Two cabbage butterflies mating on a leaf beside the Noh River, August 07, 2006
In the heart of a big city like Tokyo the cliche says that nature exists as but an afterthought. For such hulking carbon-units as us humans that may well seem like the case, but all it takes is a slowing of pace and a pair of good eyes to see that the world around us, all of it, IS nature; we just have to learn how to see.
At the start of August, one cloudy day, in the midst of my summer-long hiatus from work, I decided one day to walk to the nearby Noh River and see what I could see. When I reached the banks I found myself slowly down to a crawl, barely moving along. These photographs are the result of nearly four hours stepping through the riverside grasses and bushes along a distance of only about 100 meters. What I actually saw far outnumbered what I captured in the camera. With the wind and light many of the pictures were either impossible to get, or else would have been uninteresting. If I had stayed longer no doubt I would have seen a lot more.
(What you see on-screen may look like washed-out photographs. The actual versions have much greater contrast, tone, and saturation. If you are using an LED screen you may want to tilt it back a little to allow more contrast and a darker image to show. The difference can really make the photos stand out.)
Stinkbug balancing atop frond.
Grass Lizard basking
This is actually a fiery red and yellow lily… I was amazed when I desaturated it and found this almost infrared film-like ghost of an image.
Male Red Dragonfly. This photograph took forever to get because the twig quivered at the slightest breeze and the footing at the edge of the river was so covered with dead reeds that I couldn’t see where my feet were.
I love the audaciousness and toughness of Fritillery Butterflies. They always seem to be the first to appear in the cold of mid-spring and the last to go at the end of autumn.
Call them the alter egos of those regular black-spot-on-red beetles you usually see.
Robberfly. Heavy-flying thugs of the insect world, they’ll go at anything that moves, including us, if they’re not aware that we are stalking them.
Jumping Spider. I once considered studying field biology so that I could specialize in these spiders. They make no trap webs, but wander about jumping incredible distances and using their single strand of web as lifelines. It’s always delightful to watch their coke-bottle eyes goggling at things even two meters away.
Barely two centimeters long, this butterfly’s wing color did not become apparent until I was almost standing over the butterfly and it suddenly opened its wings. I wish I knew the name of the species.
And finally, one of my favorite images. An immature female Praying Mantis among some peppermint.