Godzilla in the Garden: A Photoshoot

Early this morning, I was out in the garden taking more pictures of plants I’ve already obsessively photographed, when this tiny lizard yelled at me from inside my Concord Grapevine and asked about doing a photoshoot. This was a very unusual thing: these lizards are often skittish around humans and typically scurry out of camera range, but this one wanted to hang with me and pose for a few shots. He said he was after a greater social media presence and for some reason thought I might be able to help.

He was a little shy about the camera at first (aren’t we all?) but quickly got into the swing of things and watched me, warily, as I moved around the vine, got closer and closer, and click-click-clicked. I was experimenting with an inexpensive (but very functionable) LED unit attached to my camera’s flash shoe, and his eyes kept following the light. He may have been a bit dazzled… you know: bright lights, big city, fifteen minutes of fame, and all that jazz….

Anyway… he stayed among the grapevine leaves for close to an hour and I took about fifty photos. He approved these nine for public release. Now he wants to be on Instagram….

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Fancy Beasts

Below is a selection of superfine reptiles from the amphibian and reptile exhibit at Zoo Atlanta. They’re surprisingly photogenic creatures; as you can see from the pictures, they all turned toward the camera to let me capture their delightful smiles and that intense reptile-brain look in their eyes. And be sure to take a close look at the most-excellent talon manicure in the last two images.

In the fifth century B.C.E., the Greek philosopher Protagoras pronounced, “Man is the measure of all things.” Such an assumption makes us overlook a lot. Abilities said to “make us human” — empathy, communication, grief, toolmaking, and so on — all exist to varying degrees among other minds sharing the world with us. Animals with backbones (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) all share the same basic skeleton, organs, nervous systems, hormones, and behaviors. Just as different models of automobiles each have an engine, drive train, four wheels, doors, and seats, we differ mainly in terms of our outside contours and a few internal tweaks. But like naïve car buyers, most people see only animals’ varied exteriors. — from Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina

Thanks for stopping by; stay tuned for a coming attraction: Snakes on a Blog!

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