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It's Christmas Time Again

It's Christmas Time Again
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: 2009-12-16
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 450D, Canon 100-400mm EF f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/8, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Odonata: Dragonflies and Damselflies, Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, A study in Entomology (insects) 1, Dedications at Trek Nature, 80-89 Points I, Dragonflies - Damselflies, My Dedications ;o), Macromania, My Personal Favorites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-12-18 21:20
Viewed: 6661
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 86
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Broad Scarlet Darter - Crocothemis erythraea

This dragonfly is dedicated to all of you, the entire TrekNature community and all the visitors who frequently surf this site. Although it is not a traditional Christmas image I though it would be appropriate because of the red and green colours which at least are traditional Christmas colours.

I wish for you all a wonderful and blessed Christmas and whatever you do, please don't forget "the reason for the season"

It's Christmas Time Again
A poem by Bob Lazzar-Atwood.

Put your problems on probation. Run your troubles off the track.
Throw your worries out the window. Get the monkeys off your back.
Silence all your inner critics. With your conscience make amends.
And allow yourself some happiness. It's Christmas time again!

Call a truce with those who bother you. Let all the fighting cease.
Give your differences a breather. And declare a time of peace.
Don't let angry feelings taint the precious time you have to spend.
And allow yourself some happiness. It's Christmas time again!

Like some cool refreshing water. Or a gentle summer breeze.
Like a fresh bouquet of flowers. Or the smell of autumn leaves.
It's a banquet for the spirit. Filled with family, food and friends.
So allow yourself some happiness. It's Christmas time again!

This insect was photographed at the Thulasihleka Bird Sanctuary at Richards Bay. It was captured with the Canon 100-400mm lens which Anna (Miss_Piggy) received as her prize for winning the 2009 Wildside African Photographic Competition. Anna has finally made up her mind and decided that she rather want to stick with her trusted little compact camera, the Sony Cybershot DSC-H9. She fears that learning to use a DSLR camera at this stage would spoil her enthusiasm and enjoyment of photography. I tried to convince her of the benefits, but who am I to force Anna into using equipment she won't feel comfortable with (I have to admit that I did not endeavour too vigorously to persuade her though). So, guess what? Father Christmas came early this year and he has given me a Canon 100-400mm lens to play with. Thanks so much Anna, from the bottom of my heart, I really, deeply, and sincerely appreciate this wonderful gift, and if ever you want to borrow it we can always negotiate the rates, terms, and conditions (chuckle).

Wednesday, 16 December 2009, was a public holiday here in South Africa and we decided to go out to the Thulasihleka Bird Sanctuary to see if we could find any birds or insects to photograph. Turned out that there were no birds at all, so we zoomed in on the insects. This little guy was sitting just above the water surface on a reed leaf. Since I was standing upright and capturing the shot at an angle down towards the insect the water, which was very green with algae, created the nice evenly coloured background. The shot was handheld and the insect was ±2m away from me. This is definitely a vast improvement over the results I've obtained with the Sigma 150-500mm stabilising lens.

If perhaps you might be 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)
SUBFAMILY: Sympetrinae (darters)

The darters are generally small to medium sized dragonflies. They are mostly common dragonflies, often noticed due to their colours. Males are generally very brightly coloured, ranging from totally red to rich blue. As with many Libellulid species, the females tend to be dull brown or orange.

Like most Libellulids they tend to perch on sticks, reeds or stones near water, flying out to catch insects then returning to their perch.

Size: medium, length 43-47mm; wingspan 58-64mm.

Male: Heavy bodied, red dragonflies with clear wings and a bright blue eye flash. The yellow wing spot is over 3mm long. The abdomen is particularly broad and has a maximum width of 3mm. A small amount of amber is present on the base of the hind wings. This patch, the broad body and the absence of black on the legs, head and thorax separate this species from almost all others.

Female: Pinkish-brown in colour with a greenish stripe running along the thorax between the wings (called a dorsal stripe). Immature specimens are often a golden-brown colour.

This species is common and is found in most parts of Africa. It is encountered in suitable habitat from the Western Cape east through South Africa to Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and across northern Botswana and Namibia. It is also found in parts of Europe and Asia.

