No one needed to know

So, here’s how my thinking goes sometimes. I have a few images largely unrelated to other things that can thus be in a short post, and was considering when to put them up. These kind of things serve as a buffer between longer, info-heavy posts, and I do have one of those coming – but I also have the Profiles of Nature post tomorrow, and that does the job too. And I’m also trying to keep the post count higher, but no one knows why.

Meanwhile, yesterday while entering the greenhouse, I spotted a green Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) on the tree just overhead. I’ve been encouraging them (mentally, mostly) to proliferate in the yard, but generally there’s the barest proof that they exist and that’s it. Returning with the camera, the lizard was nowhere to be seen, naturally. An examination at night by the headlamp yielded no sign, nor did this morning’s check.

Then I went out on the front steps to fill a couple of watering globes for the basil, sitting there for several minutes since they’re slow to fill. All set, put the pots back where they were, turn to the side, and a meter away on the balloon flower I find this.

Carolina anole Anolis carolinesis perched on balloon flower Platycodon grandiflorus
Since this is the opposite side of the house from the one I spotted yesterday, I’m 99% certain it’s a different one, so that means at least two in the yard, which is good – not the goal, of course, but a start. Most likely it was there the entire time I was filling the globes, being inconspicuous and waiting for me to get the hell out of Dodge. It remained long enough for me to scamper in and get the camera (no, I did not have it in hand, again, stop rubbing it in and making me feel bad,) and lean in for several frames, while generally the only motion it made was with its eyes, scanning the area ensuring that its paths of escape remained clear.

Caolinra anole Anolis carolinensis posing on balloon flower Platycodon grandiflorus
Of course I played with the framing while the anole was holding still. The splash of color was right there, so incorporating it more strongly just took some repositioning.

And closer.

Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis being cooperative
This one, however, needs a tighter examination. Even handheld in natural light, the Mamiya 80mm macro performs pretty damn well (I’m certain all the praise that I heap upon it has caused a run on the used lens market, from all my avid readers,) and there’s a detail that I wanted to bring attention to.

closeup profile of carolina anole Anolis carolinensis showing ear
This is not quite full resolution, and focus was ever-so-slightly off from perfect, but I wanted to point out the ear hole there to the left, where you can see inside of it. Considering that this is 2mm across at the most, I’m pleased.

Plus the mosaic nature of their skin deserves plenty of attention, even if they do tend to go heavy on the eye-shadow.

(If you go back to the version above, which is full-frame, you may notice a little hair on the anole’s chin, which I shamelessly removed for the closeup. There – I said it, and I’m proud.)

But since we’re here, we’ll have a look at the ‘buffer’ images that I’d already had prepared.

Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis in profile showing underside of throat
There’s been a Chinese mantis, probably about the same length as the anole, hanging out on the plants of the front porch area, most recently seen about three meters from the anole on the other side of the steps. I think they’d ignore one another, the anole preferring smaller insects like ants and the mantis tackling stuff a little bigger, but not lizard size, though at some point I may be proved wrong. This was a nice detail shot, though.

The same one served as my subject yesterday for some video work. I occasionally go around and mist the thicker plants in the yard during the hottest weather, because the various species enjoy the opportunity to get a drink, and the mantids are often very demonstrative of this, coming up directly into the spray, even gathering more with their forelegs by waving them in the air, then settling down to slurp it off of their legs and the leaves themselves. So I found this one and set the camera on tripod with a good view, before activating the video and then hosing the misting sprayer over the mantis. Who very kindly… did not do a damn thing. Ingrate.

In the pond in the backyard has been a six-spotted fishing spider (Dolomedes triton,) but every time I went out with the camera in hand to try for pics, she was nowhere to be found, and then, days later, I’d find her again. At least two green frogs share the pond, and I know they wouldn’t hesitate to scarf her down, so I kept wondering if she’d met that fate. Finally, the other night I went out with the headlamp and snagged some tight shots, but first, yesterday’s.

six-spotted fishing spider Dolomedes triton sitting in backyard pond
This was in daylight, shot with the on-camera flash since I wasn’t carrying the macro rig (I know, shut up,) but then as I drew closer she vanished under the water as they do. This led to my fetching the macro tripod and setting up at the pond edge for video work, so I could get her emergence in motion, as it were. Her first reappearance was before the video had started, and she quickly dove back under again, so judging that timing as ‘typical,’ I waited a couple of minutes before I started the video again, to save memory on what would certainly be a motionless surface. As it was, I didn’t save much, because there’s still seven minutes of video before she pops back up again. I’ll save that until I have some clips of them catching food or something.

But that night that I mentioned, the spider was up on the leaves of the lizard’s tail plant above the water, so I could get a nice portrait angle, and made the most of it.

six-spotted fishing spider Dolomedes triton in closeup
It was the dark conditions and the headlamp that allowed me to get this close, since the spider likely had no idea what I was – she certainly dove under when I was a lot farther off during the daylight, which may also be why I’d go periods of time without seeing her, since she’d spot me before I spotted her. Yeah, I know, but count ’em – eight eyes versus four, so she has the advantage.

And I think that resolves the post timing dilemma, anyway.