Category Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

Put a Beautiful Great Blue Heron on a Pedestal? Who, me?

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

Great Blue Heron on a Pedestal – babsjeheron

And when I’ve reached the end of my days, may I be found with a Great Blue Heron’s nest built within my ribcage.
With apologies to Robert Macfarlane
The Old Ways

.
.

Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Satisfaction/. In more than a dozen years kayaking that area of the lake, I had observed a Great Blue Heron atop that tree pedestal only once – and at that time, before I could raise the camera, a pod of kayaks approached from the north, flushing the Great Blue. It was very satisfying to finally stumble across her there two weeks ago. I observed through binocs and telephoto lens from a distance for nearly an hour as she slept and then preened and then slept some more, perched on one leg the whole time.

Thanks also to Paula for hosting her Thursday’s Special: Slow. It was a slow hour spent watching the Great Blue Heron languidly perched atop her pedestal. I was grateful to be in her presence, the two of us alone in a fine drizzle in the cove.

.
.
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.

.
.
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.
.
.

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

Advertisements

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!

.
.

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?
.
.
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.

.
.
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.
.
.

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Gets to the Root of It All

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

Great Blue Heron and Roots – babsjeheron

How long we may have gazed on a particular scenery and think that we have seen and known it, when, at length, some bird or quadruped comes and takes possession of it before our eyes, and imparts to it a wholly new character. The heron uses these shallows as I cannot. I give them up to him.
The Writings of Henry David Thoreau

.

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.
.

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.

.
.
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.
.
.
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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Calm Before the Storm (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 11)

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

Great Blue Heron Sleeping Calmly Before the Storm – babsjeheron

With one eyelid partly open, the Great Blue Heron slept perched on one leg as the kayak slowly drifted past. Heron eyelids close from the bottom up – unlike ours – and they can sleep with an eye slightly open, as a cat will do.

It was exciting to discover where this Heron sleeps, and I took care to stay a healthy distance away as I paddled towards a natural hide in the trees along the shore. Was she aware of my presence across the cove? Perhaps. If she was, she didn’t let on.

Rain was in the forecast, and the lake deserted, calm and serene.

I floated onward to a favorite cove in search of that Heron’s mate. The cove is a narrow finger of water, with thick tree canopy on either side, making it difficult to see the sky for much of the length of the cove.

I was following the other Great Blue from a distance with a telephoto lens and noticed a lot of those plinking circles on the water’s surface that insects and nymphs make.

Belatedly, I realized it wasn’t insects making those circles – it was raindrops.

Quickly, I put my camera it its dry bag, stashed it below decks and paddled rapidly for the boathouse.

When I exited the cove, my kayak was SLAMMED broadside by the fiercest winds I’ve ever experienced – easily gusting greater that 50mph, if not an actual microburst. In moments of heart-pounding terror, I was sure my kayak was going to slam onto the jagged rocks and then roll.

Paddling as though my life depended on it, I steadied the kayak long enough to make it to the mouth of a tunnel, but there was a large powerboat inside, headed straight towards me, and another kayak on the left. The powerboat cut engines and managed to stop along the tunnel wall. He found a handhold in a seam of the concrete the way a rock climber grabs finger-width holds. I snugged my kayak as close to his bow as possible and another motor boat swung in behind me. The three of us waited out the vicious storm together, watching the winds blow sideways at alarming with alarming power.

When the storm abated sufficiently that it was safe to head in, we all did.

And the two Herons? I don’t know where or how they shelter, I just know they came through the storm and were back at their usual territories the next day.

I love happy endings.
.
.

Thanks to Cherie and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Bridge. My place of refuge from the harrowing storm was a tunnel below a bridge of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
.
.

From now through July 13th, I am 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.

.
.
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.
.
.
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

Great Blue Heron’s Guest Bird of the Day – Beauteous Buteo (Not Art Nbr 13)

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks – babsjeheron

What, you were maybe expecting Great Blue Herons today?

Just as I swung my camera into position, another flash of feathers. Two. TWO Red Tailed Hawks splashing into the lake.

Rounding the corner coming out of the channel, a flash of movement to the left caught my eye. Raising binoculars, I discovered it wasn’t the Canada Goose I had expected to see. It was a Red Tailed Hawk about to launch in to the lake for a cooling bath. Thrilling. Only once before – nine or ten years ago – had I seen a Hawk bathing, and here, at nearly the same spot along the shore, was another.

Just as I swung my camera into position, another flash of feathers. Two. There were TWO Red Tailed Hawks splashing into the lake together, bathing together while cacophonous Blue Jays and Grackles pestered from branches above.

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

Two Red Tailed Hawks Bathing – babsjeheron

File this one under once-in-a-lifetime Hawk encounter.

(We now return to the regularly scheduled Great Blue Heron program. Thanks for indulging my love for Hawks, too.)

.
.

Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Delta. Compare the mood of the two Red Tailed Hawks in the top photo with that at the bottom. Do you see the change, from excitedly animated when landing in the water to what might be called affectionate, as the hawks bathe together side-by-side, nearly touching beaks. The other, more surprising change, is the shift in this blog from the customary focus on Great Blue Herons to the interloping Red Tailed Hawks just for today.
.
.

From now through July 13th, I am 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.

