Photographs by Frank

26 January 2015

Practice

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 8:00 PM

Like so many things in life, photographing small birds takes practice.

Thus, yesterday afternoon I set up the chair blind, tripod, etc. near the feeders in our yard intent on getting some practice.

In addition to the usual birds we see all winter (chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers*) we have been seeing small flocks (8-12 individuals) of goldfinches at the feeder in the past week or so. I photographed them all yesterday.

I have decided that the titmice are the hardest of these birds to photograph.

Many individuals fly directly to the feeder from fairly far afield. Those that do stop at one of my “photo perches” near the feeder rarely stay for more than two or three second; a much shorter interval than any of the other species**.

Photographing titmice requires rapid reflexes… and much practice!

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White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Tufted Titmouse #1
Tufted Titmouse #1
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Tufted Titmouse #2
Tufted Titmouse #2

* We also seem to have a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers that visit the suet feeder regularly, most often fairly early in the morning. I did not see them yesterday afternoon.

** The red-bellies are hard to photograph as well for similar reasons. They spend a much shorter time at the feeder than the other woodpeckers. They stay only long enough to dislodge a large chunk of suet which they then carry off into the woods. I suspect that they cache much of this food for later use.


 

19 January 2015

Snow and Light

Filed under: Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Snow is not simple.

Once it falls to the ground, it begins to change. It is sculpted by the wind, pitted by rain, trod upon by animals, etc.

The late afternoon sunlight playing upon a snowy landscape makes life interesting for photographers.

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Untitled #5

 

Sermons in Stone

Filed under: Monadnock Region,The "New" Yard & Environs,Winter — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Joan’s old friend Sally sent me a copy of a wonderful book about stone walls for the holidays.

I finished the book, Sermons in Stone by Susan Allport, last week and was inspired to photograph the snowy walls along Brimstone Corner Road.

All of these photos were made within a quarter mile of the house.

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Sermon #1
Sermon #1
Sermon #2
Sermon #2
Sermon #3
Sermon #3
Sermon #4
Sermon #4
Sermon #5
Sermon #5
Sermon #6
Sermon #6
Sermon #7
Sermon #7
Sermon #8
Sermon #8
Sermon #9
Sermon #9

 

10 January 2015

Handmade Books

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank @ 6:00 PM

A few years ago (before I retired), I bought a book titled Book + Art. Handcrafting Artists’ Books by Dorothy Simpson Krause. At the time I read through it but I did not find the time to experiment. Now, I have the time… so I have been experimenting!

My proximate motivation, was the series of “Autumnal Abstracts” I made this fall. I was interested in finding a way to display a set of images from this series and a small book seemed like a good solution.

My first usable book (Photo A1, below) began with two small photos printed on a half sheet of regular inkjet photo paper which was then folded in half. This makes for a final a page size of  4.25″ x 5.5″. Three of these folded sheets were then sewn into a card stock cover.

This construction is very nontraditional…the open ends of the folded sheets are placed at the crease of the cover and sewn in place. More usually, the creases of the pages are place into the crease on the cover for sewing.  However, the “odd” construction worked pretty well and I did not need double sided inkjet photo paper. One small snag with this construction is that the book is very stiff… it does not lay open by itself. (This is why there is not a photo of the inside!)

I was so pleased with the result that I made seven more copies for an edition of eight!

After my “success” with the Autumnal Abstract series, I decided to try a similar but larger book (see photo A7) with photos from my “Flow” project. The construction is the same as above but I used 11″ x 17″ sheet of paper; again printing two images per sheet. This results in an 8.5″ x 11″ page when folded in half. For a cover, I used a very nontraditional material…  a sheet of thin “craft foam” from one of the chain stores.

Emboldened and wanting to experiment further, I switched back to the Autumnal Abstract series.

The next version  (Photos A2 and A3) of was a more traditional construction. I made, using traditional methods, a small booklet (4.5″ x 6″)  out of bristol board and I glued photos on to the pages.

