Blog Archives

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.

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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 Ann-Christine is “One Image One Story.”

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

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

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
.
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

Epic Great Blue Heron Rescue Redux

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

Great Blue Heron lands a large fish – babsjeheron

If i could talk to the animals – just imagine it,
speaking with a Chimp in chimpanzee!
Imagine talking to a Tiger, or chatting with a Cheetah –
what a neat achievement that would be!

If i could talk to the animals, learn their languages –
maybe take an animal degree…
I’d study Elephant and Eagle, Buffalo and Beagle,
Alligator, Guinea Pig and Flea!

[first bridge] I would converse in Polar Bear and Python,
and I would curse in fluent Kangaroo.
If people asked me, “can you speak Rhinoceros?”
I’d say, “of course-eros!

Can’t you?”

If I Could Talk To The Animals by Leslie Bricusse
Doctor Doolittle

Raise your hand if you talk to the animals.

Now raise your other hand if the animals talk to you.

You over there – put your other hand up, too. You and you, too.

Animals communicate with humans in many ways, some oral and others non-verbal.

Who doesn’t know what a dog’s growl portends? Or the sweet purring of a tabby cat? Frequent readers of this blog may recall my stories of Great Blue Herons’ greetings: arrrh and goooh, and their guttural frawhnk of alarm.

And as for the non-verbal, animal body language can be very telling. What is a cat saying with ears flattened back and tail swishing from side to side? Or a dog wagging its tail so enthusiastically that its entire rump is wagging, too? Readers of earlier posts here may recall learning that a Heron standing in a ramrod-straight posture, with neck fully extended and head held high, is a Heron on high alert.

Today’s post is the true story of an heroic Great Blue Heron rescue capped off by the Heron communicating with her rescuer, saying “thank you” in an unmistakable way.

When I posted about the rescue earlier this year, Wayne of Tofino Photography suggested that I send the hero a photo of the beautiful rescued Great Blue Heron.

That was easier said than done – I had met him only once years ago in a taxi and didn’t know his name or how to reach him. All I knew was that he was an avid Bass-fishing aficionado, a retired police officer, and part time taxi driver in town.

This was shaping up to be a needle in a haystack quest.

I took a chance and reached out to the owner of the taxi company. A few weeks went by before she called me back, curious about the story. I explained about the heroic rescue and that I wanted to thank him. A couple more weeks went by before I heard back – she found him by going back more than ten years in the records. She said she spoke with him and he remembered that day very clearly.

Fast forward many more weeks until this past Sunday morning, when my phone rang. It was a call from the fisherman hero. His name is Dennis.

We had a lovely, warm chat. It warmed my heart to hear Dennis retell his experience: the day after the Heron rescue, he went fishing again in the same cove and discovered that the Heron was gone, she wasn’t on the shore where he had placed her the day before.

And then a Great Blue Heron flew low and slow right across his bow, nearly touching his shoulder. Dennis told me he was convinced it was the Heron’s way of acknowledging him, thanking him. And I agree.

Hearing Dennis tell his story again brought tears to my eyes.

I want to again thank Dennis for rescuing my favorite Heron from certain death. How many other boaters on the water would bother with an entangled bird I wonder?

I want to thank the excellent wildlife photographer and videographer Wayne for encouraging me to find and thank fisherman hero Dennis. Please visit Tofino Photography to see outstanding photos of Eagles, Bears, Orcas and more.

And I want to thank Joanne of Tommy’s Taxi for caring enough about the story I had told to dig through ten years of records to find, and connect me with, Dennis, the hero of the tale below. How many busy company owners would take the time to do that kind of research?
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Young Osprey perched amid pinecones.

Young Osprey perched amid pinecones – babsjeheron

When the fire alarm sounds grew ominously closer, I was photographing an immature Osprey nestled high up amongst the pinecone clusters just down the channel and around the bend from the boathouse. 

Quickly, I stashed the camera below deck and paddled rapidly back to the dock. Judging from the black billowing smoke, it seemed possible that the boathouse was the scene of the fire, and I was concerned for the dockhands there. 

