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March Bluetail

March Bluetail
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: 2006-04-26
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 400, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/640 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, Odonata: Dragonflies and Damselflies 2, 70-79 Puntos (chapter 2), A study in Entomology (insects) 1, Dragonflies - Damselflies, Macromania [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-03-08 22:21
Viewed: 7761
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
March Bluetail - Ischnura senegalensis

It has been a while since I last posted a macro shot of an damselfly, so for a change of scenery here is a female damselfly that I photographed at the Thulasihleka Pan Bird Sanctuary at Richards Bay after the normal run about, retries & patience.

Taxonomic Classification

KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Arthropoda
CLASS: Insecta
DIVISION: Palaeoptera
ORDER: Odonata (toothed jaw)
Medium to large insects, with a long, slender abdomen, 2 pairs of large clear wings with very complex venation, very large compound eyes and short, bristle-like antennae. Odonata consist of two suborders:
(1.) Dragonflies (Anisoptera) are large and robust, with broader hind wings than fore wings, both pairs opening flat when at rest. They have large eyes which usually meet on the top of the head. These are split into 2 simple groups.
- Hawkers, usually bigger, faster flyers with long bodies and wingspan of ±10cm.
- Darters and Chasers, usually smaller, fatter and have slightly flattened bodies with wingspan of ±5-7cm.
(2.) Damselflies (Zygoptera) are smaller (daintier) and have more slender bodies, with equal fore and hind wings held together vertically above the back when at rest. They have eyes which are widely separated.
SUBORDER: Zygoptera
Damselflies have a rectangular shaped head. They undergo incomplete metamorphosis. The female lays eggs in water, sometimes in underwater vegetation. Nymphs are carnivorous, feeding on daphnia, mosquito larvae, and other small aquatic organisms. After molting, the adult emerges and eats flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects.
FAMILY: Coenagrionidae
They enjoy a world-wide distribution, and are among the most common of damselfly families.
GENUS: Ischnura
SPECIES: senegalensis

Cool Facts about Odonata
- Today there are approximately 5,300 known species in the world.
- Their front and back wings move separately so they can stop and change direction in mid air.
- They can fly at speeds of up to 50km/h.
- They can detect movement up to 15m away.
- They are very successful hunters with bristly front legs to catch their victims and large mouth parts to crunch them up.

Smallish (wingspan 38mm), underside of abdomen is tan. Males are a more brilliant blue. Females have a pale green or orange thorax, and a greenish black abdomen. The only species in the genus, with 3 female forms known. Adults occur from Oct-Jun, often gregariously.

Found in almost any stagnant or slow-flowing body of water, often the only damselfly present. Rare in mountain streams, and seems to tolerate saline water.

Throughout Southern Africa and extends to equatorial Africa and India.

Source: "Field Guide to Insects of South Africa" by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving. Struik Publishers.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

bobair, Silvio2006, Silke, jhm, saeedabbasi, dew77, Tamrock, Adanac, Janice, Argus, JoseMiguel, Alex99, jaycee, simon182, oscarromulus, ellis49, jeanpaul, aido, horia, ramthakur, Dyker, wuta, scottevers7, Aaltjie, pilonm, marhowie, SkyF, peter_stoeckl, betsie, jonathan_hart, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
dragonflies and damsels are easily my favorite insects.This is one that I have not seen before and it is like most,a rather attractive looking little creature.The details are good however the lighting is a touch too strong.TFS. Bob

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2007-03-09 1:36]

Hi Loot,

A well captured macro of this damselfly,with nice colors,good sharpness and details,the name of this one is well chosen as is it the same as in the month wherin you post it,anyway well done and TFS


I have NEVER seen one of these "helicopters" with colour!! I never took notice of them as being so beautiful - thank you for making me aware of the beauty around us. Good shot Loot!

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  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2007-03-09 2:09]

Hi Loot,

Lovely image from this dragonfly, very difficult for taking, very nice picture, colours, sharpness and the light are superb!

Best regards,

Hi dear Loot ,
really this is wonderful shot with amazing colours.
great light , sharpness and excellent somposition.
great details.
thanks for sharing

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  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-03-09 2:52]

Hello Loot,
Very nice capture.Details and colors on damselfly are great.I liked POV,lighting,BG and composition also a lot.

hello loot!
very nice and sharp macro
with fine pov and good
great shot!

bonjour loot
excellent,le BG est parfaitement flou,coloré et lumineux.la demoiselle s'en detache bien.
dof ideal,bon POV et superbes couleurs.

