Blog Archives

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

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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.

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

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

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 184: Travel .

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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.

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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!

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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.
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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.

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.

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.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Black and White Birds. Many of the Heron photos are monochromatic.
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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.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 182: Interesting Objects .

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

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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

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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.

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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Black and White Animals. A few of the photos here are monochromatic.
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 179: Serene .

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

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

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Touch Down B&W – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Warrior - babsjeheron Great Blue Heron Fledgling Warrior - babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Fledgling Warrior B&W – babsjeheron

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After feeding the birds that afternoon, I walked over to the shrubbery along the shore to look at the swimming float platform half-way across the cove.

My distance vision isn’t very good. I could tell there was a largish bird on the platform, but not whether it was a Cormorant or a Great Blue Heron from so far away. It was preening, stretching its neck up, bill down, and could have been either as far as I could tell.

I decided to call to it, and if it responded, that would tell me which.

Arrrh.. I called softly.

Arrrh..

And suddenly – before I could utter a third arrrh – there was a short clamoring of frawhnk… frawhnk… frawhnk… coming from my immediate left, not five feet away.

NOT from the Heron on the swimming float – there were two Herons!

Obscured by the trees and bushes, a fledgling Heron had been on a neighbor’s dock.

It heard my call, answered my call, and then flew directly towards the shore where I stood, right past me with less than two feet separating us, and landed on the dock to my right.

I walked over to the path by the dock, careful to not approach too closely, and called again…

Arrrh..

Arrrh..

And the Heron’s neck craned up full height, its right eye seeking me out, watching me, watching me.

I stood still for a long while, until the bird folded its neck back into that graceful curve and began foraging along the shore.

Goosebumps that the fledgling Heron responded to my call, and came closer.

Fledglings are great in that way – fearless their first summer in the world.

I love them for that fearlessness.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Any structure using concrete. The background is concrete.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. The fpregrpind is water.
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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.
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Art in the Park 2021

Art in the Park 2021.

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This past Sunday, October 17th, Shaw Park in South Natick came alive with Art in the Park. More than 2 dozen local artists offered their art for visitors. It was a beautiful Autumn day of art and music. (I am still recovering from eye surgery and did not show my photos this year, but hope to see you next October!)

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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! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

.

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 Herons at Waterfalls

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

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks his Landing – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron fishing in water falling over a dam in the Charles River Watershed - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fishing in a Charles River Watershed dam – babsjeheron

Most of the time, the Great Blue Heron could be seen actively fishing at the base of the falls shown in photo above, retrieving fish unlucky enough to have been swept over. And sometimes, some very special times, the Heron would stand atop the dam, with the water rushing over his feet and stare off into the distance at the colors of the setting sun.

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

Great Blue Heron at our Waterfall – babsjeheron

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

Double exposure of a Great Blue Heron looking in the same direction fishing in the waterfall - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Double exposure of Herons facing the same direction at the waterfall – babsjeheron

To love is not to look at one another: it is to look, together, in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wind, Sand, and Stars

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can't step in the same waters twice - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron and waterfall. You can’t step in the same waters twice – babsjeheron

What a difference a year can make in the same waterfall. Normal years, top, and drought, bottom.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

The focus for this week’s LAPC is The Ordinary. This week, the Lens Artists have invited blogger I.J. Khanewala here as guest host. Welcome I.J.!

All of the photos today were ordinary days fishing with my camera for Great Blue Herons that were fishing at local waterfalls. Of course, my sense of the ordinary may be different than yours.

Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Straight Lines. The lines of water falling came straight down.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday. The title is the requisite six words long.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. This post has quite a bit of water.
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From I.J. Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 169: The Ordinary .

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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.
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Art in the Park 2021

Art in the Park 2021.

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Tomorrow, Sunday October 17th, Shaw Park in South Natick comes alive with Art in the Park. There will be over 2 dozen local artists enjoying the fresh air and offering their art for your enjoyment. Stop in between 10am and 3pm ET for a gorgeous Autumn day of art and music. (I am recovering from eye surgery and will not be showing this year, but hope to see you next October!)

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

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
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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
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Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Osprey Fish Tail Lore

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

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 1 – babsjeheron

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

Silhouette of Osprey Carrying Half a Fish Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

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Some birds are more egalitarian than others when it comes to incubating their eggs and attending to their chicks in the nest.

Mute Swans for example? Both males and females have been observed sitting on their eggs during their five-to-six week incubation. Click to see the male Mute Swan incubating eggs.

Great Blue Herons share the care and feeding of their chicks. Click to read about the Great Blue Herons’ shift change at the nest.

And what about Osprey? One bit of Osprey lore is that they always carry fish with the fish head facing in their direction of flight, for better in-flight aerodynamics. In the photos today, although the fish has no head, the Osprey is indeed carrying it with an invisible head forward. I find that aspect of the headless fish photos amusing.

Incubating eggs is largely the job of the female Osprey. It is the role of the male to bring meals back to the nest for the female during the one-month incubation period. I’ve read that the male Osprey shares his catch with his mate at the nest: when he catches a fish, he brings half the fish back to the female.

