Great Blue Heron and Meteor

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

Great Blue Heron flies by – babsjeheron.

I blame it on the Beaver lodge.

No, that’s not right.

I blame it on the Beavers.

Or more accurately, on the beady eyes peering up at me from the shallows near the shoreline.

Actually, that’s not correct either.

I blame it on the absence of beady eyes just above the surface.

While kayaking one day some time ago ago, I discovered a Beaver lodge in the cove, the first one there in at least a decade. I took a few photos of the tall tangle of branches and twigs, but was more interested in seeing, and photographing, a Beaver. (I had never done that before, Muskrats, yes, Beavers, no.) As luck would have it that afternoon, there were two Beaver kits paddling around the point not far from the den, but they both quickly slipped beneath the surface and disappeared before I could focus the camera.

So, a few days later I went back to the cove to try to photograph the Beavers.

This, of course, was a mistake.

I learned long ago to open myself, and my eyes and camera, to whatever experiences and sights the lake brought forth at any moment. I had learned the hard way that “trying” to capture a specific subject meant that I would be missing out on what was unfolding right before my eyes. Mindfulness is a great attitude for a photographer.

So, there I was that weekend in the cove fifty yards or so from the Beaver lodge, scanning the surface of the waters with my binoculars, looking for a pair of beady eyes or a tuft of greenery being dragged along, trailing a small wake behind.

A flurry of activity at ten o’clock caught my eye and I paddled a bit closer and refocused the binocs.

Nope, not the eyes of a Beaver: a swarm of Dragonflies flitting and alighting on something, maybe a leaf.

I padded closer still to frame the swarm and through the lens realized the leaf was a feather, a single gorgeous raptor feather.

And as I was dialing down the lens for a closeup of the feather, a shadow passed directly overhead, and I saw a reflection framed on the water a few yards south – a Great Blue Heron.

Without thinking – without having to “try” at all – I lifted the camera and fired off this one shot you see above as the Heron flew by.

I almost missed the photo because I was looking down when I should have been looking up.
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And here’s that Meteor I promised in the post’s title. One occasion when I wss looking up at the right time in the right place: (I hope you weren’t expecting to see the Heron and Meteor together in the same photo?)

Meteor from Leonid Meteor shower - babsjeheron  © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Meteor from Leonid Meteor shower – babsjeheron

Watching meteor showers and photographing comets both put me in touch with the infinite in a way that nothing else can.

There’s something primal about laying back on a grassy hillside watching the summer Perseid meteor shower put on a show overhead.

Standing on that same hillside before dawn on a frigid November morning photographing the Leonids, cold of body yet warm of being, has the same effect.

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As long as we’re looking really far up, why not a Comet?

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

Lizz (age 9) strikes a pose with Comet Hale-Bopp – babsjeheron

During the year of Comet Hale-Bopp, we watched and photographed almost daily for the duration, tracking the comet’s position on paper star charts. We experimented with all of the low light film we could find, comparing the quality of color reproduction and sharpness. Lacking any idea how long an exposure needed to be in order to clearly see the comet on film, and without a timer on-hand, my daughter hit on the Hippopotamus technique: she would depress the plunger on the cable release and hold the shutter open while counting out loud “one Hippopotamus, two Hippopotamus, three Hippopotamus.” It worked from the very first photo! We had a great time together, just the two of us viewing the comet through my old 35mm Konica and small toy telescope.
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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. This week, the Lens Artists have invited Sofia Alves of Photographias as guest host. The focus this week is Looking Up, Looking Down. Please check out their gorgeous photos at the links listed below. My submission includes a case when i should have been looking up but was not, and two photos where i was looking very far up, if not far out!

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Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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From Sofia Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .

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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Look Up, Look Down ..

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and they need your love.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Meteor, Comet, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick

Posted on September 6, 2021, in # Lens-Artists, ardea herodias, Astrophotography, Birds, Heron, Meteors, Mindfulness, Nature, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. An excellent lesson on being open to whatever gifts we’re given Babsje (although I sure would love to have a beaver photograph!) On a similar note my husband and I were at Brooks Falls in Alaska and I was intent on capturing one of the bears actually catching one of the salmon. Suddenly my husband loudly whispered “Teen, Teen” causing me to look behind myself only to see a mama bear teaching her 3 gorgeous cubs climbing a tree about 10 feet away! If he hadn’t been open to our entire environment I’d have missed them completely! We do have a tendency to be a bit myopic when out shooting but your lesson and mine were both very valuable. And BTW that image of the comet is marvelous!! I’ve seen many but your composition is one of the best. Enjoy the holiday and happy shooting.

    • Hi Tina. Many thanks for your great comment Bear story! Just amazing that he noticed and alerted you before it was too late. We don’t often get to see animal parents actively teaching their young and I think 3 cubs in a Bear litter is a little rare. So that was an extra-special opportunity you had. Glad.6ou liked the Beaver story – I eventually caught one on camera. Also thanks for the kind words about the Comet photo. It was a fun night out on that stairway. Best, Babsje

  2. That is such a beautiful shot! 😍

    • I’m so glad you like it. My astro work isn’t in the same league as your own. But I have fun. Thanks for.your kind words!. Beat, Babsje

      • I enjoy the heron shots. So remarkable. The meteor shot is just stunning 🤩

        • Many thanks! The meteor bolide exploded during the Leonids. It was after 1am and below freezing. Immediately after it exploded, the remnants just hung suspended in the air right in front of me for a few moments and then descended to earth like a curtain of glowing fairy dust. It was even more amazing to observe than the actual explosion. A once in a lifetime photo. And glad you like the Herons, too.

  3. You really captured that meteor and comet so well Babsje! I remember that comet and how it collided with Jupiter!
    Great work!

  4. Anything astro is hard to photograph. The meteor one is a good one considering the Leonid shower is a weak one, plus you need to be looking in the right direction. 🙂

    The Lizz one with the comet, that must be (long) before the doctoring days came to mind. 😉

    Elizabeth sent you an email regarding ER docs and rounds. (They don’t.) She was wondering if you received.

    • Hi David. Many thanks for the great observations. Yes the Leonids are weak and you need to have the right direction and the right coat, hat, boots, and mittens! Plus an absence of too much light pollution helps. They is changing rapidly here in suburban Metrowest Boston. That comet photo could not be taken now that Bose has built their corporate HQ on the mountain behind that shoot location. And yes, that photo was before she considered doctoring though she was interested in becoming a veterinarian around that time. She was also growing out of Lizzie and into Liz and then Lizz with two z”s. Your Elizaberh avoided those pitfalls. And can you please have Elizabeth kindly resend her email? I didn’t receive it and have been having big email issues with my gmail. Things missing, things unsent stuck in my outbox. I’m interested in what Elizabeth has to say about rounds. Thanks! Best, Babsje

  5. Ooh, love the legs on that heron! It doesn’t look like it would be comfortable to fly that way, does it?
    Along the lines of your story: one day, totally concentrating on beautiful baby goslings at the edge of the pond, I was astonished to see a mink sauntering right in front of my feet. I learned later that they are playful, and like to “mess with people’s heads”..;-)
    So much wildlife, so little time.
    Best,
    Julie

  6. Such a cool post in its words and photos, it all works perfectly. I’m sure taking photos of comets and meteors is pretty hard but you made it look easy and more, they are exquisite in their own rights. But that heron, I am in love…!

    • Many thanks Sofia. I’m glad you love the Heron. I love Herons, too. Meteors and comets are fun, but the Herons are more plentiful and easier to capture on film. Thanks for visiting. Best, Babsje

  7. Excellent examples and story – I have never tried astro photography. Yours are delightful…it must be a difficult task though. Well done.

    • Hi Leya. I’m glad 6ou like this one. Many 5hwnje for your kind comment. I was doing astro Eve before the Herons. I think it’s pretty easy – you just need access 5o a spot free of too much light pollution from cities and street lights for example. And of course a subject like a comet or a meteor shower plus favorwbke weather. People do buy special gear but I used my owls 35mm SLR and film not digital. There is a Word Press astrophotography category or tag that will show some amazing examoles of stars and nebulas. Best, Babsje

  8. Great shots. Excellent.

  9. Hi, Babsje. This is a great example of being aware of what’s around us, free of worries and distracting thoughts. So many possibilities open up to us in those moments. Great captures, too! I haven’t tried astrophotography yet, but I’d love to.

    • Many thanks, Patti. I agree with your comment so much. I’ve been doing astro photos longer than Herons believe it or not. WordPress has an astrophotography category tag worth checking from time to time. Best, Babsje

  10. The clarity of the Heron is incredibly beautiful, Babsje!

  11. How very heartwarming…. the part about catching comets. As for the unplanned shots… seems as though there’s something in the air that can guide us if we’re open to it. Everything seems to click when I manage to slide into that space.

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