Learn in your own backyard

The sun is setting earlier each day, with a changing angle as it arcs downward in the sky, the tilt of the earth turning away to create the post-summer seasons.  Sometimes I have to wait for the sunbeams to find just the right path through all the leaves and limbs in order to illuminate the subject I’ve selected.  Or it will light up the canopy with a glow that radiates down to the forest floor, finding the lighter colored objects ready to reflect the last rays of the day.

Finally gotten rain here and a late summer crop of mushrooms are finding their way up from the rotting logs in the gully behind the house.  The white caps make a nice contrast against the moss covered tree trunk but I liked the B&W version better since I wanted to portray the detail of this little part of the woods.  Mushrooms don’t contain chlorophyll so they have no need to track the sun across the sky, meaning they should simply grow straight up.  This one, though, decided a nice curve in the stalk would be attractive and created a graceful pose over the carpet of moss.

The neighborhood characters were out today again, grazing across a few lawns in search of I don’t know what.  I hear during the day they have a regular routine of passing through front and back yards, usually as a troupe of 3-5.  I saw them working their way across the street toward our place and sat on the deck until they got into range for some long lens images.

I’m still hoping to photograph the deer living back in the woods but they are much more shy than these guys.  Nice to have subjects so readily available.

An outdoor photographer once said to a class I was in you need to be intimate with what’s in your backyard in addition to traveling to distant lands to find subjects.  There are all kinds of residents out there if you take the time to get to know them at their level and at their pace.

Read an article last week about the increased intelligence of animals living in suburban and urban areas.  Not sure how that got measured but the researchers said there is a noticeable difference in behavior and adaptation ability between the same animals that living in their “normal” wild habitat and the ones who have moved into town.  Not just coyotes – they looked at rabbits, squirrels, various birds and larger mammals like deer.  Apparently some members of the animal kingdom are acquiring street smarts as they learn to put up with us moving into their territory with our subdivisions, roads and other interruptions of continuous forests and fields.  Wonder when they will start photographing us?


2 thoughts on “Learn in your own backyard

  1. You are right, I was driving thru rural Iowa for work last week and a bull came thru an open gate, looked to the left walked out to the center of the road looked right, saw a car coming, stood there till the car passed and then proceeded across the road. Animals are smarter than we give them credit for.


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