Category Archives: Community

The Value of Kindness

The gear had been pounded with tons of water for almost an hour.” 

Earlier this month, photographer Michael Flaherty nearly went over a waterfall to rescue his camera gear.

What happened next was a remarkable act of generosity:  “This was her only DSLR, she didn’t know me very well, and she made the sacrifice.  That’s real kindness.”

Michael is a photographer of sensitive talent, and I especially appreciate his evocative shots from the Columbia River Gorge. I’m not a prolific re-blogger – you can count on one hand the posts I’ve reblogged – but wanted to share this heartwarming story. 

MJF Images

The first image made after the act of kindness, sunset along the Columbia near home. The first image made after the act of kindness, sunset along the Columbia near home.

Believe it or not this is a photography-related post.  I was recently surprised with a loaner camera!  A person I met through my photography club, someone who went to the same college as I but who I don’t know well at all, saw my situation and took pity on me.  She loaned me her Canon 60D because (she said) it wasn’t really being used.

Now I know plenty of other photographers who have cameras much better than that as backups (they shoot with top of the line cameras).  And I have spent time shooting with these people.  None of them were coming forward after learning of my recent misfortune, losing my camera gear over the waterfall.  This is despite the fact that it would not have disrupted their photography.  This was her only DSLR, she didn’t…

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On the Street Where I Live: Boston Marathon 2014

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

Boston Marathon 2014

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

Boston Marathon 2014 Team MR8. Note the word “Jane” on the runner’s arm.

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

On the street where I live – Boston Marathon 2014

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

Team Hoyt. This was the Hoyt’s 32nd and final Boston Marathon.

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

Boston Strong – Boston Marathon 2014

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

Increased security prohibited outlandish costumes but didn’t bar utilikilts and star-spangled tights.

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

Juggling and all that jazz.
The drummer played non-stop for six hours, and the juggler kept the balls in the air for 26.2 miles.

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Thanks to Erica and WordPress for their Weekly Writing Challenge: Great Expectations. Erica has challenged us to explore expectations, met, or unmet. Certainly the bombings at the finish line of last year’s Boston Marathon were not expected. This year, I expected that things would be different – new security measures, new race logistics, new “motivations” for some participants, etc. Media coverage in the months leading up to today’s race had ramped up, and I was prepared for the intense “Boston Strong” focus, but I was not expecting the emotional experience of seeing the many yellow shirts with “Team MR8.” There, beneath the lettering MR8 on those shirts was the word “peace” in Martin’s childish penmanship, the same young handwriting on his now-famous poster that says “No more hurting people. Peace.” When I saw that simple word through my lens, I wept, I sat down on the wall and wept unexpectedly.

Thanks to Krista and WordPress for their Daily Prompt: Because the Night. For today’s Daily Prompt, Krista asked if we are night owls or early birds. Over time, I have morphed into being an early bird, HOWEVER the night before the running of the Boston Marathon creates an unusual challenge for early risers who happen to live right on the marathon route, as I do: the Midnight Marathon bike ride sees about 1,000 cyclists following the marathon race route, starting at midnight the night before the road race. The joyful, often boisterous sounds of crowds cheering the bikers allowed for only intermittent sleep before an early sunrise.

Thanks to Sara Rosso and WordPress for their Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top. The last photo in my series shows a juggler who managed to keep one of his balls on top of the other four balls for the full 26.2 miles. Using a subtly different definition of “on top,” all of the athletes shown in these photos were on top of their game, as the expression goes.

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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)

Boston Marathon

Freshly Pressed? Nope, but the Next Best Thing Is…

For the category of “living,” the continuum of awards runs the gamut from the Profiles in Courage Award to the Darwin Awards (ahem). In science, a paper can land in the journal Nature or in the Journal of Irreproducible Results. In film, the gamut goes from the Oscars to the Razzies. In fashion, from the Best Dressed to Mr. Blackwell’s list.

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly.

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly.

