Monday, June 28, 2010

Emperors in Flight

I spent a hot hour this afternoon trying to photograph Emperor dragonflies in flight - a very frustrating activity but I did end up with one sequence of images in focus - typically the very first images that I took. Which wing position do you think works best?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Impossible Task

Trying to photograph 8 babies all around 1 - 2 months proved a huge challenge. Certainly I gave up on the eye contact.It was difficult enough preventing the dominoes effect as when the end one collapsed they all went.
Eventually managed all 8 in a row and then decided flat on the ground might be more successful. I really needed to be directly above but the very limited time before one became unhappy prevented any intricate manouevres so I just took from each side.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Balloon over Toft

The noise of the burner alerted us as this splendidly red balloon came right over our bungalow.

The light was so clear that you might even be able to recognise someone on board. It must have been a wonderful sight looking down from there. The balloon landed only a few fields away towards Comberton but there were trees masking my view of the touch down.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dragonfly egg-laying

A couple of images of an Emperor Dragonfly laying its eggs on water weed stems. I liked the ripples in the first shot and the Common Blue damselfly resting on the dragonfly in the second. I will have to have another go using a tripod with a slower shutterspeed to get a smaller aperture and hence more depth of field. These were 1/800th shutterspeed
and f7.1/f8 aperture.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Burwash Manor Farm

Spent a very pleasant afternoon at Burwash Manor Farm being shown around by the owner Michael Radford. The farm is run organically with plenty of areas set aside for wildlife. For more details, see

There are strips of land seeded with local wild flowers - beetle banks to encourage beneficial insects such as ground beetles that consume slug eggs and other species that predate aphids. Lots of large skippers were enjoying the Greater Knapweeds that are just coming into flower.

There are also several shallow ponds which encourage several dragonfly species and also ducks - this baby mallard had got separated from its mother and travelled at high speed to catch up.

Not a very good picture of a female Black-tailed Skimmer as it would insist on landing on the ground so the wings could not be seen.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Four 'pattern' pictures taken around Paddington Station area. A celebration of steel and concrete

Thursday, June 17, 2010


This heron appeared in front of me in Regent's Park and I was holding an infrared camera with a 50mm lens

More Reapeating Patterns

Three enigmatic views while walking from Kings Cross to Paddington

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The waiting game

A few images from my journey by train to Bath. All have an element of waiting.

The many repeated objects in the last image appealed as well as the cones

Monday, June 14, 2010

Four-spotted chaser

A visit to Wicken Fen provided an opportunity to photograph a Four-Spotted Chaser that had just emerged from its larval case. I used various lens combinations to see what worked best. In each of the pairs, the first is the 50 macro lens with converter to give life size and with a ringflash. The second is the 100-400mm with a 25mm extension tube used at 400mm end in second photo and 100 end in fourth.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Travels with the Infrared

Some images from trip to Kings Lynn to lecture - not very good weather but took a few shots with the infrared camera.

The daisies are from a layby on the Papworth bypass - never seen quite such a profusion of blooms.

Peppered Moth

Very pleased to catch a Peppered Moth in my light trap last night as it was very much part of my biology teaching through the years. When first studied 200 years ago, all moths were like this one, pale and speckled and so hidden from predators on lichen-covered branches. With Industrialisation, lichens died out and trunks were generally soot covered. This led to the selection of the naturally occurring dark forms and predation of the light forms. The melanistic form predominated up to the second half of the 20th Century.
With the advent of smoke-free zones and the loss of heavy polluting industry, the light form is now reestablished.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Newly emerged dragonfly

This dragonfly emerged from its larval case yesterday morning in a neighbour's pond. The full colouring develops gradually during the day. Any ideas on identification from your book, Sue.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Few more from Ely Eventing Day

A few images taken at 1/1000th second rather than the slower shutterspeed of yesterday's posting.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ely Eventing

I tried various techniques at this event and found that panned shots at 1/200th second gave the best spray. I will post some faster shutterspeed images later.

We had been at this event for 7 hours when Bryan rightly suggested we should go back and start downloading the numerous images. I said 5 more horses or 5 minutes more at the water splash. The this happened. Fortunately neither rider nor horse were injured though the rapid inflation of the safety jacket caused some discomfort.

Figure Eighty Moth

I have put the moth trap out a couple of evenings and have trapped some of the larger species - hawk moths in particular (see separate moth page) but this is my favourite so far - its name Figure of Eighty is totally appropriate. It has amazing green eyes and striped legs

Ann Miles Photography - My Favourite Images of the Past10 years or so