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I was having a frustrating afternoon with the camera: there just didn’t seem to be many insects around, even though the conditions were ideal. Eventually I found a section of hedgerow that was being worked by several Azure Damselflies, but they were fresh and skittish, and I couldn’t get anywhere near them.

I hoped that I’d do better at my neighbours’ pond, but all the damsels there were equally reactive. Even the tandem pair that were ovipositing in the water – that’s to say, she was ovipositing, while he stayed firmly attached to her pronotum to stop any rivals getting hold of her – stayed as far from me as they could possibly manage.

I was starting to think about grumping off home, when this beautiful female Large Red Damselfly suddenly swooped in, landed on a leaf in a nice patch of light, and sat perfectly still while I took a set of photos. Given what the rest of the afternoon had been like I was initially quite tentative about approaching her, but I needn’t have been: this is one of the final shots of my sequence, and by then I was so close to her that it’s only very slightly cropped for composition.

Although she looks huge – and she was fairly heavily built in comparison with the Azures – this species is still only about 3.5cm in overall length. Or, if you still think Imperially, her wings were just about an inch long.

Please do look full-screen, if you have the time.