Category Archives: Black & White Sunday

Beautiful Great Blue Herons – Your Favorite Photos and Egg on my Face

The thing is to be attentively present. 
To sit and wait is as important as to move.
Patience is as valuable as industry.
What is to be known is always there.
When it reveals itself to you, or when you come upon it, it is by chance.
The only condition is your being there and being watchful.

Wendell Berry
The Long-Legged House

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

Great Blue Heron at Keyhole Tunnel – babsjeheron

This week, the Lens Artists’ challenge topic is ‘Narrow.’ The tunnel shown here is barely wider than the length of my paddle. Sometimes, 1 can only maneuver my paddle at an awkward angle, stroking with only one blade in the water if the level in the lake has risen due to rainfall.

In the aftermath of tropical storm Irene a few years ago, one day I encountered three other kayakers in line to paddle through single-file. One after another, they each nosed into the tunnel but quickly failed to progress forward more than a couple of feet.

*Rookies,” I thought to myself, and made a move to show them how it is done. However, the water level was so much higher and the current so much stronger than usual that I was able to enter the tunnel only about five feet before the swiftly rushing water spit my boat out backwards into the cove. So much for showing those other kayakers how to navigate the tunnel. Boy did I have egg on my face. (Only belatedly did I learn that the huge current resulted from opening flood gates to control waters in the reservoir system serving the city.)

A few weeks ago, I invited readers to vote on their favorite Great Blue Heron photos. If you missed that post, it’s not too late to participate. Click here and share your opinion..

Spoiler alert: The photo of the fledgling Great Blue Heron shown in today’s post won the vote. Here are the results:

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

Reader’s Favorite Heron Poll Results

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Thanks to Cee for her B&W Challenge: Moving Water. .

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Once more, thanks and kudos to the inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – for their continuing devotion to elevating and celebrating photography.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 84: Narrow.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 84: Narrow.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 84: Narrow.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 84: Narrow.

From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were once again on display on 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.

Many of the photos in the exhibit are being shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
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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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During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2020 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Wayland
Read the rest of this entry

Favorite Great Blue Herons in Black and White

… Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into flight.

With apologies to James Wright’s poem “A Blessing”
The Branch Will not Break

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

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish – babsjeheron

The fabulous ladies of Lens Artistry recently asked about our favorite photos posted in 2019. As an artist I do have personal favorites, but I’m more curious about what YOU, the readers, appreciate – enough about me!

After the photos, there’s a poll where you can let me know which are your favorites. It’s been two years since I’ve done a poll, and I do hope you participate. I’m looking forward to seeing your responses.

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

Great Blue Heron at Keyhole Tunnel – babsjeheron

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Garbo Pose – bw – babsjeheron

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

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing – babsjeheron

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

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

Number 25 B&W – babsjeheron

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From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs are once again on display on 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. Many of the photos in the exhibit are being shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. 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.

And who knows, maybe I’ll see you there one day.

I’d like that.

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Thanks to Cee for her B&W Challenge: Moving Water. .

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Once more, thanks and kudos to the inspiring Lens Artists – Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya – for their continuing devotion to elevating and celebrating photography.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 77: Favorite Photos.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 77: Favorite Images of 2019.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 77: Favorite Photos of 2019<.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 77: Favorite Photos of 2019.

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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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During September and October, 2018, the Great Blue Herons were featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA.
.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2020 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Wayland
Read the rest of this entry

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

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
.

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 Artistic License?

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

Heron and Roots – B&W- babsjeheron

Back in the day, when darkrooms were physical spaces in 3D, photography was a much more sensory experience. The otherworldly red glow of the safelight seemed a portal into another dimension. The vinegary odor of the stop bath a pungent treat for the nose. The feel of wet paper beneath fingertips as you gently rub areas of the emerging image to bring out details. The whisking motion of the dodging tool to reduce over-exposed areas. Back in the day, black & white prints were the order of the day.

And today? It seems like “artistic license’ to create B&W prints!

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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Satisfaction/. No two days on the water with the Great Blue Herons are the same. I find it very satisfying that there continue to be ways of seeing with fresh eyes. In more than a dozen years exploring those waters, I had not noticed the exquisite, sun-bleached roots of this tree until the Great Blue drew herself, and my eyes, up to the base of the hill.

Thanks also to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday: After and Before. The photo in today’s post is a “before” and yesterday’s is an “after.” Before and after what? Before digital photography tools made color photography mainstream, B&W predominated.

Thanks to Cee for hosting Cee’s Black White Challenge: Things Made with Wood. What is more ‘made with wood’ than a tree and it’s roots?
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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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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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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2017 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Glamorous Great Blue Heron

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Garbo Pose – bw – babsjeheron

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Takes 2, 3, 4, and 5 – babsjeheron

Experimenting with the final look and feel of a photograph using different color tones is a fun method of artistic license. The photos here show the same scene rendered 5 different ways. The top version is an infrared-style B&W. Next, clockwise from top left are Sepia, B&W, Cyanotype, and then Full Color. Which do you like best? How much artistic license is too much?

Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Fun.

And thanks also to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday: Favorite. This Great Blue Heron posed between the two subtly different columns has always been a favorite.
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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.

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™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Beautiful Great Blue Heron at the Waterfall Nbr 3

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at the base of the waterfall fishing.

…It is a test for us, that thin
but real, undulating figure that promises,
“If you keep faith I will exist
at the edge, where your vision joins
the sunlight and the rain: heads in the light,
feet that go down in the mud where the truth is.”

Excerpt from Spirit of Place: Great Blue Heron
by William Stafford
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Narrow. The Great Blue Heron’s slender neck looks deceptively narrow. Their supple necks allow them to swallow fishes and small mammals of considerable size, and the Heron will slowly turn its heads from side to side to help force their prey down. There are several photos elsewhere on this blog showing Herons swallowing huge fish.

And thanks also to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday. (My photo today has nothing to do with her topic this week, but her offerings in b&w are striking.)
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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, 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. TCAN has a lively, dynamic lineup of upcoming performing artists.

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™

© 2016 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Forest

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Forest

Any Great Blue Heron nestlings that have survived this long would be grown enough by now to be left alone in their nests, and so both parents can be found foraging. On this day, both male and female Great Blue Herons plied the shore – separately. No longer together now that nesting is done, the male becomes territorial about his feeding grounds, and will aggressively chase off the female or offspring.

So, I was not surprised at the high-velocity chase scene that unfolded when first the kayak slipped out of the tunnel that morning. The female flew directly overhead in a burst of feathers, and banked to the northwest out of sight. The male caught sight of the kayak and swiftly reversed course, heading back, deeper into the cove.

What did surprise me was this: the male in the photo here is not the ‘usual’ one that inhabits that cove. It is an adult male with breeding plumes, but younger and with very different markings than the usual male that “owns” that patch of shoreline,

So, a mystery. Does our female Great Blue Heron have a new mate? Or was this younger male just an interloper? Stay tuned. Time – and more photos – will tell.

I love a good mystery!

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Thanks to Cee for hosting Cee’s Black & White Challenge. This tree is clearly older than 50 years, the Heron? I wish they could live to be 50, but as far as I am aware, early 20’s may be the record for a Great Blue

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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

Wherein the Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sticks Her Landing

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

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks her Landing

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The poet William Stafford wrote an exquisite poem about muses, “When I Met My Muse.” My reading of that poem is that our muse lives inside each of us. For me, the muse is the Great Blue Heron within. As Stafford wrote

“. . . I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.

When I Met My Muse [excerpt]
Poem by William Stafford
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

Thanks to Brie and WordPress for the WPC Challenge: Muse.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge.

And thanks to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday. Paula’s topic this week is telling a story. The first part of the story told in this photo was the previous post, taken a few minutes before this capture.

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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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron at the Waterfall

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

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall

It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens.

I’ve written in the past about one of the dangers facing photographers – the way technology can get in the way of “experiencing” what is happening now, how we as photographers can miss the moment IN the moment by working so hard to preserve the scene for future viewing. Back then, I wrote

Suddenly, I wished I had brought a camera, and then just as quickly, I dismissed that wish – had the camera been there, I would have missed that experience. Instead of sharing stillness with the heron, I would have been absorbed in things like aiming and focusing and f-stops and bracketing and all of the composition things we do; by then the heron would have flown away, alarmed by my fidgeting with the gadgetry, and I would have missed the moment.

Yesterday, I came face to face with a different danger facing photographers who become too absorbed by the scene within their viewfinder: I was so engrossed with following the Great Blue Heron through my lens that I nearly stepped over the edge into clear air.

Every couple of years, we read news stories of people falling off cliffs or going into waterfalls while taking photos.

Now I know how easily that can happen.

One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls.

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Thanks to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge.

Thanks also to Cee for hosting Cee’s Black & White Challenge.

And thanks to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday. (My photo today has nothing to do with her topic this week – macro photography – but her offerings in b&w are striking.)

Lastly, thanks to Jen H and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Motion. It was definitely a challenge to capture the motion in this scene: the cascading water sluicing over the rocks moved at a different pace than the water tumbling over the falls, and so keeping the focus sharp was tricky, and even moreso when the Great Blue Heron burst into flight.
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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

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