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Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Humans?

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

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight – babsjeheron

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I’ve said it many times before:
No two days at the lake are the same.

While out photographing Great Blue Herons, Swans and Cygnets on the lake that day, I heard many sirens. An alarming number of sirens blaring from the north – sirens that just would not stop. Concerned that something had happened at the boat house, I paddled my kayak from the far end of South Lake back up to the boat ramp as quickly as I could cover the four miles.
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Fire Department Divers About to Secure Sunken Van at Lake - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Department Divers About to Enter and Secure Sunken Van at Lake – babsjeheron

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A white van hauling a boat trailer and a young child inside had backed so far into the lake that it became nearly completely submerged. It seems like a vehicle with a trailer backs too far into the water at least once a year at the boat ramp, but this was the first time I’d witnessed the vehicle completely submerged.
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Sunken Van Being Winched out of the Lake - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Sunken Van Being Winched out of the Lake- babsjeheron

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Both Fire Engine 3 and Engine 5 from our town responded to the emergency. Personnel from the Massachusetts Environmental Police and our town Police were on site to assist, and the Dive Team and Assistant Fire Chief responded as well. The sunken van was capably pulled from the water by a powerful tow truck, and hauled away on a flatbed trailer.
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Fire Department Dive Team Calls it a Day - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Department Dive Team Calls it a Day – babsjeheron

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As I watched the rescue unfold from my kayak still only a few yards away in the water, I was impressed to see the full body rescue suits the firemen wore – as a boater, it is reassuring to know that the lake has such sophisticated water rescue gear.
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Our Fire Truck is a Boat- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

One Fire Truck is a Boat! – babsjeheron

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Same lake, one year previously. There were no Great Blue Heron sightings that day, and apparently not enough humans, as well – at least not inside the captainless inflatable boat shown below.

Everybody, listen to me, and return me, my ship
I’m your captain, I’m your captain…

Mark Farner, Grand Funk Railroad

inflatable with nobody on board - babsjeheron   © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Inflatable Boat with Nobody on Board – babsjeheron

I had been searching for Herons that lovely morning but struck out in both North and upper Middle Lakes, and had decided to try for South Lake. Exiting the tunnel under the Turnpike and paddling through the channel towards the boat house, a shiny red inflatable boat was carving turns in the water ahead at an alarming speed.

As I got closer, I realized there was nobody on board. The captain had gone overboard, bounced out of his shiny new boat on her maiden voyage. I called the dockhands at the boat house, and they sent out their rescue rowboat and pulled the hapless owner from the water.

Fire D© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)epartment Rescue Boat Ready to Put In - babsjeheron

Fire Department Rescue Boat Ready to Put In – babsjeheron

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What happened that day on the lake could have been tragic. The captain had bounced out of his boat without having his kill-switch tether attached. When activated, the kill-switch shuts off the motor and stops the boat. A runaway boat like the red inflatable that day is a true emergency – people have been maimed and some have perished when struck by propellers in similar situations – and so the town Fire Department responded in force.

Fire Fighters Ready to Joust with the runaway inflatable - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Fighters Ready to Joust with the runaway inflatable boat – babsjeheron

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The captain-less boat circled endlessly, out of control as the rescue boat with the firefighters approached. They were prepared with grappling hooks, to snag the lines on the inflatable, or push it onto the shore.

Driverless Out of Control Inflatable Circles Around Firefighters - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Driverless Out of Control Inflatable Circles Around Firefighters – babsjeheron

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It was dangerous because other boaters were in the vicinity even while the inflatable boat circled around the firefighters. I wondered how much fuel was left in the outboard motor. Would the boat keep running in circles until the gas was gone?

Out of Control Driverless Inflatable Still Circling Around Firefighters - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Out of Control Driverless Inflatable Still Circling Around Firefighters – babsjeheron

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At last, the fire fighters’ efforts had aimed the runaway boat’s course towards the rocks, and it ran aground.

Z© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)odiac Aground on the Rocks - babsjeheron

Inflatable Boat Aground on the Rocks – babsjeheron

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Success!

Success! Firefighters Snare Driverless Boat at Last - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Firefighters Snare Driverless Boat at Last – babsjeheron

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Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident, but not all similar incidents have had happy endings.

