I went back to a pond I visited previously to attempt some good newt pics. Here’s what I found…

As I catch up on the backlog of old trips, here is one from April 2015. The last time I was here, I stopped by on a whim to see what was inside the pond and I found a large number of rough-skinned newts who found my camera intriguing. It was during their mating season, so they presumably found my sparkly orange camera to their liking. I came back a year later at about the same time and foolishly thought I’d get the same response from them. I was wrong. This time, they were very timid, and aside from a few fly-bys, they kept their distance.

Hey, let’s start this off on a bummer!

This little guy was hanging around at the surface and made no attempt to move. Looking very emaciated, I wasn’t sure it was even alive. It did move a little and I left go take other pictures. As I was leaving the pond at the end, I checked back in on it and it was dead. These things are so charismatic that it kind of brings us back to reality to see those images above. We really have no way of knowing what “thinking” is to them, but looking at that last picture, I wonder what was going through its head. What was going through my head was a sense of smallness, as a creature on this planet watching another one die, it is natural to understand that in terms of mortality, there is not a lot of difference between a newt and a human. And I felt a bit of sadness that its time had come.


Shortly after, I saw this one oddly curled up under the lip of the bank. It also looked dead or dying. I stayed and watched for a few minutes and it occurred to me that it wasn’t dying, but laying eggs. Sure enough, I checked in on this one a just a few minutes later and it was swimming normally. It also looks quite healthy and lovely.


This is the type of image I was looking for. Unfortunately, they weren’t having it. On top of that, the wind was intermittent, so seeing them from above the water was often difficult.


Those tails can be very tall and provide instant acceleration with just a whip, though this one was moving pretty slowly.


This one took off, then floated back down, then took off again.


If I remember correctly, this was the only one interested in me. It squirted away right after this picture. One odd aspect of their timidness is they usually produce the same neurotoxin as pufferfish. They can be touched but ingestion will cause death in most cases. Except if you’re a garter snake. They are the only known animal that can eat toxin-active rough-skinned newts. Even more strange is that this isn’t always the case. Garter snakes can tell whether the toxicity of a specific newt is too high, and they’ll either avoid it or spit it back out.


The location of this one was perfect and could have produced some very nice pictures. Unfortunately, the science of this type of photography is to stick the camera in the water and hope for the best. Sometimes you can see the screen, sometimes you can’t. I really couldn’t see much and just clicked.

Behind me on the ground, I looked for non-aquatic life to target.


I took a few of these pictures and the mushroom must have sasquatch DNA because it was out of focus, no matter what. Too bad, because I really like the rest of the image.


A nice little yellow violet. At least it looks nice. As violets go, it may be quite rude. You never know…


I took a bunch of this white trillium but the last is the only one that looked good. For whatever random reason, it is the only one that showed the texture and shadows of the plant. Looks like everything but green (or yellow) was turned off.