Sunday, August 3, 2014

It's All A Blur To Me

The other day I was at the refuge. The sky was cloudy. The light was meh! If there was any wildlife activity it was under the cover of the lotuses that blanket the impoundments. Frankly, it would have been a better morning to head to Dunkin Donuts than to try to take photographs.

But I was there. I had my camera, there had to be something to do photographically. I decided to play around with some techniques that I had heard at a recent workshop. Rather than holding your camera still, with fast shutter speeds and wide open apertures to free the action you do the exact opposite. You use long shutter speeds of 1/8 - 1/15 of a second (or longer), narrow apertures, and you purposely move the camera to create artistically blurred images.

Now I've take my share of accidentally blurred and out of focus images, but would you believe it is a lot harder to do it intentionally and end up with a pleasing result.

So here is a different view of the refuge. Hope you enjoy it. If you don't stop back again. I promise to take some "normal" photos of the flora and fauna.

Here are some horizontal panned views of the impoundments.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140726 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140726 &emdash;

Vertical pans of cattails & loose strife.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140726 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140726 &emdash;

Finally some rotary pans or zoom pans.



Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140726 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140726 &emdash;

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Quiet Morning

Boy it's been a long while since I've posted.  Doesn't it always seem that life gets in the way of what you enjoy doing?  Some of my free time has taken me to other refuges and sanctuaries to explore the wonder that they hold.

It's not that I haven't been to Great Meadows, but often the trips have been more birding & less photography.  Often, I've barely had time to upload my photos before I'm off to the next task.

That's why last night after disassembling, cleaning & reassembling my tripod (I have not yet figured how to take my tripod to a sandy beach without getting sand in the leg locks) I decided that it would need a test run to ensure that I did it correctly.  So the rising sun found me at Great Meadows.

It was a quiet morning at the refuge.  The baby geese are now getting large and starting to resemble their parents.  In fact the parents were almost laid back about my traversing the path near them.  Much more enjoyable than skirting the hissing geese several weeks ago.

A song sparrow just posed for me.  I have tons of sparrow photos so I often pass up the opportunity to add to that collection.  But this sparrow stayed in place as I approached to a distance where most would have flown.  Since the morning light was so nice, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

The red-winged blackbirds are less prominent since they've found their mates and have had their chicks which are now mainly on their own. This male caught one of the other prominent species for July - dragonflies.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Further along a Great Blue Heron was fishing. He wasn't catching many big fish, but he was catching a lot of fish.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

I hung out near the pool at the end of the Cross Dike trail. I stood there long enough that this family of Wood Ducks swam across the "bay" to feed closer to the trail. As they were leaving I saw the most unusual sight. This young wood duck thought something on the lotus blossom was meant to eat, so it made a couple leaps out of the water to try to grab it.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Fish & Wildlife has started to draw down the upper impoundment. As the water level starts to drop muddy flats start to become exposed. You definitely need to scan these for shorebirds. Today there was a Spotted Sandpiper patrolling the flats.
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

The highlight of the day was discovering that the Least Bittern was in the reeds near the path. It was only a matter of feet away. But photographically it could have been miles away. I thought you might appreciate these photos to see how well it's camouflage works.br />
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20140710 &emdash;

I promise to not make the wait for my next blog post so long.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Do You Visit Great Meadows?

Why do you come to Great Meadows?  I come for many different reasons.

On occasion  I just come for a bit of solitude; for the opportunity to meditate, to pray and to think.  Today was one of those visits.  You see late yesterday, I learned that one of my camera club friends, Richard Ferland, had died unexpectedly, as a result of injuries a body surfing accident while on vacation.

Richard was an extremely talented nature photographer.  I was secretly jealous of his eye and skill, hoping one day to take images as beautiful as his.  At a young 67 years old, it appeared that he would have many more years ahead to pursue his passion.

Most importantly he was a genuinely nice human being.  Even in death he gave to others.  As an organ donor he donated his eyes.  I hope the recipient likes photography.

So this morning I awoke; before the alarm, before the sun rose, I got up and headed to the refuge to walk, think, and pray.  I brought my camera because that's what I do. But it wasn't the purpose of my visit.

Arriving early, once I left the parking lot, I practically had the refuge to myself.  The mood of the day was one of relative solitude and quiet.  The planes were not yet flying.  Even the birds seemed to be singing is quieter hushed tones.

Part way across the Dike Trail, I encountered a very cooperative Red-Winged Blackbird.  One that just posed, sung and displayed repeatedly.  The light was beautiful.  The subject cooperative.  I debated, but decided that a photographer couldn't pass up such an opportunity.  So I grabbed some video.

Then something strange happened.  Almost everywhere I went there were cooperative subjects in "good light".  Even the Marsh Wrens were sitting up and singing, just asking to be photographed.

The thought crossed my mind that Richard would have enjoyed being at Great Meadows on a day like today.  My first reaction was sadness, but then a small smile crossed my face as I pondered whether he somehow had arranged with the Almighty for such a wonderful day to soften our loss.  If he did, it would be a shame to not share the day with you.  

Returning home, I am still processing his loss, its reminder of the fragility of life, and reevaluating how that should affect my behavior. I put together this video to share the day with you, but more so as a remembrance and memorial to a great nature photographer. Please click on the photo below to watch the video. I know Richard would have wanted to share the day with you if he could.