Green Heron in the rain

Green Heron. Viera Florida

Almost a month ago now, on my last full day in Florida for the Space Coast Birding Festival, I took a group of Point and Shoot  Nature Photographers to the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera to photograph birds. It rained off and on all morning, but we had a great time. This Green Heron was working the ditch on the outside of the tour loop, in the company of several White Ibis and a couple of Snowy Egrets. He was particularly acrobatic and kept us entertained long enough to get too damp 🙂 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/250th @ ISO 250 @ f4. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic on my iPad Pro. 

Downy

Downy Woodpecker, Kennebunk Maine

We are in Conneticut for our daughter Kelia’s Senior Recital at Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, but this is from the back deck at home. A nice close-up of a female Downy Woodpecker. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 250 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Maine Winter Morning

The neighborhood, Kennebunk Maine


Yesterday was one of the most visually beautiful days I have ever experienced in Southern Maine. We had 3 feet of snow on the ground, and another 6 inches fell over-night…wet, clingy snow that stuck where it first touched, so every tree and bush had its frosting of snow. Unfortunately that meant that the snow in our drive was a mix of snow and not quite frozen water…heavy to lift in the shovel, and a real chore for the snowblower. My first project was to get the drive cleared and the cars out, but then I took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the beauty. My neighbor was out with his snowblower and saw me walking by. “Beautiful,” he said, “but a pain in the butt.” “Beautiful,” I said, “but a pain in the lower back.” Certainly beautiful though. By noon the sun was coming out, there was some blue in the sky, and the scenery went from beautiful to spectacular. If you follow my “For the love of landscape…” on Facebook or Google+, you will see some of the images from a drive I took in the afternoon…or maybe I will have one left to share here tomorrow. 🙂
Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDRs. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. Assembled in Framemagic. These shots were taken early, about an hour after first light. 

A line of Little Blues

Little Blue Herons, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

We have 6 inches of new snow this morning, and I will have to go out and move it out of the drive in a few moments, so, as a form of resistance, it is back to last month’s trip to Florida. It was actually only a few degrees warmer than it will be here today when I took this off Blackpoint Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville. I was as bundled up as I could be and the wind was blowing a gale. Little Blue Herons working a line in a shallow pool. Ever hopeful. 🙂

Sony Rx10iii at 447mm equivalent field of view. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f4, using my specialized flight and action mode. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Yet another shot of the Kennebunk Eagle

American Bald Eagle, Kennebunk Maine

In my never ending quest to get a really good shot of the Bald Eagles that hang out on the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond Park here in Kennebunk Maine, this is the best so far. I would certainly like to get closer! At least this one is in the open and in the early sun. 

Sony Rx10iii at 1200mm equivalent field of view (in-camera crop from 600mm). 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Thistle!

Thistle, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville FL

I saw these giant thistles in bloom along the first mile of Blackpoint Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville Florida every time I drove the loop, but it was not until my last visit of the trip that I forced myself to take a moment for a photo. I think they are just Bull Thistle, a common weed, but the specimens on Blackpoint were certainly spectacular. This was my 3rd and final thistle stop. I pulled over because of the particularly intense color but was rewarded with the perfect contrast in the Florida White feeding deep in the bloom.

Sony Rx10iii at 24mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. f4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill, Viera Wetlands, Florida

Outside here in Southern Maine there is a blizzard blowing. It started mid-afternoon yesterday and will not blow itself out until late this afternoon. We are expecting 12-24 inches of snow. I would say we already have 12. So, as a counter measure I am going back a few weeks to my visit to Florida for the Space Coast Birding and Nature Festival in Titusville. I still have many images I have not shared. A year ago in Florida, Roseate Spoonbills were everywhere at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge…in large numbers and close in on Blackpoint Wildlife Drive. This year they were few and far between. I never did see in the water at Merritt Island. They were all flybys. The only one I saw feeding was a lone Spoonbill at Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Viera Florida on our last rainy day field trip there with my Point and Shoot Nature Photographer group. The subdued, damp light brought out the deep pink of the breeding plumage (note the green skin cap as well). 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode for various exposures as the light changed. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic on my iPad Pro. 

Snow Fence. Happy Sunday!

Snow fence along a beach house access road. Kennebunk Maine

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

This little stretch of snowfence protects a corner in an access road for a group houses on our local beach, where the wind across the marsh might drift the snow across the road. As you can tell from its condition, it has stood there at least since I moved here over 20 years ago, and I can’t honestly remember it looking any better then. This is after about a foot, maybe 8 inches right along the coast, within the sound of the surf, of fresh blowing snow. We expect another 12-24 inches in next 24 hours, a real nor-easter. The snowfence does its job, more or less. There is, every nor-easter, a sizable drift in front of it. Because, of course, that is the way it works. It is not so much a snowfence as wind fence. By slowing the passing wind, it causes the snow to drop out on the downwind side. In this next storm I expect the snow will backfill to cover all but the tips of the slats. It does not prevent drifts so much as to encourage them to form somewhere short of the road. 

