Monthly Archives: May 2017

Yellow Warbler Song

Yellow Warbler, Timber Point Trail, Rachel Carson NWR, Goose Rocks, Maine

I suspect many of the migrant warblers snuck up the coast past us on a rainy day last week…or a series of rainy days. On my visit to Timber Point Trail, in the new section of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge across from Goose Rocks here in Maine, I saw only two warblers species…both resident. There were Common Yellowthroats flitting around the brush, and a few very visible and vocal Yellow Warblers. This one landed on a branch right overhead and was busy enough with its song to let me take a few pics. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr. 

Painted TrilliumĀ 

Painted Trillium, Rachel Carson NWR Headquarters trail, Wells Maine

It is realitively uncommon for the Painted Trillium and Lady Slipper Orchid to be in bloom the same days…but this is one of those uncommon years. Generally the Trilliums have gone by by the time the Lady Slippers open. This Trillium was right across the trail from the sunny slope where the Lady Slippers come into bloom first. The even light of an overcast day allowed me to catch all the detail in this beautiful flower.

This is a telephoto macro…taken at 600mm equivalent on the Sony Rx10iii from about 5 feet. 1/200th @ f4.5 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr. 

Pink Lady Slipper Orchid

Pink Lady Slipper Orchid, Rachel Carson NWR, Wells Maine

I am always impatient for the Pink Lady Slipper Orchids to bloom along the loop trail at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquaters in Wells Maine. It is only a mile loop, but it is one of the best places for spring woodland flowers in Southern Maine. The Lady Slippers are late this year. I have checked weekly for 4 weeks. Yesterday was overcast…not the best light…the parking at Rachel Carson was overfull, and there were way too many people, in Maine for the long weekend, on the trails, but the Lady Slippers did not seem to care. They were in bloom finally. They are not at their most intense pink this year…and the light was subdued…but still!

Sony Rx10iii at 530mm. Program with Program Shift for greater depth of field. f7.1 @ 1/80th @ ISO 250. Processed in Polarr. 

Seaworthy

Old boat, Timber Point, Rachel Carson NWR, Biddeford Pool, Maine

I rarely post black and white images. I see in color. I think in color. My world is a world of color. When people post comparison shots…color and black and white of the same scene and ask “which is better?…I always pick the color shot. Still…this aging boat out behind the old boat house on Timber Point (Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge) just did not work as well as I had hoped in color…so I experimented with the b&w filters in Polarr to see if I could bring out the bones of the image. I wish I could say I saw this image in the boat when I took the shot…but I did not. It is a happy, and totally unforseen, result. But I love it! It captures more than I saw…more than I imagined. It totally catches the boat in all its decaying glory. It is unashamedly artsy. And that is good, at least on occasion. 

Sony Rx10iii in-camera HDR at 43mm equivalent. 6 stop difference at -1 EV to hold the highlights and fill the shadows. Processed as a color image in Polarr using my standard HDR filter plus some shadow control. Converted to B&W using a Polarr filter. Further edited for highlight control at the sunny left end of the boat. 

Elderberry

Elderberry, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, W. Kennebunk Maine

As I mentioned in a previous post, the flowering shrubs this year seem to be more flower-full than I can remember from past springs. This Elderberry bush standing all alone on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area in West Kennebunk Maine is a case in point. If it ever had this many flowers on it in past years I must have totally missed its flowering. I am not at all sure what that says about our spring weather. Spring seemed late, and continues to feel that way, with many woodland flowers still missing…but then you see a display like this one and you have to wonder. 

Sony Rx10iii at 100mm equivalent field of view. Program mode with Program Shift to f11 for greater depth of field. f11 @ 1/200th @ ISO 100. Processed n Polarr. 

Lady Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker, the yard, Kennebunk Maine.

Yesterday I went to the kitchen to see about some coffee, and there was a squirrel on the bird feeders. I opened the back deck door to chase him away, and before I got it closed, a Chipping Sparrow in nice fresh spring plumage landed on the deck rail. I popped back to my room for the camera, but, of course, the sparrow was gone when I got back. I was about to close the door when movement along the the tree line that separates our back yard from the next caught my eye. Wooo! Big bird! A Pileated Woodpecker was low on the trunk of one of the trees, less than 3 feet from the ground. How often does that happen when you have your camera in you hand?

I know we have at least one pair of Pileateds living in the neighborhood. I hear them drumming on occasion, and rarely catch glimpses of them when walking. This is only the 2nd time one has been in our yard though, and the first was several years ago. That was a male, and this, clearly, is a female. I would love to have then nesting in the yard, or to know exactly where the nest is. This one stayed about 2 minutes, and then flew off over the house toward the woodlots along the rail-road track. It was indeed a pleasure to see it…and a real treat to get a photo.

