There is a tiny pond on a flat spot in the 40 foot slope between Roger’s Pond and the Mousam River…it looks like a garden pond in fact…and it is full of water plants and flowers. This is Broadleaf Arrowhead, which had come into bloom between visits. As a bonus, which I did not actually see until I was editing the image, we have a tiny Carpenter Bee of some kind…a member of the Small Carpenter Bee clan. To provide scale here, the flower is just over an inch wide. There are actually two bees. One is up under the yellow center of the flower. And as a super-bonus, there is also a really tiny aphid front and center below the yellow.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. This is a super-telephoto macro, taken at 1680mm equivalent field of view (840mm optical plus 2x digital tel-converter), from about 5 feet. f6.3 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 200. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness. Some noise reduction applied to smooth out digital artifacts, especially in the background.
While watching the Konik ponies from the observation tower at the Oostvaardersplassen on Sunday, a small band of Red Deer ran the full length of the Konik herd and around the near end on their way to the open plain beyond. There was a large crowd of Dutchmen in the tower, and they all rushed to the glass and exclaimed loudly for the whole run. I was able to wedge in at the far side of the window, shooting at a sharp angle through very dirty glass. Still!
Red Deer are the only “native” herbivore currently on the Oostvaardersplassen in any numbers…both the Konik ponies and the Heck cattle stand in for extinct species. There are also a few (maybe more than a few) Roe Deer who have wandered into the refuge from surrounding areas…naturally colonizing the new lands around Lelystad, but, a least in late summer, they do not form herds and are not as visible.
The Red Deer of the Oostvaardersplassen are the most heavily managed of the mammals. Being more fecund than either the Konik ponies or Heck cattle, they outstrip the available fodder every year…and the herd is cut off from other natural areas by dykes, expressways, rail lines, and miles of agricultural land. The plan was to build a system of wildlife corridors, and wildlife bridges where necessary, to connect the natural areas of Holland, and all of western Europe, but the economic crisis of the last few years has put it on hold. For now, every year the wildlife managers on the refuge have to cull the herd to remove animals that would not live through the winter. They are as humane as possible about it, but the fact remains that until the wildlife corridor system is complete it is a less than ideal solution.
None of that, of course, detracts from the beauty of the Red Deer. Rut season at the Oostvaardersplassen is a major tourist attraction in Holland, and you can book a day in a mobile blind to observe the Stags in their seasonal dominance battles.
I was interested in the interaction between the Konik ponies and the Red Deer. The Deer were of the “keep our heads down and pretend we don’t see them” mind, while the ponies were very aware of the deer passing through.
Eventually the herd of Red Deer got free of the herd of Koniks, and raced away to the dryer ground on the other side of the ponds, putting up the geese as they passed.
A Dutch gentleman, perhaps feeling the giddy enthuasium of his fellow countrymen in the observation tower needed some explaination, took me aside to say that, in Holland, the discussion has always been about “how to be man” and that the Dutch are just learning to respond to the very different rhythms of the natural world. With places like the Oostvaardersplassen, they have made a good start.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. 840mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness, and color balance (to compensate for the glass).
I am just back from 3 days in Flevoland in the Netherlands, visiting the Oostvaardersplassen where the Dutch Birdfair was held again this year, for the first year since 2008. The Oostvaardersplassen is 22 square miles of sea-bed, reclaimed in 1968 with the rest of Flevoland, and now set aside as a nature reserve under the management of the State Forestry Service. It is a RAMSTAR important bird site, and is managed primarily for nesting and migrating birds…and is a major stop-over on the European migration. It consists of part of a large lake (the Markermeer), extensive reedbeds and wetlands, and a dryer upland area. If left on its own, the dryer area would quickly fill in with willow forest, eventually constricting and narrowing the marsh, making the area less attractive for birdlife. To keep the upland more open requires large grazing herbivores. Before human settlement, these would have been the Tarpin (wild horse), European Bison, Red Deer, Moose, and Auroch (wild cattle). To simulate natural conditions herds of Konik ponies, Heck cattle, and Red Deer have been established in the reserve and allowed to develop naturally. Both the Konik ponies and the Heck cattle are attempts to breed back to something like the original wild stock.
On Sunday, between intense rain storms, I hiked out to the observation tower overlooking the plains of the Oostvaardersplassen.
I had been there the day before and seen a few Heck cattle, two Roe deer, and three Konik ponies in the distance, but on Sunday, the whole herd of Koniks was relatively close to the tower. To cap the experience, the sun broke through for a few moments.
These images were taken through the very dirty glass of the observation tower and required extensive work with the spot removal tool in Lightroom, as well as some color balance adjustment.
The Konik ponies are beautiful animals in any light, and even through dirty glass.
All images Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness…color correction and spot removal.
I am back from Holland. This is from my final evening there…appropriate. With the chancy weather I had been looking for a rainbow for 2 days, but it was just hanging there when we walking back to the car on Sunday.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. 51mm equivalent field of view. f4.5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 200. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
Sometimes, you just have to look close. A friend and I were walking the main trail in the the Oostvaardersplassen in the Netherlands between rainstorms looking for birds, when, somehow, this fellow caught my eye in the reeds. It was so dark overhead and so dark down in the reed bed that I had to use the flash. Actually the tangle of reeds served as an ideal diffuser and made the lighting look very natural.
