I had been using full 1440mm equivalent on the dragonflies, so I was zoomed in way to far, but I got off a couple of shots, and then attempted to zoom back for the full bird. By then, though, only seconds later, the RWBB had moved the hawk on again, and this time escorted it out across the parking lot until it disappeared into the trees behind the shopping center an eighth of a mile back out toward Route 1. So what I have is a grab shot head shot of the bird. Not a bad shot considering. And a Cooper’s Hawk is always a good bird to see. 🙂 Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with what are becoming my custom birds and wildlife modifications for this camera (Program, Vivid Picture Control, Low Active-D Lighting, Medium movable spot focus, -.3EV exposure compensation). Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Lancet Clubtail Dragonfly: Forever Wild for All Sanctuary, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I made an off-hand remark in one of my posts recently that the Nikon P700 (which I recently found “used like new” on Ebay) might become my go-to camera for Dragonflies. When asked, by one of my readers, “why?” I told him that it was the extra reach of the 1440mm lens from 7 feet…being able to fill the frame with a dragonfly at that distance makes dragonfly photography much easier…but I had forgotten the main reason I like a small-sensor superzoom bridge camera for insects: depth of field! The small sensor means that at the equivalent field of view of a 1440mm lens, you have the depth of field of a 258mm lens. That is pretty close to the same depth of field you get with the Sony Rx series at 600mm equivalent…and way more depth of field than you would get with a larger sensor camera at anything like that magnification. That means that I can get frame filling shots of dragonflies with almost the whole bug in focus…even head on shots like this one. That is a huge advantage if you are attempting to identify dragons from photos, or to take photos which show identification features. Anyway…this is, as above, a Lancet Clubtail (all my dragonfly ids are “subject to correction by anyone who knows better”, always 🙂 Still, I am pretty confident of this one. The Lancet is one of the earliest flying clubtails, and, in fact, probably the most abundant clubtail we have here in southern Maine, so in early June I am pretty safe with that id. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Vivid Picture Control and Low Active-D Lighting. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Wild Geranium (Cranesbill), Forever Wild for All Sanctuary, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — it is wild geranium season here in Southern Maine. You see them in ditches along roadsides and in meadows along forest edges. This stand was at the Forever Wild for All Sanctuary along the Mousam River in West Kennebunk. This is a “telephoto” macro with the Nikon B700 at about 1350mm from maybe 8 feet. Program mode. Vivid Picture Control. Low Active D-Lighting. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. I am impressed with the image quality of the 20mp sensor in the B700. It seems significantly better than that of the 16mp sensor in the P610/P950/P1000…though that is only an impression…I have not done comparison tests.
Drasteria moth (probably Shadowy Arches): Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Maine, USA — I found this little moth fluttering close to the ground along the foot trail at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area the other day. Some research this morning gets me as far as one of the Drasteria moths, possibly a Shadowy Arches, but I don’t know my moths well enough, or their ranges, to eliminate any of the other Drasterias. I think the Graphic Moth might be more common in Maine, but this one seems to have too much orange. 🙂 If anyone knows better, please leave a comment. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent from about 4 feet. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
Canada Mayflower (sometimes called False Lily of the Valley): Mousam River Wildlife Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I have never seem much in the way of wildlife at the Mousam River Wildlife Preserve, one of the Kennebunk Land Trust properties here in Kennebunk, but it is a nice walk a mile down along the ridge above the Mousam River as it broadens out into the tidal basin. This time of year the woods are full of Star Flower and Mayflower, and I did find one lonely Lady Slipper Orchid. It is not easy to find a Canada Mayflower in full bloom as the individual flowers on the single flower spike do not open all at the same time. This is the best one I have ever found. Nikon B700 at 24mm and macro. Program mode with Vivid Picture Control and Active D-Lighting set to low. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. I enjoy the more than life size macro on the Nikon B700. It works great for wildflowers even at its 24mm equivalent.