Always with the lizards and pollen

Yeah, I know: trite, trite, trite. But if I didn’t post my latest efforts, someone might believe that I was avoiding such subjects, like some kind of hipster. And I’m far from having a manbun, believe me.

So, briefly, we’ll review some of yesterday’s photos – some from the botanical garden, and some from the sprawling estates of Walkabout Studios.

The NC Botanical Garden reopened recently, and The Girlfriend and I did a brief tour yesterday to get back into the swing of things. On the previous trip, taken the last day it was open, we’d witnessed no small amount of reptile drama; this one was a bit less active, but we likely saw the same black rat snake as earlier (same size, in almost the same location,) and just a few lizards.

large ornate eastern fence lizard Sceloporus undulatus hiding within foliage
I spotted a couple of eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) that went for cover immediately, but this one paused within the foliage and I was able to lean in and get a little detail. It had the most vivid markings that I’d ever seen, and was pretty large as well; I wish I’d been able to get a clearer shot, but the defocused foliage is a nice effect, and at least I know where to find the lizard again. Maybe.

While in another part of the garden, a very small juvenile Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) might have avoided my attentions entirely if it had held perfectly still, rather than leaping to a new perch as I approached, but fine – if you ask me to take a picture, I’ll do it. And I’ll spare you The Girlfriend’s reaction to it, partially because I couldn’t do it justice in print and also because I can’t get my voice pitched that high. Suffice to say, she found it cute.

juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis perched on thin reeds
This might have been a shade bigger than the one I spotted (only once) on our property, but not more than that. It could hide in a nostril, is what I’m saying. Let’s have a full-length look, as it moved to the oak-leaf hydrangea only centimeters away.

juvenile Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis perched on oak-leaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia leaf
Ya gotta love the pleasant blend of coloration. I need to paint my car like this…

Back home late in the evening, I checked on the flower pots out back and noticed that a few of the four o’clock flowers were opening. It’s been a while since we’ve seen these. Naturally, I had to go in close to get that vivid yellow pollen against the red petals.

pollen of four o'clock Mirabilis jalapa flower in tight closeup
These colors and shapes are so distinct, they ended up in the rotating header images at the top of the page, though my previous strain was considerably more pink. Capturing them isn’t easy, because the magnification has to be high, which means the focus range is extremely short, and the vibrations of the flower on the thin stems, not to mention my own typical wobbling in position, means sharp focus occurs in fractions of a second. Still, perseverance pays off; let’s go in closer.

pollen of four o'clock Mirabilis jalapa flower in tight closeup
This was taken with the reversed 28-105mm lens, and if you’ve been paying attention to the posts when it appears, you’ll know it can do some wicked magnification. But if not, I can provide a bit of scale, because truth be told, I’d forgotten myself how small the pollen is, so I made it a point to do something illustrative.

four o'clock Mirabilis jalapa flower against fingertips for scale
At some point, I intend to collect some pollen from both these and the morning glory blossoms, and get them under even higher magnification, either the microscope or the lab scope that I finally created a decent mount for, because the pics I have hint at some details I’d like to see better. We’ll see how soon they appear, I guess.