This picture of a hoary skimmer (Libellula nodisticta) was lucky in a couple of ways. Most lucky of all was that we even found it. Hoary skimmers are not commonly encountered dragonflies. Kathy Biggs considers it "sporadic" and "sparse" (see her Dragonflies of California).
We came across this individual near Lone Pine, California (in Inyo County) last August as we drove by a small slow-moving stream. Michael and I decided it was worth stopping to see. We were glad we did. The hoary skimmer was triangulating back and forth among the tall cattails and I managed to get close enough for the picture. One never has the appropriate wading boots available at times like this but I managed to get the picture with a bit of lucky maneuvering.
The area around Lone Pine is famous in old westerns. Several movies were filmed in the area. If you stop to eat in one of the local restaurants, you'll see old pictures of celebrities all along the walls. Here's a shot of some of the local landscape.