As a landscape photographer, I have to hike for miles in search of THE shot. It never fails whether I am in a field or walking down a street...dogs, donkey's, cattle, horses, lemur's, fish, llama's, wild boar and even insects can be curious to see me. Sometimes they come from far away to catch up to me and say "hello". I am delighted to visit with all the menagerie of sorts that want to sniff me or my camera. This particular guy seemed mean and had a furious bark that is until I sat down and slipped part of my lunch between the slats of the fence. Next thing I knew he was licking my fingers and listening to me tell him about my day. We were stranger's no more.
Here I was, minding my own photography business and then I spot these two characters I named Jack and Jill off in the distance. I am shooting the other direction with my back to them until I hear their hooves crunching through the grass. Turning around I am greeted by their delightful curiosity. They are pygmy donkeys roaming on a ranch in the Post Oak Mesa area of Burnet County. They were so short I got on my knees to take their portrait. Jack leaned in close to take a sniff of my camera just in case it might be a tasty treat for him. After a few pats on his nose and scratching on his neck I had to pull myself away from this adorable couple.
While shooting down south on a Port Lavaca ranch, I was sitting on the ground changing lens then looked up to see these friends. The horse sniffed my camera for seriously five minutes...very playful little guy. His friends didn't want to come to close they were content to peek around their brave friend. Here are a few of what we call in the business an "environmental portrait" of my friends. They are hard core ranch animals. Fly's ticks and the lick cover their hides. No baths or grooming for these folks. They were fat and happy none the less.
As I sat down on an old concrete ledge by a barn I felt something crawl on my hand that was resting on the ledge. Looking down slowly there he was...a Nexara viridula (Linnaeus) known to you and I as a Southern Green Stink Bug. That's right, this little guy has a fetid odor he could have delivered on me at any moment so I decided to be his friend so he wouldn't have reason to live up to his name. Fortunately for me, they love to dine on the cotton, soybean and other succulent plants. They live mostly in the south eastern states as well as Texas, Arkansas and even California. Believed to have originated in Ethiopia and now reside in many tropical and subtropical countries. I remember seeing these guys when I was a kid growing up in Texas. Nice to meet up with him. You can see them in October and November then again in the Spring time. Below is the Anolis Carolinensis, easier said...the Green Anole. This one is a male. He thinks I'm pretty apparently because he is using his brightly colored throat pouch to attract me. It worked so I quickly picked up my camera to bring you this shot. These cuties can be seen from mid Texas all the way to the Carolina's. My siblings used to catch them and gently tap on their beaks so they would open their mouth and when they did...they told me to hold still while they put the lizard on my ear lobe! Yes, that is correct...the lizard would bite down and dangle like earrings.
I was out shooting the famous bluebonnets in Willamson County when I happened upon this charming fellow. Why was he charming you ask? Well, seems he took a liking to me rather quickly. When I came up to the fence he was far across the field. He saw me and trotted my way. I was a bit concerned because minutes earlier a burly cowboy came to a sliding dusty stop in his pick-up truck behind me with a warning these guys are dangerous...then he sped off as fast as he arrived. Seems, according to my cowboy, they can spit bile at you from a good distance away that is highly acidic and can harm your skin or blind you if it gets into your eye! I decided to tough it out and see what happened. He came right up to me and looked me over then turned around and backed up next to me surveying the field in front of us. Moments later a crazed multicolored llama came running at me screaming. My night in shining fur stepped forward with ears back in attack mode and confronted my enemy face to face! The crazed llama backed down after being chased away leaving my valiant protector back at my side standing guard until I left. Pretty cool I must say...
I'm driving along on a South East Texas ranch on an extremely hot, humid and mosquito infested day. I was trying to get to a remote location to do some shooting. I thought I would save some time and a few less mosquito bites if I drove instead of hike as I usually do....when I saw this fellow in my way. Naturally, I knew when I got closer he would just step aside and let me pass, right? Wrong. I got as close as I dared... that didn't work. So I honked my horn with his face right in front of my grill as he continued to munch on his lunch. He just raised his head and looked calmly at me as he chewed. His look seemed to say "what's your problem lady?" ...then when "his" moment was right then he slowly sundered off.