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Big Eyes

Big Eyes
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-09-12
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Animals from my garden [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-09-25 8:13
Viewed: 3792
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Dragonfly / Order Odonata

We are so excited about our forthcoming Kruger National Park holiday, and we're literary counting the days. It will not be long before we start counting the hours as well. I can just see in my minds eye the vacation ahead. The diversity of animals we will encounter and the friends we will meet once again, as we plan to meet up Robin du Bois and his wife like we did last year.

If you look back in my gallery, you will see a number of portraits, as I really have a soft spot for this kind of photography. This time I would like to share with you my 1st dragonfly and also in the form of a portrait. This guy was visiting in our garden and was really very co-operative and stayed put for a long time to give me the chance to take photos. Its big eyes attracted my attention and looking at the image, I think you will agree why I think they are rather eye-catching.

Because we have master photographers on the site, who have shown us these beauties and giving us lots of information about them, I'm going to share a general overview which I found rather interesting.

General overview
Dragonflies are an integral part of summer, flitting over ponds and skimming across rivers on balmy afternoons. But behind the beautiful colours and graceful flight lies an exciting and dramatic creature indeed!

Dragonflies and damselflies are the raptors of the insect world. Voracious hunters as larvae in ponds, rivers and lakes, they sometimes take prey as large as sticklebacks. They continue in the same vein after they have emerged as flying adults, hunting smaller insects on the wing in dashing raids. The larger dragonflies will take prey as big as the damselflies, but they are all absolutely harmless to us - they do not sting or bite in any way, and are actually very easy to handle, perching readily on a finger if trapped in a window. Their fascinating looks, amazing habits, and relatively tame manner combine to make the most exciting close-up watching experience.

Dragonflies and damselflies are in the insect order 'odonata', which translates as 'toothed jaws'. They belong to the most primitive group of insects; incredibly, some of their predecessors 300 million years ago reached a wingspan of up to 70cm, and could fly at 30mph! Odonata worldwide are divided into three sub-orders: Dragonflies (Anisoptera), Damselflies (Zygoptera) and a very primitive sub-order (Anisozygoptera) that is now almost extinct.

Unlike many insects (such as butterflies, moths, beetles and flies) dragonflies and damselflies (together with mayflies and grasshoppers) have a three-stage life cycle. They are 'hemimetabolous', having an incomplete metamorphosis. The missing stage is the pupa - hemimetabolous insects go straight from larvae to adults. The insects which do have a pupal stage are known as 'holometabolous'.

Adult female dragonflies lay eggs either on submerged vegetation or directly into water, and generally they will hatch after 2-5 weeks. Some eggs laid in late summer will go into diapause during the cold winter months and hatch in the spring. Most then remain as larvae for one or two years, preying on a range of tiny underwater creatures, although some of the larger dragonflies can take three years. The Golden-ringed Dragonfly, not recorded in the county but resident in the Midlands), can be in the larval stage for up to five years.

When they are ready, the larvae climb out of the water on a reed stem or piece of vegetation, and then emerge from their larval case (or exuvia) as adults. Careful searching in vegetation emerging from ponds, canals, lakes and rivers can often reveal an exuvia like that. Just after emergence, they are very vulnerable to predators until they have pumped their wings full of fluid and have then dried out, ready for flight. The flying adults have a short life-span - some can live for six or seven months in hot, dry climates, but typically in the UK the insects fly for just a few weeks.

There are over 5000 species of odonata worldwide, and being warm weather insects, it is not surprising that the majority are found in the tropics. Identifying dragonflies can in some cases be very difficult, even for the experts. But many, especially the mature males, have vivid colours and distinctive patterns, so everyone should be able to identify at least some of them.

Dragonflies are generally big with a thick, either tubular or slightly flattened 'tail' (abdomen) and broad wings, broadest where they meet the 'body' (thorax). They have huge compound eyes which take up much of their face. The eyes join in the middle on top of the head. A good look at the face will reveal a gruesome set of jaws!

Dragonflies almost always have their wings spread fully open, and can be found perching on vegetation, often hanging vertically. Dragonflies and damselflies can be told from other winged insects is several ways: they are large, with long, stout (or very wide) abdomens, large eyes, very short antennae, and many are brightly coloured blue, red, orange, brown, yellow or green. Source

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

roges, PeterZ, goatman04, KOMSIS, jaycee, goldyrs, ferranjlloret, Chiza, boreocypriensis, Argus, gannu, Noisette, uleko, maurydv, CeltickRanger, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-09-25 8:34]

Hallo Anna,
super "portret" ! With very nice colors. Brillant shot.
Have a beautiful Weekend,

Great note and outstanding macro...

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-09-25 8:52]

Hello Anna,
Indeed, VERY BIG EYES! Superb macro in perfect sharpness and details. The colours are splendid, but there's also a bit of noise in BG, a pity. Great composition and POV. Very original!

Hello Anna,

An excellent macro of this Dragonfly with beautiful coloration, sharpness & very fine details. Great POV, pose & BG.

Very nicely done & TFS.

Best wishes & regards


What a stunning portrait. I am used to your photos being perfect techically, but this close cropping really does it for me, outstanding. I would consider this the best work you ever did. Salon quality for sure!
Well done!

