Nature's Place

Neon Dancer


Wooyung BeachFearless CrabWhite ButterflyNeon FlyNeon WonderNeon Dancers

The sun was shining and do I need to say it? I went down to the beach. There was a strong wind off the sea today and when I got there the tide was out.

The tide had left a 150 metre long sandbar behind with a channel in front of it. The sandbar ran almost to the beach at the south end and between it and the beach was the biggest private ocean pool up to four feet deep in places.

It’s the dark patch to the right in the photo.

It was marvellous. The waves still came in over the bar in a sheet of foam that slowed to a gentle pulse as it hit the deeper water in the pool.

Very nice. And there was no current, no rip. Though that would change soon and suddenly as the tide returned.

I went out beyond the sandbar to the ocean itself and it was wild. The waves came in from all directions and broke higgledy piggledy, this way and that. Wonderful, there is no other word for it.

The underlying rhythm, in and out, the unifying principle. I was just there, in it. No problem. Though I didn’t venture far into the wildness.

The question arose; Tame? Behind. Or Wild? Ahead. Tame! I’ll take tame today since I have the rare offering from these wild wild waters.

Simply wonderful.

On the way back to the car I was challenged by one of the local crabs. I was going one way on the narrow path and he was going the other and he wasn’t stepping aside.

I stopped still because I didn’t want to trample him. And he stopped still. He’s about four inches across from foot to foot.

Being a thousand times his size made no difference to him. When I stooped to get a closer look he put his fists up ready for battle. Ha! I don’t really think so but he was not afraid.

And he wouldn’t turn his back on me. He just stood his ground, unmoving, unmoved. So I took a couple of shots then chased him off to the side with my fingers imitating a bigger crab. Show him who’s boss.

A little further on I saw a white butterfly. You know butterfly’s, they won’t sit still. It’s why they are called butter – fly’s, you can’t catch them, not with a camera anyway. Always slipping out of the frame.

I don’t use a net. All the pictures I take are of the creatures as they are. No freezing, no sticking or pinning. No whacking. They either sit for me or they don’t. That’s life.

This one sat for a moment while it drank from a small white flower on a bush by the track. See how it stands proud, with a good view all round. It’s probe rising up then down to the source of sweetness.


I have to tell you about the neon fly. I know I’ve mentioned it before as one of the inhabitants of my garden. They are everywhere in fact, in the garden.

I often watch them flitting about, chasing each other from leaf to leaf. Seeming to do a fast twirl at times as they close up on one another. Then fly off each in their own direction or one after the other.

It’s dizzying to watch at times. Easy to see without trying. They are only one centimetre long.

What I have to tell you about the neon fly today is I caught it with my new macro (close up) lens. And it is a wonder indeed.

Check it out. Check the colours, and the detail. You can download a better quality pic from the offsite gallery and open it with any photo program and magnify.

The lens is very difficult to use because of the very shallow depth of field. Or DOF.

It’s a technical term but simply put means the range of distance in which a subject (the fly) can be brought into focus is very shallow. And it only works at a certain distance from the subject.

In this case the field (DOF) is about 1/16 inch (or less) deep at six inches distance. Was that simply put? It basically means I can have one side of the fly’s tiny head in focus and the other side out of focus.

Very difficult to catch the ever moving fly in a gusting wind shaking the leaves he lands on. The windows of opportunity were very narrow but I was lucky to get a few nearly good shots.

I was braced against a post and waited until the fly presented itself. Then sought focus, framing and capture.

Almost machine like. But that’s what I am as a body, a mechanical being, programmable. Except when the ghost of emotion clogs the works.

It sounds technical but it’s not really. It’s a process like anything else that takes time. Steadying the hand is the hardest part, for me. The machine is not as new and efficient as it once was.

I trust you enjoy this sort of imagery as I do. To me it’s another means of acknowledging the beautiful Earth. The simple sense.

The last two were caught mid dance.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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2 Responses

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  1. Mark said, on 25/02/2008 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you for your contribution Leonard. You say; “Well, I think I’m not.” And That’s the rub.

    The enmeshment of the intelligence you are with the thinking you are not. And the only way out is to acknowledge the simple good, which I hear in your words you do. It’s just a matter of time, and doing a few things. As you know.

  2. Leonard said, on 25/02/2008 at 6:26 am

    Last night I printed out about 20 pages from this website and read through them in bed. The reading of them was fascinating and calming to the mind. Almost a meditation. And here and there words of wisdom. It is obvious to me that you are free, simple and just BEING MARK. I am not there yet. Well I think I’m not. Maybe one day. Your love of God is clear. Your descriptions of the beauty of earth and your encounters with life forms make it seem so real in me. Yes the animals and insects do have psychic smiles and I will watch out for them now thanks to you. You are so in touch with nature and you convey it very well in your words. It is special and wonderful to read.

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