Category Archives: Landscape

Beautiful Great Blue Heron En Plein Air Painting at the Charles River

She wasn’t out for blood; she was out for solitude. Any morning when a heron wins its skirmish and achieves solitude is a good morning for a heron. And solitude is what I crave in the mornings, too.

Breakfast at the Lake,
Babsje

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

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

Wildlife is shy and fast and elusive and unpredictable – Great Blue Herons especially so. They usually erupt into flight at the first sensing of an approaching human.

I am shy by nature and photography is a solitary endeavor for me. I don’t join outings by birders, I don’t do camera club trips, and I don’t go on Audubon excursions, as wonderful as they all may be. I don’t even take friends canoeing or kayaking any more. (I did that twice and both times they talked too much and too loudly and scared off the Herons.) I steer clear of other boats on the water to keep a good distance away because, after all, even the fishermen need and deserve their space.

So, imagine my dismay upon arriving at the Charles River dam that morning to see a big splash of color looming over the ancient grinding wheel across from the fish ladder. There would be no Great Blue Herons that day.

Taking in the entire scene, though, dismay quickly turned to joy.

What came into view was first one, then two, then three, then four artists set up in 19th century vignettes with easels under brightly-colored umbrellas. They were spaced a good distance from each other, all with a differing vantage point of the river and dam and old stone bridge where the Herons fish.

One of the painters in particular called to mind a scene from the mid-1800s as she gazed out over the lush water lilies floating above the dam, paints at the ready, paintbrush in hand.

The bridge in this photo below was constructed in the mid-19th century, around the same time that the cyanotype process came into vogue. There is a palpable timelessness to this location and the artists and easels enhanced that feeling. I can easily imagine a 19th century painter or photographer capturing an ancestor of one of the Great Blue Herons that frequent the area today.

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

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

I chose this 19th century style cyanoprint series “Charles River Blues” for one of my exhibits at TCAN because the Summer Street Gallery, itself, is from that same 19th century period.

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

Charles River Blues Great Blue Herons at TCAN May thru July 10 2018 – babsjeheron

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

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

The fish ladder with artist, above. I would have loved to see what her painting looked like.

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

Great Blue Heron and Fish Ladder- babsjeheron

There are many schools of painting. Some artists paint on location, en plein air, some in a studio. Some paint stunningly realistic scenes and some fantastic figments of their own imagining. Some artists take a snapshot out in the world and then paint from the photo instead of from life.

Is it cheating to paint a landscape from a photograph of a scene?

What do you think?
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Rosemary Morelli teaches painting including en plain air style at her studio in eastern Massachusetts. The artists painting at the dam that day were a few of her students.

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This post is dedicated to the Lens Artist ladies (Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya) and to Cee Neuner, all of whom encourage and inspire.

This week, the Lens Artists focus on Distance.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 90: Distance .
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 90: Distance .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 90: Distance .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 90: Distance .

Last week, the Lens Artists focused on A River Runs Through It. I hope they forgive me for a second submission.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: A River Runs Through the City.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: River .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: A River Runs Through It .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: A River Runs Through It .

Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy.
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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 were 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
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in the Charles River

The Charles River is a land of contrasts.

Babsje

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

Great blue heron poised in the Charles River.

Sometimes a person can love a book, but not the movie treatment. Sometimes it’s the opposite – you really enjoy a film and then read the book, and the book falls flat.

I enjoyed Bill Bryson’s book about the Appalachian Trail, “A Walk in the Woods’ more than the movie. I KonMari’d my bookshelves a couple of years ago and kept all of Bill Bryson’s books. (Even though I have a Kindle PaperWhite e-reader.)

This week’s Lens Artist prompt is “A River Runs Through It.” I first read the novel, actually three short stories by Norman Maclean, many years ago. When I KonMari’d my bookshelves, “A River Runs Through It” is another one I kept.
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The Great Blue Heron shown at the top of this post stands in a small cove just around the corner from this next tableau staged on a point jutting into the Charles River.

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

Charles River tableau as seen from a kayak.

The property teems with whimsical statuary, including an alligator crouching on the shore, an iguana perched on an overhanging branch, a black bear rearing up on hind legs (with cub underfoot), a family of three white-tailed deer, a giant Galapagos tortoise, and more.

And no, the Great Blue Heron isn’t one of the life-like statues – but I wouldn’t be surprised if one day a Heron statue was added to the menagerie.

Alligator on the shore of the Charles River.

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Coming back around to books vs films, I’ve never seen the movie of “A River Runs Through It.”with that famous actor, though. Should I?
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This post is dedicated to the Lens Artist ladies (Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya) and to Cee Neuner, all of whom encourage and inspire.

This week, the Lens Artists focus on Rivers.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: A River Runs Through the City.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: River .
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: A River Runs Through It .
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 89: A River Runs Through It .

