Monday, May 31, 2010

Pause...

I came across a snake in the woods that suddenly just stopped as if someone had hit a pause button.  The strange thing was that it was holding it's head jut above a fallen branch... not touching... (bigger)

It didn't seem to care as I got closer... (for some reason I love getting the image of the eyes in focus and the nose in front of the focal plane with snakes).  (bigger)

After a few minutes I walked away and left the snake... still in the same place... still floating just over the branch... (bigger)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cloudy, hazy and humid...

One of the few benefits of a cloudy and hazy day is that the overall contrast of the scene is reduced allowing subtle color differences to be revealed.  (bigger)

Another benefit is that many birds seem to have an easier time fishing.  Whether the fish behave differently or the reduced glare allows the birds to see the fish better I don't know... but they all seem to find a target, position themselves and strike much faster than on a sunny day.  (bigger)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Little ones...

Occasionally groups of baby geese differing in age get bunched together.  I've always been amazed that at such a young age those slightly older seem to keep an eye on those just a bit younger... (bigger)

To herd like this makes sense since the little ones are so vulnerable before they can fly, but to see those just a bit older (and still unable to fly) helping out the flock is neat.  (bigger)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exist in the moment...

Over the years I've tried many times to get the classic "dog shaking off water" shot and never been happy with the results (which is strange since we're in the water so often).  This day I finally figured it out... (bigger)

The difficulty I had wasn't the settings (iso, shutter, aperture, focal length and such)... it wasn't the intensity or angle of light... (bigger)

The problem was that I wasn't there... my head was trying to capture what didn't exist rather than being present in the moment.   This day I just had a gut feeling and acted without trying to force things to be what I wanted... and I ended up liking the results. (bigger)

I don't know why I forget to exist in the moment sometimes... I need to work on that...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When snails meet...

Sometimes things happen when you don't expect it... I happened to have the camera ready when two snails living in the tadpole aquarium met.  (bigger)

What unfold before me began with a simple touch... (bigger)

and became an intricate dance... (bigger)

a special moment... (bigger)

and a goodbye kiss... (bigger)

And of course a bit with quick and dirty layer mask to clean up the background.  (bigger)

More images from the encounter here: http://tanukifu.smugmug.com/Animals/When-two-snails

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hatchlings... (about 9 weeks)

Released another 21 little froglets for a total of 44 released so far (a bit less than half the total).  The remaining ones are in various states of development many having only rear legs but some with no legs at all and a few with front legs and a tail.  (bigger)

When released they scatted and disappear into the clutter very quickly but we did find one from last weeks release.  The pigmentation became much darker and the texture of the skin resembles a frog now (perhaps because they are no longer constantly in water).  It's kind of nice to know at least one made it a week on it's own in the wild. (bigger)

Friday, May 21, 2010

To live a bit better...

There is a large estate bordering the woods I usually travel and from time to time cows appear... It's a great thing to see they wandering about in such a  diverse and complex environment.  (bigger versions)

While a fence stops them from entering the river they have many wooded areas with streams in which they can seek shelter from the sun.  They often watch the dog playing in the river and I get the feeling that even though they have a better environment than most cows - they still want more.  (bigger versions)

What I can't figure out is why the owners bring the cows in... the property is huge - parts are clearly well designed with trails and paths - parts are left to grow naturally - fields are well manicured... and yet the cows are set free.  Whatever the reason a part of me is happy to know that someone cares... (bigger versions)

To be allowed to exist in a safe and fertile environment with dignity is a great thing - perhaps easily forgotten, overlooked or ignored in the world today... (bigger versions)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oh, to be young again...

To be young again is something just about everyone I know thinks about every once in a while... One nice thing about youth is truth... everything (emotions included) just appear instantly - no artifice - attitude included. (bigger versions)


I think the only part that would really interest me is learning about the world from scratch again... (bigger versions)

To learn what things taste like, to learn how to move, to explore places where everything is new... (bigger versions)


But the moments where you have to decide how much independence yo want, how long to stand on your own before following - those are the moments when you start to figure out who you are - and a part of me worries that if I had those to do over, perhaps I would choose differently and not end up the same in the end... (bigger versions)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hatchlings... first release

It finally became time to release the first batch of little froglets... There were 13 that had completed development and so a small pool of water was setup in the pachysandra by a rock wall bordering the garden.  (bigger versions)

Within minutes most had jumped to the leaves or the rocks and shortly after moved down to the dirt layer below.  (bigger versions)

Some seemed to prefer a damp mossy rock for a bit, but they moved down to the dirt layer as well.  (bigger versions)

On the next day an additional seven were released bringing the total to 20.  This one still has the last remnants of a tail snub.  (bigger versions)