For literary efforts, the pinnacle is the Nobel Prize, and other awards along that continuum include the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Somewhere down the line is the WordPress Freshly Pressed Award, and so on, ultimately including the various “grassroots awards” handed out to their peers by members of the blogging communities.

I will never win a Nobel Prize, although I’ve rubbed elbows with one winner, who is surprisingly unassuming. I would be thrilled with a photography Pulitzer (who wouldn’t?), but a girl can dream.

My blog is a long-shot for a Freshly Pressed shout out for several reasons. It’s a “concept blog.” It’s a nature blog that is highly-focused on one primary topic: great blue herons, a “niche” topic if ever there was one.

My blog doesn’t shed light on the “human condition,” except as reflected in environmental concerns about the ecosystems of Eastern Massachusetts. It doesn’t create new jobs or solve world hunger or heal domestic violence or cure childhood leukemia or stop nuclear proliferation or raise money for a worthy cause or bring peace to the Middle East or fix financial institutions that are too big to fail.

My blog doesn’t list dry facts and statistics that are just a Google search away, but if you’re looking for unique, original photos shot from my kayak and my own original, often quirky, observations about birds and nature, I’m your girl.

But there does seem to be something about great blue herons – perhaps their grace and beauty – that touches something in people. Being in the presence of the great blue herons touches something in me, almost like a meditation where time falls away into a place of peace and calm, floating on the water.

I feel fortunate to be able to share the herons and their photos and stories in this blog, all made possible by WordPress. For free. No pay-wall. How cool is that, a space to share, where we can write and read, that costs us nothing.

Which brings me back to awards. Most bloggers will not ever be Freshly Pressed, but many will receive recognition from their peers with one of the many “grassroots” awards. These community awards are a good thing, a way for “the people” to honor their own.

There are some who declare their blogs “award-free” zones, who don’t participate in the community awards process. That is their right (the awards process is VERY time-consuming and fraught with the risk of overlooking someone and causing hurt feelings), HOWEVER, I suspect that many of those with award-free blogs would NOT decline a Freshly Pressed award from the WordPress editors. Am I right? Ok, maybe there are a small number who would turn down a Freshly Pressed award – after all, a tiny number have turned down the Nobel Prize and Oscar statuette, but still, am I right?

This post started out as a preamble to five grassroots awards I’ve recently received and need to acknowledge properly. I think it’s an honor to be recognized by my peers. I’m going to break all the rules for those awards, though. I’m going to do away with the requirements to list 39 things about myself, I’m going to do away with the requirement that I nominate 42 fellow nominees in turn for each award. I’m going to simplify these peer-to-peer awards and hopefully make them easier, and more fun. It’s about community at the end of the day.

And I’m going to give a shout out to some people who have award-free blogs. They don’t have to accept or follow-up in any way whatsoever, and they can email me to be omitted if they would in all honesty decline a Freshly Pressed award, no questions asked.

If I find a new restaurant that I really, really like, I want to tell people about it. If I find a blog that I really, really like and want to tell people about – well, how is that any different than spreading the word about the great restaurant?

After all, a blog serves food, too. A blog serves food for thought.

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Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: One prompt. The one thing in this photo that draws our eyes is the dragonfly sitting on the heron’s bill – even the heron’s eyes are drawn to the dragonfly!

Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Community prompt. The grassroots blogging awards are one of the best ever reflections on “community.”

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

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

Great Blue Heron, Dragonfly, Community, Awards, Grassroots

Versatile Blogger Award

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I have been presented the Versatile Blogger Award by dear Donna of the wonderful blog Heron There & Everywhere. With a title like that, how can I, blogger of herons, not have been drawn to her blog?

I’m honored by Donna’s thoughtfulness in acknowledging my great blue heron blog in such an unexpected and kind way. Thanks so much, Donna!

I feel like it is I who should be rewarding Donna for being versatile, rather than the other way around. She is working full time, in the final days of completing her college degree this month, as an adult learner, she’a mother to two young-adult sons, and blogging. On more than two blogs. She has a delightful squirrel named Sera, who now has her own fanciful blog.