In looking though my stash of photo paper, I found that I actually had a package of double-sided paper. It is not high quality paper but it sufficed for another experiment. I printed two photos on each side of a half sheet of this paper and trimmed them so that the pages were 5.25″ square when folded in half, Three of these folios were stacked together for the final book. I added a card stock cover and bound them all together with a traditional pamphlet stitch. The result (Photos A4 and A5) is a very traditional looking  booklet.

About this time, I visited Zephyr Designs, an art supply store over in Brattleborough, Vermont. I came back home with a number of sheets of decorative paper with which to continue my experiments!

Photo A6 shows one result. The construction is similar to the second version described above except that I again”went square” (6″ x 6″) and the cover is made from a piece of heavy and woody paper rather than simple card stock.

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a1
a1
a2
a2
a3
a3
a4
a4
a5
a5
a6
a6
a7
a7

Long thin (i.e. panoramic) photos are often difficult to display traditionally (i.e. matted and framed). In thinking about this “problem”, I decided that an accordion book might be the solution… so I experiments some more!

I won’t bore you with all of the failed experiments. Suffice to say that most photo papers have coatings that crack when folded and that a number of the resin coated papers contort into all sorts of interesting shapes when glued to more traditional papers! (Plastic coated papers don’t react to moisture the same way as regular papers do.)

My first successful attempts at accordion books involved printing on regular watercolor paper (a half sheet that measures about 7″ x 20″) and adding decorative paper covers to the end panels. (see Photos A and B below; these are showing up at the end of the series for some reason…. #%@$ computers!)

This was a good start, but not every photo looks good with the muted contrast one gets when printing on “plain” watercolor paper. So I continued my search for an ink jet paper that would work in this context. I also was interested in completely covering the back of the print (i.e. not just adding covers) with decorative paper.

I think that I have got all of the problems solved! The remainder of the photos below show the front and back of five different accordion books (measuring about 5.75″ x 16″) that I have made over the past few days.

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C - Gregg Lake in Autumn (front)
C - Gregg Lake in Autumn (front)
D - Gregg Lake in Autumn (back)
D - Gregg Lake in Autumn (back)
E - Tomatoes (front)
E - Tomatoes (front)
F - Tomatoes (back)
F - Tomatoes (back)
G - Flight (front)
G - Flight (front)
H - Flight (back)
H - Flight (back)
I - Presidential Range (front)
I - Presidential Range (front)
J - Presidential Range (back)
J - Presidential Range (back)
A - Gregg Lake in Autumn (front)
A - Gregg Lake in Autumn (front)
B - Gregg Lake in Autumn (back)
B - Gregg Lake in Autumn (back)

 

9 January 2015

Plow Truck

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Here in northern New England, folks with long driveways often keep a “plow truck”.

These old (and usually unregistered) pickup trucks are kept running for the sole purpose of plowing snow off the driveway during our long cold winters.

I have driven past this long unused plow truck dozens of times over the past three or four years but the light falling on it was never “interesting”. Yesterday morning things were different. Thus, with the temperature in the single digits and ungloved hands, I stopped and made a few exposures of this plow truck.

Oddly, this particular plow truck has been left way down at the road end of a driveway that is long enough that one can not see the house from the road. Usually plow trucks are kept up near the house. After all, who wants to have to walk the length of a long driveway in deep snow just to begin the clearing of one’s driveway. Just one of life’s little mysteries!

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Plow Truck
Plow Truck
Plow Truck (detail)
Plow Truck (detail)

 

Patterns in the Snow (and Ice)

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon Joan and I took a walk “down back” in “our” beaver-made wetland. The temperature was about 15 degrees F (up from a low of -12 the previous night) but there was no wind (a stark contrast from the day before). As long as we stayed in the sunny spots the walking was quite pleasant.

The sky was cloudless. The sun was low. There was a light coating of new and very dry snow. These conditions made all sorts of interesting patterns on the frozen ground stand out. I photographed them!

