New Macro Images

I just found these assorted macro shots uploaded to the site but I never posted them. I added them to a few galleries, and also put them in a new gallery called recent additions. This way anyone who is already familiar with the galleries can see just the newest additions. I’ll add a couple of samples below, and you can see the rest of them in the recent additions gallery.

Young katydid backlit in the grass

I was really looking for nice images of the backlit grass. When you get down and up close you find gems like this one.

Closeup image of a gladiolus

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A Cloudy Day at Laughing Brook

Earlier this year I wrote an artist’s statement to go with some prints on display in Greenfield. I posted it on my Gallery page today. Here it is:

Nature is more than “stunning” colors and improbably close encounters with wildlife. We go to nature for quiet moments and experiences that take us away from the busy concerns of the day. Our nature photographs should do the same for us, speaking softly with light and color that is gentle and true, giving us a moment in the working of an ecosystem as the elemental forces of geology and light interplay with the annual cycles of life, capturing the confluence of form, pattern, and color, or hinting at the interconnection of life. Nature photographs are the reminder of the feeling of a natural experience: the play of light on the patina of an old tree trunk, a bird in its habitat greeting the new day in song, the first taste of spring in the lingering light of a gently cool March evening.

Here are a couple of experiences from Laughing Brook yesterday:

Chestnut-sided warbler singing

This chestnut-sided warbler was singing in this tree for at least a couple of hours.

Chestnut-sided Warbler Staring Back

A few times he stopped singing to look down my way.

A red squirrel pausing on its way up a tree

This red squirrel seemed curious about what I was doing with the weird black box on 3 legs.

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More Learning Opportunities

I have a couple of more workshops coming up soon. The first is a two-part class at Laughing Brook. We’ll cover the basics of exposure and best practices for great captures of nature and other images. The first class is on Sunday June 4 at 1 pm.

That is followed by a one-class workshop on macro photography held at the Hitchcock Free Academy in Brimfield. That will be Tuesday, June 6 from 6 to 8:30 pm.

For details on this and the workshop in Amherst on the 3rd, see my event page.

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Nature Photography at Applewood Orchard Arboretum

On June 3, 9 am I am pleased to help the Kestrel Trust promote their work by leading a nature photography workshop at their Applewood Orchard Arboretum in Amherst. People with any kind of camera can join as we explore the site and capture the unique experiences it has to offer.  Register with the Kestrel Trust at http://www.kestreltrust.org/calendar/nature-photography-workshop-2017/

Kestrel Land Trust Workshop Poster

Kestrel Land Trust Workshop Poster

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November Highlights III

Here are some shots from a recent trip to Conant Brook Dam. The warm morning light created image opportunities everywhere I looked. One of my photographer friends posted shots from October recently, saying that there was no color anymore. Apparently he does not get to the right places!

Goose in Golden Late Autumn Light

Mallard Male, November Morning Light

Mallard Female, November Morning Light

Nest in November

Backlighting on Sumac Fruits

November Pond Reflections I

November Pond Reflections II

Trees and Marsh in November Light

Pond in November Morning Light

Old Road in November Mist

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Highlights of November II with a Diversion

I went up Peaked Mountain in Monson hoping to get some afternoon light on the oak foliage. Nature did not disappoint. The warm light on the foliage rewarded my efforts with glowing browns that were almost like gold. November is truly a marvelous time.

While I was there, I photographed the rising of the supermoon. This is not a November feature, but was happening so I stayed for it. With a clear sky I was also treated to a display of the Belt of Venus, or Venus’ Girdle. This atmospheric phenomenon is a rosy-red band in the sky opposite the sunset (or sunrise, it is seen in the morning as well) caused by the scattering of light and reflection of the red rays of sunset off of particles high in the distant atmosphere. The dark area beneath the belt is the shadow of the Earth. It rises in the east as the sun sets in the west and the sunlight is blocked by the Earth.

Supermoon in the Belt of Venus

The pink area in the sky is the “belt of Venus”, a result of the reflection of the sunset off of high particles in the distant atmosphere.

Supermoon in the Earth's Shadow

The supermoon of November 2016. The dark area is the shadow of the Earth. The Sun is behind us and the shadow rises as the sun sets.

November Foliage in Late Afternoon Light I

November Foliage in Late Afternoon Light III

November Foliage in Late Afternoon Light II

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The Highlights of November: Part 1

I am a naturalist at heart, and I like to think there are gems of nature to be found at any time of year. Many people overlook November because the frosts have come and it can be chilly, and their irrational fear of snow takes grip on them. I look forward to November because it means I can leave the insect repellent behind. There are many calm days in the 60s during the month, making for a pleasant outdoor journey. It is a relaxing way to ease into Thanksgiving.

November brings us isolated remnants of beautiful color along with hillsides carpeted in a rich tapestry of maroons and golden-browns. The low sun angle gives us pleasing warm light without having to get up extra early to see it. We see the birds in the trees again and can enjoy them more after they have been hidden in the foliage all summer. The light penetrates into the forest more deeply and we can see how it illuminates many plants that remain green, as well as the abundant rocks of the New England landscape.

I will be posting some images of November, some from this year and also posting some from past years. They will go in to a November gallery on the website. Here are some images of an oak and a small scene nearby.

Oak Detail II

Oak Detail I

Backlit Oak

The now-sparse foliage glows while allowing us to see some of the structure of this tree

November Light on Grass and Trunk

November light creates mini-scenes all around us

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Mid-Autumn Sights

By the start of November many people consider the fall season to be over, but it is really only halfway done today. Today is a cross-quarter day, when the Earth in its orbit is halfway between an equinox and a solstice. This motion makes the sun appear to move across the stars and now appears halfway between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice.

Traditionally this cross-quarter day is associated with the Druid holiday of Samhain, many of whose traditions have morphed and are remembered today as Halloween. Originally the Druid priests would mark the position of the sun and celebrate on the actual cross-quarter day, but the date became fixed on the last day of October when the Gregorian calendar was implemented. The Druids marked the day by observing the constellation the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, and looking for it to rise at sunset and be at its highest point at midnight. This day is also associated with the traditional Japanese holiday Ritou.

By this time most of the maple trees have dropped their leaves and the brilliant oranges and reds are pretty much gone until next September. But this “second autumn” has highlights of its own. The oaks are coming into their peak color with earth-tone russets, maroons and golden-browns. They turn entire hillsides into a carpet painted with this rich palette of harvest colors.

The light penetrates into the forest better now, and the low sun angle means pleasing light lasts longer in to the morning and begins sooner in the afternoon, lighting up the late autumn trees. The few individual maples that remain in color stand out brilliantly in this light.

With many leaves gone, it is easier to see birds again and northern birds such as juncos and white-throated sparrows show up. The sight of a cardinal on the bare branches brings on a holiday feeling. November is a great time to get out into the woods.

The photos that follow were taken on the traditional Halloween date but I decided to wait until the actual cross-quarter date to post. Most were taken at the Keep Homestead Museum in Monson, one was from the overlook at Flynt Park, next to the museum trails.

The yellow fungus is witches butter, a jelly fungus, likely Tremella. Although we think of fungi as decomposers in wood, members of this genus are actually parasitic on other fungi found in decaying wood – perhaps a fitting habit for this Halloween photo. The common name witches butter can also refer to Exidia, a black jelly fungus.

Mid-Autumn Golden Oak

An oak in full color and morning sidelight

Late Color on a Sugar Maple

A sugar maple next to the Keep Homestead Museum

Witches Butter on Halloween

The background is provided by out of focus blueberry leaves

Mid Autumn Color from Flynt Park

Lots of color still left on the hillsides

Downy Woodpecker

This female downy woodpecker was busy foraging above me and was not bothered by my presence.

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Photo Classes at the Hitchcock Free Academy

I will be offering a couple of classes at the Hitchcock Free Academy in Brimfield in October. Details are in the posters. These are good opportunities to learn the basic functions of your camera in the context of some popular photographic subjects.

photography-fall-foliage

 

hitchcock-macro

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Nature walk at the Keep Museum

I will be returning to the Keep Homestead Museum in Monson for a nature walk coming up on Sunday, October 2 at 1:30. While it is renowned for its button collection, Myra Keep, along with her father, also had a strong interest in natural history and there is a room in the museum with their collection of rocks and shells. The property has a trail system of under 2 miles that passes through both field and forest habitat.

I will lead a walk on these trails, looking for signs of the season, identifying some of the local plants, as well as looking for examples of how the land tells us stories of both recent and long ago history. In the event of rain I will give a presentation of nature photography from the greater Monson area.

The Keep Museum is located at 35 Ely Road in Monson. http://keephomesteadmuseum.org/index.html

Nature Walk at the Keep Museum

Nature Walk at the Keep Museum

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