It was a hot and humid early summer day as I walked along a riverside trail near my home. The birding was slow, and so was my walk as I tried to find anything of note to photograph. A few flowers piqued my interest, some insects, a Song Sparrow or two. A few Leopard Frogs jumped into the water every so often as I made my way further along the trail, most which I did not see until their leaps of faith into safety.
I then spotted this large Bullfrog just floating peacefully on the surface of the water, pretty close to shore. As I pondered if it was worth photographing or not it let out a slow, long, and deep croak that made the water around it ripple. Wow, I missed that! Luckily it did it again, and again…and yet again. By this time I was down flat on my belly to get to its eye level, creeping up slowly towards the water’s edge looking for the best perspective and moving left and right to include or exclude pieces of vegetation into or out of the picture. Another croak, another series of pictures. This was a cooperative frog! Always facing me to boot.
It was very humid that evening, pushing +40C, if including the humidex (which I never do except to make it sound more impressive). I was sweating, drops coming down my forehead and t-shirt clinging to my back, just lying down at the edge of the water. The mosquitos were starting to get more and more annoying. A couple of small rocks were pushing hard against me, so I was shifting positions once in a while in hopes of finding smoother ground. Then it happened…I was not paying attention to the vegetation scattered alongside and under me…vegetation that I now realized was Poison Ivy. Great. This had better be worth it because I was about to experience nagging and painful itching and burning for the next two weeks, at very least.
As if on cue the itching and redness begun just as I realized the predicament I had gotten into. I had always been careful with Poison Ivy (and since then even more so), but the Bullfrog had me at first croak and had my full undivided attention. Anyhow, back home, with rubbing alcohol on hand, I begun reviewing the images for the best one. I came across this one that had a perfect symmetrical view of the frog, and the best water rippling action along its body…and to my huge surprise, a fly seemingly hiding from its feared enemy! What a serendipitous bonus that was. So despite the uncomfortable conditions of that evening, including that darned Poison Ivy itching and burning that lingered for nearly a month I would say that yes, to me this image was all worth it.