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-03-09 4:26]

Hi Loot,
Superb composition of this dragonfly with amazing details showing off the beautifully colored markings and even the seed head. Expertly done Loot.

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  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-03-09 4:57]

Hello March Bluetail. Very good macro Loot, so sharp and clear. They always look so pretty with those bright colours too.
I've seen only a few of these flying insects in NZ, but they are so small and move so fast I say Well Done to anyone with a shot like this. BRAVO!

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  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-03-09 5:02]

"after the normal run about, retries & patience," he says! And I thought that the British were famous for their understatements. Loot, I am learning just how much effort that really means all over again. It is quite a challenge. And just as you are the master of the understatement here, so too are you the master of nature photography. This is hair-sharp (a miracle in itself) with wondrous colours and the most perfect of compositions. Superb posting
back with :)

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-03-09 7:22]

Hello Loot,
I like the composition of this shot of a female African Ischnura, apart from the sharpness and pleasing bokeh BG.
The grass head that she is perched on almost looks like wheat.
TFS and best wishes, Ivan

Hi Loot, splendid macro with wonderful details, good light and colors, lovely blur BG, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hi Loot,
A high quality image!
I really like the magnificent light there and the sharp details got on the insect.
The colors on the body are so vivid.
It's very good the POV and the DOF used to get that soft background.
I like so much the composition made with all the elements.
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-03-09 9:52]

Hi Loot.
Excellent by subject and quality close-up picture. Amazing composition: posture of the ear and insect are very expressive. I also like the terrific transparency of the picture, clearness of colours and sharpness of the main objects and precisely selected DOF. Your POV is very impressive too. Superb job. My congratulations and TFS.

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-03-09 11:13]

Hi Loot,

A fantastic macro of this lady. The colors and details are outstanding. The composition is superb - a beautiful picture.


Hi there Loot,

Fantastic macro you present today. I love the high quality of detail and the out of focus background (was any PP done to help achieve this?)
The composition of the subject is nice using the diagonal of the dragonfly to cut across the shot.
Excellent positioning to get this viewpoint and to time it so well. The specimen look very delicate in all its shimmering beauty.

Nice work,

Such DETAIL.!!!
You are TN to me and for me. Am going to change your name from Loot to Mr. "TN".
Meticulasly clean work. GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY.
Your notes are just FABULOUS. Am so grateful I met you.
THANK YOU, thank you, THANK YOU.
Best regards, Mario.

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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-03-10 0:49]

Wow, Loot! A perfect composition!
I love the two converging diagonals of the grass shaft and the long damselfly body.
The light is beautiful, hightlighting the gorgeous colors on the insect and bringing out their irridescence.
The details on this skinny damsel are just exquisite.
TFS. ; )

Hi Loot,
this is very fine picture of a beautifil DF, the colours are
amazing. The sahllow DOF helps the subject to stand our well
from the BG. Well composed and good POV.
Great work, my friend.

I have been out of internet for 9 days since I changed ISP,
but I'm back now.

Salut Lott
Cette photo en macro de cette belle demoiselle est superbe, c'est une oeuvre d'art
Les couleurs sont tellement belles, les détails très précis, et dépouillée de tout artifice dans l'arrière plan, ce qui met en valeur le sujet.
Félicitations merci et amitié...JP

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  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2007-03-11 0:52]

Hi Loot,
Superb macro shot, I keep thinking I should buy a macro lens but unfortunately my camera equipment wishlist outweighs my available cash by orders of magnitude :-( Anyway, back to the reason I'm here, your image. Great quality, not a hint of noise anywhere, perfect DOF and a clean background highlight the subject well. Great colour and nicely framed. More great work from you.

I've missed a number of your posts due to complete lack of time (too much work), I'll endeavour to return. I've spent most of the day today here and at Treklens and I've enjoyed myself.

Best regards,

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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-03-11 10:23]

Hi Loot and very sorry for the delay

This is a splendid macro work! You're right...it's been quite a while since you've posted something like this ;) I, for one, missed them :)
I must say that besides the outstanding photo, your note is just fantastic! I hope that everyone who gave a critique to this shot managed to read it...they might just learn something interesing and usefull out of it!

Coming back to the shot, i really love the clarity of all the details and the fact that every edge and part of the body is in perfect focus.
The colors are lovely and very well saturated, the lighting is impeccable (especially since it's natural lighting) and the diagonal composition looks terrific.
To be perfectly honest, i think the contrast is just a wee too much (maybe some 5-10 points on the PS scale), but besides that, the post is wonderful!

