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Spotted Dragon

Spotted Dragon

This is the first of what will be a series of posts about my images appearing in an upcoming art exhibit.  The exhibit will be at the Magale Library at Centenary College of Louisiana, located in Shreveport, Louisiana, and will begin June 1st 2012 and run through the end of August 2012.  The exhibit will be open to the public during regular library hours.  Sponsored by the Friends of Red River National Wildlife Refuge, a non-profit friends group that supports Red River National Wildlife Refuge, the exhibit is to help promote awareness and encourage the public to visit the Refuge.
The Refuge Headquarters Unit is located in Bossier Parish, close to the Jimmie Davis bridge.  When the Arthur Teague Parkway extension is completed, you will be able to exit the Parkway and drive right up to the Visitor Center entrance.  In the mean time, from Hwy 71, take Sunflower Road (just north of the water tower) until the road makes a sharp right turn. Keep going straight onto the rock road that winds through an old pecan grove, crosses what will be the Parkway extension, and then leads to the Visitor Center entrance.
The exhibit images will include an assortment of wildlife and scenery found on the Refuge throughout the year.  All images were taken primarily at Headquarters Unit in Bossier Parish and Bayou Pierre Unit, located about 30 minutes south off of Hwy 1.
My intent is to give you some insight about each image.  When and where was it taken?  Any thoughts about what makes that image special to me?  I hope that you will be inspired through these images to (1) visit the art exhibit this summer, (2) visit the Refuge any time throughout the year, (3) support the Refuge, (4) become more aware of our surroundings (5) be inspired to take some nature pictures and (6) learn more about what is in the pictures.
Now, after that lengthy introduction, we can get started on our first image.  You can click on the image to enlarge it and see more detail.  Just use the back arrow to return to the post.

Spotted Dragon

 Dragonflies are fascinating insects.  Found throughout much of the year in the south, they are plentiful on the Refuge, as well as most everywhere else.  We called them mosquito hawks as a kid.  I never paid them much attention, other than knowing they always seemed to be around the water.  During the past few years I began to photograph them, and learn more about these ancient insects.  As might be expected, all dragonflies are not alike.  They come in different shapes, sizes and colors.  Different species may be found during different times of the year.  They start out as tiny eggs laid in or around water, grow into larvae under water, and then crawl onto land.  From here they emerge from their thin skeletons and spread their wings.  The remainder of their life (what we see as they fly around) is spent eating and ultimately mating.
Spotted Dragon is more properly named a Four-spotted Pennant.  Dragonflies are grouped into several families.  There are several types of pennants, and they are part of a large group of dragonflies called skimmers.  Our Four-spotted Pennant is a an immature female.  On the wings, you can make out four large brown patches that resemble spots.  Males have a more plain, blue body with the four wing spots very prominent. This image was taken in July 2011 at Headquarters Unit.  Four-spotted Pennants are very common and may be found during the summer months perching on the tops of grasses.  Look especially along the river trails and the rock road in open areas.
This image is special for several reasons.  The background is not cluttered and has a pleasing dark green blur that blends well with the dragonfly colors.  The single stalk of grass provides a sense of depth and gives a sort of 3D look to the image.  The grass doesn’t enter from a corner, which would be distracting.  The gallery image will be a square format 12″x12″ print with a black frame and black border that really brings out the dragonfly’s minute details.

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