I admire Donna for undertaking a college degree as an adult. Her program sounds intense. As she recently blogged

I have three weeks to go before I am done with school. I am still working hard on trying to put together the final project I need for graduation.

When I began this class, there was a fellow student who introduced herself by saying that this was her second time through the class.  She failed the first time because it was such a challenge.

You’re in the homestretch now Donna, less than a couple of weeks to go! Quite an accomplishment.

It’s humbling that Donna took time out from that heavy workload to honor my heron blog, a generius gesture. I’m touched and just want to say that I value your blogging friendship very much. Thank you again, Donna!

Now, on to the process… For my position on the sometimes hot potato topic of awards, please click here and read Just Sayin… A Word About Awards.

THE GUIDELINES

  • This award actually has its own site with the official rules listed. Click here to learn more about the The Versatile Blogger Award.
  • Versatile Blog buttons for your site are available, click here.
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their site.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  • List 7 things about yourself. 

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT MYSELF:

1. I’m not a big fan of “rules” so I changed that word to “guidelines,” above.

2. My favorite models are Great Blue Herons.

3. Like most artists, I fall in love with my models: Great Blue Herons, Egrets, comets & meteors. It’s an unrequited love.

4. I practice both Fine Art Photography and Photojournalism – not at the same time, of course, as the rules are very different.

5. A friend asked if I could live anywhere, where would that be? My answer, “Here.”

6. I am shy and don’t enjoy about talking about myself. It’s not about me, it’s about the great blue herons. In Journalism School, they taught us, “Report the story, don’t BE the story.” words to live by.

7. If I were to die and come back as other than myself, I’d come back as a Great Blue Heron.

SOME VERSATILE BLOGGERS

In no meaningful order at all, here are some blogs I am nominating for this award. It’s impossible to list every worthy blog – there are so very many, too many to count – so if I have inadvertently omitted your blog, no slight is intended. Some people may not wish to participate, and that’s fine, no pressure; I absolutely respect that some don’t have the time or interest.

Also, there are some blogs I ache to nominate, but I know upfront the bloggers don’t do awards. So, to you, and you, and you, and even you, please know that you’re appreciated in whatever other way that’s acceptable to you.

And some of the recipients below may scratch their head and say “Who is that Babsje and why is she saying those nice things about my blog?” I’m not a prolific commenter, but I do lurk and read and appreciate your works silently just the same.

I am a person of many dimensions and tastes, and find many different things interesting on many different levels. Be forewarned that this is a very eclectic list of blogs – some rich and deep, some humorous, some earnest, some sassy, some literary, others simply photos, but each of these bloggers is talented and versatile in their own way.

Moments to Treasure

Zebra Designs & Destinationa – An Artist’s Eyes Never Rest

Bente Haarstad Photography

Memory to Remember

Where’s My Backpack

Redstuffdan

Victor Rakmill Photography

A Word in Your Ear

northumbrianlight

Serendipity

rabirius

BLUEBRIGHTLY

Dot Knows

From the Bartolini Kitchens

restlessjo

What’s (In) the Picture?

Licht Years

Flights of Wonder

Thanks again, Donna!

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Related Posts

The Day of the Helicopter

Versatile Blogger Award

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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™

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

Awards

Very Inspiring Blogger Award, Thanks Palm Rae Urban Potager!

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I have been presented the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by dear Robbie of the wonderful blog Palm Rae Urban Pottager. I’m touched and honored by Robbie’s generosity in recognizing this great blue heron blog in such a kind way. Thank you, Robbie!

What is an Urban Pottager, you may ask. As Robbie explains, her Urban Pottger is much more than a kitchen garden. It’s a place to grow food, flowers, and community together while nurturing creative souls, a space to help heal nature in our cities.

