Each time I see the upside down Heron

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)  Great blue heron reflection.

Great blue heron reflection.

Our Great Blue Heron in affectionate homage to Shel Silverstein…

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com) Great blue heron with reflection.

Great blue heron with reflection.


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“Each time I see the Upside-Down Man 
Standing in the water, 
I look at him and start to laugh, 
Although I shouldn’t oughtter. 
For maybe in another world 
Another time 
Another town, 
Maybe HE is right side up 
And I am upside down.”

Shel Silverstein
Reflection

A Light in the Attic

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This week’s photo challenge is symmetry. Reflection is the most elemental form of symmetry. The photos here show a fledgling Great Blue Heron in relection. I find the reflection, with its sense of fluid movement, more visually interesting than the actual heron image, itself. Which do you prefer? Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for this topic.

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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Fledgling, Kayaking

There Be Herons Here

Out of the shadows, the wild steps
lightly, all sharing the same dream
rising from the dry, dry earth.

In Sight (excerpt)

John Dofflemyer
Wind Under my Skin

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and Boulder Nbr1 (09-21-2014)

 © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)   Great blue heron with broken leg perched on boulder.

For perspective, the only-slightly-below-normal water level of an earlier summer. (09-05-2011)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and Boulder Nbr2 (09-21-2014)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

There Be Herons Here (09-28-2014)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and Boulder Nbr3 (10-13-2014)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Two Boulders Après le Deluge (10-25-14)

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Last week’s photo challenge is Depth. Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this topic. Our lake is 625 acres, with a depth around 69 feet. The water level fluctuates during every summer, but the summer of 2014 saw a drought unlike years in recent memory. As the drought wore on, the receding waters opened new shallows where the Great Blue Herons could forage. The rains came at last during mid-October, raising the water level more than two feet. How much rainfall do you suppose it takes to raise a 625 acre lake two feet?

This week’s photo challenge is Scale. Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress. The three Great Blue Herons here offer a glimpse of the scale of the drought here last summer. Compared to the heartbreaking drought out West, the scope of the situation in Massachusetts was nothing. One of my favorite WordPress poets, John Dofflemyer, has eloquently, poignantly chronicled the impact of the near-five-year-long drought at his ranch. If you like the poetry of Wendell Berry, you will like John’s. Check it out at drycrikjournal.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2015 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 5: Art on a Snowy Day

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great blue heron walking along the shore.

Last weekend, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston to see the Goya Exhibit courtesy of tickets from my friend, Marge. While the Goya show was superb, the Monet, Gauguin, O’Keefe, and Matisse brought goosebumps as always.

What moved me most, though, was a visiting Klimt masterpiece, “Adam and Eve.” At the time of Klimt’s death, Eve’s hands had not yet been painted, with just the barest of outlines hinting at the apple she would have grasped. Left unfinished, the painting evoked a palpable poignancy – it seemed as though the artist had merely put down his brushes and stepped away for a few minutes, instead of for eternity.

The gallery was very crowded that day, with a 50 minute wait for people standing in line. As my friend Naomi remarked, “Whoever said the internet would replace art galleries and museums? Look at all these people.”

She’s right, you know. The vast array of art available online transforms where and how we experience art and artists. In retrospect, my own art history coursework back in the days of those boxed sets of prints feels meager in light of the riches available today at the click of a button.

And yet, there is nothing like standing in front of the actual piece of art, an arm’s length from a canvas and realizing the artist was also at one time the same arm’s length from the same canvas, but with brush in hand, bringing a vision to life. Looking closely at Eve’s unfinished arms from only a foot away brought the painting into a very human realm where I could almost see Klimt standing were I stood, calculating the placement and shape of the missing apple, the colors and brushes he would use.

I’m glad they left it unfinished instead of having an apprentice complete the piece.

It’s a snowy day here, where better to spend it than in a gallery?

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Special thanks to my friend Marge for the VIP tickets to the MFA!

Thanks to Krista and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself challenge. For a photographer who can’t paint her way out of a paper bag, as the expression goes, I’ve expressed a lot of my thinking around “paintings” in this post, and so the photo in this post is one of my more painterly photos.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2015 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Great Blue Heron, Klimt, Goya, MFA Boston

Great Blue Heron Photos of the Year

Frequent visitors here know that my photos are a mixed bag in terms of genre – some have more artistic merit than others, and some are quirky and just for fun. Some are personal anecdotes of encounters in my kayak, and some the field notes of a naturalist. One thing they all have in common, though, is they’re wild creatures observed in nature along the waterways of Eastern Massachusetts.

Coming up on the horizon in a few months is my next one-woman photography show, comprised of 35 photos. For the most part in the past, pieces I’ve included in the galleries are different than the ones I post online, selections made in a vacuum, by myself.

As a new approach for 2015, I’m reaching out to readers here for your input, for your votes on which of the 2014 posts you like the most.

So, after the photos posted here, there’s a poll where you can let me know which are your favorites.

I do hope you participate, and I’m looking forward to seeing your responses.

Wishing peace, prosperity, and creativity to all in 2015!

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: New. Soliciting the opinions of others about which photos to include in the upcoming show is a new approach for me. Like many artists and writers, I’m often surprised by what resonates with people. Looking forward to being surprised by the poll results here!

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2015 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Great Blue Heron, Egret, Kayaking, Photography

Memories – reblogged from ospreypaddler

babsje:

As 2014 glides into 2015, memories of years past float to the surface for many of us. In this post, fellow kayaker kestrelgwh elegantly explores the role of memories, saying “…sometimes the memories take the form of a story. Like a tool in a cabinet, we keep pulling it out of the drawer where it is stored, handle it, turn it, reflect on its significance and use to us.”  He shares a memory of an exhilarating kayak outing written with such a sense of immediacy that my pulse quickened as though I were there in the kayak, myself, as the bow rose the crest of powerful waves, only to plummet quickly into the following trough – over and over for his two-hour solo journey under perilous conditions.

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did. And may your memories this New Years Eve nourish that which sustains you.

Originally posted on ospreypaddler:

We lose everything, but make harvest

of the consequences it was to us. Memory

builds this kingdom from the fragments

and approximation. We are gleaners who fill

the barn for the winter that comes on.

 –Jack Gilbert, “Moreover”

This is the time of year when ranchers in Montana pull stored sunlight out of their barns and spread it on frozen fields for hungry animals. This is the time of year when Blackfeet, Salish and Crow pull stories out of ancient storehouses and remind each other who they are and where they came from. Memories are the feast of the season.

At this time of the year a paddler builds a kingdom out of remembered fragments and approximations of the season past. In many cases the memories are composed only of images—a wave that caught my brother on the upwind side of a dock, lifted him on its crest and almost…

View original 797 more words

Not Art Nbr 2: His Phantom Foot

When the birds
come to breakfast
some have lost
legs or feet
to the world,
and I give those more,
their lives
being difficult enough,
but I never
see the ones who have
lost wings.

470 Fidelity Agape (excerpt)

William Mealer
Alethea At Aphelion

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

One-legged Canada Goose

Five kayak outings in a row, the young Canada Goose has followed along as I ply the shores of the lake. He hadn’t joined the other gaggles of geese as they readied for migration south, and remained behind after their departure. Instead, he could be found in the company of the ducks in various coves or near the gulls congregating along the boat launch.

As the weeks drew on, several waves of geese migrating from farther north would briefly stop over at the lake – a way station on their route south – and the young goose would join along the fringe of the newcomers, but I noticed he always remained behind when they, too, headed south.

It was then, as autumn gave way to winter, and most of the ducks had migrated, that one day I noticed the young goose seemed to be following me about the lake.

The next day, I came across the goose near one of tunnels where the Great Blue Herons perch, pulling up greens from along the shore. By then, much of the vegetation had dried to straw, but that patch was still a vibrant green, and most days I would sight the goose there on my way to the north. And most days from then on, he would follow along behind the blue kayak, from middle lake into north lake, and back, then east into the shallow cove favored by the herons.

The weather here on Christmas was unexectedly warm for Massachusetts in December, near 60 degrees, and my gift to myself was an hour in the kayak, tucked deep in the slender cove, drinking hot coffee and eating a friend’s home-made cookies. Any my companion there? The young goose – delightful company.

Yesterday was again warm, and so once again I headed out on the water. Once again, the young goose was near that patch of greens. Once again, he followed me, at times paddling behind Blue Boat, at others circling around alongsides to port or starboard, at others pulling out ahead of my bow.

He seemed healthy enough, despite being an unusually solitary goose. His chest was plump, feathers abundant and glossy, eyes clear, tongue pink. The only thing amiss seemed to be a shallow, silver-dollar-sized wound at the back of his head where it joins the neck, but the short feathers there looked like they were growing back in just fine.

