Lens-Artists Challenge #51 – UNIQUE
“It never fails to amaze me how the most ordinary day can be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye.”
This week Amy invites us to talk about uniqueness. You may be thinking, what’s so unique about a deer? Here on our little island one of the most unique (and special) things is the frequency with which one can encounter some of nature’s most beautiful creatures. Exhibit A of course, the sweet face of the little deer peering at me one day last week from the woods that border my running path.
“Extraordinary magic is woven through ordinary life. Look around!”
Amy Leigh Mercree
Speaking of encounters, perhaps a bit less beautiful (except maybe to another alligator) but equally extraordinary, the fearsome fellow above was just on the other side of my running path the same day I encountered the deer. They’re amazing creatures really – relatively unchanged from prehistoric times although happily somewhat smaller. This fellow was probably 5 or 6 feet long and couldn’t have cared less about the presence of yours truly and my trusty Fuji. Look closely at his neck just behind his head and you’ll see a metal tag, which is part of a study currently underway on the health and habits of these amazing reptiles.
“Every snowflake is unique, yet they are each perfect.”
Donald L. Hicks
Another example of the unique nature of our island is the welcome presence of our wild bobcats. I captured this image some time ago on the famed Ocean Course – known to golfers worldwide. Our bobcats are well-studied and fervently protected. They are our primary means of controlling the deer population on the island, as well as the pesky marsh rats that lurk in our dense grasses. One never knows when a bobcat will appear, so it’s best to be camera-ready at all times. Although they are typically deeply hidden in the marsh grasses, they can also be found crossing our boardwalks and roads to travel throughout the island.
“Uniqueness is the highest gift of existence.”
Above, a tryptic of some of the other iconic creatures we see here on Kiawah. First, our dolphins – caught in the act of strand feeding. This is a unique behavior practiced by the dolphins of coastal South Carolina. They form teams to herd baitfish (typically mullet) onto the beach. They follow the fish out of the water and feast on them, leaving many to be devoured by watching seagulls. This amazing act of nature has been studied and filmed by National Geographic as evidence of the dolphins’ ability to communicate, work as a team and teach their young. Next to the dolphins is a newly-hatched loggerhead turtle. Here on our protected barrier island, 300+ pound mother turtles crawl onto the beach in the dead of night to dig nests and lay eggs. The hatchlings emerge some 2-3 months later, usually right around dawn, and make their way to the ocean water beyond. Happily, this season there are already some 300 nests, promising a record year for these special creatures. My image was captured just as a nest’s last hatchling crawled to the ocean one pre-dawn morning. Last but not least, one of our iconic bobcats crossing a boardwalk between the Ocean Course and the marsh beyond.
“It’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.”
I’ve posted quite a few images of our beautiful birds of late but honestly I never tire of seeing and shooting them. I was driving home from the golf course one day and happily had my camera and a long lens in my car. Fortunately no one was tailgating me because when I spotted these colorful creatures sharing a shallow pond I slammed on my brakes and yanked my car to the side of the road as fast as you can say Roseate Spoonbill!
“Each creature is a unique piece of art to be respected and believed in.”
OK, I’ll admit it, the adorable creature above is NOT one that is found in the wild here on Kiawah. Last month I donated my time to photograph a charity tennis event to which one of the contestants brought this little cutie. I’d never seen one like it, and have since forgotten what breed it is, but I couldn’t resist including it as a truly unique creature. Feel free to respond with the name of the breed if you know it!
We look forward to seeing what’s unique about your world in your responses this week, and hope to see you next week right here on Travels and Trifles.