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Posts tagged ‘Wildlife’

Photographers of Planet Earth

I was recently honored by having been asked to submit my favorite image and some accompany text explanation to an interesting blog, Photographers of Planet Earth.  After agonizing over the question, which one is my favorite, this one got the nod.

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It’s actually been posted here before, so I guess I really do like it.  The question though as I say got me thinking.  They wanted my favorite, not the ones that others might like.  It’s actually a useful way to reflect on your work.  If you click over there, you’ll see what I had to say the choice, so I won’t bore you here.

If you like nature oriented photography, I’d encourage you to have a look at Photographers of Planet Earth.  They don’t seem to be selling anything at this point, so you only stand to risk a bit of your time.  Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE:  Speaking of selling something,, I just went to preview my blog, a common act before publishing it, and found that in the preview WordPress was warning me that my visitors would be seeing advertisements, over which I had no control.  So it could be some horrendous political garbage or other kinds of crap, which would for me hurt the experience of the viewer.  It’s enough that you have to put up with my rants, you shouldn’t be exposed to worse.  So, I purchased the “No Ad” upgrade.  I didn’t really mind, WordPress has been hosting this blog for quite some time for no charge, they have to make money and selling ads is the way to do it.  The bottom line is, you shouldn’t see any ads on this site.  If you do please let me know via the comments.  Thanks.

Fall Rambles

Fall is rightfully thought of as photography season in many respects, and that’s for one reason, which can be summed up in one word:  color.  Since so much of my work is now in black and white, it can be a bit challenging to get into the spirit of the season.  But it is infectious and one might say, came to me.  Here are a few favorites from this year, for your enjoyment.  I truly hope that everyone notices, and appreciated the changing seasons. Those beautiful colors, like so much of our climate related experience are indeed vulnerable as we move ahead.  But for now…

Cold evening air over the warmer land and lakes kicks things off for us.  Early fall, Patch Reservoir, Worcester.

It’s been another of those rolling foliage experiences.  No real crescendo, some trees just seem to turn earlier than others.  Above and below at Babson College, just last week.

That can make for it’s own interesting interplay of colors.  Increasingly, I seem to note that it’s not only the trees that get into the act.  Some weeds can be pretty spectacular themselves.

This was from June Street, in Worcester, site of a construction project.  Hopefully the old stone wall will survive.  These weeds, probably not.  We also get help though from late season flowers.  These tough guys have to survive some pretty chilly nights.  Again, from Babson…

One of the great things about fall is that it isn’t winter!  At least not yet.  Opportunities for fishing are still to be found.  (From Elm Park, in Worcester, an old friend…)

But at some point, it’s time to go.

What We Have

It seems that we, meaning us humans, are going to continue getting in our own way for a while longer.  I’m reminded of the joke about the Chimp who made it clear that he didn’t believe in evolution.  On religious grounds?  Nope.  He didn’t want himself and his kin to be blamed for the craziness we perpetrate on one another.  I think he was off on scientific grounds, but I see the point.  Weekend events in Colorado remind us just how fleeting life can be.  We happened to be driving through Quabbin Park in the evening last Friday and in the quiet, came upon, an alternative perspective.  The Quabbin is also one of the most spiritual places in New England, as the locals well tell you.  There are many reasons for that, but part of it may be the fact that, so close to busy Route 9, is another world, one that takes you away from this one.

If we’re lucky, we have our families.

It’s good to be alive.  Sometimes, it’s even fun.

Tech notes:  80% of life is showing up.  Wildlife comes out in the evening.  Nikon D4, 70 – 200 mm lens, with a TC 1.7 teleconverter.  It was dark, so the ISO was pushed to around 1600.

Beautiful Birch Trees

New Hampshire as it turns out is the second most forested state in the U.S., coming in at over 80% forested.  Yes, this figure is down a bit from the peak, due largely to development. Still it remains an impressive resource.  Not surprisingly, the forest there is somewhat different from that in Massachusetts, at least to the eye.  My subject impression is that they’ve got far more birch trees there.  Birch trees make for a most interesting photographic subject, particularly when they are found in a group.  Across the street from the entrance to the Mt. Washington Road (“This car hasn’t climbed Mt. Washington and probably won’t”) is a beautiful stand of birch.  It had rained that day, so an impromptu street cut through the forest.  (Click on the images for a better view.)

