Great Blue Herons Dam Love Letter

Great Blue Heron at the Dam - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at the Dam – babsjeheron

It is very easy to become absorbed – too absorbed – by the scene unfolding through the lens. One day, 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. The day I took the above photo, I learned how easily that can happen. One more step, and I would have been in the water below the falls.

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.

― Lao Tzu

Great Blue Heron Balanced on Fish Ladder - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Balanced on Fish Ladder – babsjeheron

Water – fluid and soft – does indeed wear away rigid, unyielding substances. Look closely at the right-hand side of the above photo of the beautiful Great Blue Heron balancing on the fish ladder. Do you see the small torrent cascading through the sidewall of the ladder? We don’t often think of concrete as being fragile, but it is susceptible to the forces of water.

Plans are in the works to replace – or even remove – the dam over the Charles River and perhaps also the associated lovely park that is a gem of the community, frequented by families and artists and photographers for generations.

The experiences shown here today are a love letter to that special place, told in photos.

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Fish Ladder - babsjeheron © 2018 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Fishing at Fish Ladder – babsjeheron

For more than an hour, the Great Blue Heron stalked a Salmon, climbing the fish ladder slowly, intently scanning the pooled water at the base of the dam, then pausing to rest, perched there on one leg. All the while, she faced away from the torrent gushing down the ladder behind her. I could see fish in the rushing waters and wondered if the Heron would shift her focus. Finally, she looked at the fish ladder right, and left no doubt at all about the fate of that Salmon. Fortunately for the Great Blue Heron, the ‘no fishing in fish ladder’ sign and policy don’t apply to Herons.

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish – babsjeheron

The purpose of the fish ladder is to give fish the means to travel upstream to their spawning ground, since they cannot jump over the dam along side the ladder. I have never observed any fish swimming up the ladder, but I have seen fish tumbling down. Which brings me back to Great Blue Herons. They love to wait at the base of the dam for unlucky fish swept over the edge. 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.

Great Blue Heron and Waterfall - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and Waterfall – babsjeheron

The Charles River was in drought conditions in the above photo, with the usually-robust waterfall at the dam subdued to a trickle. Compare to the seething, frothing foam at the base of the dam shown next.

Great Blue Heron at the base of the dam  fishing - babsjeheron © 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron at the base of the dam fishing – babsjeheron

Photography is a solitary endeavor for me, so imagine my dismay upon arriving at the Charles River dam one 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.

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

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.

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 1 - babsjeheron © 2020 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

En Plein Air Painting at the Dam Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

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.

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 the above 19th century style cyanoprint series “Charles River Blues” for part of my current exhibit at TCAN because the Summer Street Gallery, itself, is from that same 19th century period.

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

Fledgling Great Blue Heron on Log at Dam – babsjeheron

The log teetered at the brink of the falling water (in the photo above), 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.

Fish Ladder Freezing in January- babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fish Ladder at the dam freezing in January- babsjeheron

Our winters can be harsh, as this weekend’s blizzard righteously reminded us, and my thoughts are drawn to reassuring scenes of the Great Blue Herons of warmer seasons. But what becomes of the fish ladder in winter? Above and below, a view in January. It was so cold, the splashing water froze when it bounced upwards and tried to stream over the edge.

Fish Ladder Freezing in January Detail - babsjeheron © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fish Ladder at the dam freezing in January, Detail – babsjeheron

.
.

I do not know the ultimate fate of the dam and fish ladder and beautiful park, along with the beloved Herons who call that area home, but I hope Douglas Adams was onto something when he wrote:

There is no problem so complicated that you can’t find a very simple answer to it if you look at it right.
Douglas Adams
The Salmon of Doubt

Here’s hoping the powers that be are looking at things right.

It is difficult to envision what change will bring to the lovely park and dam when all is said and done. I like to keep the poem below in mind:

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

Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface is gracing gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Front Lobby Trio © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Front Lobby Trio

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.

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. 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.

.
.

Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Amy is “Travel.” All of the photos on my blog were taken within 5 miles from home. I love that the beautiful Great Blue Herons spend part of their lives each year within the Charles River and Sudbury River watersheds. I’m very fortunate that my studies of them don’t require expensive travel to distant locations. And after this weekend’s blizzard, traveling to see the Herons at the dam “virtually” in photos was a delight.
.
.

Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Cold or Chilly. The water freezing as it cascaded in the fish ladder in January was definitely cold

.
.
.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. Don’t ask me, I’ve no idea.
.
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 184: Travel .
.
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 184: Travel .
.
.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 184: Travel .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 184: Travel .

.