Many project images are here: http://tanukifu.com/Animals/hatchlingsMarch2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hatchlings... (almost 8 weeks)

More and more of the little frogs are completing metamorphosis now (perhaps 11 of about 100ish tadpoles).  While many can hop and sit like an adult, only a few have torn the last membrane holding the jaws closed. (bigger versions)

While they still spend most of their time in the water, some are figuring out how to find stable places to rest - they seem to stay for a few minutes and then randomly jump away to a new place.  (bigger versions)

Surprisingly it seems that they all have enough visual differences in their patterning to be identified as individuals.  Moreover, they already seem to have different preferences for places to rest and tend to return to the same places after venturing about.  (bigger versions)

Some also seem to prefer not to be alone... some of the tadpoles would hangout in groups from time to time while others stayed rather independent... it seems this behavior variation carries to later in life as well... (bigger versions)

Many project images here: http://tanukifu.smugmug.com/Animals/hatchlingsMarch2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Perhaps I dream in watercolors...

This morning I woke with a vague remnant of an idea that maybe I dream in watercolors... It was one of those strange fragments of thought that seems to have importance - but for which reasons don't exist.  (bigger versions)

From time to time thought like this will come to me - just appear in my head without warning - and sometimes they persist for a bit - they almost insist that I consider them... (bigger versions)

Maybe I do really dream in watercolors... forms of the world based on ideas and thoughts - not quite abstract - enough to hint but not to reveal.  (bigger versions)

Maybe that's why my dreams are so comfortable - a world with suggestions and possibilities and devoid of the hard edges of obstacles - unlimited and drifting what little I remember of them always seems not to be a task but rather a journey... (bigger versions)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moving the ghosts...

There are times when it's hard to determine exactly what's going on in the world.  From a chaotic scene a sense of order develops, a pattern that almost seems logical, but the true reasons for what one witnesses is elusive.  (bigger versions)

Obstacles become paths and debris becomes tools and progress is made... but for what purpose... what unseen hand guides the workers... (bigger versions)

But perhaps stranger still is the need of most to belong... to contribute... to produce and be needed - never to run away - never to chart their own destiny - never to lead... only to work.  (bigger versions)

Beginning life blind and alone, perhaps it is enough to want togetherness.  (bigger versions)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hatchlings... (about 7 weeks)

Well today we have our first "almost" frog... Two days ago the front legs appeared on this one, yesterday they were a bit bigger and the tail began to shorten - today it began to breath air. (bigger versions)

Next to some siblings one can see the changes in head shape and the reduction in the tail.  Interestingly the changes seem to be due tot he reduction of the translucent layer first.  (bigger versions)

 The changes to the mouth involve the reshaping of the entire underlying bone structure - the tiny mouth has so far remained unchanged.  The ports from the gills seems to have closed over the last day and the tissues seem to be pulled drown towards the abdomen.  Muscle development has very rapidly increased on the limbs, the toes have also rapidly elongated. (bigger versions)



Most of the tadpoles (about 100) are at much earlier stages of development - perhaps 50% have rear legs - one other tadpole has developed front legs this morning.  (bigger versions)

Many project images are here: http://tanukifu.com/Animals/hatchlingsMarch2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The best laid plans…


One of the most comfortable things to me is that all things change. No matter how well we plan, how carefully we build, no matter how hard we try to protect what we create it will all be lost eventually. (bigger versions)

These old railroad tracks have been left to be reclaimed by nature. Unmaintained the ties are rotting, the foundation shifts, the rails twist and deform. Trees begin to grow closer and soon the path of man will be forgotten. Great effort created this rail, a critical infrastructure for the time - and now it lingers - becoming a bit more like the words around - a bit less like it's intended form each day.

On the surface one might expect that impending loss would be something to cause angst rather than comfort. The more time one spends outside with nature, the more the beauty of the cycles of creation and destruction becomes clear. Everything has to have a lifespan for the world to be dynamic, for new potential to be realized, and even for there to be meaning in a moment of existence. Life exists right on that edge of trying to advance and trying to stay the same.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What remains...

Did you ever wonder what's on the other side of the fence?  Along the highway there are almost always fences, and what's behind them is usually a mystery.

Sometimes there are wooded areas, nature retaking what man has abandoned.  Sometimes nature reclaims what man has abandoned.  All that is left of his little bridge is some concrete and iron, the wood that people walked on has long since decayed.  No one bothered to take it down - it was simply forgotten. (bigger versions)

Remnants of the bolts turned by hand, adjusted to a specific tension to let the wood expand and contract remain - threads eroded and fused so the memory is locked until the reason itself is gone.
(bigger versions)
Nature never cares though, things just are - things will be used in what ever way possible.  While we may not like the aesthetics of what we have done (and continue to do), nature doesn't care. (bigger versions)