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Coyote Tracks
Coyote Tracks
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Tracks #1
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Tracks #2
Tracks #2
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Untitled #11

 

31 December 2014

An Adams Dozen for 2014

Filed under: Birds,Landscapes,Odontates — Tags: , , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Back in 2011 (see this post), I started an annual tradition of choosing a dozen photographs to represent my work for the year. I some how missed making a similar post for 2012, but I continued the “tradition” in 2013 with this post.

Maybe this will actually become a tradition, since I have remembered (in a timely fashion) to choose a dozen for 2014.

Here they are:

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Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Halloween Pennant
Halloween Pennant
Eastern Pheobe
Eastern Pheobe
Tree Swallows
Tree Swallows
Merlin (male) with Prey (white-breasted nuthatch)
Merlin (male) with Prey (white-breasted nuthatch)
Tomatoes
Tomatoes
Gleason Falls in Autumn
Gleason Falls in Autumn
Ashuelot River near Marlow, NH
Ashuelot River near Marlow, NH
Closing Time
Closing Time
Caswell Cemetery (Star Island) with White Island Light in the background
Caswell Cemetery (Star Island) with White Island Light in the background
Beehive Mountain (Acadia NP)
Beehive Mountain (Acadia NP)
Sunrise with Crescent Moon (Hog Island, ME)
Sunrise with Crescent Moon (Hog Island, ME)

 

30 December 2014

Sunday Birds

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Wildlife,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Sunday was a warm (for December in NH) day… the temperature was in the mid-40’s.

Just after noon, I filled up my ersatz tree trunk with suet, set up my chair blind near the feeders and waited to see who would show up.

The chickadees, of course, were back about ten seconds after I walked away from the feeders. In addition to the numerous chickadees, there were good numbers of white-breasted nuthatches present and a few tufted titmice and blue jays. Two female downy woodpeckers appeared simultaneously a couple of times as did a lone male. Lastly, a male red-bellied woodpecker made a very brief (five frames worth) appearance.

The relatively mild temperature and sunny skies lulled me into complacency and I was under-dressed for sitting in the blind… a breeze had also developed. Thus, by two thirty, I was cold and stiff enough that I headed inside.

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Blue Jay #1
Blue Jay #1
Chickadees
Chickadees
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Blue Jay #2
Blue Jay #2
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

 

A Stroll Along The Lake

Filed under: Landscapes,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Last Thursday was the first (at least partly) sunny day in more that a week of cold, gray and rainy days. Joan and I celebrated by taking a stroll along the shore of Gregg Lake. I, of course, toted my camera.

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Lake Ice
Lake Ice
Puddle of Sky (the frozen version) #1
Puddle of Sky (the frozen version) #1
Patten Hill from Gregg Lake
Patten Hill from Gregg Lake
Puddle of Sky (the frozen version) #2
Puddle of Sky (the frozen version) #2
Beech Leaf in Snow
Beech Leaf in Snow
Puddle of Sky (the frozen version) #3
Puddle of Sky (the frozen version) #3
Puddle of Sky in Snow
Puddle of Sky in Snow

 

12 December 2014

Backyard Birds

Filed under: Birds,The Yard,Wildlife,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

This morning dawned partly sunny and cold and I was hopeful for some good skies for landscape photos today. Alas, the overcast moved in by noon so I switched plans.

About 2 o’clock, I geared up (warm clothes, camera, tripod and chair blind) and headed out to photograph the birds by the feeders. I set up about ten feet from the feeders and made my first exposure at 2:30.

By 4 o’clock the light was gone, the temperature was dropping and I had filled a memory card. I headed back inside. Twas, an enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes.

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Downy Woodpecker (female) #1
Downy Woodpecker (female) #1
Downy Woodpecker (female) #2
Downy Woodpecker (female) #2
White-breasted Nuthatch #1
White-breasted Nuthatch #1
White-breasted Nuthatch #2
White-breasted Nuthatch #2
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
Chickadee
Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch #3
White-breasted Nuthatch #3

 

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