Summer so far: photos

Summer is under way if capricious here in the upper midwest. This Memorial day I got to trek around a beautiful 100+ acre wood with my Canon Rebel SLR playing chicken with the rain. The adrenaline rush of keeping my equipment dry in a barn during the rain then stalking about getting shots in the woods during the lulls was good sport to liven an already excellent day with fabulous company. The rain was my favorite kind of rain. It was warm and fast without being painfully fast. Best of all the sun was out in part of the sky, a perfect kitsune wedding day. My favorite of forest folk, the noble Eastern American Toad, was out in force. I gave up counting how many I saw and just enjoyed their company on the trail. I even caught a little one, probably a yearling, to keep him from the nose of a rambunctious ifย charming pointer and the tire of a gator. No matter how many times I catch toads and frogs I get an electric thrill of joy every time I hold one in my hand. It is a toad, a wily toad, which my mere human hands have caught from certain unpleasantness, be it of dog or human agency, and it is a triumph to look it in its shiny black eyes. Don’t worry, the toad got put back right ย where I found it none the worse for wear, and I do generally restrain myself from pestering animals. Still the rain afforded me the rare opportunity to not only spend time with and photograph toads but also the chance to photograph raindrops. I don’t have a proper macro lens, that is on my “when I have large amounts of disposable income” wish list, but I did the best I could with what I have to get some shots of the wood after a rain. I paid for many of these shots in blood. My arms are pock mocked with fly bites and my husband got the rare connubial joy of removing an embedded tick from my shoulder blade. I guess I have the focus of an artist because I was oblivious to the pain and the creepiness until I got back to the barn and saw all the little blood drops up and down my arms. Meh. It was worth it, I’d do it again. What am I saying? I know I will. I cannot stay out of the woods for more than so long, bugs or no bugs. Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.

Glass still life B&W by E.A. Schneider

Ferns after rain by E.A. Schneider

Raindrops on maple leaf, color by E.A. Schneider

Raindrops close-up by E.A. Schneider

Rain drops in B&W by E.A. Schneider

Eastern American Toad in the wild by E.A. Schneider

I hope you have enjoyed the photos, dear readers. Any favorites? If there is some enthusiasm in the comment section or with the “like” button I will add these shots to my online photography stores. Thanks for stopping by the pond.

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7 thoughts on “Summer so far: photos

  1. Minus the flies and tick, I am envious. ๐Ÿ™‚ What kind of flies do you have up there that leave blood-drops on the skin? Horseflies do that, but they aren’t common down here and I certainly couldn’t ignore them no matter how engrossed I am.
    I long for amphibians in my yard. I am scheming to dig a pond, built about with a bog and rocks. We have frogs, for certain, in the neighborhood, but perhaps not toads.
    The photographs are all beautiful, but I think the ghost-bottles are my favorite, for they seem to have their own inner light. I would crop the toad photo in close, but it is lovely with the leaf curling around the creature. You have an eye for patterns, I think.

    • Criminy I’m afraid I don’t know my bitey insects at all well. I can ID a tick (I got bit by a dog tick) but I don’t know flies. Maybe they were deer flies? I suppose I ought to learn them, I’ve seen them all my life, I just don’t care for them.

      If you want to know more about the amphibians in your area I would strongly recommend checking out your state’s DNR page. If you hunt around I bet you will find a list of the amphibians native to your area as well as some range maps and a short description of their natural history. Armed with such info you can probably better attract some amphibians or even notice the ones you already have! Eastern American toads are real suburban survivors, they are undaunted by mere trifles like lack of a pond or pesky humans, in fact they like moist garden beds a lot. If they live in your state I wouldn’t be surprised if you do have some, you just probably don’t know where to look. They are wily. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will say that the only way to enjoy the call of frogs is to have a pond where they can gather but they won’t gather in just any old pond, except bullfrogs who are generalists, so you should do some research and never stock it with fish, fish like to eat amphibians just a little too much. Sorry! Herpetology trained scientist here, I can’t contain my amphibian enthusiasm. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Thank you for the compliment, I’m glad you like the photos! You know, I think I like the glass still life the best too though I am personally exceedingly fond of the ferns. You are better at naming my work than I, “ghost bottles,” certainly sounds more poetic than “glass still life B&W.” I’ve always been rather wretched about titles, especially for my fiction. The best title I ever came up with goes to a story I have yet to finish. C’est la vie. I will consider the idea of the toad picture. I like seeing her in-situ, a little piece of mystery among the forest floor, but you can’t see her adorable face very well. I think I reached new levels of flexibility contorting myself to get that angle without alarming her. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. I am not a biologist, but I am endlessly fascinated and thrilled by the variety of the world, and as a result I lap up information on zoology, botany and geology. I’ve especially developed a fascination with plants and fungi over the last handful of years. The zoology fascination is long-standing, though, and ranges across all Families. As a result of this, I am intent on turning my yard into a good habitat, or at least as good a habitat as I can and still live in/enjoy it. I focus on removing exotic invasive plants, and introducing natives, and I’ve studied the construction of wildlife ponds as opposed to fish ponds (I have a fish-tank to satisfy my love of fish ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I may introduce some native minnows into the pond as they supposedly aid in the balance, but that is only a maybe. I am currently dealing with the problem of where to put the pond and how to find native plant species to populate it.

    Here’s what my state has to offer in the frog/toad department: http://www.tnwatchablewildlife.org/display2.cfm?habitat=&sort=aounumber&typename=Amphibian&Taxonomicgroup=AMPHIBIAN%20-%20Frogs%20and%20Toads

    Not all of these live in my area of the state, though. Last I heard, I think TN had the fourth highest number of amphibian species in the nation, though a lot of that has to do with our salamanders. You sound so much like one of my college professors. He is a salamander fanatic, but loves all amphibians.

    While I can hear tree-frogs in the area, and I am sure we do have toads, I have seen no evidence of either in my yard. They probably pass through, but my yard is presently devoid of trees (save for the little seedlings I have planted since coming here) and my grass is very aggressive and dense. I don’t know what the previous owners planted, but I’ve never had grass that seems so impenetrable.

    Titles are hard. Sometimes it is easier to name other peoples work than our own!

    I have a digital camera that pivots, and I have become very fond of it for the angles it can capture!

    • Such lovely amphibian diversity, I am jealous of Tennessee. The Appalachian area of the U.S. is indeed the salamander capital of the world. I have never gotten the chance to visit TN but maybe someday. I’m flattered that I sound like an awesome college professor. Maybe someday I’ll actually get to be one in reality. I hope your wildlife habitat dreams come true, I think it’s fantastic that you’re trying to make a home for native creatures even as you settle into your own. I’m sure your pivoting camera is fantastic, I had never heard of such a thing actually. I daresay my contortionist exploits in the name of getting that one shot are healthy somehow. ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Love the pics just had a quick question on type of camera are you using now? Along with your shutter speed for taking pics?

    • I’m glad you like them! I am using a Canon Rebel EOS40D SLR. The shutter speed I do not know off of the top of my head but for these photos I think it was between 300-800. Are you getting into photography? Thanks for stopping by the pond! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You should! I know I am biased, but the Appalachian mountains I have seen are my favorite of any I’ve seen in the world so far. ๐Ÿ™‚ I knew, I think, that they were the salamander capitol of the U.S., but not so much of the world! That’s awesome!
    May your college-professor-aspirations be fulfilled.

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