These western slender bluets are tiny, as are most of their damselfly ilk. A close approach is important in order to obtain good images.
I've noticed that there are a few traits that make a photographer better than average (and I'm not saying that I am, but I do try and improve). One is technical mastery of the equipment, and with today's complex cameras that takes some serious work. Two, an eye for light and composition can make what might be a mediocre shot in some hands a really fabulous image in other hands. Three, really trying to learn your subjects makes a huge difference. Knowledge of what animals might be where, and how they behave, helps tremendously when stalking prey.
Finally, a willingness to become one with your subject, and sometimes that involves wading shoulder-deep into a wetland. I don't always get this wet, but I am constantly lying on my belly or otherwise contorting myself to get better angles of the plants or critters that I'm shooting.
But it seems to throw these reptiles for a loop when only your head and shoulders project from the water. I decided to slowly make my way towards the turtle, and see if I could make some photos.
After I was done making my photos, I retreated and the turtle remained on her basking perch. In addition to being grateful that the turtle allowed me to share her space, I was thankful that no leeches attached themselves to me this time.
Thanks to Cheryl Erwin for taking the photos of me neck-deep in the wetland!