This is a macro at 24mm equivalent plus 1.5x digital tel-converter…which is my favorite macro combination…allowing a good image scale and a comfortable working distance.
I do not know what kind of snail it is. If I had taken it around home I would have looked it up, but I am not yet ready to go looking for Dutch snail sites on the internet.
f2.7 @ 1/60th @ ISO 125. Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
This is the accidental prairie/marsh formed when they built out the last section of the coast of the Netherlands in the 70s. Today it is home to an ancient breed of horse, recreated ancient cattle, Red Deer, foxes, and a few hundred species of birds…as well as being a major stop-over site on the European migration for many more. It is essential Holland, reclaimed from the sea-bed, cut by canals, backed up against a large inland lake, right on the edge of the sea. A beautiful place.
The weather while I was there was typical Dutch summer weather, with fronts coming through continuously: bouts of rain, sometimes heavy, and then periods of sun under skies straight out of a painting by Jacob van Ruisdael.
I felt blessed to be there, even when caught in a sudden downpour, even when the umbrella turned inside out.
These shots are with, of course, the Canon SX40HS. The top one was taken through the very dirty glass of an observation tower on the refuge, and I learned just how good the spot-removal tool is in Lightroom. It is very good!
1) 24mm equivalent field of view. f4 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 125. 1) 2 frame panorama, stitched in PhotoShop Elements. 24mm equivalent shots. f5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 200. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
And for the Sunday thought…well, it is going on 10PM here in Holland after a full day of work, workshops, and some birding and photography, and slightly too much good Chinese food. I am feeling decidedly spiritual in the sense of blessed and grateful, but my mind is too tired to make much more of it than that. I have an early train ride to the airport and then the long trans-Atlantic flight home, so I am thinking mostly of packing and getting some sleep. It has been, however, a great Sunday, and I hope yours was too!
My post is late today because I am still in the Netherlands. I spent the day at the Dutch Birdfair and am only now back to my hotel and wifi.
This is an Admiral. I had to ask a local to be sure, but I was already tempted to call it that just based on the, at least superficial, similarity to our North American Admirals. It is by far the most common butterfly in this part of Holland at the moment.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. f5.8 @ 1/400th @ ISO 125. 1680mm equivalent field of view.
Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
As I mentioned, I am in the Netherlands for a few days for the Dutch Birdfair. It is at the Oostvaardersplassen in Lelystad, and Lelystad is a new town on land only reclaimed from the sea in the 70s. The Oostvaardersplassen (east fisherman’s ponds) is a large expanse of newly flooded land (again, the 70s) which is adjacent to Lelystad and which has developed into a world class bird refuge. I barely got to the edge of it today, walking from my hotel on too little sleep and without adequate hydration, but it is certainly impressive.
Right across from the hotel, which is actually the barracks buildings for the workers who diked and drained the land in the 70s, is the yacht basin (or one of the yacht basins) for Lelystad. It seems like at least half the people in Holland have a boat…no…not really, but there are sailing boats of all kinds and all sizes docked near the hotel. I am pretty sure the boats above are traditional canal barges.
The highlight of the trip so far, however, has to be the butterflies. Totally unexpected. I saw at least three today that are new to me (not surprising as it is my first trip to Holland).
I have not had time to look them up yet. This is the first one. Maybe one of you can help with the IDs.
And we will finish with a view of the Oostvaardersplassen itself (or at least a smallish section of it).
That tiny white speck by the trees on the left is the blind I walked to today.
I am off for the Netherlands in a few hours. I will attempt to continue my posts from there, though they will be kind of out of kilter here due to the time difference. That is if I have reliable wifi?
This is what I call Back Creek Pond #1. It is formed where Route 9 crosses one branch of the drainage that becomes Back Creek. There is another pond just down the road on the other branch, which I call Back Creek Pond #2. And, as I mentioned last time I featured this little bit of water, though it looks idyllic, in reality I am standing on the very narrow verge of a busy highway to take this shot, cars whooshing by my toosh, so to speak.
And, if you can break away from that image, and back to this one…what I like here is depth…the foreground of reeds and late summer flowers with the pond receding behind, and the great August sky. To me it just says “high August”. In Maine, in August we often get fall air and summer sun. An interesting mix.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. 24mm equivalent field of view. f4.5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 200. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
A three shot panorama looking up the Mousam from the bridge on Route 9 in Kennebunk. Again. I have been compelled to take this view before. It is one of the few spots in our flat forested county were you can get a mostly unobstructed view of the horizon to the west. East is easy. We have the ocean on that side. West, well you can go here, or you can go to the Kennebunk Plains, but that is about it. And here you have the river to catch the sky. We are coming up on some of the best skies of the summer, as fronts pass in late August and early September. This is certainly one of them. (For the best view, click the image and it will open at the full width of your monitor.)
I thought about cloning out the bit of telephone pole on the left and the wires on the right, but decided they add to the framing and don’t distract too much. Besides I like the bobber and bit of ribbon caught on the wire
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. Three 24mm equivalent shots. f5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 125. Stitched in PhotoShop Elements’ PhotoMerge tool. Final processing in Lightroom.