Photographs by Frank

22 June 2020

Odes at the Lake

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Trying to beat the heat yesterday afternoon, I spent a few hours at our camp on Gregg Lake.

There were a moderate number of odes present. Most common were unidentified clubtails cruising the lake and moving so fast that I could not get a good view nor a photograph. There were also a fair number of bluets in the emergent vegetation along the lake edge.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Common Whiletail (female)
Common Whiletail (female)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Lancet Clubtail (male)
Little Bluet (male)
Little Bluet (male)

12 June 2020

Loon Chicks Again.

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:00 PM

This morning, shortly after nine, Joan and I headed down to watch the loons.

When we arrived one of the adults was with the two chicks and there was no sign of the other adult. All to be expected.

After a while, the second adult appeared with a small fish , fed one of the chicks and headed off to fish some more. This process was repeated twice more while I watched.

The fourth time the second adult appeared with a fish neither chick even wanted to get down into the water off the back of the other adult. After a bit of coaxing one of the chicks dropped into the water but it showed no interest in the offering, Eventually the adult ate the fish itself. I guess that everyone was well fed!

At this point the four birds settled down for some rest with both chick on the back of the adult that they spent the morning with. The chicks did not stay still for long intervals. They would hop down into the water and wander close to the adults. Eventually they would climb up under a wing and onto the back of the same adult each time.

After three and a half hours,I headed home for lunch. (Joan had stayed for only about ninety minutes before heading home for her guitar lesson.)

I made roughly seven hundred exposures. You should be thankful that I show only six below!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Adult Loon with Two Chicks on Back
Adult Loon with Two Chicks on Back
Adult Loon with Chick in Water
Adult Loon with Chick in Water
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #1
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #1
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #2
Adult Loon with One Chick on Back #2
Sibling Rivalry
Sibling Rivalry
Adult Loon with Two Chicks
Adult Loon with Two Chicks

11 June 2020

Loon Chicks on Gregg Lake!!!

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 8:27 PM

For the first time in living memory, we have loon chicks on Gregg Lake!

After lunch today (Thursday, 11 June 2020) Joan headed down to the lake to check out what was happening with the loons. Only ten or fifteen minutes after she left, I heard sound of gravel flying as Joan roared back up the drive way. I knew immediately that something was up.

There were two fellows fishing at the bridge who told Joan that they had seen two loon chicks leave the nest at about 2 PM. We were back at the lake as quickly as we could move and I made my first photograph at 2:35 PM.

When we arrived we observed the two adult loons over near the Craig Road bridge and no chicks, Not more than a minute or two later, a chick peaked out from under the wing of one of the adults.

For the next ninety minutes we watched the family just hanging out in the area between the nest and the Craig Road bridge. The chicks kept moving from riding on the back on the adults (one chick per adult) to bobbing like corks in the water to sheltering under the wing of an adult. While the chicks were in the water they were rarely more than a couple of feet from one of the adults.

For most of the time we watched the chicks moved freely between and around the two adults, although there was never more than one chick riding on an adult at a time.

Eventually, there was a clear change in behavior. One of the adults began to distance itself from the rest of the family and seemed to actively drive the chick that approached it back towards the other adult. At this point the adult with the two chicks, one on their back and one following in the water headed back towards the nest. (The chicks were surprisingly strong swimmers.)

The other adult clearly headed off to fish. After an interval the second adult showed up at the nest and fed a small fish to one of the chicks. I’m quite sure that that was the chicks first meal. At this point the second chick hopped into the water and pretty clearing began pestering the adult for a meal. After another short interval, the non-hunting adult climbed up onto the nest with the chicks and the other adult head out presumably to look for a meal for the second chick,

It was roughly half past four at this point and we decided to head home.

I made about seven hundred exposures this afternoon. With four individual animals in the frame the best strategy is to fire away and look for the best combination of poses when you get back to the computer. Making a quick run through the photos, I tagged about sixty frames on the first pass. Going back though those sixty or so exposures, I processed the ten shown here.

The two “first meal” photos are quite severe crops and would not make good prints. I present them here because the adrenaline was flowing as I watched in the viewfinder!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Our First Look At A Loon Chick
Our First Look At A Loon Chick
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $1
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $1
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #1
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #1
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $2
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $2
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #2
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #2
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #3
Loon Family (One Chick & Two Adults) #3
Find The Second Chick!
Find The Second Chick!
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $3
Loon Family (Two Chicks & Two Adults) $3
First Meal #1
First Meal #1
First Meal #2
First Meal #2

9 June 2020

Loons At The Nest

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:45 PM

It has been about 24 days since we first saw eggs in the loons nest on Gregg Lake. Gestation in loons is about 28 days so we are expecting (hoping) to have loon chicks over the weekend. Fingers crossed!

