Saturday, March 28, 2009

Camera Critters #51

Years ago, I was a Staff Writer for the newspaper at the Air Force base I was assigned to. One of the first jobs I was given was to do a story on the Dive School at the base. To illustrate the article, I wanted a photo which showed what they did.

So told one of the instructors to get in the training pool with his gear on and to swim around. I shot a number of photos looking into the pool and through the viewfinder, but wasn't pleased with what I saw. So I borrowed a dive mask from one of the other instructors, put it in the water, had the instructor in pool start from the bottom and swim up towards me. Using the glass front of the mask as a window, I got on my belly and put the camera on the glass plate and began shooting. One of those photos was used to illustrate the article.

It was the first time I photographed something underwater...but not the last time.

While walking the edge of Fireman's Pond in Redmond, Oregon several years ago, I was surprised to see this huge tadpole sunning itself in a rocky area. I had never seen a tadpole this large. This big boy was at least seven inches long.

Then last year, family from Illinois came to Oregon for a visit. One of the places I took them was to Cline Falls State Park along the Deschutes River west of Redmond. While others were off checking something elsewhere in the park, I was sitting with my aunt and cousin telling them of some of the geology of the area. My aunt suddenly got a puzzled look on her face and asked what something in the water was.

We were a good 30 feet from the river, on a slight rise and had a good view of the shallow shoreline. I looked towards the river and found I was unsure what I was looking at. At first I thought it was a rock in the river. However, I could see it was moving at a slow pace. I walked to the edge and there I found the largest crayfish I have ever seen.

This big guy was at least eight inches in length.

Well, both critters above were under the water when I took their photo. However, the critter below was seen and photographed at the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center south of San Antonio, Texas several years ago.

I was walking along the shore of Bird Pond and would stop once in a while to check trees and bushes near me. When I stopped at one spot, I was scanning the weeds at the shoreline when I caught out of the corner of my eye, something moving between my legs. Looking down, I immediately thought, "Water Moccasin!" and then watched as the creature slithered down into the water in front of me. I quickly fired off a couple of shots and then got this image as it turned and moved parallel to shoreline.

When I got back to the lake headquarters, I showed one of the volunteers the image in the small LCD screen on the back of my camera and he said he couldn't be sure, but thought I might be correct. However, once I returned home and had time to research the snake, I found out it was actually a harmless Diamondback Water Snake.

Although he wasn't under the water, he was in it. Overall, this guy was probably a little more than three feet long.

I hope you enjoyed my post this week. If you would like to see more Camera Critters, just drop by the website here run by Misty Dawn and then join in the fun with an entry of your own.


i beati said...

lots of water critters - clear pics too

Dirk said...

Yes, I enjoyed your post very much!

Anonymous said...

If it's in the water, it's a moccasin until proven otherwise. Great shots!

Snap said...

Yes, I enjoyed your water critters very much. Thanks!

Janie said...

Great photo catches, especially of the swimming snake.

Misty Dawn said...

That freaking tadpole is HUGE!!!

OK, as you are very well aware, I am not afraid of snakes. However, I do prefer to know where they are, and I don't care for poisonous critters of any kind hehe... I must admit this encounter you had with this snake would have had my adrenalin pumping like mad!!!

Dianne said...

I really like the giant tadpole! interesting story you tell - you have sure seen a lot.

Karen said...

That really is a huge tadpole and crayfish. Makes you wonder what was in the water !!!

So pleased the snake was a harmless Diamondback and not a Water Moccasin.

Having lived most of my life in NZ, where there are no snakes, not even in the zoos, it has taken me awhile to get used to seeing them in the wild ... or in peoples houses, as pets!!

Now days, I only freak out a little bit! :-)

Great photos and stories.

Norm said...

ohh! what a huge tadpole and crayfish. Is that harmless the snake? I am really afraid of a snake I don't know why..

Oskar said...

I wonder if those water varmints would make good eats?

Haley @ House On The Hill said...

Very neat looking!

Rhea said...

Nice water photos! It's hard to get things underwater. And that snake. ACK! Even if it was harmless, I am hardwired to freak out when I see them.

Tink *~*~* said...

Neat captures - especially the water moccasin!

Happy Critturday!
Tink *~*~*
Just hangin’ around at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Carolina said...

There must be something in the water... Genetically modified critters?

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Cool!!! Love it!

Manz said...

What a tadpole!! Great photo.

I've only ever experimented once with an underwater camera - the disposable kind. Needless to say, nothing worthy of sharing from that bunch of pics.

Teena in Toronto said...

That is a big tadpole!

I played too :)

~~gail~~mooselovingmamabear said...

Great shots! Love the tadpole and crayfish...but the snake... ewwwwww... LOL