.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Click here and here to learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – Currently appearing one-woman photography show 2022
.
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru June 2022
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2022 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Herons on Exhibit (Quirky Artist Stories Nbr 20)

Great Blue Heron Camouflaged - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Camouflaged – babsjeheron

It was the golden hour, that last hour of daylight when the sun’s rays bathed the cove in gold. It was so close to twilight that the Heron’s body was nearly camouflaged against the slate-grey rocks. The only movement was a slight tilt to her head, first to the left, and then an almost imperceptible extending of her neck, up up higher higher until she was staring straight down into the lake. Whoosh, as her arrow beak pierced the surface, and her body lunged fully beneath the water, energy exploding water droplets everywhere. This was the scene only moments before the Great Blue Heron flew off with the prize catch – the enormous Pike clenched in her bill that you can see in the top right-hand photo on my blog.

The patron in the Audubon gallery had browsed through the collection of my Great Blue Heron photos on the walls, but she kept returning to the one you see above.

Finally, she came over to me and asked why I had included one without any Herons.

We walked over to the wall together and I pointed out the Heron, it’s back perfectly camouflaged against the rocks.

Had I cropped out the tell-tale burst of water drops that were flung upwards as the Heron thrust her head beneath the surface, the camouflage effect would be even more apparent. If you cover that burst of water in the photo with your hand, you can see how the Heron’s back blends in with the rocks.

Once again, the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the water’s surface is gracing gallery walls.

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Lobby Wall With TCAN Sign Reflected; TCAN Stained glass art by Carol Krentzman, framed by Jay Ball

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Front Lobby Trio © 2022 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN One-Woman Show January 2022 Front Lobby Trio

From January 12, 2022, ongoing, 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.

Since 2001, the Center for Arts Natick has been housed in the circa 1875 historic Central Fire House, where the Summer Street Gallery provides an opportunity for accomplished visual artists in the region to have their work prominently displayed for TCAN’s diverse and loyal audience.

The Center for Arts Natick believes the arts are essential to a complete human experience and to the creation of a vibrant, healthy community. TCAN serves the Boston MetroWest region by increasing opportunities to experience, participate in, and learn about the arts. To this end, TCAN strives to present arts programs of the highest standard that are available to everyone. TCAN dedicates its resources to providing community access to diverse arts programs, reducing barriers to attendance, and building appreciation through arts education.

If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. 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.

.
.

Cee Neuner, Debhie Smyth, and the community of Lens Artists encourage the entire international network of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Patti is “Interesting Objects.” The stained glass TCAN lobby art is an interesting object and it adds visual impact when the reflection appears superimposed on the photo of the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the surface.
.
.

Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Black and White Birds. Many of the Heron photos are monochromatic.
.
.
Thanks to Debbie for her One Word Sunday: Action. The image of the Great Blue Heron diving beneath the surface is a dramatic action shot.
.
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .
.
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .
.
.
From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .

.

.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick – Current one-woman show thru January 2022
.
Natick Town Hall – Current group exhibit thru June 2022
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick – Represented since 2013
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2022 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Herons and Friends: There are No Wrong Answers

Two Red Tailed Hawks - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Two Red Tailed Hawks – babsjeheron

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

Frequent visitors to this blog will have little doubt that the Great Blue Heron is my muse. But judging from viewing metrics, 2021 posts on this blog featured some very popular guest birds, too. The top dozen views from this year included a pair of Red Tail Hawks bathing together, a beautiful Mute Swan taking her Saturday night bath, and a male Osprey carrying half a fish.

Without further ado, here are the dozen most popular 2021 posts by views:

Top Views of Posts Written 2021 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Top Views of Posts Written 2021 – babsjeheron

I have my own favorite photos and posts, but enough about me: as an artist, I’m more interested in YOUR favorites. Whether or not the Great Blue Heron is your own muse, I would love to know which posts or photos are your favorites. Please take a moment to chime in by adding a comment below. There are no wrong answers and I’d love to hear from you.

