Outdoor Shower Visitor
Really, how great are outdoor showers after a hot, sandy day at the beach?!? Down on Tybee Island in Georgia, our rental cottage last June was quite awesome, and it included a nice outdoor shower with saloon-style doors that even Nolan enjoyed. One day, as Heather was de-sanding herself, this little green fella gave her quite a surprise. He was comfortably clinging to the shower-side of the one saloon door, and after our showers and a few photos (he let me get rather close for this shot), he moved around a bit before disappearing later that day.
Bird…on Carpeted Stairs?
So it turns out I don’t have a whole lot of bird photos. I enjoy watching birds and listening to them, but I really haven’t explored bird photography in depth yet. With that being said, here is a not-great-but-kind-of-interesting bird photo that I took a few years ago. On some carpeted steps in our apartment building, I happened to spot a little bird that must have found his way inside (probably those neighbors that always propped the back door open…). I got a photo while he was sitting on the stairs, but he soon starting flying into the big windows all around. I opened up the doors on either end of the building, and luckily, the bird finally found his way out.
Hopefully the next bird photos I post will have more of a natural setting!
Flamingos sure are interesting birds. We are so used to seeing pink flamingos (as lawn decorations, as graphics, etc.), but their actual color can range from pink to reddish-orange, depending primarily on their diet. These particular salmon-colored flamingoes were at the Bronx Zoo, and while they probably weren’t exactly eating the same things they probably would be eating out in the wild, their diet still includes the right things to give the flamingos their color.
Greenish Rock in the Pond…with Eyes…
I would say this frog is doing a pretty good job of blending in with the surrounding rocks in this little pond…aside from the green coloring and little eye bumps. But if you were just walking by and not paying close attention, it would certainly be pretty easy to pass right by this little guy without noticing.
I’d like to take more photos of birds, but they are pretty hard to capture on camera. Whether they are too far away for my lenses, or they move much too quick, I have not had much luck with most birds. Luckily, ducks don’t have much of a problem coming close to you, and their swimming usually isn’t all that fast, so it is a lot easier to snap a shot of them.
I am not the biggest fan of spiders, but they are definitely interesting little creatures. I love coming upon intricate webs during my outdoor travels, and on this particular morning a couple years ago, I stumbled upon a big meadow full of dewdrop-lined webs that were lit up by the rising sun.
I hope this spider was able to catch a poor little fly or other insect for breakfast…
Black mussels are interesting little bivalves. They have all kinds of neat things, like a single foot, a couple siphons, and things called byssal threads that are actually strong fibers that mussels use to anchor themselves to whatever they might like to anchor to. In this case, this mass of mussels was clinging to a large jetty rock along the coast of New Jersey.
To anyone that can tell me how many mussels are in the above photo, I will offer a good ol’ fashioned high-five…good luck!
Just Above the Surface
This little frog didn’t trick me with his attempt to blend in with the murky pond water all around him…of course, there were probably other times I walked right by and didn’t notice, but on this occasion, I definitely spotted him in the pond. If just a little more of his head was under the water, he would more convincingly look like the little bubbles on the water surface. I guess one of his frog buddies will give him that advice…either that, or some bird will scoop him up…
Web of Dew
I think spider webs are great subjects to photograph, especially when they have neat patterns or other interesting features. This web in a grassy meadow was mostly complete, full of tiny dew drops, and had a waiting spider in the middle for good measure, so I thought it was definitely worthy of a few snapshots!
Majestic Bald Eagle
As you can likely tell by the concrete structures and fencing in the background (and out-of-focus in the foreground), this bald eagle was certainly not photographed in the wild…maybe the wild of New York City, but that’s about it. Still, this beautiful bird was pretty cool to see up close at the Bronx Zoo, and he was certainly doing a patriotic pose for my camera when this shot was taken.
Feeding Time for the Deer
Deer love handouts. And that is just what they got here at Heather’s grandparents’ house quite often. It sure made for some close up viewing of the deer as they came right up close to the deck outside.
Web in Focus
Sometimes a shift in focus can create an entirely different photo, and that is what happened as I was taking some photos of this spider and web in the orange glow of morning. A few photos of the spider in focus looked neat, but I was drawn to the thin strands of web near the outer edge, and focusing on these strands moved the center of attention away from the spider. Also, if you look closely at the strands, you can see a tiny bit of iridescence with slight pinks and blues.
If you **really** squint your eyes while looking at this photo, you very well might think a moose is walking through the water right in front of you! Otherwise, it’s pretty obvious that this is just a moose cutout with a couple of stakes holding it up. Even so, it made for a nice quick stop as we drove through the Adirondacks on this off-and-on rainy day. Interestingly, moose were hunted out of existence before the Civil War but started to wander back in the 1980s, although with relatively low numbers, they are still a very rare sight in these forests.