I like the line and curve of it against the snow, and what the wind does with the surface of the drift…the carving, the light and shadow, and in this shot, the brooding bank of cloud and the touch of blue sky above. 

As I started to post this image for yesterday’s Pic for Today, just because I like the beauty of it, the whole concept of erecting a snow fence to fence out the snow…or a wind fence to tame the wind…stuck me as having a spiritual dimension, and I decided to save it for the Generous Eye today. 

Now that I reflect on it a bit more, I not sure what to do with it. The wind, in the new testament, is, very often, the spirit. They are the same word in the language Jesus most likely spoke, and, if I remember right, in Hebrew as well. Jesus, speaking to an honest and devout Jew come to inquire of him, said “No one can see the Kingdom of God who is not born again.” When the questioner questioned the possibility of anyone being born twice, Jesus went to to say, “Turely I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of the wind (spirit). You must be born of water and the wind. Flesh is born of flesh, but wind is born of wind.” (Or flesh is born of flesh, but the spirit is born of spirit.) “Don’t be surprised that I said you must be born again. The wind blows where it will. You hear the sound of its passing, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with anyone born of the wind…born of the spirit.” That, of course, only confused the questioner more. And that, of course, was Jesus’s point. He was saying that something has to happen to you, before you can see God’s Kingdom…before you can see God at work in the world and in eternity. Something has to change in you. I am pretty sure he was also paying the questioner, who had already admitted that he saw God and God’s presence in the things Jesus was doing and saying, a compliment. He was telling this honest, devout Jew, that if he saw God in what Jesus was going, he was already born again…born of the wind, born of the spirit…whether he knew it or not. But that is straying pretty far from snowfences. Or is it?

My first thought was about the futility of trying to fence out the snow, or the wind. At the very most, all we do is slow the wind and reposition the snow. It is equally impossible of course to fence out, or to fence in, the spirit. It is an odd thought, but building a church, or establishing a doctrine (building a fence) might slow the spirit enough so you get a drift on the down wind side, a congregation or a denomination, but it does not stop the spirit from blowing where it will. And I am not at all sure I want to be part of the drift. If I am going to be snow in this metaphor, I want to be the snow still blowing in the wind…I want to part of the movement, the force, the power and unknowable purpose of the spirit. And maybe Jesus was telling his devout Jew that too…not to settle in the drift, behind the snowfence, but to get up into the wind again and get moving. The Kingdom of God is not a place, it is a movement like the wind…a way of being suspended…lifted out of yourself and part of the great wind that is God acting in love in the world. You have to be born of the wind, born on the wind (I don’t know if Jesus had that pun to play with in his language, but we do in ours 🙂 Our mother’s carried us in a womb of flesh…the spirit carries us on the wind of loving creation. Born of and in the flesh and born of and on the spirit. 

So yes, when I look at this snowfence I see beauty, but I am also amused. A snowfence? As though anyone could fence in the snow. A wind fence, as though anyone could fence in the wind. And who are you in this metaphor? I know who I want to be. I want to be God’s creative love in action. I want to be a particle of snow, a paricle of water, a particle of flesh, born on the mighty breath of God in this world and eternity. Happy Sunday!

The Bluebird of unhappiness

Eastern Bluebird, Kennebunk Maine


We continue to get unusual numbers of Bluebirds in the yard this winter…any at all is unusual, as before this winter we had never had one…but they are appearing in small flocks of 4-8 individuals at least once a week. We even had one at the sunflower feeder yesterday, and that is very unusual for a Bluebird. I have to say, they did not look like the bluebirds of happiness yesterday with a foot of new snow on the ground covering their feeding areas and temperatures in the single digits. This image was taken through the thermopane glass of the kitchen sliding door, so it is not as sharp as it might be, but it does catch the frumpy attitude of a cold Bluebird. There is another foot or more of snow in the forecast over the next 2 days, so I don’t think the Bluebirds’ mood is going to improve anytime soon. We may see more of them at the sunflower feeder though. 🙂

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Kennebunk Eagle

Bald Eagle, Kennebunk Maine

Here is the best of my shots from my encounter with the Kennebunk Eagle two days ago. I celebrated the encounter with a poem that day too. February 8. A pair of Bald Eagles nest somewhere along the Mousam between the bridge over the Mousam on Route 1 and the bridge on Route 9. Probably someone knows where, but I don’t. It must be on private land along the river. The pair, or one or the other of them, is often perched across the river from Roger’s Pond Park just off Route 1 in the center of town. I go there several times a week in hopes of catching one on a perch low enough for good photos. This one was not…it was high up in a tall pine half way up the big bank on the other side of the river. 

I shot this at 600mm equivalent field of view, then processed it in Polarr on my iPad Pro, then cropped it heavily in BigPhoto and upscaled it to 16mp again, so it has, you might say, been through the wringer.  1/800th @ ISO 100 @ f4.