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Blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The photo at upper left shows a somewhat tattered female blue dasher -- very different from the pale blue-colored adult males with brilliant blue or green eyes.   Other females, with green markings, are shown below.   These assumed attractive poses on twigs and buds at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Riverside, California, and in Mojave Narrows Regional Park in Victorville, California.   The males at the bottom of the page are in 'obelisk' pose: a vertical posture that in cool weather orients the body perpendicular to the sun's rays and helps the animal warm up, or in warm weather points the body axis at the sun to minimize solar heating.   Since I was trying to photograph birds, and because dragonflies are often quite wary, I used a big telephoto lens and a 2X converter as a 1000 mm 'macro lens' for most of these images.   A few were taken with a long 'real' macro lens (180 mm) and a ringflash.

Another common blue dragonfly in California is the male western pondhawk.

  • Canon 10D, 40D, 1D Mk. II, 1D3, or 7D; 500 mm IS lens plus 1.4X or 2X converter and extension tubes, or Tamron 180 f3.5 macro lens, or 70-200 f4 IS zoom with extension tube, or Sigma 150 mm f2.8 macro lens; fill-in flash (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012)