I arrived at the dock and discovered a van engulfed in flames just at the moment the driver escaped through the back door. The sirens from the fire trucks were getting louder as they grew closer, but the firemen weren’t yet on the scene. 
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  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com) Van fully engulfed in flames on road next to boathouse on Columbus Day weekend.

Van fully engulfed in flames on the road next to the boathouse – babsjeheron

A speeding motorboat swerved in alongside me and the driver launched himself over the bow and hit the water running like a military commando, dashing toward the vehicle, taking charge of the scene. It was a striking action scene like something from a film.

The firemen soon arrived and doused the flames in the van and the utility pole, and Alex and Jason had the boathouse under control – the electrical system was toast due to the burned utility lines, but no fire damage otherwise.

It was the last day of the season for the boathouse that year, and so I slipped back down the channel for a final circuit of the lake, a final good bye to the Great Blue Herons for the season – always a poignant afternoon for me.
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Fast forward nearly a year. New England was experiencing one of its blistering July heat waves, so hot I took a taxi to the lake rather than walking there with all my gear. 

The cab driver and I got to talking as people are sometimes wont to do in taxis, and he started to tell me about his bass fishing tournaments and then about the time he was at the lake and there was a fire.

Great Blue Heron fishing near the reeds and pickerel weed - babsjeheron    © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fishing near the reeds and pickerel weed – babsjeheron

I took a closer look at his cab photo then and realized that he was the speedboat commando who had pulled alongside me the day of the fire. Just to be sure, I asked him to describe his boat, and it was the exact boat I had seen that October day, and he confirmed that he had indeed dashed out of the boat to assist in the rescue. As it turns out, he was a retired police officer, so that sort of action in the face of a fire was ingrained by his training and experience.

We marveled a bit at the coincidence of having witnessed the fire together that day, and I mentioned that I had spent the rest of my time there that day photographing and saying goodbye to the Herons for the year.

And what the taxi driver Dennis told me next made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

After I had gone in for the day, and after he was done assisting with the fire, he went back out fishing on the lake, and headed into the small cove between the two tunnels. There are a couple of semi-submerged pines laying on the surface, where there is often good fishing.

Great blue heron fishing with a feather as bait.

Great Blue Heron shaking a Seagull feather. She is standing on the same partly-submerged pine log where she had been tangled in fishing line – babsjeheron

That day, however, he came across a Great Blue Heron caught in fishing line on one of the pine logs. The line was caught in the Heron’s wing and foot, and the Heron was struggling and obviously very weakened by the time he got there.

Dennis idled his boat, and pulled up as near to the Heron on the pine as possible, and got out of the boat. He cut the tangled line, freeing the Heron, but the Heron was too weak to take off, it was too weak to even lift its head.

He then picked up the Heron, and took it to the shore. He laid it down on the ground and cradled it, placing its head and neck in a good position so it could breathe easier.

Dennis stayed with the Heron as long as he could, but had to leave before the boat ramp access closed for the day.

The next day, he went back to check on the Heron.

It was gone, not on the ground where he had placed it.

He went about his fishing for a while.

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

Great Blue Heron preening two years after her rescue – babsjeheron

At one point – I don’t remember how long he had been out by then – a Great Blue Heron flew low and slow right across his bow, nearly touching his shoulder.

They don’t do that, you know.

Dennis was convinced it was the Heron’s way of acknowledging him, thanking him.

And I agree.
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In the taxi the following July as Dennis told me his tale, he showed me the photos he had taken with his cell phone of the Heron, while she was entangled on the pine log and then on the shore.

If I had them, I’d share them here. Since I don’t, I’ve posted four of my own photos here of the same Great Blue Heron he saved that day.

What a magnificent creature she is.

And what a hero Dennis is.

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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 guest host Lindy is “Follow Your Bliss.” Frequent readers here should have little doubt that the Great Blue Herons bring me bliss

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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.
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From guest host Lindy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 175: Follow Your Bliss .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 175: Follow Your Bliss .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 175: Follow Your Bliss .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 175: Follow Your Bliss .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 175: Follow Your Bliss.
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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
.
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.
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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…Dragonfly?

Great blue heron eye-to-eye with dragonfly - babsjeheron   © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron eye-to-eye with Dragonfly – babsjeheron

“So lovely. There were many dragonflies – tasty – and I love how their wings tickle on my tongue…” said the Great Blue Heron to nobody in particular.

