MOVIE: whitefaces

Lilypad Whiteface
Lilypad Whiteface

In a previous post I wrote about my search for the Lilypad Whiteface, one that was finally successful earlier this month with a really fresh individual. My next goal was to photograph a nice colored male on a leaf of a lily. This is easier said as done with this extremely rare dragonfly. There are only a few places where you can see this species, most of them deep in nature reserves and well protected (for good reason of course). There is only one known place which is accessible for public. One is somewhere in de Wieden, a large marshland. It’s one of the places I unsuccessfully visited last year. This year things turned out to be very easy. In the canal next to the parking place 6 males held a territory. These territories make them very easy to photograph. They have a favorite lily leaf, where they always return. One of the six had a favorite leaf next to the road, meaning I could just sit on the shore and get reasonable close. Again it was a good thing I had my 300mm f.2.8 with 2x converter with me. I’d never expect to use this lens this much for dragonflies, but it works fine.

The pose of the dragonfly in the picture is called the obelisk pose. They use it when it’s hot to avoid overheating. By pointing their abdomen towards the sun, they reduce the area that is heated by the sun. In the movie you can see that this individual wasn’t really sure where to find the sun, as he turned his abdomen in several directions. Apart from the Lilypad Whiteface you also see the Yellow-spotted Whiteface and Four-spotted Chaser in the movie, two species that were very abundant yesterday.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


  • Wow you have stunning shots my friend. I too have photographer dragonflies and damselflies many times but the quality is not all there because i do not have as great of lenses as you do. I would love to get a really good macro lens in the future but for now i will just keep taking the shots. Great video too.


  • Prachtige foto’s van de gevlekte en sierlijke witsnuit. Je hebt ze dus gevonden, de ‘zeldzame’ gevlekte witsnuiten.
    Ook de video is goed gelukt zie ik!
    Leuk om wat meer over je te lezen (jij bent dus ook bioloog!). Lijkt me een geweldige ervaring om op de Noordpool te zijn!
    Je hebt verder ook zeer fraaie foto’s op je site staan! Misschien tot weerziens ‘in het veld’ en succes met je expedities!


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