Her blog is one of the most green blogs I’ve read, but I don’t think she’s used that label. Instead, she writes that she is

… constantly learning about growing in small areas, vertically, containers, recycled raised beds, apartments, suburban lots or any place that a person does not have enough space to grow food… We have to raise organic food right where we are with what we have…we have to practice succession plantings, raise our own seedlings, micro farm during the cold months and research, experiment, and find what works with our unique growing problems. ….applying what we know today and yesterday into a Modern Day Sustainable Oasis…

Robbie’s big heart for nature and community has deep roots, and she practices the sustainability that she preaches, cultivating the garden and generously sharing what she has learned with her readers. A recent post she wrote about trying to save a very special tree was suspenseful, my anxiety built as she wove her story, and spoke of there being only a single Arborist in her four-city area. (In our town, we had an official “Tree Warden,” not an Arborist.)

When you have the chance, take a moment and visit Palm Rae Urbn Pottger to tune in on how sustainability can be actively practiced on a local level, you might learn a lot. I know I did.

I’m happy that Robbie has granted the great blue herons and me this award, and value her blogging friendship very much. Thank you again, Robbie!

Now, on to the process… For my position on the sometimes hot potato topic of awards, please click here and read Just Sayin… A Word About Awards.

RULES FOR THE VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD (As borrowed shamelessly from the inspiring blogger, Belmont Rooster)

1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.

2. Display the award on your post. (Download buttons from the link two lines above this one.)

3. List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do.

4. State 7 things about yourself.

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.

6. Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post.

7. Proudly display the award logo (or buttons) to your blog, wither on your side bar, ABOUT page, or a special page for awards. (Ok, I am behind on doing this, myself, time to update the blog menu.) Let other bloggers see right up front that you are an award winner and HAVE participated in the award process (there should be an award for that all by itself!).

SEVEN THINGS ABOUT MYSELF:

1. I am shy and don’t enjoy about talking about myself. It’s not about me, it’s about the great blue herons. In Journalism School, they taught us, “Report the story, don’t BE the story.” words to live by.

2. If I were to die and come back as other than myself, I’d come back as a Great Blue Heron.

3. I love to park the kayak in the shade of the trees and read. I have read entire books out on the water.

4. My first camera was bequeathed to me by my grandfather when I was seven. It was an old brownie that I treasured.

5. My first paying photography job was hanging a Diane Arbus exhibit for minimum wage. I would have paid her to be allowed to do that.

6. My first painting was a paint-by-numbers pastoral scene of a horse under an overhanging tree branch. While it was partly done and drying, it got knocked down between the oven and cabinets in our childhood kitchen. I cried at the time. I cried again when it was recovered 20 some years later.

7. I love to read – books – and always have a two or three underway at the same time, for variety. I hate coming to the end of a really good book.

SOME INSPIRING BLOGGERS

In no meaningful order at all, here are some blogs I am nominating for this award. It’s impossible to list every worthy blog – there are so very many, too many to count – so if I have inadvertently omitted your blog, no slight is intended. Some people may not wish to participate, and that’s fine, no pressure; I absolutely respect that some don’t have the time or interest.

Also, there are some blogs I ache to nominate, but I know upfront the bloggers don’t do awards. So, to you, and you, and you, and even you, please know that you’re appreciated in whatever other way that’s acceptable to you.

And some of the recipients below may scratch their head and say “Who is that Babsje and why is she saying those nice things about my blog?” I’m not a prolific commenter, but I do lurk and read and appreciate your works silently just the same.

I am a person of many facets, and find many different things inspiring on many different levels. Be forewarned that this is a very eclectic list of blogs – some rich and deep, some humorous, some earnest, some sassy, some literary, others simply photos, but all have nuggets that can inspire in their own way.

ospreypaddler

through the viewfinder

The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally

Composer in the Garden

Janthina Images Photo Journal

Phil Lanoue Photography

Nick’s Nature Pics

Wind Against Current

Still Life With Tortillas

Honk if You’re Vegan

Dear Kitty

Cee’s Photography

The Visual Chronicle

Heron There & Everywhere

Little Dogs Laughed

Vector Charley

Old Woman on a Bicycle

MJF Images

Art Towards A Happy Day

The Wine Wankers

Rainbow Bakery

Jane Lurie Photography

Thanks again, Robbie!

