This, or nothing

I haven’t entirely been avoiding photography lately, but since what I’ve been seeing is more of the same from the past several weeks, I haven’t been running to get my camera too often either. This is just to show that I’m still kicking, and still maintaining some content, even if it’s just variations of the same damn things. Plus this brings me up to an even number for October.

It’s been mostly chilly during the days and worse at night, so the denizens of the yard have been harder to find, but a brief warm spell the other day flushed a few out, noticed as I was doing some yard work. When I uncovered the grill to do the end-of-season (more or less) cleaning, I found this little spud, who viewed my disturbance without appreciation. I moved it to a nearby potted plant, and was treated to this accusing glare for the entire time I was within view.

adult green treefrog Hyla cinerea looking disapproving from within potted plant
This is a green treefrog of course (Hyla cinerea,) not like I really have to say that again. It was possibly quite well settled within the dark shadows of the grill, which hadn’t been used for about two weeks, but I couldn’t let it remain there with all the cleaning I was doing. Life is hard.

Nearby on the hosta plants, a juvenile was perched to capture some of the afternoon sunlight.

juvenile green treefrog Hula cinerea perched on hosta leaf
This one showed no recognition of my presence at all, and in fact, that little dark blob in the foreground was some beetle that wandered across the leaf as I was pinning down focus – the frog never reacted, and I only noticed it peripherally myself, reminded later of it because this is the only frame among several where it shows.

Several weeks back, a tiny juvenile Copes grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) had been spotted on one of the trumpet flowers, but it disappeared from view before I had a chance to bring out the camera. In the time since, I saw not the faintest hint of it – until the other day. And since this one is noticeably bigger, I’m not sure if it’s the same one, having been eating well in the intervening time, or not. I’m going with, ‘yes,’ simply because there have been very few visible at all, and this was on the same plant.

juvenile Copes grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis perched on trumpet flower Brugmansia stem
Not exactly the best view, is it? The frog’s position well down into the ‘canopy’ of large leaves did not provide the most accessible of shooting positions, and even less so if I wanted to use the flash without it being blocked. Eventually, I went for the unorthodox view from the underside. Even the natural light attempts from the frog’s eye level were thwarted by the shade thrown by those leaves, slowing the shutter speed down too far. But I did shift a little to at least get an eye peeking out.

juvenile Copes grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis peeking out from around trumpet flower Brugmansia stem
Overall length was perhaps 20mm, definitely this year’s brood. To be honest, right now this one and an adult living in a downspout out front seem to be the only grey residents, a curious change from a few years ago.

Speaking of downspouts…

adult green treefrog Hyla cinerea peeking from cut-off downspout
When I re-routed a downspout to feed one of the rainbarrels, I left the stubs there in case we removed the barrels, which also accepts the overflow hose. This particular one frequently hosts green treefrogs during the day, though not always the same one; I can say this because they’re often different sizes, as well as finding two on occasion. But because of the behavior, I’m inclined to say one in particular is a regular, because it always scootches backwards further down the pipe as I lean into view. This time, I spotted it from a short distance as it peered over the lip of the pipe and crept in, capturing the barest hint of an eye before it slid out of sight. You’d think it would be used to me by now.

I was slightly surprised to find the next subject.

adult Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis pausing on bamboo
There had been a large adult Carolina anole (Anolis carolinesis) that lived on the corner of the house, visible frequently during the late summer, but as the weather cooled, all signs of that one and the tiny juvenile out front ceased. But then this one showed on the opposite back corner of the house – not out of the realm of possibility by a long shot, but it had been seen so frequently on the other side that I figured it had a nice thing going there. Anyway, this one (same one? Got me) was initially perched on the flexible spout that fed another rainbarrel, right on the edge of the deck, and got to watch me go past countless times during my tasks, always twitching a little as a prelude to fleeing but never being spooked enough to do so. Eventually, I leaned in slowly to do my closeups and it started shifting carefully towards a bamboo archway, which is where I did this portrait.

And now we get to today (at least, if I get this out in the next 31 minutes.) On one of the gardenias out back, a lone green was once again visible – with a noticeable trait.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea wth bronze spot on back
This is another juvenile, and that bronze spot, believe it or not, helped it blend in a little with the dead leaves that were draping across the upper reaches of the bush. Similar in nature to the one seen previously, I can only surmise this is intentional to at least some degree, but again, I’ve never seen the color changes occur, even over the course of a day, so I have no idea how fast it occurs or if it requires certain conditions. For instance, I will often find them darker if they’re in deeper shade, so it may be photo-sensitivity to some extent.

Good angles were actually tricky.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea with odd coloration, from side
The frog was surrounded by branches and leaves, and like the trumpet flower frog, it was difficult to get a good angle with the flash. Not to mention it was close to eye level and I was often stretched up on tiptoe to get the lens above the intervening leaves (not always successfully, as the previous image demonstrates.) But at least this shows the tucked, almost seamless nature of the legs, as well as the faint iridescence of the skin. And one other detail, for which we need to be at full resolution:

closeup of eye of juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea showing blocked flash head reflection
That reflection in the eye is what we’re after, since it shows the softbox attachment on the flash. That should be a nice circle, because I intentionally constructed it so, but the fact that it isn’t is testament to how many leaves were actually in the way. I really need some Inspector Gadget extendible lift sandals or something – stepstools are too awkward to carry around. A couple of extra arms just to hold branches back while my hands are full of camera would help too.

I don’t expect it to get a lot busier as we enter the slow season, but as always, I’ll see what I can scare up.

« [previous]