The two species of Demoiselles in Germany

Hey… it’s a long time since my last blog post. Apologies! But finally… here comes a new post and this time, it’s about my probably first photographic-related special interest of them all, dragonflies and damselflies ;)

When I was about six or seven years old, my big brother gave me his old Kodak Pocket Instamatic camera and I went out and shot damselflies. Well at least that was what I thought to do, as no one had told me about the secrets of viewfinder parallax or minimum focal distance… Anyway, that was then and this is now – here’s the first of the two Demoiselles (Calopterygidae) that live in Germany:

Banded Demoiselle

Read more about it at Wikipedia. These pictures were taken in June 2013 at the Swistbach in Heimerzheim, a village is located in the Eifel, a low mountain range in the West of Germany and the East of Belgium. The blue ones are the males and the others the females.

Banded Damselfly, male.
Banded Damselfly, male.
Banded Damselfly, male.
Banded Damselfly, male.
Banded Damselfly, female.
Banded Damselfly, female.
Banded Damselfly, female.
Banded Damselfly, female.

As you probably already have noted, I cheated a bit with the two pictures of the female: Actually I just got this one single shot of the lady, the second one is only a crop of the first one. This kind of things always works for internet resolutions but probably not in print …

Blue-Winged Demoiselle

Again, more information at Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia page describes this one as “often found among fast-flowing waters” while it actually is on the Red List of Threatened Species in Germany. I took these photos in July 2013 at the Flehbach which is a small stream in the East of Cologne. It has been straightened sometimes in the past but is still clean enough for a small population of these Damselflies. Again, the blue ones are the males:

Blue-Winged Damselfly, male.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, male.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, male.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, male.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, female.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, female.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, female.
Blue-Winged Damselfly, female.

The next two pictures are to give you an impression of where they actually live. The water actually doesn’t look too clean there, but there’s always a difference in what we humans think is “clear” – and what the animals really need:

Flehenbach, Cologne.
Flehenbach, Cologne.
Flehenbach, Cologne.
Flehenbach, Cologne.

Just a word about camera gear: I used my trusty E-M5 and the OM Zuiko 200/4 along with the 7 and 14 mm extension rings (combined). This way you’ll get a working distance of about 1 metre or even more which is very welcome as you don’t have to be too intrusive during shooting!

I always use f/5.6 or f/8 with this setup which gives enough depth of field with these rather large insects. Demoiselles are about 5 cm long, being the biggest damselflies here in Germany. A Metz 52 provided fill-in flash exposure, set up in FP mode which allows its use at all shutter speeds. Most of these shots have been taken between 1/250 and 1/800 second. ISO 200 in direct sunlight, 1ooo in some of the more shady situations. With Lightroom 4’s powerful denoise feature being used carefully, you are really hard pressed to see any difference up to about ISO 1000 in macro shots, even with the E-M5!

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