Well, actually we found way more than 40 Banded Darters (Sympetrum pedemontanum; Bandheidelibel) and I am not suggesting I even remotely resemble Ali Baba. But sometimes these blog titles just seem to come to me in a natural way and I write them down without giving them any further consideration. Maybe I should change that from now on. Still working on an image processing backlog since the iMac is up and running after a service check. Several weeks ago, I teamed up with Gerard Schouten and Jarno van Bussel at a great location for this most beautiful member of the darter family. They are a relatively scarce species in the Netherlands, but wherever they occur, they can do so in huge numbers and such was the case at this small reserve. We were not really lucky with the weather. Of course we had hoped for a cold night with a colorful sunrise, great light and dew on the darters. Non of that happened, the colors were muted, the temperature was mild and there was a stiff wind blowing. Not ideal, but we had an appointment and thus tried anyway. Because of the wind, the darters had found shelter way deeper in the vegetation than they normally would. At first it was difficult to find them, but within an hour they were flying everywhere, leaving us puzzled as to their overnight locations. The good thing about Banded Darters is their striking silhouette, with the tell-tale bands on all four wings. Images of other dragonfly species can be boring to look  at when the light is not that special, but Banded Darters offer possibilities in every kind of light. In this case, I shot against the pastel color of the muted sunrise and through some dense vegetation. I manually focussed behind the darter. That way the vegetation was rendered as painterly streaks, something I could not achieve when focussing on the dragonfly. Because of the strong shape of the darter, I think this image works, even with no part of the image being sharp.

Banded Darter at Sunrise; Canon 5D mark III w. 150/2.8 macro; 1/640s at F2.8 and ISO800; handheld