Looking at the Dragonfly perched so enticingly on the tip of the Heron’s beak above, did you wonder if Dragonfly was on the lunch menu that day?
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Dragonfly teasing great blue heron - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Dragonfly teasing Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

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Is it just me, or did you, too, hear a Dragonfly’s voice sing-songing that childhood playground taunt, “Nah nah nah boo-boo, you can’t catch me?”
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Great Blue Heron fledgling wondering where he put his glasses, erm dragonfly - babsjeheron  © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron fledgling wondering where he put his glasses, erm Dragonfly – babsjeheron

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“Now, where did I put my glasses, erm Dragonfly?” the heron asked of no one in particular, wondering where his memory has gone. Often, I wonder where my own glasses have wandered off to. What about you?

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

Dragonfly Hitchhiker – babsjeheron

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File this one under silly nonsense just for fun!

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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.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think it weird for a Dragonfly to tantalize a much larger Great Blue Heron? Cheeky Dragonfly!
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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 Hunt for joy. I don’t know if this challenge is still on, but I really like the idea of searching for joy. The Herons bring joy.
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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. The foreground of one photo is water.
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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.
.

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!

.
.

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, Dragonfly
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
.
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
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron in Autumn and a Large Mouth Bass

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

Great Blue Heron by Falling Waters in Autumn – babsjeheron

“Lie still in a stream and breathe water. Climb to the top
of the highest tree until you come to the branch
where the blue heron sleeps. Eat poems for breakfast…”

Advice to Beginners (excerpt)
Ellen Kort


If I Had My Life to Live Over: I Would Pick More Daisies, Sandra Martz, ed.

Great Blue Herons and Red Tail Hawks often frequented this spot, fishing for the Trout, Bass, and Pickerel in the pools at the base of the falling water. Finding a Heron there when the Autumn colors were in full display was challenging and I spent many hours over 7 or 8 years hidden in my kayak across the channel in hopes of capturing a Great Blue with the striking autumn leaves. Good things come to she who waits.
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The Herons have plenty of other fishing holes nearby. And so do the humans. Bass Fishing Tournaments take place frequently – some with big bucks in prize money.
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I don’t think the Great Blue Heron in the photo sequences below paid a tournament entry fee, but he didn’t use any illegal bait to land that Largemouth Bass. I know the Bass he caught didn’t get properly weighed at take out what with having been gulped down mid-tourney, but I bet the size of that fish would have made some of the fishermen weep.
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Great Blue Heron Lands Large Mouth Bass - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Lands Largemouth Bass – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Large Mouth Bass Nbr 1- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Walking Down the Shore Carrying the Largemouth Bass – babsjeheron

Great Blue Heron Large Mouth Bass Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

The Heron Put Down the Bass for a Moment, then Picked it Up and Turned Around – babsjeheron

The Heron Once Again put the Bass Down then Retrieved it – babsjeheron

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The bulge in the Heron’s elongated neck in the last frame above? The Largemouth Bass. The total elapsed time between landing the Bass and the final frame above was only two and a half minutes. I’m not sure how to estimate the weight of that Bass, but I’m pretty sure any good fisherman reading this can weigh in.

I think this Bass is a bigger fish in terms of weight than the large Pike shown below. What do you think?

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

Great Blue Heron with large Pike – babsjeheron

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When I returned belatedly to the dock after one Bass tournament, the boat departures had already begun, yet there were still more than 30 boats lined up on the shore.

Bass Tournament with 30 Boats - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Bass Tournament with 30 Boats Remaining on Shore – babsjeheron

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Dawn Miller, 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 Colors of Autumn. The lead photo on this post has vibrant reds.

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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. The Herons bring joy.
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has bright red autumn leaves.
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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 Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .

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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 167: Colors of Autumn .
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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, Large Mouth Bass
Read the rest of this entry

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem- babsjeheron

Have you ever seen
anything
in your life
more wonderful

than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon…

The Sun, Mary Oliver, excerpt
New and Selected Poems

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem Nbr 2 - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Mute Swan Pair Flying in Tandem Nbr 2 – babsjeheron

On cold winter days, one of the Mute Swans resident on my small lake watched from just beyond the dock as I refilled the birdfeeders each morning. When my back was turned as I walked up to the house, the Swan would occasionally venture into the yard to scoop up seeds scattered by our winter birds – Blue Jays and Cardinals and Chickadees.

