A little content

I’ve been a bit busy of late, and haven’t been taking the time for posts – this will continue a little while longer, too. So I’m going to throw something down pretty quickly, the frozen pizza of the online world, because we need something here.

First of all, while this image isn’t the slightest bit impressive or even interesting, it’s evidence:

mostly hidden American five-lined skink Plestiodon fasciatus, venturing out as the weather warms
It’s even hard to tell which way the head is – to the lower right I believe – but this is an American five-lined skink (Plestiodon fasciatus,) the first for the season on Walkabout Estates at least, and it dates from March 31st. Earlier that same day I’d seen something scamper up a wall and under cover, and I thought I’d seen evidence of stripes, which is something that the anoles don’t have. A few hours later on, I heard a rustle in the leaves too close to my feet as I crossed the yard, and waited for less than thirty seconds before this one revealed itself. I knew their habits and continued waiting, camera raised, but this guy perhaps knew my habits a little too well, and had barely raised is head from the leaves before it hurtled off across the yard, without pausing, and disappeared into cover near the wall again – the camera never had a chance to even autofocus. So this is all we have for now.

We do slightly better for an anole.

Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis basking on crook hanger
This was a day later, and in The Jungle out front, well removed from the skink’s territory; this represents the first appearance of a Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) from the front area, near the oak-leaf hydrangea that serves as a favored habitat. This one is roughly half adult size, and was inclined to bask while I was there so I avoided disturbing it. A little later on as I brought The Girlfriend over to see it, the anole had moved from this plant hanger (or in our case, the Japanese beetle trap hanger) to a bush beyond it and favored us with a territorial display of its dewlap, naturally while the camera was no longer in hand.

Later that same day…

hatching eggs of probable lady beetles coccinellidae
The eggs seen earlier on one of the rose bushes were hatching in the evening, and I attached the reversed 28-105 for detail pics, since the entire egg cluster didn’t exceed 6mm in spread. It’s not quite as sharp as it should be, but not only was I working freehand with a sharp focus range measured in millimeters (if not fractions thereof,) I was attempting to focus by headlamp since I have to redo a lighting system for the macro flash rig. Excuses excuses, I know, but buy any print and you can complain more. These are most likely some form of lady beetle (Coccinellidae,) and will help rid the bush of aphids, though my own efforts seem to have done a pretty damn good job.

But while we’re here…

first blossom from white rose bush
This is not from the bush with the lady beetles, but another obtained at the same time and just two meters along the deck – it was blooming the other day, so I shot it in passing. Should’ve bracketed exposure to produce a version without blowouts of the highlights, but oh well.

And finally,

juvenile green treefrog Dryophytes cinereus posing patiently
While I still had the 28-105 affixed from the egg shots, I poked around the yard and revealed this young green treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus,) who cooperatively stayed put as I maneuvered around in the ivy to get this perspective. This is half adult size, so roughly 30mm in length. If you look closely at that reflection in its eye, which is the macro softbox attachment that I designed, you can see the hotspots that it produces: a semi-rectangular one at bottom near the flash head itself, and then a crescent from the reflective bowl on the far side. I’d like to correct this and produce a nearly uniform circle, but I also don’t want to cut down the light by using a more diffuse surface, so I may be playing with the design again – perhaps a more oblique angle from the flash head so what transmits is mostly the reflection from the bowl. Then again, did you notice it before I pointed it out? Maybe I worry about it too much…

There are a few more pics in the queue, and they’ll be along shortly. Try to contain your excitement.

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