01 Aug 14. A different approach for close-up/macro Friday this week. When we lived in MD we decided to purchase a canoe with a broad beam for use in photographing some of the life abundant on Lake Whetstone, the lake just across the street from our home. We had shared a canoe with our good friends in Pensacola and gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it so having one in MD seemed like the natural thing. We made some use of it before it started to come apart shortly before we left to come out west but the company who made it stood behind it and gave us a new one upon our arrival. We had big plans for it but they never materialized and the canoe remained a virgin until a few weeks ago when the owners of the camera store I worked in borrowed it for an outing. I thought they would have a great time with it but as it turned out they didn't as they felt it to be unstable which really surprised me. Last Monday we decided to try it out and I didn't take the camera because I wasn't sure about the beast being stable and wanted to give it a go without having to concern myself with the potential for loss of any gear. When I purchased the original canoe the salesman told me that this particular model was THE one I needed for stability, not maneuverability, for my desires of photography. I had found the original to be just what he told me and again, on Monday's trip, I found it to be so. As we were paddling around a local lake about 5 miles from our house, Buck Lake, I was delighted to encounter literally hundreds of mating dragonflies and damselflies. But no camera!!! So I decided to make another trip on Wednesday to shoot the insects as well as the copious amount of blooming water lilies around a large portion of the shoreline. As it turned out, the hundreds of insects we saw on Monday were just dozens on Wednesday, but enough for me to try my skill at capturing them. For the most part my efforts failed miserably, but the water lily images came out just fine. I made a couple of mistakes when it came to the insects, the major of which was not setting the shutter speed fast enough. While shooting the lilies the shutter speeds picked by the camera were consistently over 1/1000 whenever I checked to see what was being set, so I foolishly never bothered to check to see what was being selected when switching to shoot the insects. For reasons I don't understand, the camera was selecting speeds like 1/100 to 1/400 for the insects, way too slow to capture the very fast moving critters. And before you ask, the other mistake was going out in the morning vice the afternoon. As it turned out these particular insects like the heat of day over the cooler temps in the morning that we prefer. So it is back to the lake early next week, in the heat of early afternoon, hoping that they are still active and I can try my hand again. As we were observing the mating behavior of the red darner dragonflies, we noted that the mated pair would ever so many seconds repeatedly dip the end of the abdomen of the bottom insect, which we assumed to be the female, just below the water's surface. Our assumption is that an egg or eggs were being deposited each time but we have no way of knowing if that is what was occurring. This is one of the few red skimmer shots that I got that is acceptable, albeit barely, even at 1/800 sec, but I thought I'd share. The size of the insects on my 17" (diagonal) screen is very close to actual size. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 200; 1/800 sec @ f / 6.3.