Category Archives: Monochrome Monday

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

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 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

Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 6: Be Still My Heart

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

Great Blue Heron South Lake B+W

Coming soon to a lake nearby?

A girl can dream.

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

Tsunami Kayak at the Lake in Winter of 2015

When last I visited the lake, Ol Blue was snug in her winter cave, nearly buried beneath some of the 109 inches of snow that fell this season. Despite the stumbling trek over nearly four feet of snow blanketing the shore, it was heartening to see her label “Tsunami” peeking through that slash of an opening, as she hibernated within.

It was March 1st, and by any rights the two of us would be back on the water in a mere 30 days.

Or so I thought.

The snows of February extended well into March, with the lakes still frozen into the start of April. Even now, some mounds of snow border the sidewalks, yet the waves of migrating birds seem undeterred, as Nature awakens all around.

Including the Great Blue Heron I saw foraging in the small retaining pond last week.

Especially including that Great Blue Heron.

Be still my heart.

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This week’s photo challenge is Afloat. Thanks to Krista and WordPress for this topic. Soon, Ol Blue and I will be afloat on the lake. With the herons. Be still my heart.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge. It’s worth visiting Leanne and Laura’s challenge page to see other outstanding interpretations of monochromatic photography.
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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, Kayaking

Not Art Nbr 2: His Phantom Foot

When the birds
come to breakfast
some have lost
legs or feet
to the world,
and I give those more,
their lives
being difficult enough,
but I never
see the ones who have
lost wings.

470 Fidelity Agape (excerpt)

William Mealer
Alethea At Aphelion

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

One-legged Canada Goose

Five kayak outings in a row, the young Canada Goose has followed along as I ply the shores of the lake. He hadn’t joined the other gaggles of geese as they readied for migration south, and remained behind after their departure. Instead, he could be found in the company of the ducks in various coves or near the gulls congregating along the boat launch.

As the weeks drew on, several waves of geese migrating from farther north would briefly stop over at the lake – a way station on their route south – and the young goose would join along the fringe of the newcomers, but I noticed he always remained behind when they, too, headed south.

It was then, as autumn gave way to winter, and most of the ducks had migrated, that one day I noticed the young goose seemed to be following me about the lake.

The next day, I came across the goose near one of tunnels where the Great Blue Herons perch, pulling up greens from along the shore. By then, much of the vegetation had dried to straw, but that patch was still a vibrant green, and most days I would sight the goose there on my way to the north. And most days from then on, he would follow along behind the blue kayak, from middle lake into north lake, and back, then east into the shallow cove favored by the herons.

The weather here on Christmas was unexectedly warm for Massachusetts in December, near 60 degrees, and my gift to myself was an hour in the kayak, tucked deep in the slender cove, drinking hot coffee and eating a friend’s home-made cookies. Any my companion there? The young goose – delightful company.

Yesterday was again warm, and so once again I headed out on the water. Once again, the young goose was near that patch of greens. Once again, he followed me, at times paddling behind Blue Boat, at others circling around alongsides to port or starboard, at others pulling out ahead of my bow.

He seemed healthy enough, despite being an unusually solitary goose. His chest was plump, feathers abundant and glossy, eyes clear, tongue pink. The only thing amiss seemed to be a shallow, silver-dollar-sized wound at the back of his head where it joins the neck, but the short feathers there looked like they were growing back in just fine.

So why hadn’t he migrated with the others? I assumed he couldn’t fly, although I had seen him stretch out his wings once when he accidentally came to close to the kayak. It was only for a moment, and so my glimpse of the wings was brief, but I couldn’t see anything obvioulsy wrong with either wing.

It was a mystery, his flightlessness.

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

Canada Goose

At the end of the day yesterday, the young goose followed me back to the boathouse, and watched from the shallows as I beached the kayak. I wondered if he would flee in fear were I to stand up full height on shore, and so I slouched down to look smaller as I clambered out of the boat. Apparently that worked, and he simply paddled about in small circles, watching me all the while.

Then he started to preen, just like any other goose, tucking his head under first one wing, the the others, craning his neck over his should to reach his back feathers, nibbling at his tail.

And when he stood up, it hit me – the reason for his flightlessness. He stood there gracefully on his left leg, the stump of his right wavering slightly as he regained his balance, and settled in preening on one leg.

The photos in this post are clearly not “art” (they were taken with my phone). And even though they are not art, there is something curious about them. Look closely at the top photo here, do you see what I see floating on the surface of the water below the stump of his right leg? Doesn’t that reflected shape look like the reflection of an intact goose’s foot? His phantom foot?

It is remarkable how nimble he has been in paddling after me for miles all over the lake, how agile he looks standing on one leg preening, how healthy he seems to be apart from his missing foot. How endearing he is.

And even though these photos aren’t art, the young Canada Goose is.

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This week’s photo challenge is Warmth. Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks to Paula for hosting her Black & White Sunday challenge.

Thanks to Cee for hosting her Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Circles and Curves.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 4: Personal Best

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

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It was a grey, misty ephemeral-looking sort of day, and the Heron on the small lake where I lived was suitably elusive, standing statue-like atop a seventy-foot tall pine on the southern shoreline. It was the day before Thanksgiving, 2009, the latest day in the year I had ever been out in a kayak with the Great Blue Herons.

That is, until yesterday.

The bold sunlight cast twinkles before my kayak, an echo of the sparkling joy I experienced there all alone on the water.

Kayaking in New England in mid-December, a personal best in terms of the calendar alone.

A peak experience in terms of the sheer, sparkling joy of it all

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This week’s photo challenge is Twinkle. Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge. It’s worth visiting Leanne and Laura’s challenge page to see other outstanding interpretations of monochromatic photography.
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A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking

Wherein he sticks his landing

Life spreads itself across 
the ceiling to make you think 
you are penned in, but that 
is just another gift. Life takes 
what you thought you couldn’t live 
without and gives you a heron instead. 

On the Meaning of (excerpt)
Linda Back McKay

The Next Best Thing: Poems

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

Great Blue Heron fledgling sticks the landing.


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This week’s photo challenge is minimalist. In this one moment in time, the Great Blue Heron fledgling had but one simple task: to stick his landing on the rock. With intense focus, grasping feet, and supple wings, our fledgling nailed it. Gracefully. Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this topic.

Thanks also to Leanne Cole and Laura Mackey for hosting the Monochrome Madness challenge. Visit Leanne and Laura’s challenge page to see other outstanding interpretations of monochromatic and B&W photography.
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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, Kayaking

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