But only when my back was turned.

The winter turned harsher than any in recent memory. The birds were ravenous and emptied all the feeders before noon.

And then one morning it happened.

The Swan climbed up the short bank to where I stood at the third feeder. He dipped his head, bending that graceful neck down and then back up.

Twice.

We locked eyes.

I extended my arm tenuously towards the Swan, my gloved hand full of seeds.

As he nibbled hungrily, I stared at the top of his head. The feathers weren’t the pristine white I expected to see. And they didn’t look like any feather I’d seen before or since. They looked like rows of the tiniest, finest wale corduroy imaginable.

Peaceable co-existence abounded on those frigid mornings. And eventually the Swan became comfortable with my presence.

I love peaceable co-existence, wherever – and however – it manifests.

.

.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Debbie Smyth, Dawn Miller 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 Artificial Light. Herons usually don’t hang out in artificial light where I live, so how about two photos illuminated by artificial light.

TCAN One-Woman Show December 2019-January 2020 Lobby Wall With TCAN Reflection © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

TCAN Lobby Wall Photo with TCAN Graphic Reflection

x-ray of broken heel © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

My Broken Heel – An X-Ray uses Artificial Light

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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. The Herons bring joy.
.
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Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!
.
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Thanks to Dawn for her Festival of Leaves . This post has muted autumn leaves, to go with the mute swans.
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial wLight .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

.

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, Mute Swan
Read the rest of this entry

Beautiful Great Blue Heron Breaks into Flight

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

Great Blue Heron With Wounded Wing Soaring – babsjeheron

Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into flight.

With apologies to James Wright’s poem “A Blessing”
The Branch Will not Break

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

Great Blue Heron fishing near the mossy log – babsjeheron

That day, I went out in the kayak for two and a half hours. There was no wind then, it was calm, and sweet, and I felt suffused with joy.

At one point in the secluded cove, I failed to notice a Great Blue Heron on a fallen willow, the one felled by the big winds of the previous summer.

I had drifted up very close. I didn’t see her, but she saw me. Only when she burst into flight did I notice her.

Usually when they take off, the air is silent. That day, though, what alerted me to her presence was the rustle of her feathers. It was a sound unlike any other, and the soft, unmistakable friction of quill against quill brought me to goosebumps.

Her flight was only a short, slow hop across the cove, to the other side, and when she landed, she stood upright and stared at me as if to say “Well, are you happy now?”

We stayed together, the Heron staring at me, for a few minutes, then she turned and stalked deeper into the mysterious forest at the eastern end of the cove, where humans never go.

Only this time – since she knew I was there and, even knowing of my presence, she plied the shore very slowly, unafraid, not at all warily – I took her behavior as an invitation to follow her deeper and deeper along the slender finger of water until it was too shallow for even a kayak.

Any farther and I would have had to grow flight feathers to continue on.

Some day, I may just do that anyway – step out of my body and break into flight.

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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 Artificial Light. Herons usually don’t hang out in artificial light where I live, so how about a two-fer: two full moon photos with artificial light.

Full Moon with Lights - babsje© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)heron

Full Moon with Lights – babsjeheron

Full Moon Train Mass Turnpike - babsjeheron © Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Full Moon Train Mass Turnpike – babsjeheron

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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. The Herons bring joy.
.
.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 166: Artificial Light .
.

.

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, Full Moon
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Swimming Deer?

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

White Tail Deer Swimming – babsjeheron

The subtle shift in the tilt of the Great Blue Heron’s head alerted me to an unseen presence.

Great blue heron watching deer across the cove.

Great Blue Heron peering across the cove – babsjeheron

The Great Blue Heron perched, stationary and gazing off to the east under half-closed eyes, and I sensed that she was going to go to sleep standing there.
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It was mid-morning, her early fishing and feeding done. The log next to the blooming pickerel weed made a quiet resting place.
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She was unmoving, serene, a study in tranquility, and those qualities were once again contagious – I felt the peacefulness of the space we share, as I always do in the presence of Herons.
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Deer viewed through leaves of blind.

