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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa


August 16th, 2014 · 5 Comments

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This morning I walked around Tantra Lake at sunrise and again at 11 in search of one of the thinest birds I have ever seen. I saw it there yesterday but I didn’t have my camera with me and wasn’t able to identify it after an extensive search through my field guides and apps. That thin bird may have been starving or a mutation or, possibly like me, following a very low-carb diet.

In any case it was probably eating elsewhere this morning. But on my late morning walk in the hot sun many dragonflies were flying on the lake, occasionally ​resting on the stalks of plants growing at the edge.

Dragonflies and damselflies are in the order Odonata, of which about 5,900 species are known. They are insects as beautiful and interesting as butterflies, although much less studied. We have 348 species of dragonflies and damselflies in the Western U.S. and Canada.

Dragonflies are some of the fastest insects in the world and have the finest vision of any insect. They are especially good at identifying movement, which makes them difficult to photograph at close range. But this morning they repeatedly came back to the stalks of three plants, so I plopped myself down next to the stalks and waited.

This is what I saw:

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It was worth the wait.


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Posted in: Photography

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Garry // Aug 31, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Great pictures with great depth of field. What camera and lens are you using? Are they handheld shots or taken using a tripod? Thanks for posting them.

  • 2 Steve Bukosky // Sep 1, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Nice pictures. I’ve long admired their flying ability. Such a harmless creature.

  • 3 Lois // Sep 1, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Incredibly beautiful to look at.
    Detail down to hairs on legs, colors,
    Mesmerizing, informative………..thank you.


  • 4 David Mendosa // Sep 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Dear Garry,

    Thank you. All those shots are handheld with with my BACKUP camera, a Canon 50D (my best camera, a Canon 7D, was in to Canon for repair). I used the Canon 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens at 400mm and was close enough to the dragonflies that I could fill the frame.



  • 5 Lynne Whaley // Sep 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Beautiful images, as always, David! Those stained glass wings and jewel colors never cease to amaze me.