Per the ancient lore, part 33

unidentified snail snoozing on water reed[Yawn] Yeah, sorry, we’re back in the Invertebrates folder again, which certainly got off to a slow start; even now, I don’t add a lot to it, but back then I could go a couple of years without getting any photos of a snail or slug (which might have been a good thing, considering what I get up to now.) And so, this one was taken with my first actual digital camera, the Canon Pro90 IS, one of many such offerings that were soon surpassed by models appearing only a couple of years later – obsolescence can occur quickly in the digital camera realm. I took plenty of photos with that rig before I got my first DSLR body, but I was still concentrating on film for the quality shots at that time.

I was at a loss as to where this was taken for a bit, until I did a little poking around in the other folders for images with the same date, which soon reminded me: this was at River Road Park in Wilmington, NC, right alongside the Cape Fear River, and taken in 2006. Overnight, the snails would forage along the banks and water reeds, but as daylight arrived they would occasionally just hole up right where they were. Near as I can tell, they attach themselves to such perches with a variant of the mucus that they exude to facilitate their movement, in this case something that dries into a kind of glue; it might be the same stuff that they will seal the opening with to keep the moisture in, which I’ll feature here at some point later on. Are they sleeping when this occurs? Couldn’t begin to tell you – I don’t know if snails actually sleep, but what else they gonna do? Play video games? Update their blogs?

Obviously, I had to get down pretty low for this shot – or at least, the camera did. Since the Pro90 IS had an articulated LCD screen, I could hold the camera at wild angles and still frame the shot with the screen aimed conveniently, while not having to grovel in the mud and sand quite so much – something that I can’t do right now with any of the DSLR bodies that I use. I never recommend using the LCD screen for framing a shot, because it usually means holding the camera in an unsteady manner that can lead to camera shake and blurred shots, but there are times when it’s useful, especially if you remain aware of the downsides. Here, it permitted me to take advantage of the blue sky and the light angle that brought out the texture of the shell – not high art, but could have been much more boring, you know?

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