Category Archives: Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

The Day of the Helicopter: 15 Minutes of Google Satellite Fame

The helicopter flew low and slow above the channel. I glanced up at it quickly to see what insignia it carried, but didn’t bother with the binoculars and so didn’t get a good look. Helicopters aren’t rare over the lake, in fact the building next door had one parked on the roof, and besides, I was in a hurry to find great blue herons to photograph.

© Babsje (

Guess who in the blue kayak?

I nosed the kayak through the first tunnel, then curved sharp right into the slender finger-like cove where herons sometimes perched. Just as the kayak slid out from under the tree canopy, I heard it again. The helicopter was flying directly over the cove. Since the cove paralleled the turnpike for a small distance, I thought maybe it was a traffic copter, put it out of mind and paddled deeper seeking out herons.

No luck finding herons there, I paddled back out towards the big lake. Just as I exited the cove, the helicopter reappeared, right overhead again. Seeing the same helicopter in a short timespan over a small area seemed odd. Maybe it wasn’t traffic-related, I thought, maybe it was a video crew getting some B-roll footage for TV or a movie being filmed near Boston. Whatever it was, I hoped they wouldn’t capture me. I’m notoriously camera-shy.

By the fourth time I encountered the helicopter that morning, I decided to make contact, and gave them a big wave goodbye with my paddle and took the kayak elsewhere on the lake.

Fast forward to the next winter.

It was a stormy night, one of those howling New England winter storms that made me long for warm days on the water. That night, I was frittering away some time online before sleep, and in an idle moment wondered what the lake looked like in a satellite view.

I found the lake, at left in this next photo, and then zoomed in until I found some of my favorite nooks and crannies, and then zoomed in again. In the second frame are two light dots. I zoomed in again, and in the third frame, the dots are larger still.

And with one final click to zoom in as close in as the satelite/mapping software allows, the two dots become two vessels. One, a fishing boat. The other? A blue kayak. With me aboard.

And then it all came back to me in retrospect, the day of the helicopter. It wasn’t the traffic or news or B-roll, it was part of the Google mapping project. And my concern about being captured was NOT unfounded.

At least a viewer can’t zoom in any closer than in the top photo of this post. I can live with that degree of anonymity. I think.

© Babsje (

Zooming in on the lake.

This week, Cheri and WordPress have challenged us to show something grand, “…we want you to consider not just the size of something, but also that special element: the “wow factor” of a scene or subject…” “…shots that will make our jaws drop.”

I don’t know how you would feel about finding yourself while zooming in from a satellite view first of the continent, then the Eastern Seaboard, then Eastern Massachusetts, then all the way down to your boat on the water, but my jaw literally dropped, and I did say “Wow.”

That helicopter day happened a few years ago, and the same image is still out there in the satellite views, but something more recently has brought on more “wows”: I have been honored with four blogging awards, shown here.


Donna for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award – Nov 25th

Robbie for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award – Dec 3rd

Donna for the Versatile Blogger Award – Dec 5th

Cee for the Most Influential Blogger Award – Dec 6th



This is truly humbling, and I am virtually speechless by the generously, thoughtfulness, and kindness of Donna, Robbie, and Cee. I owe each and every one of you my sincere gratitude for the recognition you’ve shown my blog and a proper reply per the rules of each award. I am tardy in my formal replies and will be working on them this week. I have been recovering since Thanksgiving week from a severe allergic reaction to an insect bite on my foot (that spread) and the grogginess from round the clock Benadryl has had me running on half cylinders. I’m on the mend now, tomorrow will be my first day off Benadryl, so watch for more thank-yous in a few days!

In the meantime, your kind gestures mean a lot, many many thanks!


Thanks also to Cheri Lucas Rowlands and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand prompt.


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. (

Awards, Kayaking

%d bloggers like this: