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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday's Sentiments: Catching a Dragonfly (and other beings) On Camera

"Yesterday a child came out to wonder Caught a dragonfly inside a jar..." are a couple of lines from Circle Game, a song by Joni Mitchell. These words are on my mind as I write this, because Friday, when I went out to wonder, specifically in Central Park, where I had gone for a morning walk with a mission of observing dragonflies through the long lens of my camera, I caught a dragonfly.

My catch is not inside a jar, rather my catch of this awesome creature is through the form of many similar photographs (including the ones directly above and immediately below) that he/she allowed me to take.

Observing his/her subtle and not so subtle movements as he/she alighted on various surfaces of flora growing near Turtle Pond inspired me to do a bit of research because, up until yesterday,  my only encounter with a dragonfly had been with one who visited my rooftop garden in 2011, which is when I took the following picture.

This picture is included in volume one of my book series, Words In Our Beak.


In the book, I limit my discussion re this insect to his/her relationship to birds.

But seeing a dragonfly on the "grounds" of Turtle Pond rekindled my interest in the creatures, and As I've just stated prompted me to do some research in order to learn  about them.

One thing I read about dragonflies is this: "these ferocious predators have sharp mandibles, near-360-degree vision and can fly backward." Maybe because I have four serious eye conditions that interfere with my eyesight (which include Acute Keratoconus, Staphyloma, Monocular vision, and Optic atrophy); I am struck by the fact that dragonflies have "360-degree vision." And people often wonder how someone with my visual challenges is able to work as a photographer. I have even been interviewed on two separate radio programs about this.

In my first radio interview, for 1010 WINS, John Montone posed the question, "It takes a sharp eye (to be a photographer)... or does it?"

During Montone's segments of interviews with me, we discussed how I used pinhole cameras and modified "regular" cameras to meet my needs. This interview can be heard within the About Pages on my website,, a site that was built by Chris Deatherage, a man who is the editor and formatter of my Words In Our Beak book series. It was in my second radio (WBAI) interview (The Al Lewis Show) that I spoke about how I  modified darkroom equipment to meet my needs. That interview can also be heard within the About Pages on my web-site.

When I began to photograph birds, I relied on their sounds (since it was often hard to see them) and a very long camera lens to give me a sense of where to aim my camera. I discussed this fact in my presentation at The New York Society for Ethical Culture.

The other way that I've been able to get pictures of creatures is through the kindness of strangers pointing out to me where a potential subject is located and instructing me as to where I should point my camera; as was the case with the dragonfly I saw near Turtle Pond. I learned about this creatures whereabouts through the generosity of domiziano88, who is a man I introduced (via a photo credit on a picture of a Kingbird) in a recent post.

After showing me his awesome photos of a dragonfly, he told me exactly where I should point my camera in the event I was able to return to the park to photograph the creature, the next set of images are also ones I took this past Friday.

On another note, my friend and Saturday-walking-partner, CF has also pointed out things for me to see (with my camera) because she is aware of my eye conditions.

For example, during one of our walks she pointed out a butterfly to me (who was probably a Red Admiral) and because I knew I could subsequently see it with my long lens, I have been on the lookout to see this butterfly again, which, I am happy to report also happened (as seen in the next series of pictures) this past Friday when I was en-route to where I expected to see a dragonfly.

Having described to you my hows and whys of being able to photograph aspects of nature (or any other subject for that matter), I can humbly say that the main reason I am able to do this is because of my God-given gift to appreciate the so-called little things life offers.


I realize I promised to publish this particular entry yesterday but I was unable to do that due to the fact that the area where I live was adversely affected by yesterday's black out in NYC. Sorry for any inconvenience and I hope you enjoyed this posting.

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