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NOLA Snapshot: Summer slithers

As a former northerner, there are three wailing sirens that accompany summer in New Orleans. Number one is, of course, the heat/humidity; a close second belongs to the surprisingly consistent 2 p.m. thunderstorms, which roll around just in time for my bus commute home.

Third, however, is a little more subtle, and belongs to a populous but skittish folk: lizards.

I distinctly remember the first lizard I ever saw in the wild: bright green, with a white belly and a red fan on its throat.  I was warned about the heat, the crime and the sometimes oppressive smells of New Orleans before I moved down; no one had mentioned any lizards. I was ecstatic. I told everyone around me about the lizard, expecting them to be as amazed as I was; what was this tiny dinosaur doing out in the wild? The bystanders were unimpressed.

Since then I have gotten used to the lizards, but they’ve never lost their charm. I found this particular gentleman while I was stalking around my neighborhood on the lookout for any sort of Uptown swamp creatures when I spotted this little guy posing majestically on a rusty chain link fence. In my experience, lizards notoriously difficult to approach and rarely stay in a convenient spot long enough for you to take a really good picture of them once you’ve spotted them. This seemed like a golden moment. I reduced my depth of field to bring focus to the lizard and took a couple of shots, one of which culminated in this little portrait of a creature who is, in some ways, a lot like summer in New Orleans: its presence seems inescapable between the months of May and September, but when it’s gone you can’t help but miss it a little.

(Photo by: Hanna Rasanen)

He knows he’s beautiful, though. Click to view full size. (Photo by: Hanna Rasanen)



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