Occurs near reedy pools or marshes, particularly around bulrushes and sage. This species is not found in forests. Often settles on stalks or grass and even on the ground. A very alert species.

Conservation status
Common. Least concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Source: "First Field Guide to Dragonflies of Southern Africa" by Warren & Vienessa Goodwin, published by Struik Publishers.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

nasokoun, meyerd, xTauruSx, cirano, Miss_Piggy, flashpoint, horias, albert, Argus, CeltickRanger, marianas, goatman04, nglen, matatur, uleko, boreocypriensis, Noisette, zulfu, caspian, jaycee, siggi, wuta, Mello, Rehanna, MMM, betsie, Alex99, bedri, tuslaw, chrisruth, sranjan has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To manyee: Prayerful poseloot 1 12-18 21:48
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2009-12-18 21:37]
  • [+]

A perfect choice for this holiday post, Loot!
What a beautiful shot, with every detail jumping out, brilliant colors, and just the right exposure to show off the veins in the wings masterfully.
Is the prayerful pose also intentional?
Thanks for the good wishes, and the same to you. : )
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

hello Loot
very good your composition and the pose of this dragonfly, nice output in vivid colors and fine details, nice macro!
beautiful notes! Marry Christmas!
keep photographing! TFS

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-12-18 22:27]

Hello Loot
This is a perfect macro capture. A top quality image taken with sharp details, vivid colors and perfect focus.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-12-18 23:42]

Hi Loot,
Very nice capture of this Dragonfly.I liked POV,vivid colors,blurred BG and cross framing a lot.Sharpness and lighting are excellent.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thanks for posting..

Wow, Loot, what a beautiful and colorful "Christmas decoration!" An excellent choice! I know exactly what you mean with the lens you used, I have just bought myself a Sigma 120-400 F4.5-5.6 Optically Stabilized lens and can't wait to go try it out in Kruger.
Oh, and tell Anna not to be scared of the big Canon :-)

Ciao Loot, lovely diagonal composition, beautiful dragonfly with wonderful Crhistmas colors, good blurry BG, great DOF, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-12-19 1:17]

Hello Loot,
What a perfection! Incredible sharpness and details and the colours are gorgeous. Together with the diagonal composition this is a masterpiece!
Thank you very much and
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hi Loot,

first I wish to thank you for your funny comments on Little Red Riding Hood, and for answering the riddle "Forest, why do you have so many trees?" Of course in our country the forests do not behave like the Big Bad Wolf but Man does :-) Today's decision in Copenhague is not even worth the tree for making the paper it was printed on.

I like your personal note on Christmas and the presents you expect under your (what kind of?) tree. Give a big hug to Anna from me and tell her that I know the dilemma we are all in, what with the complexity, size and weight of all the equipment if we go for good photography. In my case things are compounded by the fact that I like to do my trips on the Silk Road by bicycle, carrying all the stuff for 6 or so weeks with me on the bike. Whenever I look at the pictures from earlier trips to places I will not be able to see again I regret the insufficient quality of the shots. The worst with the compact is, as you know, the lack of control: a lot of praying goes with a low success rate.

Oh, by the way, Iike your Dragon fly a lo(o)t; details, the background, the color but most of all the interesting pose are appealing. I strong reminder that you have summer right now.

My best regards from snown-in Switzerland

Hello Loot, a great close-up shot of this beauty with wonderful details, colours and nice composition. Happy new year to you too.
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2009-12-19 2:34]

Slav Loot,
This is a first class macro shot of this beautiful dragonfly with splendid colors and great sharpness.TFS.

Dear Loot
I can only but applause this image for outstanding quality and you for your excellent camerawork. If I look at the high standard and end result of this macro I do not have any regrets that I gave you the Canon lens, which I feel you are much more entitled to than I am. This is a perfect example of how a macro should look like. Everything in this image is just spot on. Brilliant focus, first-rate sharpness, pleasing composition, smooth neutral background, vibrant colours, wonderful pose of the dragonfly and glimmer and shine on the wings. Combine all that was just mentioned and one feast your eyes to a first rate, top class image. I thankfully accept this dedication as fellow member of Trek Nature as part of your beautiful Christmas wish, and in the same breath want to thank you for your valuable contributions to the site, as you do not only enrich my life with your knowledge and expertise, but I am sure plenty others too.
Love you lots.