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Related Posts

The Day of the Helicopter

Belmont Rooster is a Gem of a Blogger

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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™

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

Awards, Kayaking

Thank You for the Blog of the Year Award

Great blue heron walking along the shore.

Great blue heron walking along the shore.

BOTY

I have been honored with the Blog of the Year Award by dear Petrel41 of the wonderfully eclectic blog Dear Kitty, where Petrel41 blogs on such diverse topics as animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women’s issues, arts, and more. Over time, I have come to appreciate the many informative and fascinating bird-related posts at Dear Kitty, such as this video about a green heron using bread to fish. Check it out.

In no meaningful order at all, here are the blogs I am nominating for this award. It’s impossible to list every worthy blog – there are so very many, too many to count – so if I have inadvertently omitted your blog, no slight is intended.

Prairie Birder

Texas Tweeties by Bob Zeller

Palm Rae Urban Potager

Photos Close to Home

Quiet Solo Pursuits

Leanne Cole Photography

Wind Against Current

Going Out is Really Going In

Goldbird Variations

Chronicles of a Public Transit User

Krahnpix

I See Beauty All Around by Rob Paine

Ilargia64

Rolling Harbour

Tish Farrell

The instructions for this award are simple:

1-Select the blog(s) you think deserve the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award.

2-Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3-Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badges!)

4-Come over and say hello to the originator of the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award via this link: http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2-/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/

5-You can now also join the Blog Of The Year Award Facebook Page.Click the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear

Share your blog posts with an even wider audience.

6-And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award-and then proudly display the award on your blog- and start collecting stars!

Yes – That’s right-There are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once-this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award- and every time you are given the award by another blog- you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs- and even if they have already been given the award by someone else- you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum of 6 stars! You can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award- or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award 6 times!

You can find all the badges and banners and information you need via this link: ‘Blog of The Year 2013′ Award Badges.

Congratulations to all the nominees! Best of luck to every one!

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Thanks also to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

(This took place December 31, 2004)

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Blog of the Year, Great Blue Heron, NaBloPoMo

Thank you for the Super Sweet Blogger Award nomination

Petrel41 of dearkitty1 graciously and surprisingly nominated my blog for the Super Sweet Blogger award. Thanks for this warm honor, petrel41. Although we don’t know each other, I have been reading your blog for some time now. This post of yours from earlier this spring about the Cornell Great Blue Heron cam in particular, caught my attention.  To the readers here, visit petrel41’s site for an eclectic mix of offerings, especially the nature photographs. And also check out the Cornell heron cam when you have a few minutes, although I’ve found it difficult to stay for only “a few minutes,” myself.

Super Sweet Blogging Award

Super Sweet Blogging Award

When nominated for the Super Sweet Blogger Award the nominees have to 1. thank the super sweet blogger that nominated them. 2. nominate a baker’s dozen of other bloggers (see below; with links to their blogs), and 3. answer 5 super sweet questions. [and probably: 4. add the Super Sweet Blogging Award image to your blog post and 5. notify your nominees at their blogs].

1.Cookies or Cake?

Cookies

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate (In case of emergency, administer chocolate)

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?

Chocolate mousse cake

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?

After long walks in the snow

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

Sweet Pea (this actually was a nickname years ago)

My baker’s dozen nominees for the Super Sweet Blogging Award are, in no particular order of preference:

Women in Planetary Science   (because women + science)

The Dragonfly Woman  (because dragonflies)

Jerry Katz on Nonduality (because Jerry is the rock star of Nonduality)

Wind Against Current  (because kayaking)

Sheila Hurst (because wonderful dog romping in vacation post)

Living in Gratitude  (because hummingbirds)

A Wild One Within  (because authenticity)

Twng32  (because earnest practice of photography)

HERON (because saving herons)

Diamond Mike Watson (because fellow adoptee)

This Time This Space (because community focus)

This Would Make A Great Story… (because argyle sox!!)

Thanks again for recognizing my blog with this warm award nomination, petrel41!

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