Back to my roots
It had been quite awhile since I journeyed to the Audubon. Once a place I visited often, the Audubon took a backseat this summer as I explored the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, and Acadia National Park in Maine. But the time for journeying to distant lands was over for now, so it made sense to hit some places closer to home and see what new sights awaited me.
One of the best things about the Audubon is that it’s never the same. That log I captured a turtle on last time may be gone, but perhaps the water line has a revealed a rock to capture a brand new image. So I spent the beginning of my journey surveying the insects around me. There were many different kinds of dragonflies around, a monarch butterfly, and some odder insects that I wasn’t as familiar with. I was using my telephoto lens, which presents a much different view of small creatures than a macro lens might. The advantage, of course, is that I don’t have to get too close to my quarry to fire off a shot. After spending an hour photographing the macro world, I realized that I had barely left the entrance! Time to move on…
I moved along the path at just the right time! I looked over to my right, and couldn’t believe what I saw…a snake! I was a little closer than I wanted to be. I’m sure the feeling was mutual. And then I got even more of a surprise when I realized she wasn’t alone. I say ‘she’, because wriggling beside her were several baby snakes! Needless to say, that was a game changer for the situation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to try to pass through, and she didn’t want to leave the babies alone with me. But after staring each other down for several minutes, the snake decided she could head back into the brush, and the babies quickly followed. It was turning out to be quite an exciting day!
For those who know the layout of the Audubon Society grounds, it may or may not surprise you to know that I hadn’t even gotten away from the building yet! But I did want to start my expedition around Big Pond, so I forced my feet to keep moving. I tried my luck crossing the bridge over to Spatterdock Pond, but the high grass proved to hide the wildlife from my camera. I walked around the pond and over to the double-decker blind overlooking Big Pond. I usually see a deer or two in my travels, but no such luck on this trip.
Not so much as a squirrel posed for me as I made my way through the forest. But I still had high hopes for the back of the pond, and I wasn’t to be disappointed. I could hear the carp trying to leap out of the water, but they didn’t quite have the oomph that day to get a good shot. But soon enough, I spotted my target – two frogs were resting in the water on the far side of the path. If only they would let me get close enough for a good shot… So I crept slowly toward them, taking a picture every few steps in case they decided to flee. But they didn’t run and hide, and I was able to get a very nice closeup before moving on.
I thought I had seen most of what nature was offering that day, and I started to head back around the other side of the pond. I always make a point to stop at all of the blinds, and today was no different. I didn’t see much going on outside the last blind, but I did happen to see that there was a wasp nest in the corner of the roof. It was dark there, and it looked to me like there wasn’t any activity. Imagine my surprise when I put the pictures in Lightroom, and discovered not one, not two, but three wasps hanging from the bottom of the nest! You just never know what nature is going to throw your way sometimes.
So it turns out that I don’t need to travel to exotic places to get great shots. Sometimes they are right there in your own backyard. The Audubon is always an exciting place to visit, and I can’t wait to get back and see what is in store next!