.
.
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.
.
.
Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

Red Tailed Hawk, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Habitat (Not Art Nbr 12)

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Basking – babsjeheron

The fine was levied: $103,000. $1,000 a day for 103 days in violation of the court order. The scene above can never be photographed again.

It was heartbreaking to discover the habitat destruction on my first kayak outing this spring. Generations of Great Blue Herons had used that tree in all seasons – fishing in the waters below, sunning for warmth on autumn mornings, sleeping soundly on one leg. I’d been photographing them there for more than a decade. Each morning on the water, I would raise binoculars to scan that tree for a Heron, but not any longer. Training the binocs on that spot brings only sadness, not sightings of the Great Blues and Green Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, and the Turtles often seen there.

While Massachusetts owns the lake and its waters, there are some privately-held properties along areas of the shores. The owner of the property behind the beautiful partly submerged tree shown here illegally cleared land and removed trees after bulldozing the former home on the site. After clearing the land, he brought in an excavator and swept that beautiful tree and others from the water. Someone called the police who caught him red-handed, but it was too late to save that lovely corner of the cove.

His plan? To construct three new homes for some international buyers – people with no great love for the lake, no appreciation and no respect for the wildlife that calls the cove their home. Last fall the court put him on notice that the fine for continuing to desecrate the area was $1,000 a day, but he persisted. This spring, he was assessed $103,000 for the violations, and a new fine of $25,000 a day was imposed for any continued damage.

Shifting gears a bit, one day years ago, a bookcase at home was moved from a hallway to the living room. When I came home from work that night, Phoebe the calico cat greeted me at the door and immediately led me in the direction of where the bookcase had been. She sat there in that spot, as though pointing out to me that it was gone. Another time, a friend’s cat, Minnie, greeted me at their front door and purposely led me up the stairs to show me her new kittens, nestled in the bottom drawer of a bedroom dresser.

So it was that a week ago, one of the Herons showed me that the tree was gone.

Animals and birds can recognize individual humans, and some of the Herons recognize me after all these years. (While I am a huge proponent of taking photographs from a hide or when well-hidden from view, there are places on the lake and rivers here were simply navigating makes my presence known to the wildlife.)

That morning, the adult female Great Blue watched from her perch along the south bank as my kayak curved across the channel towards the tunnel. Suddenly, she swooped across my bow and headed towards where that tree had been. She landed on the shore at that very spot, and stood there staring at me. I have no doubt that she was showing me that her tree was gone… but she was still here.

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

Great Blue Heron by Habitat Destroyed – babsjeheron

Heartwarming.
.
.

Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Delta. The top “before’ and the bottom “after” photos are stark examples of the nature of change.
.
.

From now through July 13th, I am 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.

.
.
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.
.
.
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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Expecting to Fly

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

Great blue heron practicing flying one day before fledging.

There you stood on the edge of your feather
Expecting to fly…
Neil Young
Buffalo Springfield Again

The fledgling Great Blue Heron seemed to hover atop the branch mid-flight, toes outstretched with only one goal in mind, stick the landing. There was no margin for error 80 feet above the island floor.

My heart was in my throat as I watched – riveted – from across the channel, eight stories down.

The next day, only one Heron remained at the nest.

And the next day?

Spoiler alert here.

What a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

.
.
Thanks to Cherie and WordPress for the recent WPC Challenge: Atop.

Thanks once again to Paula for her Thursday’s Special challenge.

Thanks once again to Stewart Moncton for the Wild Bird Wednesday prompt.

Thanks to the kind folks hosting SkyWatch Friday.

.
.
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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and Wishes of Spring

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

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Waterfall – babsjeheron

Like the heron, who can only croak,
who wishes he could sing,
I wish I could sing…

The Pond,
Excerpt,
From Felicity: Poems
By Mary Oliver

Thanks to Jen H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: Wish. As we stare into the barrel of a blizzard this week, thoughts are drawn to reassuring scenes of spring that are sure to follow. The last I saw this Heron at the waterfall, it was July and our summer drought had worsened to the point that only a trickle dribbled over the dam. Eventually, the Heron no longer appeared on schedule at the falls. Now, in winter, the falls are a torrent, and the water too forceful for fishing. My wish is for the becalmed waters of late spring, and the return of the Herons.
.
.
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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and Joy

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

Great Blue Heron With Pickerel Weed – babsjeheron

There is not only peacefulness, there is joy. And the joy, less deniable in its evidence than the peacefulness, is the confirmation of it. I sat one summer evening and watched a great blue heron make his descent from the top of the hill into the valley. He came down at a measured deliberate pace, stately as always, like a dignitary going down a stair. And then, at a point I judged to be midway over the river, without at all varying his wingbeat he did a backward turn in the air, a loop-the-loop. It could only have been a gesture of pure exuberance, of joy — a speaking of his sense of the evening, the day’s fulfillment, his descent homeward.

Wendell Berry
The Art of the Commonplace: Agrarian Essays by Wendell Berry

Thanks to Ben H and WordPress for this week’s WPC Challenge: A Good Match. Scientists say that there is no such thing as a truly ‘blue’ Heron feather, and that the color is an illusion created by the refractive play of light. Looking at this Heron fishing along the pickerel weed, it seems to me that the hue of the pickerel weed blooms and that of the Heron’s feathers are a very good match for each other… even if one blue is real and the other an illusion.
.
.
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

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.”

.
.
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

%d bloggers like this: