Category Archives: daily prompt

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Love for Valentines Day

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

Great blue heron preening, shaped like a heart – babsjeheron.

And they whirl and they twirl and they tango
Singing and Jinging a Jango
Floating like the heavens above
Looks like Heron Love

With apologies to Willis Alan Ramsey and Captain & Tennille

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

Great blue heron adults pair bonding during nest building – babsjeheron.

It’s no secret that I love the Great Blue Herons you see here on this blog. There are some other photographers who also love the Herons they capture. To Judy and Phil and Jerry and Sylvia and Loukelier and Nick and Mike, “Here’s looking at you kid.” I love that you love your Heron models.

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Graceful. The courtship dance of the Great Blue Herons is often truly graceful. As the song quoted above says “…they whirl and they twirl and they tango…” and more.

Thanks also to WordPress for the recent Daily Prompt: Lovingly. I’m tardy for this daily prompt, but I think I can be forgiven what with this being Valentine’s Day and the prompt being titled “Lovingly.”

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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™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

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Great Blue Heron Morning – Charles River Blues

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

Great Blue Heron – Charles River Blues Nbr 2 – In the Cyanotype Style – babsjeheron

The bridge in this photo was constructed in the mid 19th century, around the same time that the cyanotype process came into popularity. There is a certain timelessness to this location, and I imagined how it would have been rendered by a 19th century photographer, perhaps capturing an ancestor of one of the Great Blue Herons that frequent the area today.

Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge Morning. Sunday morning breakfast at the Charles River with the Great Blue Heron: who has the better breakfast? The Heron with the salmon she caught moments after this photo, or me with a store-bought bagel and cream cheese with smoked salmon? (Hint: Only one of us remembered to bring the morning coffee.)
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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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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 Muse – Wings Akimbo

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

Great blue heron with wings akimbo in the cove.

When I Met My Muse

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “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
by William Stafford
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford

Thanks to WordPress for today’s Daily Prompt: Muse. This is the Great Blue Heron that did it for me.

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From July 1 through July 30, 2016, I am the Featured Artist at the Summer Street Gallery. 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

Great Blue Heron Fly-on-the-Wall (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 10)

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling in profile – detail.

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

Great Blue Heron Fly on the Wall with Tom Rush and unknown patron at TCAN July 23, 2016

As a nature photographer, spending time on the water with the beloved Great Blue Herons is a meditation in and of itself. Capturing an image that conveys the experience in the moment is the icing on the cake. And then being able to share my love for these magnificent creatures with others via blog posts or the galleries where I show is the cherry on top of the experience. I think that is a universal for artists – there is the joy of creating , and then the act of releasing the art into the world, followed by watching as a fly on the wall as others respond to the art – whether music or painting or writings – whatever the form. Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge Cherry on Top.

Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge Details. The detail of the Great Blue Heron feathers in the top photo is taken from one of the photos in my recent show at TCAN. The full image is at left in the bottom photo, taken at TCAN after a concert by the wonderful, iconic, gracious Tom Rush.
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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.

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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™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Great Blue Heron Up-close and Personal – 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 Feathers – Detail – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge Details. How many different types of feathers do you see in this detailed image?
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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.

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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™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Winging Across the Waters

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

Great blue heron wings her way across the lake.

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Thanks to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for today’s daily prompt Journey. This Great Blue Heron with a broken leg wings her way on an unknowable journey.

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

Thanks also to Wordless Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday challenge.

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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.

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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™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN

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

Llewellyn’s Grey Herons

And in the weedy moat the heron, fond
Of solitude, alighted.
The moping heron, motionless and stiff,
That on a stone, as silently and stilly,
Stood, an apparent sentinel, as if
To guard the water-lily.

Thomas Hood
The Haunted House, 1844

Embed from Getty Images
Piscator Nbr 2, by John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Albumen print, June 1856

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Today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress challenged us with the topic of something we can’t get out of our heads. That’s a no-brainer for me, as I admitted my obsession with herons long ago in I Have A Heron Monkey on My Back. Back then I wrote

With nearly a decade spent observing them, and more than 100,000 photos of them under my belt, could one say I’m addicted? Perhaps I do have a “monkey on my back,” but all for a good cause.

