How far do you go?

Nature photographers often get the question how we get all those nature photographs. “You must have excellent equipment!” is a frequently heard remark. Well, yes, we usually do. But good camera’s and lenses helps just as much as good pots and pans help to make good food… Without a good photographer, they are entirely useless. It’s often mainly about the time and devotion we put into our pictures. And of course the knowledge of the subjects and their surrounding habitat. Some people just seem to do it with that dedication and don’t seem to be too bothered by the understanding of what they’re doing. They put the picture they want to take above anything else. It doesn’t matter if they disturb anything or ruin vulnerable habitats, as long as they get their pictures…

Lilypad Whiteface

Yesterday I joined an excursion in search for the Dark Bluet and the Lilypad Whiteface, two rare dragonflies in the Netherlands that only occur in one national park. Especially the Dark Bluet is a hard to find species as it lives in sedge marshes in a particular phase in succession between open water and land. It usually is not allowed to come anywhere near these habitats, but once a year the State Forestry Service (SBB) organises an excursion where we can enter and see this special species. This years excursion was planned for last Saturday. When we arrived at the starting point, we met the morning group. I was a bit surprised to see a guy walking around in waders. Not really needed if you stay nicely on the dry parts, as you should. When we arrived at the place where we could see the Dark Bluets I realised that he (or others) had not stayed on the dry parts… The result was visible as trails leading into the vulnerable vegetation… As it was quite windy, it was difficult to find the damselflies, and the ones we saw were near impossible to photograph. Close to the ground in the vegetation and often a bit too far away. Well, unless you went after them with rubber boots of course, as also several people in our group did. They always did so when I wasn’t near, unfortunately. Otherwise, I would have told them to get back. I tried for a while to get a decent picture but soon realised that would not happen this year. For me seeing those tiny specialists is good enough. Of course, I would love to take another good picture, but not against all costs. For me, nature always comes first. I’m not saying I’ll never disturb something. Of course, I do, the only way not to disturb is to stay at home. But you have to know how far one can go. In certain places, I don’t see much problem going a bit off the regular track if that gives you a better picture opportunity. But in the more vulnerable parts, you just have to stay on the trails and see what you can do from there… Getting a good picture is nice, but not at all costs…

Unfortunately, not everybody thinks this way…

So, no Dark Bluet picture this time, maybe another time again. At the second location, we found several Lilypad Whitefaces posing nicely at a leave of a lily as they should. Well, not according to the photographer next to me. It was a bit too far away for his taste, so he started throwing mud at the whiteface, hoping it would fly up and land on a leaf closer to him. When we told him to stop doing so, he reacted very surprised. It was also in our best interest, as he was too far away to take good pictures… He left me speechless… Some people…


  • Beautiful shot of the dragonfly and wonderfully keen observations about the behavior of some people, who are unthinking in their pursuit of photos.


  • Lovely post. Being a connoisseur of nature means being an advocate for conservation too. Beautiful shot of the dragonfly as well. Sounds like a very cool opportunity to have a look for the Dark Bluets.


  • Reblogged this on Bird Feed and commented:
    Wonderful post. And there is something very important here. We must remember that loving nature (whether that be in the form of photography, hunting/fishing, hiking/camping, etc.) means taking good care of it so that it may thrive and future generations may also learn to love it. My Dad was always the guy that took a pack full of trash out of the forest with him whenever he went. This is the kind of attitude everyone should take up. And sometimes leaving it better than when you arrived means leaving it alone.


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