Looking through leaves of my natural cover hide/blind – babsjeheron

Half an hour elapsed when a shift in the tilt of her head signaled that she was alert and watching something on the opposite shore. Lulled into a sense of complacency, I thought that it was probably just the Irish Setter I had noticed ambling along when I paddled into the cove that morning.
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The Heron stiffened upright suddenly, as though coiled for action. Something, intuition perhaps, told me it wasn’t an Irish Setter at all. Maybe the Fox I’d photographed there a few years earlier was back!

Deer along the banks of the cove, directly across from the great blue heron.

Deer along the banks of the cove, directly across from the Great Blue Heron – babsjeheron

Holding my breath, I stared through the lens directly into the eyes of – not an Irish Setter nor a Fox – a large, mature Deer, a first-ever Deer sighting in the cove.

For forty-five minutes, the three of us shared the lower cove. The Deer watched the Heron during breaks in munching tender leafy bushes, but didn’t seem aware of me. The Heron also didn’t pay any attention to me, but watched the Deer intently, at one point flying about ten feet for a closer look.
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And me? I watched both Deer and Heron with my heart on my sleeve.

Time stood still as I put the camera down and peered through my higher-magnification binoculars. I soaked in those enormous soulful eyes, the tickly-looking whiskers, and the adorable ears that seemed to swivel with their own sense of direction, the better to hear us with as the children’s fable says.
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The encounter ended as all such wildlife-human encounters should end, utterly without drama: nobody spooked or flushed anybody.

The Deer finished munching greens, turned and sauntered softly back into the woods.

The Great Blue Heron stared after the Deer for a long while, and then once again took up her perch on the log.

And I, still wordless from the wonder of what had just unfolded, paddled on to the next lake, smiling all the way.

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Fast forward ten months

Silent as a whisper, the Deer
Poem by Babsje

What of last summer’s Doe
Who watched from the shore
The Heron preening,
Ears attuned for movement,
Then ambled off into the ferns?

That was long ago –
Before that bad winter
Took so much.

Today
She bowed to nibble
Columbine and hosta
On the far shore.

And swam home.

In less than a minute
Water sluiced from her shoulders
Her heavy udders,
Then she was gone
Silent as a whisper

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.

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

A glimpse through trees – could it be the White-tailed Deer? – babsjeheron

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

White Tail Deer Entering the Water Alongside the Dock – babsjeheron

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

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

White Tail Deer Swimming – babsjeheron

White Tail Deer Approaching the Shore - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Approaching the Shore – babsjeheron

White Tail Deer Climbing out of Water - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Climbing out of Water – babsjeheron

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

.White Tail Deer Vanishing into the Woods – babsjeheron

Fast forward four more months.

White Tail Deer Doe with Fawn - babsjeheron © 2014 - 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

White Tail Deer Doe with Fawn – babsjeheron


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Between the first Deer encounter and the second one ten months later, the Polar Vortex had brought devastating, vicious cold.

Seeing a Deer swimming after the killing colds of winter was thrilling.

Viewing the photos on download was heartwarming: the Deer was the same one I had seen one day that previous summer. She had survived that harsh winter, and she had apparently given birth in the interim.

Four months later, the last photo of that Doe with her Fawn, brings great joy.

Great joy.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and Debbie Smyth 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 Going Wide. Here’s the wide shot of the swimming Deer:

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

White-Tail Deer swimming, the long view – babsjeheron

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Greatest Love of All. The Fawn is the future of the Deer.
.
.Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!

.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 165: Going Wide .
.

.

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, White Tailed Deer
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron and Meteor

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

Great Blue Heron flies by – babsjeheron.

I blame it on the Beaver lodge.

No, that’s not right.

I blame it on the Beavers.

Or more accurately, on the beady eyes peering up at me from the shallows near the shoreline.

Actually, that’s not correct either.

I blame it on the absence of beady eyes just above the surface.

While kayaking one day some time ago ago, I discovered a Beaver lodge in the cove, the first one there in at least a decade. I took a few photos of the tall tangle of branches and twigs, but was more interested in seeing, and photographing, a Beaver. (I had never done that before, Muskrats, yes, Beavers, no.) As luck would have it that afternoon, there were two Beaver kits paddling around the point not far from the den, but they both quickly slipped beneath the surface and disappeared before I could focus the camera.