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. ISO 640 @ 1/250th @ f4. Processed in Polarr. 

Marsh Wren RampantĀ 

Marsh Wren, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine

This Marsh Wren, singing in the marsh at the edge of Drake’s Island on the back side of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm in Wells Maine, was at the limits of what could be photographed, and it just would not come any closer. Still I had to try…and the pose alone is worth the shot. I have seen Bearded Tits strike this pose in Holland, but this is my first Marsh Wren…though I am sure they do it often. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. 1/400th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Program Mode. Processed and heavily cropped in Polarr. 

Fiddlehead

Fern Fiddlehead, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells Maine

It is the season of fiddleheads. There were two big baskets of them at the local grocery this week, and they are everywhere you go in the woods of Southern Maine. I found this one growing along a little steam at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine. I have probably taken several hundred shots of fiddleheads over the years, and I know for a fact that I have taken at least a dozen this year…but this one is special. I knew it would be as soon as I saw that the fiddlehead was silhouetted against the dark shadowed water of the stream. It has a studio look…as though I set up the background and controlled the lighting…but is a natural background and just the light of the morning sun. I did use Program Shift on the camera to increase the depth of field…to keep the foreground leaflets in focus while the hairs on the stem are still sharp…necessary at the longer focal length needed to frame the fiddlehead from the little bridge across the stream. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. f9 @ 1/160th @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr. 

Big bug, little bird…

Dragonfly sculpture with Bluebird. Laudholm Farms, Wells National Estuarine Research Center

The Eastern Bluebird is not a small bird by some standards. It is bigger than all except one warbler (and some question whether the Chat should be in the Warbler family at all), and bigger than most sparrows. And, of course, even the largest dragonfly is considerably smaller than either a warbler or a sparrow…unless you are talking about this giant dragonfly sculpture seen on the grounds of Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Center…for now…until Trump’s budget goes through…then very likely just Laudholm Farms since the Trump team has proposed defunding Esuturaine Reserach Centers). Laudholm Farms is hosting a major outdoor sculpture exhibit, opening May 26, and many of the sculptures are already installed…though they have not yet published the catalog so I don’t know who created this particular giant dragonfly…I certainly admire the work. And so, apparently, does the Bluebird. This is not the only sculpture that was serving as a Bluebird perch when I visited. They seemed to like the flat cut steel statue of a fawn down the hill from the dragonfly as well. One can only hope that no matter what Trump and the Republicans do, the Laudholm Trust will find a way to continue to protect the estuaries, the uplands, and the buildings of the farms for all to enjoy. I am pretty sure the Bluebirds (and dragonflies, not mention sculpters and sculpture lovers) would appreciate it. I am certain I would.

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

Wild Turkey


Some of you may know the story of how, when our founding fathers were deciding on the national bird, Ben Franklin lobbied for the Wild Turkey, and argued vigorously against the Bald Eagle. The man knew his birds. He knew that the Eagle, majestic as it is,  is an opportunistic scavenger. He also knew that the Eagle has a habit of stealing prey from smaller raptors, often bullying them into dropping their catch before they can reach a safe perch. Ben did not think a big, aggressive, bullying, scavenger should be the emblem of our new nation. On the other hand, I have never quite understood his affection for the Wild Turkey…jaded as I am by too many Thanksgiving dinners featuring farm raised turkey…boyhood images of the big commercial turkey farm near home, and the gobbler my grandfather always free ranged on his farm…fattening him up for the feast. And then of course there is the cultural stigma attached to the name by now…also based, I am certain, on farm raised turkeys…which are about as mindless as a bird can get. (I put the mindlessness down to generations of interbreeding aimed only at increasing the size of the bird’s breast.) And then I come upon a bird like the one pictured here…and I know exactly what Ben was on about in his defense of the Wild Turkey as our national bird. This is as handsome and industrious a creature as ever walked the earth…and beautiful in the bargain. And peaceful. Willing (and able…note that spur on the leg just into the frame at the bottom) to defend itself and its females and pults…but not aggressive or needlessly assertive in any way. I have to wonder what difference it might have made in our national character if Ben had had his way…and we were the nation of the Wild Turkey and not the Bald Eagle. Ah well…Franklin lost the debate to others more concerned about prestige and far less knowledgeable about birds. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. 1/250th @ ISO 320 @ f4 out the window of a running car. Processed in Polarr.