This is a colorful golden yellow and brown winged dragonfly which can easily be mistaken for a butterfly from far away. I found it on one afternoon perched on a dry twig fluttering its wings to a strong breeze. It is female Common Picture Wing Dragonfly(Rhyothemis variegata), also called Variegated Flutterer. I was using my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM + Canon EF 1.4x III Extender.
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes” said Oscar Wilde. As I was engrossed catching as many poses of this beauty in that breeze I missed the loose release plate on my mono-pod head. After the dragonfly flew away I got up and raised my heavy rig which was hosted on my carbon fiber mono-pod to my shoulder in search of my next model. Suddenly I heard a big thud behind my back. When I tuned around to my horror, I saw my camera had come loose from the mono-pod head and fell straight down from my shoulder almost 5feet to a granite stone slab underneath. My 1D mark IV magnesium body shell had taken all the impact. The hot shoe area was bent and top housing was broken. I tried using the camera and it seemed to be working. Luckily 300mm lens as well as 1.4x extender had sustained no damage whatsoever. Now my recently acquired 1D mark IV is in Canon service center getting repaired.
It had been a horrifying experience / mistake. Not checking the tightness of the release plate especially when I am loading it with such a lot of weight was my mistake. I might have inadvertently loosened the release plate when using the ball head. But that simple mistake had cost me big. This experience has taught me a great lesson to check & recheck all my equipment for good working condition as well as security. I am planning to fit the camera an extra secure mechanism which will hold it in case of such inadvertent slippage. I have also purchased a different mono-pod head which has a detente pin for extra security.
Male common picture wing dragonfly has iridescent green frons. Eyes are dark reddish brown above. Thorax is iridescent green. Legs are black. The fore-wing is transparent and golden yellow. The wing tip, leading edge and center of the wing are marked with deep coffee brown spots. The hind-wing also has similar spots; however the central spot is absent. More over, the wing base is marked with an irregular brown patch. The trailing edge of the hind-wing has a characteristic ‘w’ shaped coffee brown mark. Wing spot and abdomen is black.
Female common picture wing dragonfly is slightly smaller than male. Eyes are dark reddish brown above. Tips of the fore-wings are transparent. A dark brown opaque area extends to the center of fore wing. This area borders a bright yellow hockey stick shaped patch. In hind-wings the brown opaque area is more extensive and reaches up to the wing tip, which encloses a long yellow central patch and a small yellow spot towards the wing tip. This patch also borders yellow spots of wing margins. Wing spot is black. Abdomen is bluish black.
It is a prominent dragonfly of marshes, paddy fields and ponds. This species is easily mistaken for a butterfly. A weak flier and frequently perches on aquatic weeds. This dragonfly is rarely seen away from water. It breeds in marshes, ponds and paddy fields. Found throughout the year, especially near perennial marshes.