while I was working in the garden this weekend, I was excited by this little fella who decided to visit and hunt for a while.

Flame Skimmer

I quickly ran in to get a camera; my Pen-F Digital in this case, which had the kit zoom lens attached.  It’s an auto-focus lens which allowed me to get close enough but I really struggled to get it to focus on the insect rather than the background.  Luckily, he hung around for a while and I was able to make several attempts.  

The stick he is sitting on was poking out of the waste bin (trash can) I was using to tidy the garden – he found it to be the perfect spot to perch between attack runs around my garden.  This was perfect for me as I knew where he would be and be able to try out the best angles.  Also he didn’t seem to mind be getting fairly close and so all of these pictures are full and un-cropped.

Flame Skimmer

One of the frustrations I have had with wildlife photography since moving to the US is knowing what I am photographing.  I think it is important if you are posting pictures to be able to say what it is that you have captured.  In the UK I knew what most things were; partly due to my father who seemed to know everything as we grew up and I learned as I lived in the environment.  So coming to the US I was presented with lots of new plants and animals that were sufficiently different for me to be at a loss as to exactly what they were.

Just this last week I discovered the solution to my problem; an app called Seek from inaturalist.  Seek is like Shazam but for identifying species in nature and it works great!  I knew this was a dragonfly and this app allowed me to identify it as a Flame Skimmer which makes me very happy.

Flame Skimmer

The app can either use existing photos on your phone or use the camera to scan/capture an image.  On my phone the camera control doesn’t allow for zoom or picking a focus point which is a little annoying but not a massive issue and maybe they will fix that in future releases.

Very pleased with the results and hope this Flame Skimmer will return and I can try out a different lens next time.

Flame Skimmer in my garden