Dragonfly Photography


Spring of 2006 I bought my first Nikon camera, had to learn what an f-stop was, how to control exposure, and summer of 2006 I took the series of photos below.

Bugs with an Attitude

This story begins when I visited a local stream, with camera in hand, eager to practice macro photography with a new 200mm macro lens. The first thing I did was place a fake housefly on top of a twig, secured my camera onto a tripod, and snapped the image below...

Hand tied realistic fishing fly

After taking the photo above, I realized that noon was not the best time to photograph small objects outdoors, the light was too bright, creating unwanted glare on the wings. I decided to keep practicing, and moved in a bit closer with the camera, and being unaccustomed to finding and focusing on such small objects, I struggled to find the fly in the viewfinder. Surprisingly, by the time focus was achieved, the fly was no longer on the twig. After searching for several minutes, crawling around on the ground, on hands and knees, it finally occurred to me, something had taken the fly away, it was nowhere to be found?

After pulling another fly from my box, and deeply embedding it into the twig, I positioned my camera, focused though the viewfinder, and took a photo that stuck me as being rather unusual.


orange flame Skimmer dragonfly prying a fly from a twig

A bright orange dragonfly seemed rather determined to pluck an easy meal from the twig


Macro photo of an orange dragonfly holding a house fly

Luckily the fake fly held tight, otherwise, it would have likely disappeared as well


macro photography of an orange dragonfly

This beautiful dragonfly was as focused on lunch as my camera was upon it


dragonfly smiling for the camera

Smiling for the camera


orange Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata) dragonfly

Beautiful Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata) dragonfly, holding my realistic fly


macro orange Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata) dragonfly photo

This dragonfly pulled vigorously, and became increasingly agitated, missing lunch


close up macro photography of an orange dragonflies wings

Macro close up view


Then it struck me, what would happen if I place a fake dragonfly on the twig...


orange dragonfly on a twig with a realistic blue and yellow dragonfly

Almost immediately the orange dragonfly returned, landed beneath my yellow and blue dragonfly, and slowly creeped closer and closer, but never did make contact. Numerous photos were taken, and a variety of facial expressions seemed evident, including this photo where it appears a mate might have been found. After about 15 minutes of quiet rejection, the orange dragonfly left the scene.


Two realistic flies

I began to wish I had a realistic orange dragonfly to place on the twig, to see what the reaction would be. The closest thing I had was an old yellow and brown dragonfly, and perhaps putting some food in its grasp would entice the orange dragon to return.


Orange dragonfly attacking the wings of a realistic dragonfly

It returned with an attitude, no hesitation what so ever, it was time to attack. It was interesting watching how savage and angry the dragonfly's attitude was, clearly trying to tear apart the wings of its foe


When attacking insects, dragonflies begin by trying to tear and disable the wings of their prey

After a few minutes of furious action, the battle seemed to have been decided, he was king

I kept playing, and placed my dragonfly on a different twig,
to see if the orange dragon would return with such a territorial attitude.


Another dragonfly attack

The attack was severe enough that the impostor was knocked sideways


Orange dragonfly biting the wings of the realistic fly

He's king of every twig on the stream

I suddenly had a burning desire to make a realistic orange dragonfly


Hand tied realistic dragonfly holding a realistic fishing fly

I returned the next day, with a replica orange dragonfly


Orange dragonfly fiercely attacking the wings of my realistic orange dragonfly

The action was fast and furious!


pair of orange dragonflies

Pretty Bugs


The real orange dragonfly spent about 15 minutes touching and examining my realistic replica dragonfly, and may perhaps have believed it's mate had been found.

At times it seemed as if the king had found his queen


Another orange dragonfly replica

Another fake dragonfly


I have a lot of fun combining my passion for photography with my passion for creating realistic insects

Another attack, trying to disable the wings

I enjoy being outdoors with camera in hand...


More Dragonfly Photography


beautiful dragonfly wings

Beautiful Wings


dragonfly in flight

Dragonfly in flight


Dragonfly photographed moments after emerging from its nymph case

Newly emerged dragonfly drying its wings


Halloween Pennant Dragonfly

Halloween Pennant


pair of Halloween Pennant dragonflies mating

Dragonfly Love


Dragonfly in the mouth of a small bird

Another dragonfly in flight...


swallow in flight feeding a dragonfly to its mate

Lunch Time


Blue Dasher dragonfly investigating a fishing fly

Tiny Blue Dasher inspecting a mayfly replica


blue and black dragonfly macro close up photography

another pretty dragonfly


pretty blue and black dragonfly landing on a replica mayfly fishing fly

trying to rip wings to disable flight


dragonfly in flight photo

departing the scene


tiny little orange dragonfly in northern Indiana

tiny orange dragonfly


tiny little orange dragonfly with prey

predator and prey


Mayfly interaction photos...


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