Posts By Steve

Frosted Whiteface vs Chalk-fronted Corporal

Frosted Whiteface, Chalk-fronted Corporal Dragonflies

At Day Brook Pond the other day, I caught this Frosted Whiteface dragonfly, and a Chalk-fronted Corporal alternating between two perches on the same Birch twigs over the water. I wanted to get them in the same image, as the comparison is interesting…especially the size comparison. I think of the Corporal as being a small dragonfly, but it is huge when compared to the delicate Whiteface. 

While it would have made an excellent shot, the Whiteface’s twig was maybe 6 inches in front of the Corporal’s twig, and, though I attempted it, there was no way to get them in focus at the same time. So I took two shots, one focused on the Whiteface and the second on the Corporal, thinking that maybe I could merge them when I got home. I am working on the iPad and I used three apps for this composition. First I processed the shots identically for light and detail in Polarr, using my “birds” preset. Then I took both shots into Adobe PhotoShop Mix as layers, and cut out the blurred Whiteface to expose the sharp one on the layer behind. That left a visible margin between the two images where the background did not match perfectly, so I saved the combined image and reopened it in Polarr. There I was able to smooth the edges of the join using the Brush and the Blur control. I saved that. In looking at it however, I decided that I had cropped the Whitetail a little too close to the edge. I opened the image in HandyPhoto which has a Magic Uncrop tool, and used it to add some real estate to the left of the Whiteface. In HandyPhoto is just a matter of extending the frame and the program fills it in with cloned background. 

And there you have it. A digitally created, true to life, comparison of a Frosted Whiteface and a Chalk-fronted Corporal dragonfly. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode at -.7 EV. 1/125th @ ISO 125 @ f5.6. Processed as above. ๐Ÿ™‚

Obelisking Calicao Pennant

Calico Pennant Dragonfly, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area

Obelisking is a dragonfly behavior, in which the dragon points its abdomen directly up at the sun. It is also called sun-posting. In this position the dragonfly limits its exposure to the the sun’s rays on hot days, and maintains its body temperature below critical levels. This is a female Calico Pennant dragonfly on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area near Kennebunk Maine. Pennants are called pennants because of their habit of perching on the very tip of bare twigs and dead grass stalks, where they kind of flap in the wind…like a pennant. ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t you just love dragonfly names! 

I like dragonflies. They are amazing creatures, and beautiful in a steampunk kind of way. But I like this shot simply as an image. The combination of the strong simple forms of the twigs, and the beautiful buttery out-of-focus-background (bokeh in photo-speak), with the intricate and delicate design of the ballet-posing bug, produce a graphic with is powerful yet very simple. 
Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with Program Shift for greater depth of field. f6.3 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr. 

Recent Toads and Frogs :)

American Toad, Northern Leopard Frog, ? Mink Frog, N. Leopard Frog, American Toad, Wood Frog

It seems to be the season for Toads and Frogs in Southern Maine. The panel represents, left to right and down: 1) American Toad from the back yard…a really big fellow, 4 inches 2) Northern Leopard Frog from Forever Wild Preserve in West Kennebunk. 2 inches. 3) Possibly a Mink Frog…if so a first for me…if not, someone please correct me ๐Ÿ™‚ 3 inches, 4) N. Leopard Frog in sunlight, again from the Forever Wild Preserve, 2 inches 5) American Toad, smaller by far and in deep forest at Emmon’s Preserve (Kennebunkport Land Conservancy), 2 inches, and 6) Wood Frog, one the largest I have ever seen, from the Alwive Woods Preserve (Kennebunk Land Trust) 3.5 inches. 

With toads and frogs, I always grab a shot from too high up…whatever…just to get a shot before the critter hops deeper into cover…but then, if the subject is cooperative I like to work my way down closer to eye-level. Most of the time they are not cooperative. ๐Ÿ™ 

Sony Rx10iii mostly at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Various exposures in various light. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic. 