Until that October day, I had often seen and photographed Osprey carrying fish, but those fish were always whole fish. In both photos today, the Osprey is carrying half a fish. Presumably he has already given the other half to the nesting female.

I am moved by his heartwarming pair-bonding gesture.
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And since this is a Great Blue Heron blog, obligatory Heron photo:

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron with broken leg wings her way across the lake – babsjeheron


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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. The focus for this week’s LAPC is Seen Better Days. That half a fish being carried by the Osprey was once a whole and very alive fish swimming through the lake. Those were certainly better days for that fish. Even the Great Blue Heron with her broken leg had seen better days!
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Half of Anything. The Osprey is carrying half a fish. The image is straight out of the camera (SOOC), as-is except for cropping and was not artificially manipulated to become B&W. The skies were a beautiful October leaden grey.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days.
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 168: Seen Better Days .
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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 they need your love.

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

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

Be a fly on the wall! You can CLICK HERE to see the gallery walls with Herons .
.

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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, Osprey, Mute Swan

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Great Blue Heron’s Guest Bird of the Day: Beautiful Swan Taking a Bath

And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

The Swan, Excerpt.
Mary Oliver,
Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

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

Mute Swan Bathing Beauty – babsjeheron

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The secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same ol’ same ol’.

That Saturday, I was tired, and the journey back to the home dock would take another hour and a half. I had already bagged a fair number of Great Blue Heron captures and was eager to take out.

From a distance, I gave a passing glance at the southern shoreline and saw the usual pair of Mute Swans floating in their usual spot, and so I paddled on.

Rounding the curve below the Labs, coming closer to the Swans, I noticed an odd-looking thrashing and splashing unlike any Sawn behavior I’d seen before.

Binoculars up, I sat transfixed, watching from across the channel as one of the Swans took a Saturday bath. Amazing.

Many of us have seen Robins, or Warblers, or other small songbirds splashing about in a backyard garden birdbath. Now, imagine a bird with a 7-to-8 foot wingspan behaving just the same – dunking their head and neck fully below the surface, coming back up to shake off the water, rearing up on legs, wings akimbo flapping and expelling droplets galore, and preening, preening, preening to sort out feathers. The Swan’s bath lasted more than 15 minutes. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

And so, as I said before, the secret is to stay present always, to not take nature for granted no matter how often we think we are seeing the same ol’ same ol’.

View other large birds bathing: Red Tailed Hawks aka Beauteous Buteo and a Great Blue Heron aka Rubber Ducky You’re the One.
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For the months of September and October, the Great Blue Herons are featured on the walls of the Natick Town Hall, located at 13 East Central Street in Natick, MA. Feel free to stop in during office hours Monday thru Wednesday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm; Thursday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm; Friday 8:00 am – 12:30 pm
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From May 1 through July 11, 2018, my Great Blue Heron photographs once again graced the walls of the lobby and theater in a free one-woman show at the Summer Street Gallery, of The Center for Arts in Natick. If you’re in the Boston or Metro West area, please stop by to see the Great Blue Herons. 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.

Thanks to Cee for her recent WPC: Black & White Challenge. The Mute Swan bathing beauty turned in gentle circles for more than 15 minutes taking that Saturday bath. It was mesmerizing. (And apologies to Cee for once again bending the rules.)

Thanks again to Paula for her earlier WPC: Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past. This bridge and tunnel are from days gone by, using ingenious technology of the earlier era.
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Thanks to Erica V and WordPress for the recent WPC: Place in the World. My favorite place is where the Herons are, of course it is. And the Herons? Their place is near the water, but also on the gallery walls and my blog. How else can I share them with you?

Thanks also to Ben H and WordPress for their WPC Challenge: Liquid. The Herons are drawn to water, as am I.

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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.

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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, B&W

Great Blue Heron and the Salmon of Doubt (Apologies to Douglas Adams)

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

Great Blue Heron Catching Large Fish – babsjeheron

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

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For more than an hour, she stalked the 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.

True to that Douglas Adams thought, she finally looked at the fish ladder right, and left no doubt at all about that Salmon.
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Thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Tour Guide. Krista had asked us recently what we love about where we live. Today’s photo was taken a short walk from my home. In fact, 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 more thanks to Krista S and WordPress for their recent WPC Challenge: Weathered. Do you notice how weathered the Heron’s toes are?

Thanks to Paula for her occasional Black and White Sunday challenge. Paula, your captive gibbon is exquisitely enigmatic, moving.

Thanks to Debbie for this week’s Travel with Intent: Fish.

Thanks to Cee for her recent Black and White Photo Challenge: Water. Once again, I am very tardy, Cee.

Thanks to CosmicGirlie for hosting Silent Sunday. I do really like CosmicGirlie’s ethos about the way that words can affect the meaning of photos and her goal of no words, just a single photo. Yes, there are “words” in today’s post, which is against the “rules,” but I can’t credit the authors of the fine prompts mentioned above without using words.

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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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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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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2018 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows

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