So, a few days later I went back to the cove to try to photograph the Beavers.

This, of course, was a mistake.

I learned long ago to open myself, and my eyes and camera, to whatever experiences and sights the lake brought forth at any moment. I had learned the hard way that “trying” to capture a specific subject meant that I would be missing out on what was unfolding right before my eyes. Mindfulness is a great attitude for a photographer.

So, there I was that weekend in the cove fifty yards or so from the Beaver lodge, scanning the surface of the waters with my binoculars, looking for a pair of beady eyes or a tuft of greenery being dragged along, trailing a small wake behind.

A flurry of activity at ten o’clock caught my eye and I paddled a bit closer and refocused the binocs.

Nope, not the eyes of a Beaver: a swarm of Dragonflies flitting and alighting on something, maybe a leaf.

I padded closer still to frame the swarm and through the lens realized the leaf was a feather, a single gorgeous raptor feather.

And as I was dialing down the lens for a closeup of the feather, a shadow passed directly overhead, and I saw a reflection framed on the water a few yards south – a Great Blue Heron.

Without thinking – without having to “try” at all – I lifted the camera and fired off this one shot you see above as the Heron flew by.

I almost missed the photo because I was looking down when I should have been looking up.
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And here’s that Meteor I promised in the post’s title. One occasion when I wss looking up at the right time in the right place: (I hope you weren’t expecting to see the Heron and Meteor together in the same photo?)

Meteor from Leonid Meteor shower - babsjeheron  © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Meteor from Leonid Meteor shower – babsjeheron

Watching meteor showers and photographing comets both put me in touch with the infinite in a way that nothing else can.

There’s something primal about laying back on a grassy hillside watching the summer Perseid meteor shower put on a show overhead.

Standing on that same hillside before dawn on a frigid November morning photographing the Leonids, cold of body yet warm of being, has the same effect.

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As long as we’re looking really far up, why not a Comet?

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

Lizz (age 9) strikes a pose with Comet Hale-Bopp – babsjeheron

During the year of Comet Hale-Bopp, we watched and photographed almost daily for the duration, tracking the comet’s position on paper star charts. We experimented with all of the low light film we could find, comparing the quality of color reproduction and sharpness. Lacking any idea how long an exposure needed to be in order to clearly see the comet on film, and without a timer on-hand, my daughter hit on the Hippopotamus technique: she would depress the plunger on the cable release and hold the shutter open while counting out loud “one Hippopotamus, two Hippopotamus, three Hippopotamus.” It worked from the very first photo! We had a great time together, just the two of us viewing the comet through my old 35mm Konica and small toy telescope.
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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. This week, the Lens Artists have invited Sofia Alves of Photographias as guest host. The focus this week is Looking Up, Looking Down. Please check out their gorgeous photos at the links listed below. My submission includes a case when i should have been looking up but was not, and two photos where i was looking very far up, if not far out!

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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. The Herons bring joy.
.

From Sofia Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .

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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Look Up, Look Down ..

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 164: Looking Up, Looking Down .
.

.

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, Meteor, Comet, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick
Read the rest of this entry

Great Blue Heron Weekend of Fun

Great Blue Heron Soaring Above the Cove - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Soaring Above the Cove – babsjeheron

Guys, you said there’s a Labor Day Party!
Where is everybody?

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

Great Blue Heron on Dock Labor Day Weekend – babsjeheron

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

Guys? Where are you? I’m ready for the party!

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.

File this under silly fun with Herons!

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner and Debbie Smyth and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers. This week, the Lens Artists focus on gorgeous photos with the theme of Keep Walking. My submission – in the spirit of fun – shows the Great Blue Heron walking around the dock. he keeps walking in search of his friends, who are clearly late to the party.

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Thanks to Cee for her CFFC: Tomorrow. Silly Heron, the party is TOMORROW!
.

Thanks to Debbie for her Six Word Saturday . This post title has the requisite six words!

.

From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .
.

From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .
.

From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .

.
From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 163: Keep Walking .
.

.

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
Read the rest of this entry

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