Maybe next time we’re up in the Adirondacks we’ll spot one of the real ones.
So yeah, it’s Leap Day…and while I do think I have some other Leap-Day-worthy photos that I could post (such as some leaping people shots), I thought this about-to-croak frog was certainly appropriate for the day.
Have a great Leap Day!
Llama at the Fair
One of the great parts of attending the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show in August (also known as the New Jersey State Fair) is getting to check out the many kinds of livestock and other farm animals. This particular llama (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an alpaca….but I could be wrong!) seemed like he was tired of all the people coming up to his pen, but he still let me take a couple of close up shots. Another llama was nearby out in the open for passers-by to touch and check out the soft fleece. They’re pretty cool animals!
A visit to Disney World is always full of ooh’s and aah’s and random things that are a bit out of the ordinary. After a huge, delicious meal at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada area, we ordered the chocolate mousse for dessert and received the moose in the photo above. Not only was this a great representation of a homonym, but it was also a pretty tasty dessert!
Watch Out for the Bear, Madison!
For being within inches of a big black bear, Madison sure doesn’t look like she is afraid…of course, being that Aunt Heather is protecting her, and the fact that the bear is a bit stuffed, she has little reason to be scared.
It’s Madison’s birthday, and it’s hard to believe she is already a big 6-year-old! Happy Birthday, Madison!!
Moose at Our Yukon Cabin
At the little cabin in the woods where we spent a lot of time in the Yukon Territory, we were rarely disappointed by the spectacular views out the front window. It was great to get out of bed, walk into the main room, and see this scenery right outside. The moose above was some sort of decoration and was pretty much the only moose we saw near the cabin (we did almost hit one on a highway down in British Columbia!), although we did find some antlers along the nearby river during the summer the one year. Even without a moose sighting, it was still a fantastic view out the window.
Look Out!! Alligator!!
No toddlers were injured during the vicious alligator attack captured in the shaky photo above…because there was a thick piece of glass between little Lillian and the big, sharp alligator teeth on the other side. Oh, and also because the alligator was a life-size model on exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The alligator was nicely detailed, but looked obviously fake in a sharp photo. However, by doing a blurry long exposure, I think this ‘alligator-about-to-get-a-baby’ moment looks a little more realistic…it’s pretty tough to hold the camera steady during scary moments like this!
Bottlenose Dolphins at the Jersey Shore
I’m not quite sure how common dolphin sightings are along the beaches of New Jersey…but I do know that this past August was the first time I saw dolphins while hanging out at the shore. I snapped this shot of three bottlenose dolphins as they swam parallel to a short stretch of Point Pleasant Beach. As they kept surfacing and going back under, you could see everyone on the beach looking around to see where they might pop up next. For me, it was a pretty good exercise in keeping both eyes open behind the camera – one looking through the viewfinder and one scanning the waves for their short appearances. They stuck around for a few minutes and then disappeared into the depths…or moved along to the next stretch of crowded beach.
Spot the Mountain Goats
How many mountain goats can you see in this photo? If you said two…you’d be wrong (so I hope you said three). Mountain goats seem to be a pretty common sight in certain areas of Glacier National Park, including this stretch along Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass. They’ve been known to walk right up to cars and wander through the nearby parking lot, and I’m guessing they’ve distracted enough drivers to account for at least a few fender-benders. They’re pretty cute…so how can you not be distracted!
Spit from a Spittlebug
Have you ever heard of a spittlebug? I know I haven’t before today, although I’ve definitely seen plenty of signs of their existence without even knowing it. Spittlebugs are the nymph form of insects called froghoppers (haven’t heard of them either…), and this frothy, bubbly glob of spit is sucked out from the plant and protects the nymph from temperature extremes and gives it lots of moisture to ensure its development. Interestingly, froghoppers are the jump champions of the insect world (beating out fleas for the title) as they can jump 100 times their length.
So the next time your walking through a grassy meadow and you spot a big wad of spit, there’s a good chance that a young froghopper is just chillin’ out inside.
Grooming Time for Two Javan Langur Monkeys
Javan Langur monkeys are native to some islands of Indonesia just north of Australia…although these two were hanging out at the Bronx Zoo, a mere 10,000 miles from those islands. These two juveniles (adults are black in color) are passing the time by doing a little grooming. It looks like the groomer is pretty focused on the back of the groomee(?)…hopefully he found something good!
I don’t come upon mantises very often…or maybe I do, but I just don’t notice them because they so cleverly blend into their surroundings. This particular praying mantis must have been feeling lazy when I stumbled upon him on a recent hike, otherwise I’m sure he would have been positioned in the typical praying stance. Mantises are pretty neat looking insects, and I never realized how cool their eyes are. The two big compound eyes look like they have a pupil, but this is just a result of the facets within the compound eyes, and there are actually three simple eyes in a triangular shape in the middle of the head between the antennae.