Snapping Turtle Pair in Late August by Todd Henson

A pair of Snapping Turtles that appear to be mating in the water. We can see how the male clutches onto the female.

In a recent post we took a look at a small Snapping Turtle hatchling fresh out of the nest. This time we take a look at a pair of adult Snapping Turtles, likely mating. Typically mating occurs in the spring in Virginia, but it can also occur in the fall, as seen in these photos.

I like the interesting patterns of the Snapping Turtles and their reflections.

We only see the male Snapping Turtle clearly in these images, but you can see portions of the female, such as her shell and leg sticking out of the water just under the male. He latches on to her with his claws, which are clearly visible in a couple photos. I don’t know how long this went on for, but the photos in this post span about a 15 minute time frame.

The reflections help create some interesting compositions, here with the male Snapping Turtle angled in the water above the female.

These adults are much larger than the hatchling. Whereas the hatchling’s shell was probably about an inch in length, the adults average 8 - 14 inches and have been seen over 18 inches in Virginia. Factor in their legs, tail, and outstretched head, and they can be quite an imposing sight. But as with most other species, I never tire of them, and I’m always pleased when I have the chance to observe and photograph them.

The male Snapping Turtle peeks its head above the water.

To learn more about Snapping Turtles, especially in Virginia, head over to the Virginia Herpetological Society. They have lots of great info on all sorts of reptiles and amphibians in Virginia.


Pickerel Frog in the Neighborhood by Todd Henson

A nice profile picture of a Pickerel Frog resting on some greenery.

It depends where you live, of course, but there is often wildlife to be found in just about any neighborhood. There are usually a variety of birds and insects, and there can also be reptiles and amphibians, such as this small Pickerel Frog. I found this one just behind some houses in the neighborhood.

Looking down on the Pickerel Frog we can see the somewhat squarish shape to the markings on its back.

Viewing the Pickerel Frog from behind. You can see some of the yellow/orange of its underside and the squarish shapes along its back.

Looking down on the front of a Pickerel Frog.

Sometimes frogs will freeze when you find them. They are likely hoping you don’t actually see them, so if they remain still you just might go away. This can provide a great opportunity to get some closeup photographs if you don’t move too fast and scare them. I spent a few minutes photographing this great little amphibian before moving on and leaving it in peace.

Facing down a Pickerel Frog.

Looking closely into the eyes of a Pickerel Frog.

Pickerel Frogs, in my opinion, look very similar to Leopard Frogs, making identifying them a challenge (at least for me). To assist with identification I visited the Virginia Herpetological Society, specifically their page on Pickerel Frogs. On it they had a great image that compared a Pickerel and a Leopard Frog, showing the key differences. One of the more obvious ones was the yellow underside of the Pickerel Frog, which you can see in some of these photos.

A nice simple mostly profile image of a Pickerel Frog.

One of the defining characteristics of the Pickerel Frog is the yellow to orange coloration of the underside of its legs and groin area, as can be seen here. Another feature are the squarish (not circular) spots on its back.

Keep your eyes open next time you’re out and about in your neighborhood. You never know what you might find.


Happy Accidents: A Visit to a Bob Ross Exhibit by Todd Henson

The Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center hosted Happy Accidents, an exhibit of original Bob Ross paintings.

Perhaps like me, you grew up watching Bob Ross teach his wet-on-wet oil painting technique on PBS. I just loved watching him. It didn’t matter what mood I was in, by the end of the show I’d be in a good mood and itching to create. He had such a positive personality and was full of encouragement, trying to make us realize we were all capable of such amazing and beautiful things. He is just as relevant today as he was when he first aired. We need more people like Bob Ross.

Light at the Summit, and Under Pastel Skies, original oil paintings by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Splendor of Snowy Winter, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

I did try my hand at oil painting a few times, and though it never became a habit, I was still very influenced by Bob Ross and his work. I can see commonalities between his style of painting and much of photography today. I felt he was a painter for the people. He painted what he loved in a way that made him happy, and he shared these experiences with the world. Today everyone is capable of creating photographs in much the same way he created paintings. The quality of cell phone cameras increases each year, and with them more people have cameras than ever before. People are creating beautiful photographs that have meaning to them and are enjoyed by others. It strikes me that’s what Bob Ross was all about.

Viewing paintings by Bob Ross at the Happy Accidents exhibit

Folks were able to view and photograph original paintings by Bob Ross (no flash photography)

So having said all that, you can imagine how excited I was when my folks let me know they’d reserved 3 tickets to the first exhibit of its kind of original Bob Ross paintings, held at the Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center in Purcellville, Virginia. I would get the chance to actually see, in person, some of Bob Ross’ paintings. How amazing is that?

Cypress Creek, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Aurora’s Dance, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Daisies at Dawn, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Our tickets were for a 1 pm opening. When we arrived there was a short line outside the Arts Center, which was a beautiful building laid out like a barn. Just inside was a small theater with stadium style seating showing a Bob Ross documentary. It brought back some great memories hearing various celebrities talking about how they also grew up with Bob Ross and what impact he had on their lives.

The theater in the Franklin Park Arts Center was showing a documentary about Bob Ross

Moving into the exhibit hall I was really impressed with how they presented Boss Ross’ work. Most of the paintings were well lit and arranged in a very pleasing way. Though it was fairly crowded at times, people were mostly polite and there was enough room to move around and not feel crowded. By waiting long enough portions of the exhibit would completely clear of people, as you can see in some of these photos.

I was very pleased by the range of work displayed

The Franklin Park Arts Center was a great location for a Bob Ross exhibit

I very much enjoyed finally getting to see original paintings by Bob Ross. It was fascinating viewing them both from a distance and up close, seeing the scratches from the palette knife, the fan brush trees, a small little building in a meadow, waterfalls, mountains, and even seascapes. And, of course, each with that red Ross signature.

Delightful Meadow Home, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Island Paradise, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

Golden Glow of Morning, an original oil painting by Bob Ross, exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center

If you have the time and tickets are still available before the exhibit ends I’d highly recommend a visit, especially if, like me, you grew up with Bob Ross. For more info on the Bob Ross exhibit check out the Franklin Park Arts Center. The exhibit runs from September 10th through October 15th, 2019. For more information on Bob Ross visit Boss Ross, Inc.

The Franklin Park Performing & Visual Arts Center in Purcellville, Virginia


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