Great Blue Heron fledgling cruising across the lake with ripples reflecting on underwings - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Surprise – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Fledgling Surprise Click here to view post

Two Red Tailed Hawks - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Red Tail Hawks Saturday Night Bath – babsjeheron

Red Tail Hawks Saturday Night Bath Click here to view post

Great Blue Heron soaring upwards, like the mythical Phoenix - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Herons Saturday Fun – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Herons Saturday Fun Click here to view post

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Herons at Waterfalls – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Herons at Waterfalls Click here to view post

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 5 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and One Special Feather – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Heron and One Special Feather Click here to view post

Great Blue Heron lands a large fish - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Epic Great Blue Heron Rescue Redux – babsjeheron

Epic Great Blue Heron Rescue Redux Click here to view post

Wild Rumpus at Tower Hill - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Weird Wonderful Wordless Wednesday Whatzit – babsjeheron

Weird Wonderful Wordless Wednesday Whatzit Click here to view post

Great Blue Heron Fishes with Feather Nbr 8 – babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Uses Tools Picks up Litter What a Day – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Uses Tools, Picks up Litter, What a Day Click here to view post

Great Blue Heron With Wounded Wing Soaring - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Breaks into Flight – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Breaks into Flight Click here to view post

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Gone Fishing – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Gone Fishing Click here to view post

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Beautiful Great Blue Herons Guest Osprey Fish Tail Lore – babsjeheron

Beautiful Great Blue Herons Guest Osprey Fish Tail Lore Click here to view post

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

Great Blue Heron and Friends Saturday Night Baths – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron and Friends Saturday Night Baths Click here to view post

.
.

Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Patti is “Serene.” I wish peace, joy, health, happiness and serenity to all in the coming new year.

.

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Black and White Animals. A few of the photos here are monochromatic.
.
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
.

.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Wishes Peace on Earth (Not Art Nbr 31)

Great Blue Heron Greetings 2021 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Greetings 2021 – 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

Tis the season for wishes of peace on earth, goodwill to all.

But wait. On second thought, why should those sentiments be extended only during the holiday season? I encourage peace on earth and goodwill to all for every season of the year.

May 2022 bring you peace, health, happiness, and joy to all.

.
.

Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Patti is “Serene.” I wish peace, joy, health, happiness and serenity to all in the coming new year.

.

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. This Heron has brought great joy.
.
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
.

.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Heron Upstages… Bogart and Hepburn?

Great Blue Heron in the cove, foraging. - babsjeheron  © 2016 Babsje All. rights reserved. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron in the cove, foraging. – babsjeheron

I heard the Heron’s distress call before I saw him.

After literally thousands of hours in the field watching the Great Blue Herons, I am susceptible to “trompe l’oeil” moments. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve mistaken a twisted tree trunk glinting in the sun for a Heron, or a rock formation that fools my eye from a distance.

So, yes, my eyes have been fooled. But my ears?

In what seemed a “trompe l’oreille” fool-the-ears experience, the frantic frawhnk, frawhnk of a Heron being flushed erupted from the movie screen. In the blink of an eye, the Heron burst from the shoreline and fled the approaching boat.

That urgent croaking distress call distracted me from the actors on the screen: Bogart and Hepburn had been upstaged by a Heron!

Heron in African Queen circa 1950

You can hear Great Blue Heron calls at Audubon and also at Cornell’s All About Birds.

If you like old Bogart movies as much as I do, The Africa Queen spins a delightful story.

Filmed live on location, the film crew boat flushed the Heron, who burst away with frantic cries. The wildlife in The African Queen is as real as it gets. Not a frame of CGI, all shot on location in Africa. Hippos, fierce crocs, monkeys, lions, and that unexpected Heron.

(Who but yours truly will review a film and only focus on the Heron??)

.
.

Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Nancy Merrill, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “You Choose.” Big surprise – I chose the Heron in pop culture.

Audubon Quacking Frog Trail - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Audubon Quacking Frog Trail – babsjeheron

.

Thanks to Nancy Merrill for her A Photo a Week Challenge: Funny Signs . The sign post for the Quacking Frog Trail shown here tickles my funny bone. Quacking Frogs are native to Australia and so that arrow must be pointing a far ways away from here.

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s CMMC: Favorite Color. My favorite color for Herons is blue, although they come in many colors, including green, purple, white, and tri-color.
.
.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: Guess What I’m Watching This Evening . The title is the requisite six words long.
.
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose.
.

.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, African Queen
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron… Contortionist?

Great Blue Heron in the rain - babsjeheron.    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron in the rain – babsjeheron.

Can you imagine how a Great Blue Heron must feel with a crick in that long and sinuous neck – time to put the chiropractor on speed dial?

Someone once remarked to me that, with the amount of time I spend out on the water with the Great Blue Herons, I must dream about them. Indeed, I do. Heron dreams are delightful.

And if I dream about the Herons, do they dream about me? Not likely. According to researchers, birds do dream – most likely about singing (and not about that avid photographer in her blue boat).
.
.

Cee Neuner, Marsha Ingrao, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Tina is “You Choose.” I chose the elegantly contorted Great Blue Heron. Can you imagine what it would feel like to get a crick in your neck if it were that long and sinuous?

