Chasing Dragons

For John's Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water I had initially planned to go whale watching in Cape May with Bhavna. I rented a Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR in anticipation of excitement. But as the long weekend neared, Bhavna had heard on the local news that the shore towns were expecting large crowds for the 4th of July weekend. I reluctantly agreed to set my focus (pun intended) closer to home when the lens arrived. Bhavna even suggested a few places nearby; Carnegie Lake, and the D&R Canal State Park Trail. Since they brought up the topic of the canal, I suggested we try canoeing or kayaking. Bhavna was hesitant. She remembered that our last attempt at canoeing was frustrating. We could not coordinate our paddling and got stuck going in circles on Lake George. If I remember correctly I paddled out and in. Despite that experience being over twenty years ago Bhavna could not be convinced to try canoeing on Carnegie Lake.

Honestly, I think I have some sort of PTSD. I am reluctant to visit many of the places I visited heavily pre-pandemic but avoided them during the pandemic. I also didn't want to see either of those places with a super-telephoto.

Inspired by Stephen Gingold and local photography David Mathre I decided I would photograph dragonflies.

On my way out to the Montgomery Farmers Market, I almost tripped the box at the front door. I guess correctly that it was the Fujinon XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR that I rented. It arrived a day late. It was supposed to come Friday evening.

In the afternoon, Shaan suggested that I visit the tiny bit of wetland near the outer edge of Van Horne Park. She knew that I had rented the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR to photograph dragonflies and had remembered that we had previously seen dragonflies and butterflies in that location.

I parked on Princeton Avenue and crossed onto the trailhead. I immediately found several dragonflies. Several prominent black and silver specimens were darting among the cattails.

At first, I struggled with the lens. It's been over almost two years since my last birding field trip. I needed some practice. The dragonflies did not cooperate, choosing to land on the concrete wall of the man-made wetlands. The butterflies were more cooperative.

Saturday 3 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 1640 sec at f/8.0 | ISO 1600

I was ready to leave when this blue and green dragonfly darted overhead and then landed on a branch of a nearby plant. He sat still long enough for me to capture him in two different poses. Then he was gone.

Dragonfly, Van Horne Park, Montgomery Township
Dragonfly, Van Horne Park, Montgomery Township | Saturday 3 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 1640 sec at f/8.0 | ISO 640
Dragonfly, Van Horne Park, Montgomery Township
Dragonfly, Van Horne Park, Montgomery Township | Saturday 3 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 1640 sec at f/8.0 | ISO 640

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.

11 thoughts on “Chasing Dragons”

  1. Amy says:

    What a fun and interesting series, Khurt. I love these dragonfly captures. Your hiking photos make me want to take a trip, hope you feel better now.

    1. Hi Amy. These photos make me want to hop on a plane to Costa Rica or Madagascar and lost myself in the wilderness.

  2. I have a 100-400mm lens for my Canon but use it mainly for landscapes and an occasional bird or deer. For insects I get better results with a 100mm macro, even though that means having to get a lot closer and running the risk of scaring the subject away.

    1. Hi Steve, your photographs are fabulous. I want a super telephoto but I know I also want a 80mm macro.

  3. Interesting post, Khurt.

    1. Hi Sue. Thank you.

  4. Thanks for the link to Manuel. I shall have a read. I think having a personal website is much more rewarding long-term.

    I get bored with breakfast too. Here in Germany it's usually bread with cheese or cold cuts, at least you have bagels with a bit more stuff on them 🙂 Love the word "schmear" which is probably something either German or even Yiddish. We have the word "schmieren" which literally means "to smear" and we use it when we are buttering slices of bread.

    1. Hi Paul, if I could, I would have a West Indian breakfast of fried fish and bakes or fish broth with cassava. I had to adjust my expectations when I started living in the USA. I learned the word schmear while living in New York City. It a direct loanword from Yiddish.

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