Beauty in odd places…

Bracket Mushroom, Alwive Woods Preserve, W. Kennebunk Maine

Beautiful Bracket Mushrooms on dying tree at Alwive Woods Preserve (Kennebunk Land Trust), in West Kennebunk Maine. They look like fine polished wood sculptures. 

Sony RX10III at 34mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Nominal exposure: 1/125 @ f2.8 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr. 

Lady Slipper in the sun…

Pink Lady Slipper, Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area

There is a little cluster of Pink Lady Slipper Orchids out by Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area that is unique in that the flowers are in full sun for much of the day. Most of the other clusters I know of are in deep shade…though, considering, it is clear the flowers like a bit of sun even in the forest. The cluster at Day Brook Pond is under a big pine on the shore, and the flowers are among the easiest Lady Slippers to photograph of any I know. 

Sony Rx10iii at 97mm equivalent. Program mode, with Program Shift for greater depth of field. f13 @ 1/200 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr. 

Bluebird on my feeder…

Eastern Bluebird. Kennebunk Maine

I have mentioned the pair of Eastern Bluebirds that are visiting our yard daily. Not quite the bluebird on my shoulder experience but close…bluebird on my feeder. This is the female, perched on the feeder pole at the corner of the deck about 8 feet from the sliding door. I got the door open far enough to hold the camera out through the gap for an unobstructed view. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/320th @ f4 @ ISO 100. -.7 EV. Processed in Polarr. 

The Tree that holds up the sky…repriseย 

Maple Tree. Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport Maine

I have photographed this tree before…it is one of my favorite trees. This is a vertical panorama shot to get the whole tree in. It just seems to have such strength! The tree that holds up the sky!

Sony Rx10iii in Panorama mode. Processed in Polarr. 

But mom, I don’t want a bath!

White-tailed Deer, Back Creek Marsh, Kennebunk Maine

If you read yesterdays Day Poem, you know that Carol and Kelia called me from the beach to say there were 3 deer in the marsh behind the dunes. Just on the chance they would be there, I drove down. They were. A doe and two fawns still in their spotted coats. They were out in the marsh beside the main bed of the stream, at high tide, when most of the marsh is flooded. It looked like the doe wanted to cross, but could no persuade the fawns that it was safe, so they retreated toward firmer ground. The distance was at least 150 yards, so not ideal even at 600mm, but I am pleased with the cropped shots. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic. 


Chipmunk, Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine

I posted a shot of an Eastern Towhee digging in a just dried vernal pool the other day, and mentioned that a Chipmunk was following it around the pool looking in the holes it made for acorns…well seasoned by their time underwater. The Chipmunk was so intent on its task that it paid no attention to me. It was just over 6 feet from me here…6 feet in line of sight…so maybe 3 feet from my foot. Such a treasure! It got that acorn tucked in its cheek pouch and scampered off to store it with its hard. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/250th @ ISO 1000 @ f4. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic. 

Do you see me?

White-tailed Deer, Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine

You will need to look carefully or you might think this is just a shot of standing cattail reeds. Can you see the subject of interest. There is a White-tailed Deer standing in the reeds. A tricky focus problem…but Sony’s Direct Manual Focus handled it. 

There is a poem that goes with this image too. I will add it at the end.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with Direct Manual Focus. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr. 

The poem:

As I stood on the Marsh View 
deck at Laudholm Farms, 
listening to a Marsh Wren sing 
and looking for the source, 
I saw movement through the 
cattail reeds, maybe 30 yards 
out. Something big and mammal 
like. It took me a long moment 
of looking before my eyes, 
before my brain, could sort the 
shapes and assemble them, 
puzzle like, through the reeds. 
Yes two big ears, and a long 
nose, and a body almost completely 
screened, but there. A White Tailed 
Deer. She stood and looked at me, 
probably more certain of what 
I was than I was of her. I raised the 
camera and focused manually to 
see if I could capture the magic 
of the moment…and then, greedy,
shifted just to my left to try for 
a better line of sight, and she was 
off, bounding high, white flag 
following, splashing through the 
water and the reeds toward the 
safety of the wooded shore.