Category Archives: Black and White Photo Challenge

Great Blue Heron’s Guest Bird of the Day: Beautiful Swan Taking a Bath

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

The Swan, Excerpt.
Mary Oliver,
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

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

Mute Swan Bathing Beauty – babsjeheron

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The secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same ol’ same ol’.

That Saturday, I was tired, and the journey back to the home dock would take another hour and a half. I had already bagged a fair number of Great Blue Heron captures and was eager to take out.

From a distance, I gave a passing glance at the southern shoreline and saw the usual pair of Mute Swans floating in their usual spot, and so I paddled on.

Rounding the curve below the Labs, coming closer to the Swans, I noticed an odd-looking thrashing and splashing unlike any Sawn behavior I’d seen before.

Binoculars up, I sat transfixed, watching from across the channel as one of the Swans took a Saturday bath. Amazing.

Many of us have seen Robins, or Warblers, or other small songbirds splashing about in a backyard garden birdbath. Now, imagine a bird with a 7-to-8 foot wingspan behaving just the same – dunking their head and neck fully below the surface, coming back up to shake off the water, rearing up on legs, wings akimbo flapping and expelling droplets galore, and preening, preening, preening to sort out feathers. The Swan’s bath lasted more than 15 minutes. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

And so, as I said before, the secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same ol’ same ol’.

View other large birds bathing: Red Tailed Hawks aka Beauteous Buteo and a Great Blue Heron aka Rubber Ducky You’re the One.
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For the months of September and October, the Great Blue Herons are featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA. Feel free to stop in during office hours Monday thru Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm; Friday 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

Thanks to Cee for her recent WPC: Black & White Challenge. The Mute Swan bathing beauty turned in gentle circles for more than 15 minutes taking that Saturday bath. It was mesmerizing. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks again to Paula for her earlier WPC: Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past. This bridge and tunnel are from days gone by, using ingenious technology of the earlier era.
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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

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Through July 13, 2017 I was a Featured Artist 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.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, B&W

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Beautiful Great Blue Heron at the Keyhole Tunnel

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

Great Blue Heron at Keyhole Tunnel – babsjeheron

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For the months of September and October, the Great Blue Herons are featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA. Feel free to stop in during office hours Monday thru Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm; Friday 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.

Thanks to Cee for her recent WPC: Black & White Challenge. The water had been smooth as glass until a passing pair of kayakers played through! (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks again to Paula for her earlier WPC: Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past. This bridge and tunnel are from days gone by, using ingenious technology of the earlier era.
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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

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Through July 13, 2017 I was a Featured Artist 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.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Great Blue Heron’s Salmon Fishing Prequel (Not Art Nbr 17)

© 2018 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Fish Ladder – babsjeheron

There is no problem so complicated that you can’t find a very simple answer to it if you look at it right.
Douglas Adams
The Salmon of Doubt

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When last we saw her at the fish ladder, the Great Blue Heron had snared a large Salmon from the base of the torrent.

For more than an hour, she had stalked the Salmon, climbing the fish ladder slowly, intently scanning the pooled water at the base of the dam.

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

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish – babsjeheron

The Charles River was in drought conditions, with the usually-robust waterfall at the dam subdued to a trickle. The fish ladder, however, cascaded mightily. The Heron’s wings-akimbo balancing act paid off as she teetered at the edge of the fish ladder long enough to land lunch.

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

Great Blue Heron Has Gone Fishing – babsjeheron

Fortunately for the Great Blue Heron, the ‘no fishing in fish ladder’ policy doesn’t apply to wildlife.
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Thanks to Cee N and WordPress for her Black and White Challenge: Birds.

Thanks again to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place in the world is on the water with the beloved Great Blue Herons.
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again grace the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed. The gallery is open whenever the box office is open, so please check hours here.
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Through July 13, 2017 I was a Featured Artist 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.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Great Blue Heron and the Salmon of Doubt (Apologies to Douglas Adams)

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

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish – babsjeheron

There is no problem so complicated that you can’t find a very simple answer to it if you look at it right.
Douglas Adams
The Salmon of Doubt

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For more than an hour, she stalked the Salmon, climbing the fish ladder slowly, intently scanning the pooled water at the base of the dam, then pausing to rest, perched there on one leg. All the while, she faced away from the torrent gushing down the ladder behind her.

I could see fish in the rushing waters and wondered if the Heron would shift her focus.

True to that Douglas Adams thought, she finally looked at the fish ladder right, and left no doubt at all about that Salmon.
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Tour Guide. Krista had asked us recently what we love about where we live. Today’s photo was taken a short walk from my home. In fact, all of the photos on my blog were taken within 5 miles from home. I love that the beautiful Great Blue Herons spend part of their lives each year within the Charles River and Sudbury River watersheds. I’m very fortunate that my studies of them don’t require expensive travel to distant locations.

And more thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Weathered. Do you notice how weathered the Heron’s toes are?

