Watch Out for that Turtle!


Wildlife don’t understand human civilization, especially in southern Missouri. They’re just trying to find food, shelter and a mate at certain seasons. Roads are annoyances mostly, obstructing movement to somewhere else. They just get in the way, especially if it’s Route 66.

66 Drive-In, Carthage, MO

Lineup for the 66 Drive-In

Campin’ at Mi Casa
We stayed at newly-renovated Camp Mi Casa RV Park west of Carthage, Missouri on our way home from Illinois. It borders a drive-in theater on the old Route 66. It also features concealing trees on three sides to hide nearby I-49 Business and surrounding residential property. It’s a comfortable place to stay – clean and quiet in late Spring, and a 15 minute drive from restaurants in Carthage.

Enjoying Carthage Municipal Park, Missouri

Enjoying Carthage Municipal Park

Chillin’ in the Park
Driving to dinner that evening, we passed a large, invitingly-green park. So after a spicy meal at Habaneros Mexican Grill, we stopped at that inviting green space, Carthage Municipal Park, to relax and let our dogs play. The sun was low enough to the horizon for some diffraction sunstars through the trees. My Berner Daisy didn’t care – she ignored the crazy human with the camera.

turtle, Carthage, MO

The hairy eyeball from a common snapping turtle, Carthage, MO

Save That Turtle!
As we pulled out onto Old 66 Boulevard the next morning, a large turtle was trying to cross the road in front of us. I told my wife Pat to stop so I could move him off the road. The guy looked at me like I was going to do bad things to him, and tried to scratch me with his claws when I picked him up. He was so squirmy I only got him over to the nearest weed patch by the creek and set him down. He gave me his dirtiest look before I walked away.

Some people just don’t appreciate a favor.

Mi Casa RV Park, Carthage, MO

Mi Casa RV Park – Salem, Oakmont, or Avatar?

Shot Notes
The Carthage Municipal Park shot came from the Fuji X-E2 camera with an original Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH lens. I slapped on the Canon FD 100-300mm f/5.6L for the turtle. Manual focusing was a challenge through the grass with that lens, even wide open at f/5.6. I refocused several times on the turtle’s eye to be sure I got something useable.

Finally, I used my iPhone 6 (gasp) for quick shots of the theater and the RV park. If the sharpness is acceptable, I use pictures that tell my story best, and these were better storytellers than shots from the X-E2. A close look at the iPhone pictures reveals poorer sharpness due to tiny pixels (and fewer of them), JPEG compression, and a simpler lens. The 66 Drive-In picture shows these lens defects most obviously, with low contrast from veiling flare, evident in the background trees. While these shots are good enough for web use, I don’t plan on enlarging them to 10×19.

The Carthage Municipal Park shot is also backlit, but doesn’t show the veiling flare. A much better lens and raw files from a sensor with bigger pixels (and many more of them) make a huge difference.

More Information
1. Camp Mi Casa on the Route RV Park, accessed from https://www.campmicasa.com/
2. City of Carthage Missouri, accessed from http://carthagemo.gov/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7B308B59CC-762B-4FE4-A8CE-07544A969FBB%7D
3. Turtles of Missouri, accessed from https://pages.wustl.edu/mnh/field-guides/turtles-missouri

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