Bravo and TFS

Pretty lady, this damselfly, Loot.
I feel damselflies are better looking than dragonflies with their sleek long bodies and delicate colours.
Your Ischnura has such lovely touches of blue and green on its main body and tail-end.
The image is perfect in every respect.
Thanks and take care.

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  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-03-11 12:43]

Hello Loot
Since my introduction to insect macro photography during December I have tried my best to catch one of these beauties, but so far they have eluded me. This photo is just the more inspiration and hopefully soon I will catch one of these amazing damselflies as well. You really did well with this photo as you managed to show us the insect in its habitat while highlighting the beauty of the species. You succeeded to tame that blistering Zululand sun as the exposure is perfect. The focus is razor sharp on the insect and the DOF ensured that the background is totally OOF although I would believe that those grasses were not too far away from the damselfly. I like this photo very much and I think you did great work.

Hi Loot,

Great macro shot of this dameselfly. OOF soft green background really makes this one punch out. Details are very sharp. :)

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  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2007-03-11 14:53]

Hallo Loot , Dit is een prachtige damselfly ,heel scherp en mooie kleuren compositie en bg , groetjes teunie .

Hi Loot,
An excellent macro shot on this March Bluetail. Exposure is spot on. This brought out rich color saturation and sharp detail. A well controled DOF has rendered a nice OOF backround. I can't wait for spring and summer. I love photographing dragons and damselles.


God made all the animals, big and small. From zebras to puppies, from elephants to Loot’s March Bluetail damselfly. God made all the animals, big and small. God made ALL creatures -- even the scary, slimy, hairy, creepy, crawly animals. He made them all, and I want to give God thanks for all the creatures that He made to make the world so beautiful.

Beautiful – Indeed!

Good looking, gorgeous, stunning, striking, pleasant, looking, lovely fastidious, awesome, magnificent, breathtaking, glorious, brilliant, outstanding, bravura, superlative, irradiant, extraordinary, exceptional, tip top, first class photo of this Royal Splendour.

I think I’ve used 99.5% of all the synonyms in the vocabulary.

Veels geluk! Ik kon niet om een beter feest voor mijn ogen gevraagd hebben. Uw nota's zijn als gebruikelijke zeer informatief. Ik zocht naar wat meer beelden van dit Maart Bluetail, en kan zeggen in al eerlijkheid dat niet men bij uw norm van het werk kan vergelijken

Thanks for sharing.

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  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2007-03-14 12:12]

Hello Loot,

Very nice picture of this damselfly using a good exposition. An aperture of f10.0 let you have the whole insect in focus... Colors are remarkable also...

The only thing is maybe the busy bg (maybe f8.0 would have been a better choice in order to have the bg more blurry) and, IMHO, a lower pov would have been better... But I know that within a so short instant it is not obvious at att to have the perfect pov with those flying insects :-)

Bye and TFS,


Hello Loot,
There's not one thing not to like about this damsel, she's a looker!
The color and exposure is outstanding, and she's so well seen against the greens of her OOF environment. Sharpness, detail, comp.. it's all there :)
Very well done mf.

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  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-03-18 8:50]

Hi Loot,
this macro is incredible, a perfect DOF to show off the damselfly in perfect sharpness. The colors are incredible and the details are great. Very nice diagonal composition and the OOF BG works perfectly.

Dear Loot,
you are showing us an image of fragile elegance and precious beauty, as if made of emerald, turquois, and onyx. The damselfly is clearly well shown with fine details, well determined contrasts and juicy strong colours in a colourful surrounding that is vibrating with energy. Thank you!
With best regards,

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-03-19 22:49]

Hello Loot

A razor sharp image of this damselfly.The colours are vivid and bold.The DOF is excellent,and the OOF BG is remarkable.TFS


Hello Loot,
Wow, those colors are very stunning, I like it. They all go so well together, like it was done on purpose :-) You caught excellent details on the damselfly and I like this superb brilliance. It almost looks like you used a flash :) DOF is superb and so is this blurred BG. You chose the perfect exposure I guess. Congratulations on a great picture!

Hallo Loot
This is an incredible colourful photo with details clearly visible and well displayed. Great focus, great sharpness and great framing. Image presented in a superb manner. This photo has so much character to it. The isolation of your damselfly from the background is done splendidly. Thanks for sharing this elegant and spectacular insect in pose with us.

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