So why hadn’t he migrated with the others? I assumed he couldn’t fly, although I had seen him stretch out his wings once when he accidentally came to close to the kayak. It was only for a moment, and so my glimpse of the wings was brief, but I couldn’t see anything obvioulsy wrong with either wing.

It was a mystery, his flightlessness.

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Canada Goose

At the end of the day yesterday, the young goose followed me back to the boathouse, and watched from the shallows as I beached the kayak. I wondered if he would flee in fear were I to stand up full height on shore, and so I slouched down to look smaller as I clambered out of the boat. Apparently that worked, and he simply paddled about in small circles, watching me all the while.

Then he started to preen, just like any other goose, tucking his head under first one wing, the the others, craning his neck over his should to reach his back feathers, nibbling at his tail.

And when he stood up, it hit me – the reason for his flightlessness. He stood there gracefully on his left leg, the stump of his right wavering slightly as he regained his balance, and settled in preening on one leg.

The photos in this post are clearly not “art” (they were taken with my phone). And even though they are not art, there is something curious about them. Look closely at the top photo here, do you see what I see floating on the surface of the water below the stump of his right leg? Doesn’t that reflected shape look like the reflection of an intact goose’s foot? His phantom foot?

It is remarkable how nimble he has been in paddling after me for miles all over the lake, how agile he looks standing on one leg preening, how healthy he seems to be apart from his missing foot. How endearing he is.

And even though these photos aren’t art, the young Canada Goose is.

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This week’s photo challenge is Warmth. Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday challenge.

Thanks to Cee for hosting her Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Circles and Curves.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 4: Personal Best

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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It was a grey, misty ephemeral-looking sort of day, and the Heron on the small lake where I lived was suitably elusive, standing statue-like atop a seventy-foot tall pine on the southern shoreline. It was the day before Thanksgiving, 2009, the latest day in the year I had ever been out in a kayak with the Great Blue Herons.

That is, until yesterday.

The bold sunlight cast twinkles before my kayak, an echo of the sparkling joy I experienced there all alone on the water.

Kayaking in New England in mid-December, a personal best in terms of the calendar alone.

A peak experience in terms of the sheer, sparkling joy of it all

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This week’s photo challenge is Twinkle. Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge. It’s worth visiting Leanne and Laura’s challenge page to see other outstanding interpretations of monochromatic photography.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Also, feathers

Look, you might as well know, this thing
is going to take endless repair: rubber bands,
crazy glue, tapioca, the square of the hypotenuse.
Nineteenth century novels. Heartstrings, sunrise:
all of these are useful. Also, feathers.

Barbara Kingsolver
“Hope, An Owner’s Manual”
(excerpt)

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fledgling in profile – detail.


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This week’s photo challenge is converge. Viewed from this angle in profile, the way the Great Blue Heron’s wing feathers converge together is readily apparent, and do you see how whisper thin they are? Thanks to Ben Huberman and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to the kind folks at Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Fledgling, Kayaking

Alcyon Days – Pun Intended

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Female North American Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) Territorial Squabble

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

North American Belted Kingfisher Territorial Squabble Nbr2


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This week’s photo challenge is minimalist. In this one moment in time, these two Female North American Belted Kingfishers were so deeply focused in renegotiating their territories that they failed to notice my kayak round the bend. Kingfishers in that cove historically have established a healthy separation between their respective turfs. It is possible the drought this year stressed the Kingfishers to the point of this squabble. Since these photos were taken, we have had significant rains, the water level has come back up three feet, and the female Kingfishers are back in their usual areas, chattering away at me with their slipping-fan-belt voices, scaring off the Herons. Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks once again to Stewart Monckton for hosting the Wild Bird Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to the kind folks at Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

North American Belted Kingfisher, Kayaking

Wherein he sticks his landing

Life spreads itself across 
the ceiling to make you think 
you are penned in, but that 
is just another gift. Life takes 
what you thought you couldn’t live 
without and gives you a heron instead. 

On the Meaning of (excerpt)
Linda Back McKay

The Next Best Thing: Poems

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fledgling sticks the landing.


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This week’s photo challenge is minimalist. In this one moment in time, the Great Blue Heron fledgling had but one simple task: to stick his landing on the rock. With intense focus, grasping feet, and supple wings, our fledgling nailed it. Gracefully. Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge. Visit Leanne and Laura’s challenge page to see other outstanding interpretations of monochromatic and B&W photography.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2014 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Fledgling, Kayaking

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