Listening to: Dispatch, “Elias”
Most of my frog-wrangling sessions go rather smoothly, especially as I become more comfortable with the frogs and better able to predict their movements. I’ve been working with Steve the Photographer since August, I think, so the job has become almost routine.
We still have the occasional disaster or near-disaster. For instance, during one harrowing shoot that involved the cat and a goldfish as well as Felix the frog–no, I’m not kidding, we really did this–Felix and the cat behaved nearly perfectly until what ended up being the final shot. No, the cat didn’t eat Felix. Felix did, however, decide to jump on the cat’s forehead. Right between the eyes.
Steve didn’t even see it happen, because I jumped nearly as fast as Felix, while screaming, to grab that little bugger off the cat before something catastrophic happened.
Our shoots since then have been mostly calm and uneventful, and I’m really getting the hang of it. Manipulating the frogs in such a way that they pose just how Steve wants them, at least for a second, is something I’ve slowly learned over the past few months. I’m actually really proud of my work with him.
Neither of us were proud, or happy, for an hour last week, however.
We’d shot for maybe fifteen minutes when disaster struck. Steve was shooting from high up, standing on a stool, and when he moved to step off the stool, it tilted slightly. I thought he was falling, so my attention jumped to him–and Felix jumped…somewhere. Steve thought Felix had jumped toward me, so I checked the hood of my sweater and its front pockets, then took it off and shook it. Nothing.
And then we proceeded to form a search party. The cat was NOT invited. Especially after we noticed the small gap under the studio door, just about crawling-frog height.
Do you have any IDEA how many places a frog could hide, even in one room filled with photography equipment and bookshelves covered with stuff we used in former shoots and radiators and…UGH. Then extend that to the entire house. We restricted ourselves to the second floor, but still.
We shoot the frog(s) and whatever they happen to be crawling on inside a small light tent, something like this except almost completely open in the front. Because the frogs have been known to crawl between the flap at the back of the tent and the actual back of the tent, I checked there about, oh, five million times. Steve had reached the point where he was dragging a ladder to the bathroom to check a crack in the ceiling. Seriously, we had lost our minds.
After we checked the windows and curtains in the studio, we pretty much decided to give up. Hopefully, Steve said, he’d find the frog sleeping on a window in the morning (they like sleeping on glass). I checked the light tent one more time, then decided we should take out the backdrop (a royal blue sheet) out and shake it. We did this, then set it aside, and I moved to take out the posterboard it had been hanging on. As I did so, something green next to me caught my eye–
BOOM! There’s the frog, on the inner wall of the light tent, in plain view.
I checked that thing FIVE MILLION TIMES, I’m telling you.
We hustled the little guy back to his tank, but still–I couldn’t believe it. A full hour spent hunting in a big house for an itty bitty frog, and somehow we found him not two feet from the last place we’d really seen him. Just when we were about to give up for the night.
Morals of the story:
- Sometimes the thing you’re looking for is just out of sight, and you only need to look a little harder. Or take apart the surroundings. Or chase it from its hiding place.
- Sometimes you’ll find what you’re looking for, just when you were about to give up–so DON’T GIVE UP.
- Don’t take your eyes off the frog, man. EVER.
Two out of three of these can apply to life, writing, publication, whatever. Or maybe all three can.
All I know is that, for at least an hour, a few days a week, my new motto is: DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE FROG.
P.S. We are getting three new baby frogs tomorrow. They will be about half an inch long. If you don’t see me around here for a while, assume I died from the cute.