Dragonflies have not always intrigued me. In fact, as a child I was petrified of the dragonfly and damselflies because my mother told me they would sew my eyes and mouth shut.
What piqued my interest? It wasn’t actually the actual insect. When I owned my home I became obsessed with Trading Spaces. A television show that aired weekly with neighbors trading spaces in their home for remodeling of one room. Some of the decorators were a little out there for me with grass walls, bright colors and unusual themes. What I did like was how watching got those creative juices flowing and had me always on the lookout for a home improvement project to include laying my own subfloor and ceramic tile on my kitchen floor, painting, wallpapering, installing lights, a front and back door as well as a installing a stained glass window in my bedroom. The latter installations with the assistance of my son.
Where did the dragonflies come in? On a visit to Jo-Ann’s Fabric I found a red material with gold dragonflies. The material cost over $25 a yard. This was not affordable at the time but every time I would visit Jo-Ann’s the first place I went was to check on the material. One day I received a 1/2 off coupon in the mail and an unexpected check. That was the day I purchased several yards of the material. I didn’t know how to sew at the time but I borrowed my sister’s sewing machine and while watching Trading Spaces paid attention to the sewing and gave it a try. The curtains came out perfect. All the dragonflies lined up across the top of the curtain rod in a straight line. Three set of curtains all perfectly in alignment. That was the start. Then came the earring, a necklace, wall hanging, more earrings and an obsession was developed.
While walking in the Saratoga National Park I noticed dragonflies of many sizes along my walks. Every time I went on vacation, more dragonflies. Not always easy to capture with the camera but on many occasions I was successful. If you notice the dragonfly photo on my site you will see a red dragonfly that I captured on film while visiting The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena California. http://www.huntington.org
On Friday I was enjoying an overnight with my niece at the Moreau State Park campground. While she read her book I wandered off to check out the trails. Along the way I spotted a beaver dam in the distance and went to check it out. Upon closer examination I noticed dragonflies skittering around in the air, landing on lily pads and enjoying the beautiful day. I had the camera and a couple of lenses so I clicked, checked to see if they were captured, clicked and viewed. Nothing to keep. There seemed to be several pairs flying together in the air mating. Mating dragonflies seem to fly faster than when single. It was difficult and I kept missing them. Then I sat on the beach, switched lenses and waited patiently. It wasn’t until after I shot several that I actually looked. This is what I captured:
Can you imagine how excited I was when to my surprise when I actually captured photos of dragonflies in flight? Around an hour and a half after sitting it was time to return to the campsite. That’s when I noticed this amazing butterfly fluttering about from flower to flower. I ran after the little miracle and captured two shots before returning to the path. It wasn’t until two days later that I discovered the butterfly had a white circle with writing attached to a wing. As you will see, it isn’t legible because I hadn’t even noticed until after the fact. First I thought possibly the butterfly was electronic and someone was having fun watching me chase it along the path, then thought possibly it was part of a research project. Not sure how the sticker found its way to the wing but it was interesting.
The entire weekend was spent camping, traveling to Rhode Island to visit my nephew and more sites, kayaking, and then on to the annual Garlic Festival in Bennington, VT. While kayaking dragonflies had a fun time skittering along the marsh area, moving too quickly for me to capture them from the kayak. By the time the camera was up and ready to shoot, they had moved on to the next area. The camera went down and I sat back to enjoy the sunset and dragonflies.
Taking in the scenery, water, sunset, sunrise, sound of the loons and paddles whooshing along the water, smell of fresh air and dragonflies plus a little tree hugging – what more could one ask for in one long weekend:)
Today an interesting thing happened. While waiting in line to order coffee with my granddaughter, I was sharing with her about the adventure in search of dragonflies when the woman behind interrupted. She was embarrassed to interrupt however when she heard us discussing dragonflies she wanted to share a recently published book titled Dragonflies by Pieter van Dokkum. The book must have sold out because they are back ordered. Looking forward to receiving my copy when they are available. Check out these two websites.
Do you have a love of an insect, animal or other nature that you pursue? I would love to hear about your adventures if you would like to share.
Love and Light!