Natick Five Crows Public Art Mural - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Natick Five Crows Public Art Mural – babsjeheron


.

For Marsha’s and Cee’s co-hosted Photographing Public Art: This town has many installations on the brick buildings. I don’t know which artist(s) created the charming Crows shown here.

.
.

Thanks to Cee and Marsha for their jointly hosted PPAC #26: Melbourne Mural Walk #3 . And here’s PPAC #25 from Cee: PPAC #26: Artful Mailboxes.

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s CMMC. This photo catches a Heron stretching its neck up-close.
.
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 178: You Choose.
.

.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Saturday Fun

Great Blue Heron soaring upwards, like the mythical Phoenix - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron soaring upwards, like the mythical Phoenix – babsjeheron

Everyone who has ever “caught” a yawn from their cat or dog, please raise your hand.

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

Great Blue Heron yawning – babsjeheron

The yearling Great Blue Heron had been quietly perched on the top branch of the fallen willow at the end of the cove.

He pivoted round, and shifting his weight to his left leg, extended his right wing out and down. At the same time, he stretched his right leg out and down behind, in a big Heron stretch.

When he was done stretching, he yawned – just like a human would stretch and then yawn.

He opened his bill, angled his head skyward, extended his neck upwards, wiggled his head slightly from side to side and yawned.

His mouth opened wide, and wider, and then widest, before he closed it, shook his head again, and then tucked his head back down and lowered his neck.

I had never seen a Heron yawning, nor any other bird for that matter, and it was amazing and amusing to watch.

And then I caught his yawn.

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

Great Blue Heron yawning from a perch atop a fallen willow – babsjeheron

I wrote the above on the day I caught my first Heron yawn back in 2010. Since that day, I’ve observed several other Great Blue Herons yawning, and almost always catch their yawns.

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

Great Blue Heron yawning – babsjeheron

Not only do I catch their yawns real-time while observing the Herons in the field, I’ve also been known to yawn while looking at the photos of yawning Herons.

Do any of you find an urge to yawn while looking at photos of a yawn progress? If you do, please post a comment. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Do you catch yawns from your cats or dogs? Does anyone else looking at the yawning Herons here feel a yawn coming on?

Even preparing the photos in this post today has me yawning.

Although one could attribute today’s yawns to the fast-approaching midnight hour, I prefer to chalk them up to empathy for the Herons.

That’s my story theory and I’m sticking to it.

File this under Fun With Herons.

.
.

Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Amy is “Celebrating.” The tag line for Ann-Christine’s inspiring blog is a line from poet William Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand…” It is a celebration of the ordinary in our worlds. What can be more ordinary that a simple yawn? Wile I love spontaneous joy and adventure, I also love the freedom of routine ordinary day-to-day living. Dare I say normal life? I’m not so sure about the ‘new normal.’ Is anyone?

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s CMMC. These photos of yawning Herons are as close up as I could get.
.
.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: No Better Way to Tour Porto Sidecar . The title is the requisite six words long.
.
.
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating.
.

.

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Predator-Prey Life and Death Struggle

Great Blue Heron yearling fishing in the reeds - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fishing in the reeds – babsjeheron

Never eat anything with a face?

Does that apply to Great Blue Herons, too?

(Frequent readers of this blog know that some posts are Art-with-a-capital-A, and some are my personal photojournalist observations from the field. This post is not capital-A-Art, although the Great Blue Herons are decidedly works of art in and of themselves as far as I am concerned.)

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

Predator and prey: Great Blue Heron catches Chipmunk.

“And the Great Blue Herons? They’re a study in Patience and Grace.” I’ve often said that. In fact, it’s a tag line for this blog.

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

Great Blue Heron about to swallow Chipmunk.

But we need to remember that they’re not just graceful creatures, they’re also fierce predators. The top image in the right-hand sidebar is a potent reminder of the Heron’s power: Great Blue Herons average only 5-6 pounds, while the Pike she has landed could weigh around 4 pounds. It was an epic struggle for her to catch and consume that Pike.

Not only are Great Blue Herons fierce predators, they are also opportunistic feeders. I have observed them eating a variety of prey besides fish – eels, crawfish, turtles, dragonflies, frogs, grubs, and plants – but until that day, I had never watched a Heron catch a mammal.

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

Do you suppose she has second thoughts about swallowing?

One minute, she was fishing in a small cove amongst the reeds, and the next? Striding down the shoreline, then striking out into the shrubs in one smooth, efficient movement.

