Ah, finally

So, there’s this little staged photo that I’ve been after, oh, a couple of weeks now I think, and tonight, I finally managed to snag it. It’s the stupid things…

I have, atop my desk hutch, a small sculpture that The Girlfriend got me, I can’t even remember when, of two small green treefrogs atop a leaf, and for once, it was reasonably realistic – so many artists either have no clue what frogs actually look like, or think that a ‘stylized’ frog is more appropriate, or cover up the former with claims of the latter. I, meanwhile, prefer realism, so this particular piece was a great choice – even the leaf they sit upon looks real.

Looking up at it one day, I realized that the juvenile green treefrogs found in numerous places in the yard were close to exactly the same size as those on the sculpture, and, you know, “light bulb.” It was a simple matter of convincing one of these many frogs to sit still atop the sculpture for a few frames.

Yeah, right. Coaxing one onto the piece was hard enough, but then having them sit still (and facing more or less into the camera) long enough to get a sharp frame was, shall we say, problematic. For several attempts, I had one frame before they leapt away, when I even got them onto the sculpture in the first place, and the various ‘successful’ attempts were focused not quite sharp enough, or not quite properly framed, or not quite properly lit (since treefrogs are active only at night, all of this is taking place in various locations around the yard by the light of the headlamp, of course.)

The other night, sprawled on the ground to get my one frame before the frog effed off, I contacted… something… that I’ve encountered before only at the edge of the pond – now I know there’s another location in the yard. I’ve seen nothing but bare sandy soil, but the reaction after a brief contact is reminiscent of ant bites or stinging nettles, and can last for up to an hour. And I still didn’t snag the shot for my sacrifice.

Finally, just a few minutes ago, I got what I was after.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea perched on sculpture with identically-sized clay versions
Perhaps it’s the fact that the temperature is lower tonight, perhaps I just had a mellow specimen, but this one remained on the sculpture for the entire session, 26 frames while I experimented with angles and approaches, and even stayed put until I introduced it back onto the hosta leaves where I’d found it. It’s always refreshing to work with a professional model.

[Yes, the paint job on the fake frogs isn’t quite right, at least not for any local species, but believe it or not, I aim to correct that one evening. I’ll try to remember to show it to you.]

In fact, here’s the one frame from the itchy attempt, just not quite what I was after.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea on sculpture
Close, really, but facing away, a little dirty, and the framing is slightly tight. I knew I could do better, but the timeframe when they were small enough was only a few weeks at best. The entire piece, by the way, is just under 15cm in length – these guys are still quite small. You can also tell that I was wetting down the sculpture to make it a little more inviting for the frogs.

While I’m at it, I’ll drop a couple of other frog pics since it’s been, what, 11 posts since we’ve seen one? I think I did pretty good holding off for some variety, given that I see these little guys constantly.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea seen by underside  through panel of greenhouse
While watering the plants in the greenhouse earlier today, I spotted this one, also a juvenile (maybe a little bigger than my cooperative model above,) perched on the ‘glass’ panel on the outside, in the narrow gap between the end of the greenhouse and the shed, so naturally I snagged a couple of frames. Not a bad spot to spend the day, really, sheltered completely from the sun and well away from any predators. Even if it does look a little exhibitionistic…

And another, two days previously.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea trying to hide behind the lip of a rainbarrel
As the remnants of Hurricane Ida were blowing in, the frogs knew we’d get some nice rain and were a little active during the day, peeking out here and there, and this one was atop one of the rainbarrels – yes, I really want to replace those with something more natural-looking, or at least rustic, but that’s expensive, and hard to justify for the occasional shot that I get around them. Anyway, it saw me and just tried hunkering down behind the lip, and the image was too expressive to let pass – makes you wonder who’s spying on who.