Photo by Melody

Hidden in Pictures

By Amber Royer (dandylyon85May 14, 2012

My husband and I have been out to a number of parks and botanic gardens in the past month, and we just sat down this week and started looking through the pictures. I went through the whole set from Tyrrell Park, which has a delightful botanic garden in Beaumont, Texas. I had taken a picture of a very empty-looking hole using a VERY long lens (because, who knows what can live in holes).

Gardening pictureMy husband was scrolling through a slideshow view and stopped at the first empty-hole picture.  He said, "Oh, I think I see what you were taking a picture of."

"A hole," I replied.


"Isn't that a snake?"  My husband zoomed in on the picture, and there it was: an unmistakable reptilian head, with eyes looking straight at the camera.  (It is hard to tell, because the animal's body is still inside the hole, but I think it may be a rat snake.)  I had taken that photograph, and didn't see that snake looking at me.  I had then cropped and brightened those pics on my computer, but noticed nothing except a bunch of damp dead leaves .  In fact, I almost deleted them.

I love taking nature photographs.  Going out into the natural world and observing both flora and fauna through a camera's lens gives me such focus on the details that I would miss if I rode by the same scene in a car - or even on my bike -- that  I think I must be noticing everything.  But obviously not. 

I started wondering what else I might have missed, so I started zooming in on little dots and smudges in some of the pictures I had taken.  The insect activity I found there was startling.

I took this next picture in the little herb garden outside the Fielder House Museum, in Arlington, Texas.  I was so focused on getting the light on the flower right, and making sure I had a profile view of the butterfly's wings, that I didn't even notice the little bee flying right towards the butterfly.  He's hard to see in the resulting photo, unless you zoom it in.

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This next one was of the rose bushes in front of the Fielder House Museum.  I immediately noticed the ladybug, but can you spot the fly?  He's clearly in focus in this super-zoomed in version.

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This next one hits a little closer to home - literally.  My husband took this picture of the bloom on a green onion he planted from a bulb he got at the grocery store.  I was curious how he had gotten so much depth and color on the flower head - until he zoomed in and revealed that the whole thing was covered with beetles.

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I've heard before that whether you are indoors or out, you are never more than ten feet from a spider.  Now, I feel more ready to believe that is true.  I took photos of a number of spider webs along the walking park that runs under the Congress Street Bridge in Austin, Texas.  But I didn't see a single spider.  I wonder now, if I hadn't been just a bit more observant, if I might have caught the glitter of arachnid eyes somewhere in the branches or undergrowth just outside the range of my camera.


 Next time I go walking through a park or a garden, I probably won't be able to help but wonder what animal life is there, just out of focus or just out of sight.  When you get out into nature I hope you take a closer look too.

  About Amber Royer  
Amber RoyerAs a librarian turned freelancer, Amber likes to research the history and botany behind the modern garden. Her true plantly love is the herb garden. Follow her on Google.

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