Chris Clarke wrote today about nature photography and the various restrictions some place on it. While that discussion is worth having, I point out the article in this context because of something he said in support of his general point:
Some of the images that say the most to me are the ones I might have thrown away, were I a purist. A blurred glimpse of butterfly speeding across the field of vision as I struggled to follow it with the long lens, the Mojave sun backlighting it into incomprehensibility. Feedlots in evening glow, blurred as I aimed, steadied, and shot one-handed, my other hand on the wheel at 80 mph. A perfect Calochortus with a thick blade of grass in front of it, out of focus.
Elk in a fenced-in side yard, spools and fallen chain link underfoot.
This specific note most interests me at this time.
I happen to be of the same mentality in such matters: I keep every image I capture, and that no matter how terrible it seems upon initial review. There are photographs posted on this blog which originally met with disdain and dismissal. Only later did I see them again in a different light.
No matter how often I review my discarded pictures, I come up with surprises and treats.
I also come up with disturbing finds.
This is just such a case.
On January 5, I spent a great deal of time in White Rock Lake’s Old Fish Hatchery Nature Area, a gift to the citizenry of Dallas from the local Audubon chapter and the city. I snapped photo after photo, only a fraction of which came out in presentable form (as is the usual character of my amateur photography).
Standing above a ravine where trickling water danced in morning sunlight as the sky filled with all manner of avian inhabitants, I chanced upon a rusty outlet from a small spring or pool hidden in the hill that served as my pedestal. The color entranced me. Whether due to chemical or mineral content, or both combined with detritus from nearby trees, this tiny spot of land provided an intriguing display of hues that stood out from the rest of the winter landscape surrounding me.
After helping a large group of teens find their way out of the maze of trails (a story for another time as they deserve special mention), I knelt upon an outcropping of earth and took some pictures.
Regrettably few of the depictions survived my first appraisal of the collection. None seemed as worthy of note as I had first anticipated…or wished.
Then something caught my eye today as I again reviewed three that survived my initial assessment, something obscured on the edge of one photo, something I ignored originally.
For scale and comparison, here’s the photo:
Can you tell what disturbed me during this most recent examination? Do you see it resting almost unseen at the edge?
Perhaps you need some perspective if this troubling discovery still escapes your attention. This is a crop of what I saw, a snippet from that scene taken from near the top corner of the left edge.
Now tell me what you think. Is that a jaw with teeth still attached? If so, from what?
I feel certain it is a bit of bone from some creature. Dare I return to that place to investigate further? I remember precisely where I stood when my camera memorialized this spectacle…