TIAA #37: “A Little Life in the Palm of My Hand”

Tosin’s Images & Anecdotes (TIAA) is my self-assigned photography challenge of 2022. The immediate objective is to select one image from my inventory (a cityscape, landscape, portrait, oddity, etc.) each week and write something about it. This “something” could be the story behind the photo, a triggered memory in relation to the photo, or simply a reaction or reflection based on the subject matter featured. The long-term objective is to encourage myself to add more content to “La Vue Atypique”, which celebrates its first decade in publication this year.

"A Little Life in the Palm of My Hand" / Tiny Frog / Port Orchard, Washington, USA / July 11, 2009
“A Little Life in the Palm of My Hand” (Crop) / Tiny Frog / Port Orchard, Washington, USA / July 11, 2009

What can I say about the photograph above?

I’ve probably mentioned in a previous entry that I’m completely enamored by cute things. Here is an abbreviated list of items that I find incredibly cute: babies, talking toddlers (their voices as they pronounce words and speak sentences!), dogs (especially their glistening eyes or their shy whimpers), cats (I have an affinity towards these moody furballs), teddy bears (don’t even get me started), ducks, and the scene of people joyfully carrying small children on their shoulders.

Again, that’s a very, very, very abbreviated list.

The Japanese word for cute is kawai“, which, in and of itself, is a cute word.

I will add one more item to my cuteness list, which you might have guessed already: frogs.

Yes, frogs are incredibly cute animals, and they may be among the most photogenic creatures I have ever seen in my life. Regardless of whether they are innocuous or poisonous, I have never seen a “bad” picture of a frog or toad. To me, they are creatures whose inadvertent role in the world is to be adored by a telephoto zoom lens of any camera brand.

In July 2009, while attending a wedding rehearsal dinner in the backyard of the bride-to-be’s house, I remember walking onto the lawn with Alphonso (that is the name of my very first digital SLR camera, which was a Sony Alpha 100). I recall seeing the guy who was going to be the best man staring into the palms of his hands intently. His quizzical facial expression humorously seemed to suggest that he was seeing his own palms for the very first time in his life. I think I tried to stifle a chuckle as this thought ran through my head.

I asked him if he was alright. He nodded and told me to come closer to see something (which had to have been in his palms, right?).

“I bent down to tie my shoe and suddenly I had a little visitor,” the best man said. “Take a look.”

What I saw is what you’re seeing as this week’s entry for my TIAA challenge.

It was the tiniest frog I had ever seen. Apparently, the little fellow wasn’t remotely afraid of the human carrying it or the other human (myself) who started gushing over it excitedly. As far as the frog was concerned, the best man’s hand may just have been a change of landscape.

Needless to say, this tiny creature was all known categories of kawai.

I told the best man to hold still and, surprisingly, I was able to get the shot, crisp and sharp. The image at the top of this article is a crop of the original image, below. The cropped image was created to communicate the stark sense of scale between the tiny frog and the best man’s palm. It was such a beautiful contrast of realities combined in one photo — and a reminder of how precious life is, in any size.

"A Little Life in the Palm of My Hand" / Tiny Frog / Port Orchard, Washington, USA / July 11, 2009
“A Little Life in the Palm of My Hand” (Original) / Port Orchard, Washington, USA / July 11, 2009

After I got the shot, the best man lowered his hands and let Dwight hop away within the vast lushness of the bride-to-be’s backyard which, in the perspective of this frog, might have been an entire world or universe.

And yes. . .you read that last line correctly.

I personally named the frog Dwight. However, based on the fact that I wasn’t sure if the diminutive amphibian was male or female, I also dubbed it Dwightella, just in case it was a girl.

I remember the cropped edition of this photo became one of my most popular on Flickr back in 2009. I’m still quite proud of it. I hope Dwight-Dwightella had some very happy trails.

38 articles down for the TIAA challenge. 14 remain!

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