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A Glider for Howard

A Glider for Howard
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-02-26
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 200, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Odonata: Dragonflies and Damselflies, Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, Insects' World, A study in Entomology (insects) 1, 80-89 Points I, Dragonflies - Damselflies, annick vanderschelden's favourites, Dedications at TrekNature Part Three, Superb Macros, My Dedications ;o), Macromania [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-27 20:18
Viewed: 6576
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 88
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Wandering Glider - Pantala flavescens

This dragonfly is dedicated to Howard Cheek (marhowie). Howard was one of the key members on this site who inspired and stimulated me to attempt my hand at macro photography. He has guided me and provided an immense input during my early days here at TrekNature (probably much more than he realise or will take credit for). Thanks Howard, you have been a great inspiration, motivator, friend, and mentor.

Actually this photo was taken way before guys like Howard and Gert Ellström explained to me the increased criticality of the DOF at this proximity and magnitude. It shows, doesn't it? Today when I look back at these early macros I realise how much I've learned from them and how much this site has meant to me. I am thankful for the photographic development I have experienced on the TrekNature site because of people like Howard who were never to shy to share his knowledge and expertise with newbie's like me and many other members whom he has guided through the years.

This glider was photographed at the Thulasihleka Bird Sanctuary at Richards Bay. Before my knee replacement operation I used to spend quite a bit of time at this wonderful spot, but since the operation my movement was somewhat restricted and I found it rather difficult to run after the insects and critters on offer at the Bird Sanctuary. I could have used some recent antelope or bird photo for this dedication to Howard, but I could not find anything bald enough (chuckle) so I rather dug into the shoe box and selected an old insect macro.

If you are perhaps interested to read something more about the Thulasihleka Bird Sanctuary at Richards Bay you are welcome to check out this site at The Zululand Birding Route.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
PHYLUM: Arthropoda (invertebrates)
CLASS: Insecta (insects)
ORDER: Odonata (dragonflies & damselflies)
SUPERFAMILY: Anisoptera (dragonflies)
FAMILY: Libellulidae (skimmers or perchers)

The skimmers or perchers and their relatives form the Libellulidae, the largest dragonfly family in the world. This family consist of over 1000 species. With nearly worldwide distribution, these are almost certainly the most often seen of all dragonflies.

The libellulids have stout-bodied larvae with the lower lip or labium developed into a mask over the lower part of the face.

Size: medium, length 47-50mm; wingspan 83-91mm.

Male: dull yellowish brown to orange coloured body with conical-shaped abdomen and a series of long diamond-shaped spots oriented down the mid-dorsal line of the abdomen; yellowish face; clear wings, pale stigma; hind wing very wide with no basal spot; strong gliding flight; vagrant and migrant; follows weather fronts. The eyes are reddish-brown at the top and light-blue at the bottom, the teardrop shape, broad hindwings and gliding behaviour should rule out most other species except Spot-winged Glider, which is duller, with a basal spot in the hindwing.

Female: less colourful or duller, but similarly coloured.

This dragonfly is a circumtropical insect, that is, they are found around the world in the warm climate zones of the tropics, as well as in temperate zones. It is called the "Wandering glider" or the "Globe skimmer" for it has even been known to land on ships far out at sea.

Open still waters of ponds and rivers; frequently found in back yards and fields; larval habitat is temporary or warm shallow pools.

Gliding flight; strong flyer; wandering, vagrant, migrant: this is a truly cosmopolitan species; can swarm in large numbers over grassy fields in summer, often with smaller numbers of Pantala hymenaea, Spot-winged Glider.

Mosquitoes, midges, and other small insects like flies, bees, and butterflies. They are therefore valued as predators, since they help control populations of harmful insects. Dragonflies do not normally bite or sting humans, though they will bite in order to escape, if grasped by the abdomen.

Males patrol territories about 9-45.7m in length. After mating, the male remains with the female while she lays her eggs. Females lay their eggs by tapping the surface of the water with the tip of the abdomen. The larvae live in temporary pools, including swimming pools, and develop rapidly.

Conservation status
Least concern. Source

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

earthtraveler, ellis49, Dis. Ac., Miss_Piggy, Argus, jcoowanitwong, rcrick, Juyona, bobcat08, Ena, ramthakur, haraprasan, marhowie, Aaltjie, Proframe, nglen, Alex99, PeterZ, maurydv, uleko, soccer, Dyker, Rehanna, jmp, SelenE, smitha, dejo, boreocypriensis, vanderschelden, Silvio2006, jusninasirun, RII, betsie, Pearl has marked this note useful
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To vanderschelden: ShotMiss_Piggy 1 04-15 02:48
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
Superb image of this Glider and a fine dedication to Howard.
The sharp golden details of the insect are really beautiful. Excellent work with the POV/pose and composition. Lovely BG bokeh as well. Well done! tfs Richard

hello loot,
what a fine capture, the glitter looks so beautiful here, i am sure howard will be delighted with this capture, i liked the pov, the sharpness and the precise dof you have got for this picture,
well done as usual in your perfect style,
tfs & regards

Hi Loot,
this is a great dedication to our friend Howard, he is a great
photographer and have been a good inspiration for this site.
This is a very good picture with great sharpness and details.
Well composed with great DOF, the whole insect even the wings are in focus nd the insect standout nicely against the BG.
A great note as usual.
Beautiful wok. my friend.

Hi Loot,

Good macro, fine picture.
Beautiful colors and an great BG.
Good note's too.
A pity that the wing right above unsharp are.
All with all great photo.

Regards Gert

Hallo Loot
When I saw the end result of your dragonfly posting dedicated to Howard, I was amazed about the stunning golden colour of this insect. This photo has all the right things at the right places. I don't think it is necessary to elaborate on the focus, sharpness, depth of field, point of view, exposure, pose, composition or anything else I did not make note of here, because it is all just right.

What I would like to mention is, that I think Fernando Ortega had this specific dragonfly in mind when he wrote the words for one of my personal favourite songs called "DRAGONFLY"

Come a little closer, dragonfly
Settle down with me a little while
I'm turning off the phone and enterprise
I could use your company, all right

Hey, hey dragonfly
I'd like to stare into your big bug eyes
Get a closer look at your fine wings
Think about some fleeting, pretty things
Hey, hey, hey dragonfly

Come a little closer, dragonfly
Little sapphire slipping through the sky
Between the skaters and the fishing lines
My, my, my dragonfly

Hey, hey dragonfly
I'd like to stare into your big bug eyes
Get a closer look at your fine wings
Think about some fleeting, pretty things
Hey, hey, hey dragonfly
Hey, hey, hey dragonfly

Come a little closer, dragonfly
I love the quiet air you occupy
I'm sitting down right here, right now, alone
To hear the river lapping at the stone

Hey, hey dragonfly
I'd like to stare into your big bug eyes
Get a closer look at your fine wings
Think about some fleeting, pretty things
Hey, hey, hey dragonfly
Hey, hey, hey dragonfly

Hey, hey, dragonfly
I'd like to ride with you tonight
Take in your show, take up your life
Dragonfly, I really like your style

Thanks for sharing this very delightful image. Like always your excellent photographic talent are displayed in this photo. Enjoy your day and love you lots!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-27 23:44]

Hello Loot,
A great find from the wealth of your archives and a fine dedication to our TN friend Howard, a master photographer who thankfully still graces us with his fine images.
This is superlative in every way, the sharpness, composition and POV taken shows this wandering glider in way to feast the eyes!
Thanks for sharing this beauty,

Dear Loot,
What a stunning image, the detail and colours are just amazing, excellent composition, really nice work all the best Cheers Rick :)

Hi Loot,
Beautiful pose and shot taken at nice pov. The background is nicely blurred to stand out the glider. There are similar libellulids in my area. TFS this wonderful image.

