My 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.

Image

"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.

Image Image

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.

Image Image

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.

Image Image

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.

Image

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.