Moment of Rest

In the perpetual busy-ness that seems to constitute the life of a dragonfly, this moment of repose must feel especially restful.

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Nikon D5100 f/13 ISO 400 1/350sec 300mm – Summer 2012

Recently I was watching a large dragonfly when I heard an especially loud buzzing noise. Right there in front of me was a hummingbird (not much bigger than the dragonfly I had been focusing on)! He studied me for a moment, then perched on a branch overhead. I was too slow moving the camera into position. Apparently the hummingbird is just as busy as your average dragonfly, and away he buzzed, lost to sight in a second.

Absorb the Peace

Around sunrise, camera in hand, I sit quietly at the pond and absorb the peace.

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Nikon D5100 f/6.7 ISO 1600 1/25 s 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

For me it is peaceful and absorbing to watch the little creatures ending their nights (like the raccoon doing some last minute fishing last month) and others beginning their days (like the turtles and snakes and dragonflies).

I can feel the peace, as I am not being hunted. It may perhaps not feel so peaceful to the small frogs and fish, hunted by the larger fish, raccoons, snakes, and birds. But if they hold perfectly still, escaping the notice of those predators, then perhaps they do experience a measure of peace.

On a processing note, although I usually try to keep my Photoshop editing to a minimum, preferring to use photos that please me as shot, in this case I chose to lighten the image somewhat. I feared that the turtle just would not be at all visible without some lightening. In actuality, my experience was not quite so dark as the image I shot, so I must have needed to tinker with my settings somewhat – at 1600 ISO, I anticipated the shot being quite noisy and did not want to try an even higher ISO setting, resulting in the dark image.

Visual Relief

After three days of unrelenting drought posts, I don’t know about you, but I feel parched!

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Nikon D5100 f/10 ISO 800 1/250 s 55-300@55mm – Summer 2012

Although the temperatures have abated some, and there are areas nearby which have received considerable amounts of rain, our little Back Forty is still dry. The vegetation is brown and crispy. Insect noises have abated to near silence.

For some relief from the unrelenting dryness of everything, I can walk up to one of our ponds. We have dubbed this, our largest, Blue Heron Pond.

Here is some visual relief for my followers; enjoy a peaceful break from the drought, contemplating these soft ripples and reflections of sunrise in the blessedly wet pond.

Tiny Trills

I guess I was holding still successfully enough to allow this little guy to relax.

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Nikon D5100 f/16 ISO 800 1/180S Nikkor 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

 

I was actually watching him, and not moving, when he began his little toady rhythm section. After my first photo I moved the camera. He instantly froze, little pouch still distended but not making music any longer. It deflated ever so slowly as he held perfectly still waiting for the danger to pass. Finally he concluded that I must have just been a bush swaying in the breeze… Well, I don’t know what he thought, but he resumed his interrupted serenade.

That stick-like object in front of him is a dry grass stalk. See how much tinier his little front legs are than the dry grass?

Inflatable Amphibian?

This puffy looking little toad was just as tiny as those in my preceding posts, but it was pudgy looking.

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Nikon D5100 f/8 ISO 400 1/125s Nikkor 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

I have speculated about it.  Could it have suffered an injury, like perhaps a sting from a wasp?  Has it the ability to puff up as some sort of self-protection mechanism?  Or is it simply a different variety of toad?  It was the only one like this I spotted, but that is the case for the tiny green and mud-colored frog from an earlier post, so it is probably not a significant fact. The toad acted pretty much like all its other minuscule cousins, so if it had sustained an injury, it did not appear to be life threatening.

Pipsqueak Frog

This little pipsqueak of a frog would fit on your thumbnail!

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Nikon D5100 f/16 ISO 800 1/350s Nikkor 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

It saw me and was ready to leap away at any hint that I might try to eat it. By moving very slowly, I was able to focus the camera and get a couple of shots before it either moved or my eye just lost it. They are extremely hard to spot when they hold still!

Teeny, Tiny Toad

When I walk around the pond, many things move. Dragonflies zoom past, of course. Grasshoppers frantically hop out of the way, the cicadas cease their urgent buzz, water birds hurry away on whistling wings, and turtles silently submerge.

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Nikon D5100 f/13 ISO 800 1/180s Nikkor 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

But small things hop away across the mud, tiny quick-moving things. When they land, they immediately freeze and blend into their surroundings so well they can only be seen if you followed the motion with your eyes and did not look away.

What are they?  I sat out on a log by the pond with my camera, watching and attempting to capture images of these small hoppers. What I caught were images of an amazing variety of teeny, tiny toads and frogs! As you can see, even cropped for maximum visibility they are extremely well camouflaged.

A monster hatched out

Depending on your perspective, what hatched out of this shell is either a menace to your life – or a beautiful, glittering bit of movement, and the shell but a small, nearly invisible bit of detritus rather than a warning of grave danger.

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Nikon D5100 f/5.6 ISO 1600 1/500 s Nikkor 55-300@300 mm – Summer 2012

Something to remember; perspective is so often key to understanding 🙂

Playing in the Pond!

Finally released from Down-Stay on the pond bank, Zookie and Buttercup celebrate their freedom with a frolic in the pond.

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Nikon D5100 f/5.6 ISO 400 1/500 s Nillor 55-300@55mm – Pet Portrait, Summer 2012

See Zookie’s halo? Evidence that she really is a Good Dog, despite the facial expression that may seem to indicate otherwise!