Thanks to Cee for her Pick a Topic: Landscape.

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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 were 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, Newton
Read the rest of this entry

The Great Blue Herons’ Favorite Cove

The artist’s job is to get the audience to care about your obsessions.

Martin Scorsese

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

Great blue heron in the cove, foraging.

Many of my photos are taken from the waters of the Charles River Watershed area. Moments of absolute stillness and peace are to be found there on the water. Sometimes there’s a touch of quirky humor in captures just for fun. Sometimes the photos I take are capital A art, other times merely nature photos from the field.

Whatever the case, there’s always the love and concern for the herons I’ve come to know over the years.

The six photos today were all taken in the same secluded cove over the years. Any favorite cove of the Great Blue Herons is a special spot for me.


This photo is a variation of an earlier theme of mine: Great Blue Herons with Pickerel Weed. For two days in a row, I witnessed this beautiful Great Blue Heron at the far end of the cove. He preened, and slept, and preened and slept some more, for hours both days. Click here for Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sweetly Preens.
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You may think the Heron in this photo is the same Heron shown directly above, but you would be mistaken. The location in the cove is the same, but the photos were taken 10 days apart, and the Herons are different, they are a mated pair. It is fascinating to watch the pair jockey for position on that half-submerged tree: the male lays territorial claim there, and chases the female away.
Click here for Beautiful Great Blue Heron Sticks the Landing Nbr 2.
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This Great Blue Heron is in the habit of following the sunlight as it moves across the cove, much the way a cat will seek out puddles of sun indoors. Click here for Great Blue Heron in Autumn Nbr 2.
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One spring, before the Pickerel Weed in the foreground and the yellow flowers sprouted up, a pair of Mute Swans built a large nest on this patch of shoreline. Once their cygnets fledged and the nest abandoned, nature and Herons reclaimed the shore, leaving no trace. Click here for Beautiful Great Blue Heron Along the Shore.


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This photo is one of the ones that got me started photographing Great Blue Herons from the water. Click here for Wings Akimbo.
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From December 4 through January 25, 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.

Thanks to Cee for her soon-to-come On the Hunt for Joy Challenge. The Herons, themselves, are an embodiment of joy.

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Debbie’s Six Word Saturday’s prompt asks for posts with six words in the title Rudolph Takes a Rest . Following the rules for a change, this post has exactly six words in the title.

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Again, 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 78: Special Spot.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 78: Special Spot.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 78: Special Spot.

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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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron on Bough

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

Great Blue Heron on Bough – babsjeheron

No two days at the lake are the same. In literally thousands of hours in the field, I have observed a Great Blue Heron on this pine bough only once before, nearly ten years ago. Over the years, I’d always scan that spot with binoculars in hopes of again seeing a heron there, but always in vain…

Until this week’s misty Saturday morning.

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

Great Blue Heron on Bough Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Rare. The photo here captures only the second time I’ve ever seen a Heron perched on that bough. The first time, I wasn’t able to squeeze off a photo before the Heron took flight. So this photo is a first among my tens of thousands of Great Blue Heron photos. I hope it won’t be another ten years for the next sighting.
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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 Head-Shot

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

Great blue heron head-shot in the cove.


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For the month of March 2016, my Great Blue Heron photographs 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 is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

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, TCAN, Kayaking, The Center for Arts Natick

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Along the Shore

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

Great Blue Heron Along the Shore Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

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For the month of March 2016, my Great Blue Heron photographs 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 is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

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, TCAN, Kayaking, The Center for Arts Natick

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Takes Advantage of Gravity

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

Great Blue Heron and Waterfall

Sunlight streams on the river stones.
From high above, the river steadily plunges–

three thousand feet of sparkling water–
the Milky Way pouring down from heaven.

Waterfall at Lu-shan
by Li Po

From Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese by Sam Hamill

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Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for hosting the Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless. It’s not just water that cascades over the lip of this dam on the Charles River – the tug of gravity pulls with it hapless fish destined to become dinner for an eagle-eyed Great Blue Heron.
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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

Circle of Great Blue Heron Life

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

Fledgling Great Blue Heron on Log at Dam – babsjeheron

The log teetered at the brink of the falling water, and I quickly positioned the camera to capture the moment it began the inevitable cascade over the brink.

A shadow suddenly passed overhead in the morning drizzle, outside the range of my lens, and I looked up too late to see what it was.

Only when peering through the eyepiece once again was the mystery solved: a fledgling Great Blue Heron was now perched atop the precarious log.

It was the same Great Blue fledgling seen in that area weeks earlier.

My heart sang to see him so healthy and strong.

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Thanks to Cheri and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle. 2015 was a slow year for Great Blue Heron fledglings in the area. As of November, I had observed only two that had successfully fledged. The fledgling in today’s photo is the first observed, and I like the idea of starting this new year with a new Heron. The circle of Heron life continues.
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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, Fledgling

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