Click here to learn more from the US Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center.

Firefighters Tow Rescued Boat Back to the Boat Ramp - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Firefighters Tow Rescued Boat Back to the Boat Ramp – babsjeheron

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I love happy endings.

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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.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think a runaway driverless boat is a weird thing to see? What about red-togged divers in the water with a submerged van? They were both weird things to see, and yet both had wonderful endings – the only thing hurt was the boater’s and van driver’s Pride.
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Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Fire Prevention. Our Fire Department does more than just prevent fires, they are instrumental in water rescues, too.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Much water in this post.
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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .

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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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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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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. Learn more!

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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
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
Audubon Sanctuary
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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™

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

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

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 .
.

.

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

Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Herons and My 15 Minutes of Satellite Fame on the Water

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

Wherein the Great Blue Heron Sticks her Landing at the Waterfall – babsjeheron

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

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

No luck finding Herons there, I paddled back out towards the big lake. Just as I exited the cove, the helicopter reappeared, right overhead again. Seeing the same helicopter in a short timespan over a small area seemed odd. Maybe it wasn’t traffic-related, I thought, maybe it was a video crew getting some B-roll footage for TV or a movie being filmed near Boston. Whatever it was, I hoped they wouldn’t capture me. I’m notoriously camera-shy. It’s not about me, it’s about the Great Blue Herons. In school, they taught us, “Report the story, don’t BE the story.” Words to live by.
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© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Guess who in the blue kayak? – babsjeheron

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

Fast forward to the next winter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zooming in on the lake – babsjeheron

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Out of curiosity, I looked for a satellite image of one of the nesting islands near here. The Herons and/or their nests stand out starkly in this next image.

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

Can you count the Great Blue Herons’ nests on the island in this satellite view? – babsjeheron

By my informal count, there are at least 70 nests and/or Herons visible in that satellite view.

My heart leaps with joy at their numbers.

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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Trees or Tree Parts. The satellite view of the nesting island has enough trees to support.that large Heron colony.
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The amazing Lens Artists Tina, Patti, Amy, and Leya are taking a much-deserved and much-needed break for the month of July. This week’s challenge focuses on the topic On The Water. John Steiner is the host this week.

Check out John’s beautiful water photos here: Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 155: On the 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 they need your love.

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

2015 (May), 2016 (March and July), 2018 (May, June, July), 2019 (December), 2020 (January) several one-woman photography shows at TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were 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.

Many of the photos in the exhibit were shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
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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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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Garbo

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Garbo Pose – bw – 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

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Over decades of spending time with dozens of Great Blue Herons, I have given names to only three: Romeo, his (unrequited) inamorata Juliette, and the Heron you see today, Garbo. Are there any artists who don’t fall in love with their models, their muses? I am unabashedly smitten by Garbo.
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Experimenting with the final look and feel of a photograph using different color tones is a fun method of artistic license. The photos here show the same scene rendered 5 different ways. The top version is an infrared-style B&W. Next, clockwise from top left are Sepia, B&W, Cyanotype, and then Full Color.

© 2016 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Takes 2, 3, 4, and 5 – babsjeheron

How much artistic license is too much?

As befitting the name of this beautiful Heron – Garbo – I think an old-style platinum print would be best.

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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Five. Today’s post has five photos.
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This week’s Lens Artist challenge from the amazing artists Patti, Tina, Amy, and Leya, focuses on our One Photo Two Ways. I took some liberty and used five ways, not two. Check out the Lens Artists’ beautiful photos here:

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .

From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 154: One Photo Two Ways .

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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.

2015 (May), 2016 (March and July), 2018 (May, June, July), 2019 (December), 2020 (January) several one-woman photography shows at TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
.
2018 (September, October) one-woman photography show at Natick Town Hall
.
2013 thru now 2021 Five Crows Gallery in Natick
,
2009 one-woman photography show at a local Audubon Sanctuary
.

From December 4 through January 28, 2020, my Great Blue Heron photographs were 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.

Many of the photos in the exhibit were shown for the first time, and do not appear on the blog. As always, many of the photos were taken on the waterways of the Charles River watershed.
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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.
.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

The Tao of Feathers™

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

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

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