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2009-12-19 5:29]

Wonderful Crocothemis erythraea!
Details are very sharp!Colors is wonderful!
The POV and BG is fantastic.

Hello Loot,
You did learn very quickly on how to use your new lense 100-400 !
Great photo with excellent sharpness
I whish you and Anna a wonderful Christmas
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-12-19 6:00]

A Merry Christmas to you and Anna, Loot!
A fine way to mark the season with this suitably red Crocothemis male, well taken from a great POV with a high technical standard. The composition on the green blad against the green neutral BG is perfect!
You certainly know how to use the prize that Anna gave you! Please give her my congratulations!

The reason for the season is very much to mind these days but to little avail when it comes to international cooperation to save our environment!
Lets hope for a better 2010 and I wish you and Anna a healthy and happy year.
With kind regards,

hello Loot

« It's Christmas Time Again » and Merry Christmas
to you & to your familly, you choosed the best
colour tones for a Christmas time photo,
the green as background and over it the red, TFS


The sharpness of the details are amazing!
Colors are beautiful!

Hello Loot,

Outstanding indeed with such striking colors, sharpness & fine details. Great POV, pose & BG. Very well taken, composed & presented. TFS & best compliments.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to you & Anna!


Fantastic capture Loot, with a perfect blurred neutral background. It gives a great 3D effect of this dragonfly. The colors and very well taken, including the blue part of the head. I wish you to enjoy Chrismas time in summer (I'm quite jealous...). Best regards,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-12-19 9:13]

Hi Loot. Nice to see a picture from you. This is a first class close up of this brightly coloured Dragonfly. Which you have taken with sharp focusing and fine detail. Your use of the natural light has given a shine to the body and wings. I like the eye level POV. All with interesting notes. Well taken TFS.

Hi Loot,
that's realy perfect - the colours are wonderful for the Christmas-season and the shot is excellent. I like the diagonal arrangement, so beautiful, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Thank you indeed for this wonderful image of a Scarlet Darter in perfect focus, exposure and composition Loot, and also for the general dedication. Please accept my "Season's Greetings" and convey my best wishes to your dear wife.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-12-19 10:11]

Hello Loot,
What a lovely wife you've got!! I bet you're pleased seeing this excellent result! I wish you many happy hours with this new camera!Sharpness and colours are fantastic and I envy the smooth background.
Thanks for your good wishes and I wish you too a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
With kind regards, Ulla

hello Loot
this is a super sharpness picture with good details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

Hi Loot,

Lovely picture of this red dragonfly. A lovely vivid red colour has been captured along with very good detail and a nice blurred background.
Great capture and TFS


Hi MF Loot,

Wowww... Impressive capture of this beauty in red in all aspects!
You've managed to focus in on it nicely. Nice balanced exposure too. You've done a good job to capture this one MF!
I also wish you and your family a merry christmas and a happy new year 2010. Let`s hope the best...
TFS and have a nice night!


Hello Loot
an amazing shot of this Broad Scarlet darter, wonderful diagonal composition
i like the shiny and well detailed wings, the whole dragonfly is also crisp clear sharp, the green and plain BG is superb
Have a great sunday

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-12-19 15:00]

Hello Loot, supeeb composition with nice colours and details.
I also wish you and Anna a nice cristmas!
TFS and G's,

Hi Loot,

Eye-catching vibrant red color with this beautiful living thing was a great shot.
In the right place at the right time to make really great skill and accurate shooting and want a job skill and luck.
You have all that you achieve very great.
Health into your hands. Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-12-19 15:46]

Hi Loot,

It is very appropriate for Christmas - not all of us live where it snows and looks like winter. A very beautiful Dragonfly in a wonderful diagonal position. The red is amazing and the details of the face, body and wings are superfine. Can you believe it will soon be 2010? It seems like we just had the millennium.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-12-20 0:18]

Hello Loot
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
This is great work. Lovely depth of colour, good detail shown and well composed. Very nice to view.Best regards Siggi

Howzit Loot,
Great capture of this dragonfly with pin sharp image, spot on exposure and frozen in time.Brilliant warm colour against your undisturbing BG.

