On a (fairly) recent trip to the NC Botanical Gardens, I was making the attempt to shoot with more effort towards composition and all that, rather than illustration, but we know I don’t do ‘art,’ so we’re back to being fartsy here – define that as you will. And I could probably research what flowers these are, but really, I have a lot of images to get through, more than just this post, so I’m not going to take the time, especially since I may not have much free time next week. We’re doing the aesthetic thing here, not the scientific one; no comments about how I can’t handle either.
I shot a few variations of the same general subject:
The question is, had you already seen the Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) in the first pic, or did this one make you go back and spot it, or did this text? Or did you not care either way? I’m never sure how subtle some of these photos are, because of course I knew it was there all along – or at least when it moved and attracted my attention.
These are all the same anole, by the way – I was trying to get the most out of a semi-cooperative subject perched in a halfway-decent setting. I think I like this one best. I shifted slightly to put the head against the brighter leaf, knowing it would still be fairly subtle, and the tail falling along the line of the leaf edge was a happy accident – since the tail is often a giveaway, it worked quite well to disguise it.
Okay, I just spent about 15 minutes trying to determine what those flowers are, because. Nothing seems like a precise match, but these might be maple leaf viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium – that’s the best I’ve come up with. I do at least know the garden sticks to native NC plants, so it narrows things down a bit, and these appear to be a little past prime so that might explain the difference. Or I might be dead wrong – that could explain it too.
I make it a point to find the anoles when I’m in the garden, because they like the habitat, even though I’m getting a decent colony of them here at Walkabout Estates now. This was the first that I found, because I know they like these palm-like plants (that I can never remember the name of) and so I was specifically searching – they’re big plants that could hide a couple dozen of the little lizards, and the anole was roughly as high as the top of my head, so I was on tiptoe to frame this. Shame about the little shred of retained skin from a recent molt sticking out right from its snout.
You’ve already seen some of the other attempts to be fartsy, so now we return to the Estates.
I’ve been stalking this one for a few weeks now, since its regular haunt is the oak-leaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) in The Jungle. It has been spookier than normal and close approaches have been difficult – I know this particular image has no fartistic merit, it’s just here for comparison. Because a day later, the anole was considerably less wary of my presence and I managed, moving slowly, to get a leetle bit closer:
Granted, this is a tight crop not much reduced from full resolution, but I wasn’t a quarter-meter away for this frame, wide open at f4 with the marvelous Mamiya 80mm macro lens. How the anole allowed this close approach, I’ll never know, but it undoubtedly had to do with my unparalleled stalking skills and preceding reputation. The animals just clamor to be immortalized by my hand. You know it’s true.