They like to crawl along, is all I’m saying.
It can make it challenging to get a good image of this Eastern Tent caterpillar when you’re climbing with a camera and tripod into the middle of a clump of Pampas grass, and that pretty little bug keeps moving. If you’re from the north and don’t know what a clump of Pampas grass is: it’s tall (taller than I am), thick, spikey, grows in clumps. Some stalks have fluffy white plumes. It’s difficult to plant a tripod inside a large clump of Pampas when the bug is, naturally, deep within the plant.
Imagine trying to keep the bug in the viewfinder, the tripod steady, the settings just right, and capture a great image when you’r constantly having to keep moving to keep pace with a crawling caterpillar.
I’m not going to tell you how many pictures I took of this caterpillar. Having pored over the images for a good long time, and not finding any family interest in them, I’m wondering: is this boring to look at?
I love going out alone with the camera and tripod, to see what I can shoot. Today, clearly, it was all about the caterpillar. When I first saw one, he was deep within the clump of the Pampas grass. So picture me, seriously, trying to get inside this clump (although the neighbor’s Pampas was not as lovely as this). It’s dense and pokes and leaves resides from the white plumes and grassy stalks all over a girl.
They aren’t meant for going into. But the neighbor said I could. So in my pursuit of the very moving caterpillar, thinking I’d hit macro pay dirt, I kept at it, repositioning myself and the tripod in every way you could imagine…but still that thing kept moving. Then the breeze would come along and the grass would sway; it just wasn’t an easy thing to pull off.
Then I smelled something vile; that unmistakable scent that wafts upward when someone else’s dog crap has been smushed into the sole of your workout shoe, with all its groves and cushioned spots. Thanks, people. Most of you don’t mind walking around carrying your dog’s crap in a bag, but some of you still think it’s okay to let it squat maybe in an area you don’t think people will be walking. Sure, it was an out of the way place, but still. YOU LET YOUR DOG DO ITS THING AND YOU DID NOT PICK IT UP.
With all the diligent dog-walkers around here who gladly carry their pet’s poop in a bag, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve also had to quickly veer away to avoid a clump of business on the side of the road. Not so lucky on this day. But I soldiered on.
Finally, I called it quits and started to walk home, when I spotted another caterpillar in a different location so I started to work on the shot when a neighbor passed by and chatted with me for a few, and when I tried to find him again, he was gone. So I resumed my stinky walk home. But I felt something in my hair. Once. Twice. Again. I reached up…and brought down another caterpillar! So I put him on my vest and told him, “I’m going to take you someplace nice. Someplace at my eye level; where the lowering sun will create a lovely golden backdrop for your persimmon-colored, tiger-like, furry little body with your many clinging legs and a definite face.” So he rode along with me, clinging to my black fleece vest until I found a lovely place to set him down on. He was calm, this caterpillar, not as busy as the other. He did not seem to want to debark from my finger, onto the green, new leaf – probably, I now realize – because it wasn’t a food item. Maybe it’s obvious to everyone but me… I don’t know much about larval insects; I just thought he had pretty colors, some nice fur and was good contrast when placed onto something green! He wasn’t much happy there so when I finally moved him over to the neighbor’s rose bush, you could see his little face start munching right away.
So, that’s my caterpillar story. Considering I couldn’t get a single family member to look at my pictures, I’m not sure what to think…but I do have a few favorites, and here they are. For what it’s worth.