I mean, not totally random – you’re not going to see author portraits or product photography or what I’m eating right now or some outfit that I bought only to do cheesecake selfies in and never actually wear. But random for my typical photo subjects, so you can let your hopes die down now. I’ve got a shitload of sorting to do and several other projects on the burners, so here’s a handful of photos with no theme or anything, just to maintain content and not let people think I died or switch to FaceBlerch or something.

quartet of yellow-bellied sliders Trachemys scripta scripta perched identically on log, Goose Creek State Park, NC
The Girlfriend and I did a few days out at Washington, NC last week, and so I returned to Goose Creek State Park – she went too, but this was her first time so she wasn’t returning. Out the car window, I fired off a couple of quick frames of a quartet of yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta) all posed identically on a log. I was shooting wide open and depth-of-field naturally suffered, and while I was adjusting the aperture they all became too suspicious and slid into the water. But we’ll go in closer for a moment.

pair of yellow-bellied sliders Trachemys scripta scripta, one showing waterline stain
See? I did nail focus, just on a very specific area. But I’m betting you didn’t register the curious stain on the head of this one, likely indicating sitting for a while with just its eyes and nose out of the tannin-laden waters of the drainage channel.

Just a little further on The Girlfriend spotted a pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus,) which turned out to be at least a trio of them, but they proved difficult to photograph.

pair of likely juvenile pileated woodpeckers Dryocopus pileatus on same trunk
Light was dim under the tree canopy, and I was shooting at some distance handheld, not to mention how hyperactive they were, so this is the best I got. I’m reasonably certain these are this year’s brood, a pair of juveniles hanging out together, with a parent skipping along nearby. The park strikes me as a good place for woodpeckers, and we were told to keep an eye out for otters too; we didn’t see any, but I’ll be trying again as soon as possible.

pair of unidentified ducks, possibly hybrid mallard Anas platyrhynchos X and juvenile North American ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Both of these remain unidentified, though I consider the one in front to be a mallard hybrid (Anas platyrhynchos, or perhaps Anas platyrhynchos X,) while the one in the back might be a juvenile North American ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis,) but that is largely based on the size and the fact that I’ve seen them there before, since those markings don’t really match. It looks like a female mallard, but it’s far smaller than it should be with full feathering – perhaps an example of dwarfism? Check out the mottled feet on the maybemallard (another potential indicator of hybridization) while the other one appears banded.

Shot the moon for giggles while out there.

waxing gibbous moon with surrounding haze
This is decently sharp given handholding and the heavy haze, just barely showing at this exposure – the day had been spent close to overcast, which went full overcast at sunset, so I was surprised to see this later on. But that’s all from this trip – not a lot of time was spent photographing, but I might dredge up a couple others later on.

So, let’s see, local shots. We have this guy.

tiny juvenile Copes grey treefrog Dryophytes chrysoscelis perched on leaf of oak-leaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia
The oak-leaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) still host various critters, but I was a little surprised to see this minuscule Copes grey treefrog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis) – it is literally the size of my thumbnail, but spooked as I was trying to slide my paper measuring scale into the frame, so you’ll have to take my word for it. This size indicates that it’s likely this year’s brood, but I never saw any sign of them in the backyard pond, so it either snuck past me or migrated from a little ways off. Maybe it’s just last year’s, and has been growing slowly.

But that’s huge compared to the next guy.

unidentified gnat-sized spider on author's hand
I saw this under the desk lamp one night, mistaking it for dust but it wasn’t moving from its spot several centimeters below the light, so I fetched the reversed 28-105 and held my hand out underneath it. I’m not even going to try to identify this spider, but a gnat could have given it a run for its money, and that’s the edge of my hand that you’re seeing here, those cables being the fine hair thereon. I’m glad we have species like this around – otherwise the ridiculously-small insects might get out of control.

Okay, back to work…

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