Storytime 7

lone mushroom on embankment
“So, Al,” you inquire in a rather sharp tone of voice, “were you gonna do anything for Darwin Day, or what?” And, just this once, I’ll forgive your tone, because it’s at least a little deserved – there aren’t too many holidays, even semi-observed ones, that fall so well into line with the blog here. And I was actually trying to have something appropriate to post, but nothing came to fruition, and the best I can say is, I may have set up some future posts with the efforts this week, at least. I attended a short talk on epigenetics and plasticity too, which stirred up some possibilities.

In the meantime, we have this week’s storytime, which is a tiny little scene on the banks of the Eno River, where a solitary mushroom (or perhaps I should say toadstool) was failing to be unobtrusive. There’s something faintly unreal about this patch of landscape, a bit too detailed, as if it’s a model railroad layout or something. Even to me, it doesn’t seem quite right; the loose dirt should have eroded away fairly quickly. I get the impression that these conditions changed soon after the image, and might well have.

But wait – what’s that?

If you know anything about my shooting style, you should know this isn’t quite how I typically frame things – or at least, isn’t if my intended focus was the mushroom. So perhaps that wasn’t the intended focus.

pickerel frog Lithobates palustris peeking over edge of embankment above mushroomIn truth, I’d spotted the pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris) first, and was working around it cautiously to see how many different methods of framing I could accomplish before it spooked and leapt away. With the mushroom so close by, I chose it as a faux center of focus, going low enough that the eyes of the frog just peeked above the edge. The idea, of course, is to present the viewer with a sudden discovery, but the question always remains, whenever you stage something like this: how effective was it? As long as I remember the circumstances – or recognize that the image is stored in the Reptiles/Amphibians folder, which is it, but it’s also in the Leaves/Plants/Trees folder which is where I dredged it up this time – then I know to look for the frog, or spot it automatically. So how often are people surprised to find it themselves? Well, since this is the first public appearance of the frame itself, I can safely say no one has spotted it before now, but I suppose that’s not significant. Maybe someday, I’ll put a couple of these attempts into a gallery (you know, if I ever decide to do another exhibit) and watch for the reactions. It’s important data for some reason, I’m sure.

And you know, I did drop a hint with that “toadstool” bit…

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