Toads crossing

Toads crossing

“I have found myself thinking that this time winter is going to be permanent. But Persephone, like the toads, always rises from the dead at about the same moment. Suddenly, towards the end of March, the miracle happens..” George Orwell, 'Some Thoughts on the Common Toad'.

In Spring, toads cross roads, full of spawn waiting to be born. They are going back to the ponds where they developed into toadlets. Keep an eye out on the roads for a sign showing a toad inside a red triangle. It's a warning that you're nearing a 'toad crossing point'. At these locations people help toads to cross safely from one side of the road to their breeding pond on the other side. The toads will have been making this journey for many years, well before the road was built. This picture was taken on the Arbroath-Brechin road in 1985, when the sign was erected.

I've been asked whether any road accidents occurred while I was taking the shots, how it must have been a distraction for passing drivers, and whether I had prepared for and posed the photograph.

"No. It was spontaneous," I reply. "Luck really. I just happened to be driving down the road when I saw this 'Toads Crossing' sign. I turned to the shapely lass in the passenger seat - let's call her Linda because that's her name - and I told her how lucky I'd been to spot the sign, what with the speed I was driving at and my usual disregard for road signage. And guess what? We've got a blow-up rubber toad and a bicycle pump in the boot."

I showed Linda the toad - she'd seen it in the front window of the Aberdeen Joke Factory on St Andrew's Street. She said that it was a plastic frog, not a bloody rubber toad. She had wondered what kind of idiot might buy it, and for what. 'First you tell me it's warm outside and I'll not need a jacket. It's Baltic,' Linda continued. 'You take me out - supposedly for a treat, a ride. Huh. Here we are at a toads' crossing. How romantic. And if you think I'm going to squat at the roadside blowing up a frog with a bicycle pump, think again Sunshine. Next you'll be asking me to pose with it.'

I told her that the mannie in the Joke Factory had been sad to sell the frog to me - he'd been expecting a bevvy of beauties in the shop enquiring about the frog, for surely it was that elusive accessory a lady needs when she's off to a fancy dress party, kitted out as a Princess, say. Linda muttered something about how she had kissed a couple of toads in her time.

For techies everywhere, the picture was captured on 70mm Ektachrome transparency film using a Hassleblad 500 ELM fitted with a 70 exposure back and a 80mm Planar lens - just the sort of gear you throw into the boot of the car with the inflatable frog when you're out for a Sunday afternoon drive.

In the darkroom I printed from two 70mm Ektachrome positives (above and the solitary toad, inset right) for a double exposure - dodging, burning and masks on a pitching ship during a slack shift offshore. It took a few attempts. Those were the days. Somewhere there's a Cibachrome print with the solitary toad peering out, half-hidden in the bush beneath the trees. Nowadays images can be stitched and merged using Photoshop software.


"What do you think you're doing, with your nose pressed up against the monitor screen? You dirty little boy."

"Mummy, Mummy, honestly - I'm just looking for a toad in the bush."


There once was a toad that was excluded from all Green Toad activities because he was a handsome shade of yellow. So he went to visit a beautiful fairy in the town who had the power to grant wishes. "Fairy," the yellow toad said. "I would like to be green, so I can play with all the other toads."
"Granted!" said the fairy, and turned him green.

Unfortunately his toady penis was still yellow. "What about my penis?" he asked the fairy.
"Oh! For that, you'll have to go see the wizard." So the toad hopped off to find the wizard, passing a pink elephant on the way out.

The elephant was visiting the fairy because he wanted to be turned gray. She granted him the wish, but as with the toad, his penis remained its original colour. The fairy told the elephant to visit the wizard if he wanted his pink penis turned gray. "How do I find the wizard?" the elephant asked.
"Just follow the yellow dick toad," the fairy told him.
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Toads crossing

Toads crossing

“I have found myself thinking that this time winter is going to be permanent. But Persephone, like the toads, always rises from the dead at about the same moment. Suddenly, towards the end of March, the miracle happens..” George Orwell, 'Some Thoughts on the Common Toad'.

In Spring, toads cross roads, full of spawn waiting to be born. They are going back to the ponds where they developed into toadlets. Keep an eye out on the roads for a sign showing a toad inside a red triangle. It's a warning that you're nearing a 'toad crossing point'. At these locations people help toads to cross safely from one side of the road to their breeding pond on the other side. The toads will have been making this journey for many years, well before the road was built. This picture was taken on the Arbroath-Brechin road in 1985, when the sign was erected.

I've been asked whether any road accidents occurred while I was taking the shots, how it must have been a distraction for passing drivers, and whether I had prepared for and posed the photograph.

"No. It was spontaneous," I reply. "Luck really. I just happened to be driving down the road when I saw this 'Toads Crossing' sign. I turned to the shapely lass in the passenger seat - let's call her Linda because that's her name - and I told her how lucky I'd been to spot the sign, what with the speed I was driving at and my usual disregard for road signage. And guess what? We've got a blow-up rubber toad and a bicycle pump in the boot."

I showed Linda the toad - she'd seen it in the front window of the Aberdeen Joke Factory on St Andrew's Street. She said that it was a plastic frog, not a bloody rubber toad. She had wondered what kind of idiot might buy it, and for what. 'First you tell me it's warm outside and I'll not need a jacket. It's Baltic,' Linda continued. 'You take me out - supposedly for a treat, a ride. Huh. Here we are at a toads' crossing. How romantic. And if you think I'm going to squat at the roadside blowing up a frog with a bicycle pump, think again Sunshine. Next you'll be asking me to pose with it.'

I told her that the mannie in the Joke Factory had been sad to sell the frog to me - he'd been expecting a bevvy of beauties in the shop enquiring about the frog, for surely it was that elusive accessory a lady needs when she's off to a fancy dress party, kitted out as a Princess, say. Linda muttered something about how she had kissed a couple of toads in her time.

For techies everywhere, the picture was captured on 70mm Ektachrome transparency film using a Hassleblad 500 ELM fitted with a 70 exposure back and a 80mm Planar lens - just the sort of gear you throw into the boot of the car with the inflatable frog when you're out for a Sunday afternoon drive.

In the darkroom I printed from two 70mm Ektachrome positives (above and the solitary toad, inset right) for a double exposure - dodging, burning and masks on a pitching ship during a slack shift offshore. It took a few attempts. Those were the days. Somewhere there's a Cibachrome print with the solitary toad peering out, half-hidden in the bush beneath the trees. Nowadays images can be stitched and merged using Photoshop software.


"What do you think you're doing, with your nose pressed up against the monitor screen? You dirty little boy."

"Mummy, Mummy, honestly - I'm just looking for a toad in the bush."


There once was a toad that was excluded from all Green Toad activities because he was a handsome shade of yellow. So he went to visit a beautiful fairy in the town who had the power to grant wishes. "Fairy," the yellow toad said. "I would like to be green, so I can play with all the other toads."
"Granted!" said the fairy, and turned him green.

Unfortunately his toady penis was still yellow. "What about my penis?" he asked the fairy.
"Oh! For that, you'll have to go see the wizard." So the toad hopped off to find the wizard, passing a pink elephant on the way out.

The elephant was visiting the fairy because he wanted to be turned gray. She granted him the wish, but as with the toad, his penis remained its original colour. The fairy told the elephant to visit the wizard if he wanted his pink penis turned gray. "How do I find the wizard?" the elephant asked.
"Just follow the yellow dick toad," the fairy told him.
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer: