“Nature is painting for us, day after day pictures of infinite beauty.” ~John Ruskin
As we make our way through, around, about, in and out of the woods, we come across so many of nature’s amazing phenomena. We have seen the most glorious lightning storms, the smallest insects going about their daily business, and the strangest reflections of light. Gathered below are some of the beauty we happened to capture on film (digital, that is). To see more of our photos as we wander about, seeing what we can see, we have a flickr now. Link is here and in the sidebar (to the right) under Links.
It is nearly everyday that we see turtles basking in the sun. This turtle was not too happy to be the subject of an impromptu photo shoot, despite the smile on his face. He had just made the trek from a nearby river and was warming himself in the sun. Once he went to take a nip at the camera lens!
The same turtle. If he looks a little grumpy, it’s because he was trying to be on his way and we were taking his picture. No worries, these pictures took but a moment and we left him to his musings and basking. You have to love that pug nose though; it adds to the expression of sulking!
We spotted this dragonfly on a random wall. You can just make out its gossamer wings by the slight discoloring from the rest of the pebbles. It was completely still and looked like a husk, as if the dragonfly had molted. We nearly had our faces right up to it. This picture, I took. . .
. . .this was Stephen’s go at capturing the “dead” dragonfly. Apparently, the dragonfly was not dead, but resting (or something of that nature, no pun intended, okay, yes, some pun intended). It flew away just as Stephen went to snap its picture; this was the result after Stephen’s surprise when it flew off.
Not all of nature’s phenomena is alive. We spotted this dead bullfrog (this time we were pretty sure it was dead) floating by as we peered into the shallow depths. We have seen and heard many frogs this last month especially, this was the first bullfrog we have seen.
We were awakened two nights in a row by lightning storms. Rather than do the sane thing, like fearing for our lives, we sought refuge for the backpacks then whipped out the camera for some photos. We took about 400 photographs over two nights and managed to capture three good photos of the lightning. This one was the best of the lot. The sky was like a series of strobe lights going off for about three hours. The brunt of the storm missed us, but wreaked massive damage in cities all around us.
Rabbits, being the infamous stars of Fibonacci’s Sequence, are quite abundant. Literally, we will see as many as five in a small section of grass at any given time while walking through the woods. They blend well with their environment because of their brown color (looks very much like the soil and surrounding brush) so can only be seen when they skitter away after deciding that our approach does not make for good dinner companions. They perk up their ears, stand stock still, then sprint. . .in a straight line for several yards before dashing into the protection of the brush. Why a straight line? Nature works in mysterious ways.
Contrariwise to its appearance, this is not an alien lifeform, this is an adult helgramite, AKA a dobsonfly, or one of its many species. These begin as an 80mm larva and end up like what you see to the right, a 5-inch (127mm) alien lifeform from Mars. Ok, no, not from Mars, they are actually from the planet Dobson in the Helgra galaxy about 70 million light years from Earth. This one had no demands. . .yet, but tricked us into agreeing to future demands in order to obtain this photograph. We’ll keep you posted as everthing develops.
Stephen was brave enough to get right down next to this spider on the ground carrying its eggs to capture this closeup. I was hoping she would rear back on her legs ready to strike as it would have looked good for the photo. No worries, Stephen is used to risking life and limb to capture a good closeup. You should see what he’s done to get the snakes to coil up, ready to strike. Copperheads included! This spider, not sure of the name, was about the size of a half dollar and was very pregnant. She was beautiful, her colors shining in the sun. The color of the eggs on her back actually appeared yellow in the sunlight.
This pretty little thing was sitting on this piece of wood for several minutes before we noticed its presence. It blended so well with the wet wood (it was raining this day). It stayed in place almost the entire time we were snapping pictures of it, before retiring to a nearby bush to hide among the leaves. We tried getting some photos of it in the leaves, but the camouflage was too good. Its skin looks particularly slick due to the rain. We have also seen tinier versions of this toad, the ones that were born this year. The younger ones are even harder to see, even when moving, due to their brown color.
This kind of post will most likely end up being some sort of series, so look forward to more posts of Amazing Natural Phenomena in the future. Also, to see many of these photos enlarged, click on the photo or head on over to our flickr, where we upload many of the photos you see on the blog as where we will also upload photos that are not on the blog.
“The wilderness holds answers to questions man has not yet learned how to ask.” ~Nancy Newhall