The (mostly) white trunks of the trees make for a nice contrast with and framing for the foliage of course.  The trunks aren’t always white, though.  We came upon two older silver trunked birches caressing one another amidst all the white birches.

Brich trees love son.  They live about 70 years and many took root during the reforestation of New Hampshire just after the turn of the last century.  As such, we often see old ones, toward the end of their lives.

There are a variety of ways to try and capture the spiritual feeling of a place.  A birch forest has such nice vertical lines that suggest a multiple exposure, which you see here.  This was ten images with camera movement up just slightly between images. Nikon DSLRs will compile them for you right in camera, a very nice feature.

It would be remiss of me not to report one other observation from this particular forest.  We had a visitor during our efforts.  Not a particularly great shot.  As usual I was prepared for trees when another opportunity happened by, but here he is.

Now all we need is a squirrel.

Stalking the Wild…Something or Other (Updated, below)

Those who photograph wildlife have my undying envy.  Wildlife photography is tough work. The hours are brutal.  And to make matters worse, it’s hard to come up with creative ways of presenting pictures of animals that have been so heavily photographed.  Some commentators have even suggested that there was no longer a need to photograph wildlife as a result.  I disagree.  The presence of “wild” anything, as I’ve said here before, says something about the health of our ecosystem and our relationship with nature.  It is however very useful to document that presence in particular locations. Massachusetts is an urban state, or is it. (Over half the land is forested so maybe “urban” only tells part of the story.)  But sometimes you just get a feeling, and I had such a feeling today.  You know what absolute certainty when you’re inside the Quabbin Gates, particularly those less traveled, that you’re not alone, but wildlife don’t like to mingle with humans.  Most of the time,  But still, there was this feeling.  It might have had to do with our greeter. (Click on the images for a better view.)

Or the task.  We had one goal or two goals today on our trip to Gate 35 of the Quabbin Reservoir in New Salem, Massachusetts.  T’here is an ice pond about .5 miles in from the entrance.  This ice pond was created by a man made dam, probably around the turn of the last century.  Its purpose was to generate ice, ergo the name.  The ice was broken up and put on a train that ran nearby, for sale in urban markets in the northeast.  For some reason, the folks who created the Reservoir left the dam in place.  Beavers have since it seems done quite a job of re-enforcing the structure.

The resulting pond is lovely, and home to quite a range of wildlife.  In particular, the place is crawling with turtles, enjoying the morning sun in this case.  Our main task was to try and get a better shot of this scene.

Herein lies the frustration.  Not enough lens.  You need some heavy duty glass to fill the frame with a scene like this, even though it’s only maybe 100 yards away.  But then again, sometimes you do get lucky.  When walking through an area like this it’s useful to always keep your eyes open, scanning for anything that looks out of place.  I saw some debris falling from a tree, even though the wind had stopped.  That’s peculiar.  Looked up, carefully, and saw a moving lump about 25 feet or so up.  Heart stops. A bear perhaps?  Or, from a more problematic perspective, a bear cub. Closer inspection showed a more unusual shape.

OK, no lions, tigers or even a moose, but still, a very cute little porcupine… (Actually he/she wasn’t so little.  It was probably close to 2.5 feet long. We actually were not sure it wasn’t a fisher cat until we got the images home and could get a better look at the face and see the quills more clearly. Fisher cat also room these forests and we’ve seen their tracks.)

The appeal of wildlife, in the wild I think says something about who we are and our need to grasp something beyond that which we can control.  It was a good day in the field.

Update:  I’m aware that these aren’t particularly great images of the porcupine.  They were two of the best out of maybe 25 taken.  I posted them because of the interesting subject matter.  People who care about wildlife, the Quabbin region, etc. are typically interested in documentation of the wildlife in the area.  I know I am.  Second, the images received a helpful comment on flickr.  Indeed, the little guy almost appears covered with fur as much or more so than quills.  That’s really what threw us off in trying to identify the animal.  The comment suggested that these are developing quills, not fully mature. Porcupine quills start out as hair, fur, and develop a cover of keratin.  I have tried doing some research on the question of whether or not porcupines, like some animals, grow a new coat in the spring, shedding the old, but have not had time to come up with a conclusive answer.  If a reader has the answer, please let us know.  I do believe that this porcupine was too big to be a juvenile, but I could be wrong.