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2009-12-20 10:03]

Hallo Loot , prachtige composition en kleuren ,perfect en mooie bg .fijne dagen en goed 2010 .

  • Great 
  • Mello Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 140 W: 34 N: 480] (2419)
  • [2009-12-20 12:46]

Dear Loot,
I don't know witch one is the best, your perfect shot or your amazing note.

I'd like to say that I'm thankful for your words in my last post.

I'm happy because it's Christmas time again and because we believe in the same "reason for the season".

Thanks a lot for your "gift pic" and see you in TN.

Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2009-12-21 7:24]

Hi Loot
Beautiful macro.Excellent POV and nice pose .That image is crystal clear with excellent detail.I also like the colors.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2009-12-22 2:37]

Merhaba Loot,
Netlik, renkler ve kompozsiyon harika olmuş.

Hola Loot,

muchas gracias por tus amables palabras y deseos, realmente me hacen feliz y veo que en esta web hay una gran sintonía que nos une a través de la fotografía , que de una manera u otra a todos nos encanta.
Tu toma diferente, con una interesante saturación del color que crea un efecto especial, algo "galáctica" pero muy atractiva. Bien encuadrada.

Un abrazo desde españa y buenas fiestas Navideñas, a ser posible en compañía de toda tu familia:

Josep Ignasi Tejedor.

A wonderful capture Loot... very brillant and detailed... great composition.

Merry Christmas... :)


Hi Loot,
A familiar photo. Thank you for the christmas card and all the best to you and Annie as well. I hope you and your family will have a wonderful christmas.
The photo is a very beautiful one. Especially the natural contrast of the green and red. It makes a classic. I love the shiny effect on the wing and the almost metallic look of the dragonfly. The details are of a very good quality and you have mastered the DOF perfectly.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-12-25 4:38]

Hi Loot.
First of all I wish to congratulate Anna on winning. And prize is really great. I like this lens so much and wished to buy it but I preferred Nikon D700 vs Canon. Of course I could not win it at all :).

Shared shot is amazing in every aspect. I am impressed with composition, vibrant colours, superb DOF and sharpness of the beautiful dragonfly and leaf. Bokhe is always great at this lens. Bravo and hearty wishes to you and Anne for New Year. Merry Christmas to you.
P.S. I hope your majestic lion will be wait for me.

  • Great 
  • bedri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 111 W: 0 N: 237] (1284)
  • [2009-12-26 6:02]

Excellent macro Loot, very good sharpness and POV, BG, DOF. Super, congratulations and TFS.

Happy new years..
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-12-26 7:11]

Hello Loot, and "Merry Christmas to you and Anna,
From the "King Of The Beast" to a stunning colorful dragonalfly, your images are always a pleasure to view. This particular image displays excellent composition, tac sharp detail and gorgeous Christmas colors. Super work!!

Hi Loot

I must say a very happy Christmas to you, Anna and the family as well. Thank you for leaving us with this wonderful poem for the season.

I really appreciate to see that you have made the time to be active again on TN, because I always go and look at your photos for inspiration and guidance in photography. I really miss spending time with my friend and 'mentor in photography' as you have inspired me to take up this wonderfully exciting hobby.

I love the beautiful bright 'Christmas colors' you managed to capture on your dragonfly and I'm sure you are going to spoil us with many more photos like this after your lovely Christmas gift.

Please send my regards and congratulations to Anna for winning such a wonderful award. I'm sure the healthy competition will give us many more photos to enjoy on TN community.

Kind Regards

  • Great 
  • girni Silver Note Writer [C: 7 W: 0 N: 13] (193)
  • [2012-08-25 9:56]

what color harmony, green and red!
what details of this insect! I love the composition and you dream match!!

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