The life or death struggle was no less epic for the Chipmunk than it was for the Pike, but for me, despite the instincts of a pro photojournalist, there was a vast contrast in the emotional charges of the two events. What I felt for the unfortunate Chipmunk was stronger and deeper than what I felt for the Pike, and I was repulsed by the Chipmunk photos – by my own photos.

Yes, these sorts of predator-prey struggles are the way of Nature, the circle of life. There are some things, however, that cannot be unseen once the photographic genie is out of the bottle. I never could easily watch those nature videos of lions taking down Elands in the African savannah. I cannot post here the dozens of crystal clear images of the Great Blue Heron capturing the Chipmunk, even though they would add to our understanding of Heron behavior.

I cannot unsee them…

Did I ever mention that no two days kayaking at the lake are the same?

.
.

Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Amy is “Celebrating.” Great Blue Herons like many wild creatures are often hungry, and any meal can be a cause for celebrating. For the hapless Chipmunk today? Not so much.

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her Cee’s FOTD. I have no idea what those flowering reeds in the lead photo are called.
.
.
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 177: Celebrating.
.

.

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show for the month of January at TCAN.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Magic Trick?

Great blue heron feathers - B+W - babsjeheron © 2013 Babsje. (Http://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron feathers – B+W – babsjeheron

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)

There’s an exquisite intricacy to feathers, the sublime structures of individual feathers, as well as the interconnectedness of groups of feathers working together in harmony to make flight possible.

Individually, so soft.

Collectively, so strong.

What is soft is strong, as Lao-Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching.

While the magnificent wingspan of the Great Blue Heron is spectacular, the beauty of Heron feathers isn’t limited to the powerful wings. In an earlier post, I shared photos of other less prominent but still stunning feathers, some arranged in intricate patterns. (Please click here to catch up if you missed those earlier photos.)

The feather shown at the top is the same feather as that shown at bottom. Both photos were taken on the same day, with the same camera and lens, within minutes of each other. Only the background colors have been changed. Years ago, before I knew it was not allowed, I gathered those Great Blue Heron aigrette feathers, which I treasure. You can see one of them in my blog’s masthead art.

Is an optical illusion magic? Yes, in fact, many magic tricks employ optical illusions. Some fascinating examples of ‘color illusions’ such as this can be found at Brain Den. Enjoy!

I think we need all the magic we can get. How about you?

.
.

Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Ann-Christine is “One Image One Story.”

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Matching Things.
.
.
Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday: Leaving snowy Luton for warmer climes. The title is the requisite six words long.
.
.
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story.
.

.

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

OOPS! Beautiful Great Blue Heron Misses the Landing (Not Art Nbr 30)

Great Blue Heron misses her landing and does a faceplant in a pine tree - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron misses the landing and does a faceplant in a pine tree – babsjeheron

A simple miscalculation, and the Great Blue Heron landed with his head thrust beneath the green, beak agape, eyes wide with protective membrane in place.

I would love to have the talent to fly and soar and wheel on the winds like the birds, but, lacking feathers, enough about me.

He launched from the limb that overhung the water in a sudden burst of energy, one wing stroke followed by more in rapid succession.

His wings pulled outward, forward, fully extended, then back in another burst bringing him to the tip of the pine bough.

His birdness revealed itself as feet reached forward to grasp the branch, all the while wings fluttered to help him hover into position. To and fro they rapidly fanned the air as he eased into position.

The green needled bough sunk under the force of his landing, and for a moment he teetered there, on the edge of his feathers aching for balance.

And suddenly he disappeared!

No, wait, there he is… face down on the soft pine.

Great Blue Heron does a faceplant when trying to land in a pine tree - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron does a faceplant when trying to land in a pine tree – babsjeheron

A simple miscalculation, and he landed with his head thrust beneath the green, beak agape, eyes wide with protective membrane in place.

Suspense and anxiety were palpable, as I watched his hovering-balancing. His wings at first stretched out flat on the surface, then retracted back and up, and within seconds he was upright and preening once again.

I have never before seen a Heron look so utterly birdlike, and so vulnerable, as in those few seconds. One look, and you could see what binds Herons with both Hummingbird and Hawk.

And you could see that sometimes even beautiful Herons can benefit from practice…and being mindful.

.
.
.

Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya all encourage the community of photographers and writers. Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.

The focus for this week’s Lens Artist challenge hosted by Ann-Christine is “One Image One Story.”

.
.

Thanks to Cee for her Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. This Heron has brought great joy.
.
.
.
.
From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
.
.
From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 176: One Image, One Story.
.

.

Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
.

Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

.

The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

.
.

My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
Natick Town Hall
.
Five Crows Gallery in Natick
.
Audubon Sanctuary
.

Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
.

.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: