Monday, July 7, 2008

DIY Dragonfly Pond

Hi to all,
Just returned from a well needed vacation. Now I have more photo work than I know what to do with. I have well over two thousand images to sort through. Luckily a lot of them are family vacation pictures some of which will be good enough to add to my stock files. Thanks to willing family nonprofessional models. They're cheap. Well, maybe not now that I think about how much the vacation cost my wife and I.

I hope everyone out there is being creative and taking fantastic images. Yesterday i hit upon a cheap dragonfly pond that has been sitting under my nose for over two years. My children have a kiddie pool that they have long outgrown. They have been using it to save pollywogs from our real backyaed pond that has a small waterfall. The pollywogs get caught in the pump. So my son and daughter have been tranfering them to the kiddie pool for the last two springs. They keep it full and we have a lot of tree frogs hatch out. Now lo and behold this cheap pond has been attracting dragonflies like crazy. I could never figure out how to photograph them. The flew all around the pond and would never land. When they did land it was always in some difficult place to shoot. High up in the trees or on the ground.

My brain finally hit upon a solution. Give the dragonflys a place to land! I found a small tree branch and a few bricks. I put the bricks in the water to prop up the stick. I went over to the patio table sat down and waited. Within a few minutes a dragonfly circled the little branch a few times and then settled down and landed. He began to shoot out now and then to grab an insect out of the air. But he always came back and settled down onto the stick again.

I was in business. I took a chair and taped a colored piece of tagboard to it as a backdrop. I then set it behind the pond and sat down in a chair and waited. I shot a wide variety of images in less than an hour. As it turns out the dark siding on our house works well as a background pretty well too.

So those of you out there that might want to photograph dragonflys in your back yard an old kiddie pool might just do the trick. If you live on a ranch or a farm maybe prop up a stick in your livestocktank. A word of safety here. Plastic wading pools could be a hazard for toddlers and young children. Please keep them in a locked fenced area away from children. Another point to consider is mosquitos. We put mosquito fish in ours to keep the little buggers from breeding in it. The last thing you want to do is create a mosquito hatchery for your neighborhood.

My next plan of attack is to try putting a stick out at one of my favorite dragonfly shooting spots at a nearby lake. I'll let you know how that goes.

God's blessings to all,


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