While out on a nature walk last week, I came across a special little subject – a juvenile five-lined skink perched on a fallen log. As soon as I spotted the brightly colored blue tail, I knew I had to try and capture a photo before he scurried away. Working quickly, I was able to snap this shot on August 28th with my Fujifilm X-T3 and Canon 100-400mm lens.

Juvenile Five-lined Skink

Juvenile Five-lined Skink

I love coming across little wildlife surprises like this when I’m out in the woods. I was actually looking for prairie lizards on the log pile, as they often like to hang out on the old bark. But this time, it was the brilliant blue tail of the skink that caught my eye.

These small lizards are common in my area of the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas, but I don’t often get the chance to photograph them up close like this. I’m happy I was able to freeze the frame before he disappeared into a crevice. The details of the log and surrounding foliage also help provide context and enhance the nature feel of the image.

For this handheld shot, I used an aperture of f/5.6, ISO of 1600 and a fast shutter speed of 1/1000th sec. This helped freeze the movement and capture the skink in sharp focus at 400mm. Post processing was kept minimal to maintain the natural light and colors of the scene.

I always enjoy coming across little wildlife gems like this while out hiking and photographing nature. You never know what you might spot! It’s important to move slowly and quietly to have the best chance of capturing these fleeting moments. I feel lucky to have been able to photograph this beautiful little five-lined skink.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer