2′ Away from Freedom

Might as well get this out of the way now.  It’s time to put the Um with the Yang and bring this day to a close.  The celebration of 160 was put to the side this evening due to an unfortunate situation my wife experienced earlier tonight while on her way back from the dog show.  She was likely having a similar good day thanks to a couple of good runs from the little ones.  Unfortunately, those same dogs found themselves looking up from the  floor mats on their way home thanks to this:

Before anyone panics, everyone is fine. Well, everyone but the SUV and the dumbass deer that decided to play Frogger. In the deer’s defense, this is the first weekend of shotgun season so they are all probably running for their lives and throwing caution out the door. I just wish they were smart enough to stay in the woods out of sight being that it was after sundown and the hunters should have already called it quits for the day. As it turns out, Linda was driving by the Jubilee College entrance which is about halfway between Kickapoo and Brimfield IL. This is essentially big buck region and this particular corridor is deer alley. Most of the time they stay to the sides and tend to heed the roadways to the faster and heavier vehicles. You can always tell those not from the area because those are the ones who unknowingly have a death wish by speeding through these parts. Apparently this particular deer decided to test fate on a dead run and almost made it. By my estimates, it was probably less than 2 feet from freedom when it was clipped by the SUV bumper. Luckily, that particular area had a reduced speed due to a small subdivision. Linda said she locked them up but wasn’t able to avoid the impact. Guessing this sudden deceleration is what sent the boys for a thrill ride. It was a pretty big deer and fur ended up flying from the impact, but those deer are tough. I totaled a Daytona on one and it was still alive afterwards (broken legs, but still alive). I took a walk in the dark, but couldn’t find any remains so guessing it is nursing a pretty sore hind at the moment.

Catch a couple more shots after the jump

Continue reading 2′ Away from Freedom

Biology Apology – Now We’re Even

My fingers are still sore from the last mega-post so decided to go with a quick one today.  I do not know what the weather was like in your part of the world, but the US Midwest experienced a rather wet Spring and Summer season.  In fact, it just started raining a few minutes ago.  As a well owner, this does not bother me at all and takes a few worries off the daily list.  This rain does have an interesting side effect.  Some validation research is still ongoing, but the preliminary results indicate we have a ton more frogs and toads hopping all over the place in these conditions.  By the incredibly loud croaking that fills the night ambiance, the guess is they are at near plague levels this year.  You know about our stream in the back lot by now, but we also have a couple of ponds near our property that provide a perfect environment for them.  Over time you get pretty good at locating them especially late at night when they are hopping in desperation to escape the car lights and their frantic leaping out of harm’s way from the mowers.  As a personal favor to the reptile gods I try my best to allow them time to make it to safety – a small token of appreciation for helping me get through Biology class.  Every once in awhile, we uncover some nice specimens and usually head straight for the cameras.  Actually that isn’t entirely correct.  First we have to make sure our youngest dog (Rizzi) will leave them alone.  He has an uncanny ability to locate these creatures whenever they visit our porch and makes a bee line to them in order give them a thorough sniffing.  A running joke is our dog needs his frog licking hallucinogenic fix.

To finish cleaning up for the Halloween party, I needed to relocate a bunch of leftover boards from the bridge project.  While lifting up one of the boards, I noticed this amazing frog.

This was clearly worth stopping what I was doing and hunting down the camera.  Slap on the macro glass and off to the shoot.  In an effort not to disturb it much, a decision was made not to bother putting my hand or foot close to it for a better sizing perspective.  For reference, it was sitting on 1″ driveway rock so by that estimate it was probably 4-5″s long and had a pretty beefy 2″ sitting height to it.  It never moved the entire time I was snapping pictures either due to being there the whole time I was working on the wood or simply scared completely out its wits.  In either case, a stationary subject is always a good thing with the macro glass.  There was also some interesting lighting I was trying to play with.  Here is one of those experiments.

I actually really liked how this turned out.  There is enough contrast to isolate the frog from the rock and the upper shadow helps make it stand out really nice in the frame.  If you get a chance, jump over to the Smugmug gallery and look at it in the largest size available – pick Original to see the image in all its detail.  The eye came out very nice and you can make out the pretty cool toes.  As far as the frog family goes, this is probably the second largest I have had the pleasure of actually coming in contact with outside of the zoo.  The largest was one we found in a basement window well at my brother Dan’s previous house back in Channahon IL.  That frog was a good 7-8″s long and easily had a resting height of 3-4″s.  After some reluctance to actually touch that one, we finally managed to get it out of there and sent it on its way back towards a nearby river.

Hit the link to see another angle of … I shall call him Leo

Continue reading Biology Apology – Now We’re Even