Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Macro on a Budget: Eye of the dragonfly

Last weekend we saw this estimable creature clinging to our mini-vineyard:

It's a common green darner dragonfly, the Washington State Insect. Its top speed on the straightaway is at least 30 mph and some persistent person determined that one could fly 85 miles in a single day. I checked the leaf later with a ruler, and it must have stretched four inches from nose to tail.

Using a macro setup, I crept as close as I could and snapped its portrait:
Normally bugs don't let me get this close, but maybe its size gave confidence. Here are facets on its eye:

My DIY style of macro photography (relying on used equipment bought via eBay) requires many trials to get satisfactory lighting and focus, but with a digital camera, that's no obstacle.