… but c’mon, would you be letting these pics just sit around in the interests of ‘diversity?’
Last night, I went over to the neighborhood pond again, but this time with a slightly more specific reason, which actually turned out to be beneficial. We’ll get to that in a second.
The juvenile green treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) were just as active as before, perhaps even more so, and easy enough to get a few action shots of. I wasn’t intending to do a full photo session, but it was effortless (well, for, you know, an experienced, accomplished macro photographer) to snag a few pics, and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. But what’s that peeking in at lower left?
It’s The Girlfriend’s forefinger, slowly creeping into the frame to provide scale, and the frog was not disturbed by it (though granted, she moved very slowly and silently, and did not make contact with the frog or the leaves.) I had taken her over there because she never saw the previous sessions and really needed to witness just how many there were, once you got used to watching for their diminutive presences. I’d been thinking of trying to get my own finger into a pic, on any of the earlier sessions, but the Mamiya 80mm macro requires manual aperture activation of a spring-loaded lever, so taking my hand away to appear in the frame would mean shooting with a wide-open-aperture, reducing depth-of-field down significantly and requiring a commensurate adjustment to the flash output (these are all shot at f16, 1/200 second, with a fixed flash output.) I do have a project to have the aperture lever lock into place when needed, but it hasn’t been tackled yet. So The Girlfriend provided the simpler solution.
In fact, we even managed to coax a different frog directly onto her hand for a few frames, where it sat cooperatively and with no apparent concern (yes, she kept her hand over the leaves in case the frog panicked and jumped away.) Once I had my shots, we had to coax the frog off of her hand again, gently nudging it onto a leaf. It’d be nice if all my subjects were so easy to work with.
I considered doing video, since the frogs were active enough to actually have something to show – most times, what you see in the still photo is exactly what any video would look like, unless they leap away. But yesterday evening, they were actually wandering around and climbing a bit, and demonstrating their gangly, bow-legged gait is something I’ve long wanted to do (without resorting to my own efforts at pantomime,) so I returned a bit later with the video cage. Alas, the batteries for the video light were lower than expected and inadequate for the amount of light necessary for 60 fps, so I had to give it up, but it also told me that I’d need a tripod – too much wandering in and out of focus, not helped by the wide-open aperture that would be needed. Have to try another night.
This one did an expressive pose among the leaves, peeping through as if the parents were watching a cool-sounding movie, so I didn’t hesitate. And wonder of wonders, I could actually get to the other side without having to crawl into thick undergrowth or wade into the pond (all of this takes place right on the water’s edge, no doubt alongside their recent emergence from tadpole stage.)
Considering how difficult I’d had it a few days ago trying to get a decent portrait angle without them turning away, backing into shadow, or simply leaping to another branch, this kind of behavior is most welcome. So yeah, another rut, but if I gots the subject, I shoots the subject, and it works better in close sequence rather than delaying the posts until a later time. Plus you have the dates to know what time of year this kind of thing tends to take place. As I’ve said before, I can continue justifying this if you like…