The Little Pool That Could – June 2012

Shot of the Month  –  June 2012

The Pool (0180)

For the last month I had been running  nonstop – almost every waking hour, including weekends, toiling on a project for work.  On Sunday morning I decided to give myself a break, a short one, to work on a personal photography challenge.  A few weeks earlier I had discovered a small pool of water near our house that was home to a handful of Green Frogs (that moniker is both the official name for this particular species of frog and is an accurate description).  The setting, as you can see, was pleasant, but not exactly the Serengeti.  And frogs? Not usually the high point of a wildlife safari.

But I was intrigued by the challenge.  Could I create a noteworthy image of, a frog?  In this pedestrian locale?  This would be my first attempt.



When I arrived the pool was in the shade of a tree and there was one frog floating in the water.   I walked up and snapped a quick shot.

Baseline (2499)

This is the shot your typical person would capture before they quickly moved along.  It certainly documents the facts, but it’s hardly scintillating.

Time to think like a photographer.  I splayed out the legs of the tripod and dropped as low I could go.  Photography is all about light and initially the light was dark and somber.  I knew that I would have to be patient and wait to see what opportunities presented themselves as the sun rose and moved across the sky.  I positioned the tripod behind a few plants along the water’s edge; hopefully they would provide a bit of color and depth to the scene.  I adjusted the aperture to ensure that only the frog was in focus.  And I waited…



The result:

Green Frog, Vermont - USA (2616)

This image is much more intimate than the first shot as we are now at eye level with the subject.  The colors to the right are the out of focus plants in the foreground.  As the sun appeared from behind the tree the colors blossomed.  For a few moments the light was just strong enough to pull the pigment out of the surroundings – see the reflection of the blue sky and the red shed on his neck?   Within a few minutes however the light was too harsh and the mood was lost.

I got this shot within 30 minutes though I stayed for about two hours.  In that short period it was remarkable how big this little pool had become.  To my surprise I was soon completely immersed in a new world.


Initially, the scene was still.  As the sun appeared on the right side of the pool several frogs migrated to that end to fuel up on the warmth.  A couple of fellows crawled out of the water onto a rock to soak in the heat.  The longer I sat the more frogs I would “see.”  Big frogs.  Little frogs.  Some hidden in the grass.  Others between the crevices of rocks.  Some were only a few inches away and I simply hadn’t noticed.   One frog seemed rather cantankerous and he bellowed quite a bit.  Over time I realized that he was the top frdog in this world.  He would bay and the others would respond.  He moved from one bank to the other and no one challenged him.  With each minute another layer of nuance, behavior, and context.   I left feeling exhilarated with my encounter, and properly chastised.  I had been so dismissive of what this little pool could offer.

All in all a pretty successful challenge.  Like Horton, I discovered a wonderful little world, and I managed to create a respectable image of, a frog, in this tame setting.


So much to learn and admire, to enjoy.  If one can find make the time.  And the humility.


Click The Pool to see more images from this amazing little world.