This affinity for herons is not limited to present-day experiences: I get excited by the discovery of archival heron photographs, and feel a connection to the early photographers who may also have been captivated by herons. Case in point, the two grey heron photographs by Welsh photographer John Dillwyn Llewelyn shown here, courtesy of Getty Images.

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Embed from Getty Images
Heron by John Dillwyn Llewelyn, 1856

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The thought of someone observing herons going on 200 years ago moves me, and I imagine a man caring enough to photograph them then, just as I do today.

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You can learn more about John Dillwyn Llewellyn here:
From a Forgotten Box, a Ray of Light
Daguerreotypes Spur Book on John Dillwyn Llewelyn

Thanks to WordPress for the Daily Prompt: Can’t Get it Out of My Head.

Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the instructions on embedding Getty Images into blog posts.

Thanks to Ailsa for her Where’s My Backpack: Ancient prompt. (Compared to the Coliseum in Rome, this is not ancient. In terms of photographic technology, shots from the 1850’s are nearly ancient, coming just 30 years after the first reported nature photograph.)

Thanks to Cee for her Black & White Challenge: Big. (While the photos, themselves, are small, the heron is a very big bird. In addition, from a technical perspective, the exposure duration was big – Piscator Nbr 2 had an exposure of 20 minutes. I find it remarkable that the heron’s reflection in the water is so clear for such a long exposure.)

Thanks to Ese for her Weekly Shoot & Quote Photo Challenge: Wings. (I like how Ese frames her challenges with the pairing of a photo and a quote. In the case of Piscator Nbr 2, it was published in The Photographic Album of 1857 with an inscription that included the poem passage that I’ve placed at the start of this post. It is now in the collection of the George Eastman House.)

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Grey Heron, John Dillwyn Llewelyn

“I’m just swimming au naturelle,” he lied smoothly.

In children’s fables, the crafty trolls lived in the shadowy worlds of tunnels beneath bridges.

My troll preferred the trail above the tunnel, where he walked back and forth above the parapet.

Buck nekkid.

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

Great blue heron female taking off from nest, while her mate tends their eggs.

The great blue herons had laid their eggs about three weeks earlier, and I was eager to see if the adults were still on the nest, incubating them.

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

To reach the island and the great blue herons’ nest, I would need to paddle inside this narrow tunnel, one of my favorite spots.

The nest was a couple of miles from the boathouse, usually a pleasant twenty-minute kayak trip due south. I would paddle the length of middle lake, under the stone bridge, past the softly flowing waterfall, and emerge at the top of south pond just as I had done hundreds of times before.

As I approached the tunnel, a flash of movement from the path above caught my eye. A shirtless man was moving first towards the bushes at the right, and then he reversed direction and walked eastwards weaving amongst the bushes.

His behavior up there seemed a bit odd, but I was anxious to get to the herons, and so slipped inside the tunnel and was on my way after one last glance up at him. Exiting the tunnel, I exchanged pleasantries with two other kayakers. It felt reassuring to know I wasn’t the only one around that day.

The next hour was enthralling – the adult herons did their “changing of the guard ritual,” with the male arriving to relieve the female, who had been sitting on the nest. Sometimes the hand-off is perfunctory: the incoming bird swoops in unceremoniously and simply takes over the nest, while its mate departs quickly. Other times, they engage in pair-bonding rituals, greeting each other with elaborate courtship and greeting displays. This day, they captivated me with their feathery displays, spending some time together at the nest before the female took off.

Satisfied with my visit with the herons, I headed back in for the day after an hour. Just past the waterfall, I encountered the same two women kayakers seen earlier in the day.

One paddled right up to me and asked, “Did you see the naked guy?”

Uh oh, not only was the “shirtless man” I had seen atop the tunnel parapet “shirtless,” he was also pantsless.