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2009-09-25 9:13]

Hi Anna,
Dragonfly-portrait, macro, composition ...
Large eyes, fantastic colors and detail are very good.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-09-25 12:45]

Hi Anna,you crop a lot this pic and there are noise zone ...but the idea and the realisation are very good,excellents colors and nice details of the eyes.Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

a very impressive closeup on those beautiful eyes !
well done!
Have a nice week end

Lovely macro, great sharpness details.

  • Great 
  • bedri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 111 W: 0 N: 237] (1284)
  • [2009-09-25 13:52]

Excellent macro Anna, and details. Well done, TFS.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-09-25 16:36]

Hi Anna,

What a first this dragonfly is! A great macro and yes, the eyes ARE big. What amazes me even more are the wings that look just like black lace. Colors and details of the face, wings and body are superb. Wish I was meeting up with you too :-)


  • Great 
  • rommel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 446 W: 0 N: 287] (3628)
  • [2009-09-25 21:48]

Hi Anna,
Excellent macro shot, striking sharpness together with extensive details.The protruding eyes seem like from a star wars movie. Well done and enjoy and return with some more great photos from Kruger.Have a safe and hassel free trip.TFS.

hello anna,
fine closeup of the upper part of the body of the dragonfly, these insect are very interesting to watch and to shoot, liked the composition and the pov,
tfs & regards

thanks a lot for your critiues on my third anniversary picture.

A stunning macro from you, Anna!
Very sharp and perfectly framed!

Hallo Anna,
Excellent macro-portrait of this Dragonfly, vergy good POV sharpness and very well job!!!
Congratulations. TFS. Have a nice weekend.

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2009-09-26 6:39]

Hola Anna: Un macro de verdad magistral, como disfruto de ver los detalles de esta especie,una gran foto...saludos.

Ciao Anna. An impressive focused and detailed close up. Grate POV. Well done.


Hi Anna,

A superb macro capture nicely focussed a frontal side of a pretty d-fly. Great clarity, fine POV and delightful composition.
TFS and have a nice Sunday!


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-09-26 22:40]

Hello Anna,
A fine close-up of this Dragonfly, the colours suggesting that this is a female. The pose with the body up and the wings down also suggests that this was taken during a hot time of the day.
The large compound eyes that are used for detecting movement are well shown with fine sharpness and from a great POV to match nicely up to your title. The bristles on the legs that are used for clasping prey are well shown too.
Thanks and best regards to you and Loot.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2009-09-26 22:47]

Hello Anna, Hope you have read my earlier comments and my telephone call to your house. The closeup is so beautiful and actually you can see the lens. Well shot and hope you are doing well and all the best and enjoy. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2009-09-27 10:29]

Hello Anna,

I like this portrait very well!!!
What a great macro, with excellent details!


Hello Anna,
very great portrait of this Damselfly, we can see a lot of sharp details on his body and wings, i like his big eyes too
superb colors, BG, and composition
I hope you have a GREAT time at Kruger Park and came back with a lot of superb shots and portraits from this wonderful place
Have a good night

Dominas todas las especialidades Anna. Un interesante tratamiento de las formas y los colores, con un hábil corte de la fotografía y un buen efecto óptico conseguido con la forma de las alas.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-09-30 7:44]

Hello Anna,
A very fine macro of this dragonfly showing sharp details and I like the framing. I hope you get a wonderful holiday in Kruger!!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hello Anna,
superb macro shot of this Dragonfly taken from an excellent frontal POV with very good sharpness with impressive details, very beautiful colours, i like this very pleasing close composition.
Best regards

Hallo Anna,
I am really impressed by your golden Dragonfly:

In our part of the world (NE of South Africa), dragonflies are darting about, changing direction with incredible speed (like an escaping rabbit), and it is actually difficult to follow their path with the eyes - impossible to photograph them! I wonder, if this is may-be due to to the local, high temperatures (in the shade 35 - 40 C average in summer).

When we lived on the farm, we had two Koi-Pools, and for a long time could not work out, what the skins were - lying on rocks - until one day I actually saw a nymph, crawling out of the water up a rock. It shed its skin, et voila there was a young dragonfly... The skin stuck to the rock for a long time after the dragonfly had left it.

Was the insect actually as golden, or did you adjust the hue/saturation? Concerning the strong lines on the tail - did you increase the contrast? I hardly edit my photos - just a bit exposure if necessary...
You - obviously - are an experienced "photoshopper".
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-10-26 6:02]

Hi Anna,
really nice to hear you back. How wonderful the trip must be.
Loking forward to witness a few more fascinating shots from you.
this presentation of the dragonfly is really magnificent. A superbs close up that reveal the details in excellent sharpness.
Really exciting to witness this shot.


hello Anna

what a superb close-up photo of this insect,
shot with fine frontal POV, superb focus great
sharpness and details, and what a superb eye-contact,



Ciao Anna, superb macro with fantastic details of dragonfly's eyes, wonderful colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-10-30 12:21]

Hi Anna.
I am touched with your amazing comments (as usual) as well as with your great shots. It is so difficult to get so fine close-up with compact camera. It is truth it is so difficult task even for DSLR. However, you handle with your equipment brilliantly.
Framing of the dragonfly, posture of the wings are impressive at highest range. Lights and colours are amazing too. My warm greetings and best wishes.

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