Thanks to Paula for her occasional Black and White Sunday challenge. Paula, your captive gibbon is exquisitely enigmatic, moving.

Thanks to Debbie for this week’s Travel with Intent: Fish.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Black and White Photo Challenge: Water. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee.

Thanks to CosmicGirlie for hosting Silent Sunday. I do really like CosmicGirlie’s ethos about the way that words can affect the meaning of photos and her goal of no words, just a single photo. Yes, there are “words” in today’s post, which is against the “rules,” but I can’t credit the authors of the fine prompts mentioned above without using words.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I was the Featured Artist of the Month at the Summer Street Gallery. The Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a one-woman show at The Center for Arts in Natick. In addition to the visual arts shown at the gallery, TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.
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Through July 13, 2017 I was a Featured Artist 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.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

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

Who Needs a Time Machine?

1835 seems only a split-second ago.

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

Great blue heron poised under railroad bridge.

There are moments on the water when time falls away. This dark and drizzly day was one.

The great blue heron and I had the lake to ourselves – no powerboats with big wakes disrupting the smooth glide of the kayak, no fisherman on the rock slab interfering with the heron’s fishing.

The railroad bridge and tunnel date to around 1835. The photo isn’t one from the local historical society, of course, but I like to think that it could have been.

I like to think of generation after generation of great blue herons, all fishing from that same spot by the tunnel.

Fishing before my time began, fishing after my time has ended.

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Thanks to Shane Francescut and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-second Story.

Thanks to Paula for her new Black & White Sunday Non-Challenge.

Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s Black & White Challenge: 50 Years or Older.

Thanks to Leanne Cole for her 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

Question of Balance

Great blue heron fledgling balancing on edge of dock.

Great blue heron fledgling balancing.

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Thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

Thanks to Michelle W. and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated. (Can B&W be saturated without resorting to extreme contrast? I think so, what do you think?)

Thanks to Cee Neuner and WordPress for the Black and White Photo Challenge: Animals nudge.

Thanks also to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks again to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Birds challenge.

And thanks also to Michelle for the Weekly Pet Challenge Roundup nudge.

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(This took place July 25, 2007)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

To Love Is – Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines, Wordless Wednesday, Wild Bird Wednesday, Sue’s Word A Week: Mistake,  and Cee’s Black and White

To love is not to look at one another: it is to look, together, in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wind, Sand, and Stars

Accidental double exposure of a great blue heron fishing in the waterfall.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Accidental double exposure of a great blue heron fishing in the waterfall - B&W version.

B&W version.

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Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines and Patterns nudge. (I like the lines and patterns of the ripples of falling water.)

Thanks to Cee Neuner and WordPress for the Black and White Photo Challenge: Animals nudge. (Which do you prefer, the full color or the B&W version?)

And also to Sue Llewellyn for the Word A Week: Mistake challenge. (Did you find the “mistake” in this photo? It’s from the days of real film, and the film failed to advance, and this double-exposure resulted.)

And thanks also to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Lastly, thanks to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday prompt.

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(This took place July 31, 2005)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

It’s a Pterodactyl! – Daily Prompt: Time Stands Still, Sunday Stills and Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Animals

Not all dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago. One group survived, and we see their descendants every day. We call them birds. 

American Museum of Natural History

Pteradactyl Great blue heron catching prize fish.

Pterodactyl Great blue heron catching prize fish.

Time stood still that day in the secluded cove.

The rumbling of a lumbering Diplodocus moving towards the tallest stand of trees echoed over the ridge. A school of Leedsichthys searched for plankton in the watery depths, swishing this way and that. Overhead, a flock of Archaeopteryx flapped and wheeled, warming their wings in the late day sunlight.

A lone Pterosaur spied a prize fish and dove towards the water, and in the instant it surfaced with the fish, time stopped standing still.

At breakneck speed, all were flung into the present as the man in the bass boat bellowed, “It’s a pterodactyl! It’s an effing pterodactyl!”

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The fisherman really did bellow that quote in the channel. At the time it happened, I was looking down in the cockpit of the kayak, stowing gear. The moment I heard his shouting, I knew it could only mean one thing: a great blue heron flying nearby.

I rendered the photo in B&W to give it a more ancient look, and besides – they didn’t have color film back when pterodactyls ruled the skies.

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Thanks to Michelle W. and WordPress for the Daily Prompt nudge.

Thanks also to Cee Neuner for the Black and White Photo Challenge: Animals prompt, and to Ed Prescott for the Sunday Stills: Creepy prompt.

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© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Renewal – Black and White Photo Challenge: Alone

Great blue heron reflection in black and white.

Great blue heron reflection in black and white.

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where I renew my springs that never dry up.

Pearl S. Buck

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To view the original full-color version, please click here.

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Thanks to Cee Neuner and WordPress for the Black and White Photo Challenge: Alone prompt.

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(This took place October 6, 2006)

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

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