The two women headed on their way and I turned towards the tunnel, heading back to the boathouse.

There on the path above the bridge once again (or perhaps not once again, but rather “still”) was the man – buck naked – walking across the top of the tunnel.

And there I was with my camera stashed below decks. What a photo op that was and I missed it.

He followed the path as it curved along above the shore, and ducked behind some shrubs, but not before he saw me seeing him.

We stared at each other, me from my kayak yards away in the cove, he on the shore, wrapping a blue towel around his waist.

For many people, it might have been a funny situation, but I was frightened. On the one hand, rationally, I knew I was safe in my kayak (unless he was the sort inclined to have a weapon), but I felt frozen by fear. In the past, I had been on the receiving end of several incidents of “violence against women” at the hands of strangers (such as stalking, rape, arson), and so this stranger’s strange behavior brought back a deeply-ingrained panicky urge to get away from him.

There we were, looking at each other. I didn’t want to upset him, wanting to appear nonchalant lest I do something that would incite him to try to follow me home later.

I mean, what do you say to a naked man parading around, and so I blurted out an inanity about the lovely weather that day.

To which he lied, “I’m just swimming au naturelle.”

Deep breath.

I paddled on through the tunnel, and once in the cove, phoned the encounter in to the boathouse.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the boathouse half an hour later and was told they caught him. The state Environmental Police and town police converged on the trail and when they caught him, he was still walking around on the path naked.

I didn’t press charges and the police made sure he understood that the lake is not a “clothing optional” sort of place.

I love happy endings.

But ever since that day, I can’t slip inside that tunnel in my kayak without first scanning the nearby shore and bushes and the trail above the parapet, looking out for the naked guy.

One day this past summer, I saw him again, in the exact same spot, walking back and forth across the trail above the tunnel. I had to do a double-take because he looked naked once again, but when I got the binoculars focused, I could see what he was wearing: light tan/flesh-colored socks, light tan/flesh-colored shorts, and a light tan/flesh-colored shirt. Just an illusion of being nekkid. Lol.

I love funny endings.

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This week, Erica challenged us with the topic of the way our perspective changes as we age. I mentioned in the post above having first-hand experience of violent acts at the hands of strangers. There are subtle scars that can result from those sorts of situations, reactions and memories that would be triggered in most any woman survivor, coping strategies we adapt for protection. Having been stalked more than once, I no longer drive a car. (In one state where I lived, anyone could go to the motor vehicle registry and pay less than $5.00 to get the home address of any license plate number.)

So, I don’t drive BUT I do kayak. I have discovered as I have grown older the liberation of being on the water with the great blue herons. It is a floating meditation. I’ll write more about that one day.

Actually, I’ve been writing that in one way or another all along.

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Thanks to Paula for her Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge.

Thanks to Krista and WordPress for the Daily Prompt: Brilliant Disguise. (What a brilliant disguise, for the formerly-nekkid guy to wear flesh-colored clothing to give the appearance of being naked. How funny that was.)

Thanks to Josh R and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside.

Thanks to Erica and WordPress for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years.

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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

Cat Got Your Tongue?

Not likely with a tongue like this!

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

Great blue heron fledgling licking his lips, erm bill.

This week, Ben and WordPress challenged us to show you TONGUE. The photo here shows a great blue heron fledgling licking his lips, erm licking his bill after downing a small fish.

As you can see, a heron’s tongue is as long as their very long bill, and…

Oh, wait, not what Ben meant by showing tongue?

As dear Emily Litella used to say on the original SNL, “Nevermind.”

What Ben actually meant was for us to speak about what language we would wish to be fluent in.

I would choose to be fluent in “Heron,” and have already learned three words from their vocabulary:

Frawhnk
Gooooh
Arrrrh, arrrrh, arrrrh

I wrote about learning arrrrh earlier, click here.

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Thanks to Ben Huberman and WordPress for the Daily Prompt: TONGUE.

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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

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