Sunday, July 13, 2008

Two Things Challenge: Litter / Bug

Bottle in blue left behind in a schoolyard drinking fountain. Why?

This week's Two Things Challenge was Litter / Bug. I chose this challenge for two reasons. First, living in an urban setting, I see a lot of litter. Litter is one of those things that baffles me, frankly. It's a behavior that bespeaks laziness and disrespect and it's a blight on neighborhoods and scenic byways everywhere. In the 1970s and 1980s, Keep America Beautiful and the U.S. Forest Service did a great job of campaigning against litter. Remember the Crying Indian and Woodsy the Owl?

Trash on the stairs outside a home. Why?

In the 1990s, adopting highways, scenic routes, and byways became de rigueur all across American with families, churches, and corporations sponsoring clean-up activities. In urban settings, some areas are maintained by business district collaborations, but in the neighborhoods themselves little is done, other than street sweeping, to control the trash and litter that people, too lazy to carry their crap to an end destination with a garbage bin, drop indiscriminately anywhere and everywhere. My two choices for litter include: a water bottle left in a drinking fountain on a school playground on Piney Branch Road NW and trash in the walkway of a home on 7th Street NW. Both are unsightly and unnecessary. Or, as Woodsy the Owl admonished, "Give a hoot! Don't pollute!"

Bug: Ant in a flower

My second reason for choosing this challenge was, I thought it would be a great opportunity for folks to hone their bug photography skills. Or so I thought. Finding bugs to photograph provided a bit more challenging than I expected, even though bugs are all around us. I managed to get an ant in a flower and the molted skin of a cicada. And last night, I took a picture of a cricket in front of a frog, but the focusing was all off and it didn't turn out the quality I wanted, which is unfortunate, 'cause it would have been a cool picture.

Bug: Molted skin of a cicada.
I'd love to get a picture of an actual cicada. They're funkin' lookin' bugs!

I was going to be a smartass and take a picture of an old Volkswagen bug I saw on 14th Street a week or so ago, but I wasn't been able to locate it when I went back later. I saw plenty of the new VW Beetles, but it's not the same as an old Bug.

So, there you have it. Litter and Bug. Probably not the best challenge this week. Only two three of us participated. Must come up with better combinations, I suppose...

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 07/08


Virginia said...

I'm with ya on the littering thing. I was thinking about a VW Bug as well. Great minds...

babooshka said...

You really echo my post today about litter and recycing. It really bugs the hell out of me. Your other shots are beautiful by the way.

D.C. Confidential said...

Virginia: I honestly don't understand littering. I'll carry a piece of trash for hours, if I have to, until I find an appropriate receptacle for it. The irony is, in an urban setting, there are garbage cans and recycling bins behind every house in the allies, so you're never further than 20 feet from a trash can, if you're just willing to walk a few feet out of your way. Ugh.

Babooshka: Don't you just want to bean people in the head with a discarded can or bottle or other stuff trash when you see stuff like this? I know every house I pass on my walk, I wanted to walk to the front door, knock and ask the occupant where their civic pride was.

And speaking of litter bugs, don't even get me started on tourists who litter. I almost wrecked my car one day down on Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street (10 blocks from the White House and near the National Gallery of Art) as I watched a girl of about 12 throw a wrapper from one of those disposable cameras on the ground. The worst part? Her mother stood there and watched her do it and didn't do a thing. In that case, I would have beaned the mother. Grrrrrrr.

Dusty Lens said...

Oh, I don't know, I thought this to be a great idea. This brings awareness to our litter dilema. Bugs are fun to capture, but are uncooperative at timess...most of the time.

i must apologize for not stating I was in. on the 2 things challenge page. absent minded lately.

A shame this litter deal. I see kids just toss cany wrappers on the ground. There is little or no respect anymore. A real shame. The bug brought it home, a great play on words.

D.C. Confidential said...

Rob: I was out walking in a completely different neighborhood this evening and saw the same problem there. It just baffles me. I use to work with KAB on recycling awareness campaigns. I think it's time I called them and found what they're doing/not doing in D.C. proper.

I remember as a kid my dad making me and my siblings pick up trash that had blown into our yard. Use to drive me nuts, but now I understand why. Anyway--thanks again for participating. I really enjoyed your pictures. (Did I leave a comment saying that?!?! I don't think I did. Must rectify that. Now.)

Maya said...

This was a challenging challenge! I took many more photos than I posted. The bugs don't sit still too well and the litter just looked, well, icky! I don't understand the litter thing AT ALL! I do remember the crying Indian. That was a powerful message!

That is so funny that you took a cicada skin. It reminds me of a Christmas tree we had once that had them all over it. It creeped me out and gave me nightmares!

I, too, saw a very cute VW bug dressed up to look like Herbie the Love Bug (remember that movie?), but couln't get to the camera in time. I was hoping to take a VW photo as well, but had the same issues. :-)

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: It was a challenge! When I posted it, I thought, this will be easy peasy. What I didn't take into account was how hyper-aware it would make me of the litter problem in my city and how discouraging that would be.

As for the bug part, I see bugs everywhere, all the time, but could I find any to photograph on the days I went out with camera in hand? No! They must have really good agents or something. As for VW Bugs, I still can't find that old blue one I was looking for.

And yes, I remember Herbie the Love Bug, but I'm a purist where Herbie is concerned. I only recognize the 1970s/80s original. None of that Lindsay Lohan remake stuff for me!

Maya said...

Ditto! (about Herbie)