Monday, October 24, 2011

Big Day Part II

Whether you were teased by yesterday's two part post, or just happened to arrive here, welcome. I've been thinking that I've been ignoring the video capabilities of my D90. Knowing that I was going to be at the refuge before first light, I started to think about what I could share with video, then it came to me.

In the fall, I have grown to love coming to Great Meadows in the early morning to watch the Canada Geese depart for the day. For photographers it may not be as spectacular as Blastoff at Bosque del Apache, but it is local, it is enjoyable and it is a lot cheaper. Photographs can freeze moments of time, but can fall short of helping you fully experience the moment. The weather cooperated with a spectacular sunrise, with plenty of mist on the warmer water caused by cold overnight temperatures.


Click on the photograph to play the video. Musical accompaniment "Looking Back" by Jim Brickman


I must take a moment to thank the US Fish & Wildlife Service for building the new observation deck. This video would not have been possible in years past because there was no place to stand. While I often grumble about it's location because I have to shoot back into the light, today it was perfect.

As the flowers and trees are dying back, there are a few holding on to the bitter end. The glimpses of color and patterns against the darker, muted backgrounds stand out and catch my eye.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;


Steven Morello, an accomplished nature photographer, recently visited our camera club. He encouraged us to not only take "pretty" nature photographs, but to capture environmental shots of animals. The American Coots are willing subjects, so I worked on trying to catch them among the smart weeds and other aquatic plants.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;


Far back along the path along the upper impoundment, I encountered this carcass of a muskrat that had reached its untimely demise. Among all the pleasant images of the day, it was a very real reminder that even in the safety of the refuge none is truly safe, the cycle of life continues.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;


I know some of the regular followers of this blog, but many readers are anonymous to me. Thanks why it if fun when today Amy approaches me a Great Meadows and asks "Are you the guy with the website? I like your blog". It was a great end to a tiring day. I hope you encountered the deer near the maintenance barn, too. Unfortunately, I was too busy looking down at my camera to see if the duck in flight photos were any good, only to hear the deer bounding back into the woods, catching fleeting glimpses of their white tails. Hopefully next time I'll get the shot.

Big Day - Part I

Monday's visit has too much good stuff to fit into one post, so make sure you come back tomorrow to catch the second half. I think you'll find the video alone makes the visit worthwhile.

While a big objective of this project is photographicall sharing the spirit of Great Meadows with you, another personal objective is to grow both creatively and photographically. With the leaves starting to fall and winter rapidly approaching I realized that I am rapidly running out of time to try out a couple of ideas.

I've dabbled in time lapsed photography at Great Meadows, with mixed success. I've wanted to capture a day at the refuge, but technical difficulties, or boring weather, or an imopundment choked with lotus plants have foiled my attempts. The forecast for Monday was going to be the perfect day, starting cool, sunny all day, but with a front moving in later in the day. So that's why you could find me a the refuge from before sunrise and not finally leaving until the sun dipped back below the horizon.

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Turn on your speakers and click on the photo to see the video. It finally captures the whole day in slightly over 1 minute. For some reason they weren't dredging the impoundment today, so it reflects a typical day at the refuge. (Musical accompaniment is "Playground" by Henry Adam Curtis)

Early morning at the refuge is special. In our noisy, fast paced world it is a place of relative quiet and solitude. The interaction of light and shadow, mist on the impoundment, the call of birds you can hear but not yet see, the bracing cool air tempered by the warming sun almost always make me delighted to have left my bed while it was still dark. I have mixed emotions. I wish more people could experience it, but at the same time know that the lack of people there make it special.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Want to see how the sun moves during the year. Go back to July when the sun was rising over the outflow of the lower impooundment. Today it is almost aligned with Hanscom.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Off for the early bird special

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Early light on foliage


There are a large number of Sparrows are busy along the sides of the dike, foraging and feeding. Birders can be found looking for less common variations (recently seen include Nelson's and Grasshopper Sparrows). I must confess that I have barely progressed past the LBB (Little Brown Bird) identification stage, though on occasion I have been able to identify a Savannah sparrow with their yellow streak. The most predominant variations are Swamp and Song Sparrows.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Swamp Sparrow

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Song Sparrow

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Swamp Sparrow


Wandering back long the railroad bed, I encountered this American Robin posing on a dead branch against as beautiful foliage backdrop. Walking down the Edge Trail, I saw the Hermit Thrush foraging along the path.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
American Robin

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Hermit Thrush

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20111024 &emdash;
Hermit Thrush


Remember to mark you calendar to come back tomorrow for part two of this post.