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-03-28 1:11]

Hola Loot,
hermosa captura y dedicatoria...
agradable ambiente y foco magnífico,
saludos amigo.

Hello Loot,

Wow....what a clarity. I think this is a great dedication to our friend Howard. Amazing Looks a like 3D. Super fine details. You can see even the back of his head in details. Colors a natural. The compo is fine with the diagonal line of that grass (reed ?)Thanks for sharing this beauty. Have a nice day and TFS BOB

  • Great 
  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-03-28 1:49]

Hi Loot,
Beautiful shot!
Lovely composition!

Delightful capture of this golden coloured Skimmer, Loot.
Even though you sound modest about your macro skills in the past, this is an outstanding capture with superb DOF, fascinating colours and extraordinary sharpness.
Thanks for sharing the image.
I also enjoyed reading your note.

Buena composición, nitida y con buena luz, buen macro. Un saludo

Hi Loot,
A nice capture of this wandering glider. This is also a common species found here. You have captured it very well with sharp details also technical a good macro shot. A very nice dedication for Howard. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2008-03-28 4:30]

Hi Loot,
a stunning shot, those colors alone are very eye catching. Takes a while until those gliders settle down and are ready for a photo session. Mind you they never sit to long, so it's not to easy to capture one as perfectly as you did.
The POV is fabulous, nice seeing the glider hand on to the grass. Great diagonal line that adds to the composition.
The light worked well for you and brought out many detail and the vibrancy of the colors.

Hi Loot and thank you for this dedication. I'm glad I could help you a bit on your journey. Very nice DOF from head to tail.
An excellent composition/POV with great detail seen in your glider.
Well managed exposure, color, and the subject stands out from this BG, nice & soft..Hey, that sounds like toilet tissue doesn't it! ;}}
Have a great weekend mf,

Hello Loot,
Nice composition,well exposed and sharp picture but missing a bit of DOF on the front wings
Kind regards

Hallo Loot
Now this is what I call sheer magic. A dragonfly made out of gold, or am my eyes playing games with me? I don’t think I have ever seen such true colour gold on any living creature, except on women’s hands, ears and neck of course. No I am serious. If somebody would have told or explained to me about the colour of this insect, I don’t think I would have believed them. This is photography at its very best. This is really beautiful and I love the glittering in the wings, which you have managed to capture with excellent sharpness. It looks like a shimmering jewel, and it is truly gorgeous. Bravo on this perfectly presented photo.
Warmest regards
Please pardon me for the following, but if I was able to post photo’s I would of have loved to dedicate this specific one to all the couples out there that is close to or already had their golden wedding anniversary. 50 years is a long time and worth all the gold in the world.

Hi Loot,

Technically perfect and very, very beautiful.
Love the most wonderful colors, color contrast, clarity and the diagonall lines of the reed and wings.
Great macro image and excellent note!!!
Superb work again Loot. TFS!!!

Best regards and have a nice weekend,


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-03-28 10:58]

Hello Loot. This is a first class close up of the beautiful looking Dragonfly. The detail is spot on.You have capture the golden color so well with good light. i like the pose on the grass with a fine DOF. well done TFS.

Have a good weekend.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-28 11:42]

Hi Loot.
Touching and so interesting note supplements this brilliant close-up picture of wonderful scene. DOF is great despite the large aperture value. You managed to fill up in focus all insect and stem. BG is fantastic. Its blurriness and colorfulness are superb. Color palette of the image at whole, details and sharpness of dragonfly are excellent too. Bravo and best wishes.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-03-28 13:53]

Hello Loot,
What a perfection! Fantastic clear, vivid and contrasting colours. Perfect sharpness, POV, DOF, BG, composition............ A Masterpiece!
Have a good weekend,

Splendida immagine, "perfetta" sotto ogni aspetto POV, DOF, composizione, dettagli e soprattutto magnifici colori. Graziee complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-29 7:23]

Wow! What a beautiful dragonfly Loot!
The colours on its abdomen are really vivid and rich.
Excellent composition and POV.
Sharp and crisp with great detail in the wings especially.
Though the DOF is a bit shallow, you've still blurred the BG superbly and all the vital parts of the D-fly are tack-sharp.
Nice dedication to Howard :-)
Well done my friend,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-30 5:42]

Hello Loot,
This is a splendid view of this beautiful Glider in lovely golden colours. Very fine sharp details and amazing colours of the eyes too! It looks beautiful balancing on that very fine grass against the soft background.
An excellent composition too.
A very fine dedication for Howard too!
TFS and all the best wishes, Ulla


Amother one of your quality pics that you have posted here. A very detailed and sharp pic indeed. The composition combined with your very sharp detail of the subject against an OOF BG is excellent. I like your lighting, POV and DOF here too.

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2008-04-01 16:15]

Hello Loot
Mmmm, a perfect composition to showcase this dragonfly in all its splendour. The brilliant golden colours of the species came out very well in the photo and you show us great details of the insect. As you mentioned that this was one of your earlier macro photos and that you still did not realise the "criticality" of the depth of field when working at this closeness, but after all I think you still did a great job of it with good focus where it matters most. The distant background is well stripped of any detail and blurred out. Overall a very nice macro of this dragonfly.

Hi Loot
Hoekom het jy so lank geneem om hierdie foto te plaas? Ek dink dit is een van die bestes wat ek nog gesien het. Die goue kleur en die duidelike "lace" effek van die vlerke is ongelooflik!! Well done!! Ek sien uit na al die fotos wat jy nou gaan neem op jou kort vakansie. Hoop jy en Anna gaan 'n wonderlike tyd saam hê. Julle kan mekaar gerus maar bederf - 27 jaar is ook darm vasbyt en dit verg baie opoffering van albei kante - vra maar vir my, ons is vandag 37 jaar getroud!! So baie geluk - hoop julle het 'n baie lekker "wittebrood" naweek.

Hello Loot

Die digter praat van, "Die morestond het goud in die mond", maar hierdie ou het alles in sy agterstewe. Praat van die rykdom van die natuur. Dit lyk vir my of hierdie helikopter dit leterlik opgeneem het. Met een woord "pragtig", dit is nou die insek en die foto. Lekker skerp fokus, veral in die area van die lyf, kop en potte asook die gebied van die vlerke naby aan die lyf waar dit 'n uitstekende poging aanwend om as 'n replika van 'n gaas gordyn aangesien te word. Daardie blou en bruin oë is nogal iets eienaardig. Nogmaals 'n puik stukkie werk.


Hi loot,
what an amazing shot
great details very good colours and very well focused you do so well with taking picture of wildlife
thanks a lot for sharing
best regards Toba

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2008-04-06 11:11]

Hi Loot,
This dragonfly looks great with its golden cover and its metallic shine with suits perfectly against the oof green bg.
The diagonal reed gives a dynamic touch to the perfect, attractive composition.
TFS and best regard mf,
Jose Miguel

Hola Loot.
Magnífica imagen con una nitidez extraordinaria.
Bellos colores y estupendo bg.
Buen DoF.
Saludos, JL.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-04-07 21:57]

Hello Loot

An exquisite capture of this glider.The insect looks gilded in gold.
Lovely rich colours ,the yellows contrast well against the lovely green.
Nicely composed on the diagonal blade of grass.
Excellent POV and DOF.
The focus is pin sharp.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-04-08 14:40]

Hi Loot,
It's a very nice dedication for Howard. Sharpness, focus, background, lighting and details are lovely. TFS
All the best,

  • Great 
  • smitha Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 348 W: 73 N: 1165] (4409)
  • [2008-04-09 22:28]

Hello Loot,
A beautiful dedication to Howard.
Excellent macro shot with very good POv, sharpness and details.Nice vertical composition too. Well saturated colours and contrasts.
Thanks for the share,

  • Great 
  • dejo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 344 W: 51 N: 520] (2242)
  • [2008-04-10 22:26]

Hello Loot,
great caprure, real gold :)
nice composition & pose captured, beautiful details!
regards, Dejan

Hi friend Loot,
Superb shot of a dragonfly witt excellent clarity! All are percect! TFS.
Greetings from Cyprus,

Hello Loot,
Missed this quality photo (I don't like "shot").
The DOF is perfect. Nothing to critique actually.

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2008-04-19 10:34]

Hoi Loot , nog een keer ik had deze over het hoofd gezien ,ik mocht het net hebben over libelles , deze is prachtig ,mooi goud en prachtige bg , fantastisch shot , greetings Teunie ,

Hi Loot, superb dragonfly with splendid colors, wonderful details and great sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hello Loot. Your macro work is brilliant here with excellent optics you are working on. Howard must have been a good mentor for your work. I always find it rather hard to get the sharpness on dragonfly because the wings are wide in full spread for macro work. The shallow depth allowed will lead to strong tendency of losing out the focus on the wings - just like my latest post here :-(. You have captured this dragonfly brilliantly here. At f5.6, the sharpness of the image is flawless. Head abdomen, and tail are in perfect focus. What I like about this shot and Sigma lens is the way the background is being silenced. I can't get the pleasant muted background with my Nikon and always resort to my Sigma for this stunning effect. The diagonal perch is excellent for the crop and very well done. Thanks for sharing and best regards. Jusni

  • Great 
  • RII Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 481 W: 0 N: 895] (2862)
  • [2008-07-15 12:22]

Hi Loot.

Is a fine capture with vivid colors and contrast, great point of view and pose,fine details, the note is excellent. I wait your critique and comment to my recent picture (agreta).

  • Great 
  • Pearl Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 105 W: 25 N: 76] (321)
  • [2008-10-29 3:55]

Hi Loot,

This is a superb shot of this Glider. Excellent focus and very crisp, the details on the Glider are so sharp. Lovely DOF, POV, natural colors and composition. TFS.


Dear Loot,

You are a lucky man to receive your wife's chanson d'amour in this way. No doubt, she is your biggest admirer!

Your perfect presentation pays homage to this beautiful Dragonfly!

I searched TrekNature for Pantala flavescens, because the latest, actually first edition of ENVIRONMENT carries an incredible story about their migration.

I found the original publication of RC Anderson and paste it below

In the tropical Indian Ocean, the Maldive Islands lack surface freshwater, so are unsuitable for dragonfly reproduction. Nevertheless, millions of dragonflies (Insecta, Odonata; mostly globe skimmer, Pantala flavescens) appear suddenly every year starting in October. Arrival dates in the Maldives and India demonstrate that the dragonflies travel from southern India, a distance of some 500–1000 km. Dates of arrival and occurrence coincide with the southward passage of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Circumstantial evidence suggests that the dragonflies fly with north-easterly tail winds, within and behind the ITCZ, at altitudes over 1000 m. It is proposed that this massive movement of dragonflies is part of an annual migration across the western Indian Ocean from India to East Africa. Arrival dates in the Seychelles support this hypothesis. Dragonflies also appear (in smaller numbers) in the Maldives in May, with the onset of the southwest monsoon, suggesting a possible return migration from Africa. These proposed migrations of dragonflies, regularly crossing 3500km or more of open ocean, were previously unknown. It is known that these dragonflies exploit ephemeral rain pools for reproduction; the monsoons and ITCZ bring not only alternating, seasonal rains to India and Africa, but also appropriate winds for dragonflies to follow those rains. Several bird species migrate from India across the western Indian Ocean to wintering grounds in Africa. They do so at the same time as the dragonflies, presumably taking advantage of the same seasonal tail winds. Many of these birds also eat dragonflies; the possible significance of this was not previously appreciated.Anderson, R. C. 2009 J Trop Ecol . 25, 347–358

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