This afternoon, right at lunch time, Joan answered the phone and received a report that there was a loon acting strangely on the main part of the lake. We put lunch on hold, gathered up binos, spotting scope, camera, etc. and headed down to the lake.

In talking with the fellow who had seen the loon acting oddly, we decided that what he had seen was really grooming behavior and our concern abated. None-the-less, we were glad that Jeremy cared enough to make a report.

As we were chatting we got a glimpse of the loon headed in the direction of the bridge and the nest on the far side of said bridge.

We hie-tailed it over to the road where we could see the nest. Shortly after we arrived loon #2 appeared at the nest where loon #1 was sitting (The numbers are arbitrary.) The incoming loon (#1) hung around the nest for a few minutes before #2 slid into the water. #1 quickly climbed up on the nest, examined the eggs and sat down. A short while later #1 stood up, turned the eggs and resettled on the nest in the opposite direction from how it had settled the first time.

Meanwhile, #2 spent a few minutes near the nest halfheartedly tossing nest building material towards the nest. Eventually #2 motored away, dove and headed under the bridge.

As #1 settled in for the long wait, we headed home for our lunch, roughly half an hour after we arrived.

I ran some errands after lunch and arrived back at the lake about 5 PM. I spent an hour and a quarter watching the nest but there was little action, just a single loon sitting on the nest.

Every time the sun came out, the loon would open its mouth and “pant”. Birds don’t sweat. Thus to cool their bodies they evaporate water from the membranes in their mouth… More-or-less as a dog does on at hot day, but without the drool!

The first eight photos shown here are from lunchtime today; the last two from the late afternoon.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Loon Pair at Nest #1
Loon Pair at Nest #1
"Couples" (Loons and Red-winged Blackbirds)
The Switch
The Switch
Nest Keeping
Nest Keeping
Loon Pair at Nest #2
Loon Pair at Nest #2
Turning the Eggs
Turning the Eggs
Loon Pair at Nest #3
Loon Pair at Nest #3
Heading Out
Heading Out
Loon on Nest
Loon on Nest
Loon on Nest with Red-winged Blackbird
Loon on Nest with Red-winged Blackbird
Loon on Nest Panting #1
Loon on Nest Panting #1
Loon on Nest Panting #2
Loon on Nest Panting #2

30 May 2020

May — The Explosion

May is a month of explosive change here in New England.

We begin the month wondering if we will ever be able to stop feeding the stove and end the month ready for a swim many afternoons. The woods are drab and gray at the beginning of May and fully leafed out a couple of weeks later. The summer breeding birds, the earliest of which begin arriving in April , are sitting on nests by the end of May. Additionally, there are waves of both migrating birds and ephemeral wildflowers which come and go all within the month.

And… most importantly, to me anyway, the dragonflies reappear! I saw my first ode of the season, a lone Hudsonian whiteface in the woods on May second. Their population in the uplands around the house peaked a week or ten days ago… most have headed back to a wetland to breed, but there were still a few stragglers in the yard this afternoon.

The past few days have seen an explosion of chalk-fronted corporals in the uplands. Walking along the unmaintained section of Brimstone Corner Road this morning, in every sunny spot, I stirred up a dozen or more chalk-fronted corporals. The large majority were brown (either female or immature males).

There are also a few individuals of another, larger species also present… I have to find where I stashed the ode books for the winter in order to identify these!

And then there are the chipmunks… remember when, a few seasons ago, we were all concerned about the lack of chipmunks? Well… thanks to the remarkable reproductive capacity of rodents, I can report that they are back in numbers which seem larger than ever. The current generation also seems much bolder than those of the past. I have had chipmunks trying to steal seed as I was filling the bird feeders! The photo of the chipmunk which accompanies this post was made with my camera set up for odes… in this mode it can not focus beyond about four or five feet!

All of these photos were made over the course of an hour or so this afternoon.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Lady Slipper
Lady Slipper
Dragonfly - ID Needed
Dragonfly - ID Needed
Hudsonian Whiteface (immature male or female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (immature male or female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chipmunk
Chipmunk
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (immature male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (immature male)

23 May 2020

Cyanotype on Vellum Backed with Copper Leaf

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cyanotype — Frank @ 10:00 AM

Back in early April, when I started making cyanotypes again one of the papers I tried out was a cotton vellum I had lying around. I thought it might be interesting to layer the translucent vellum on top of other materials.

I was aware of Dan Burkholder’s work where he backs prints on vellum with gold leaf and thought that maybe his methods would work with cyanotypes. I signed up for Dan’s “Inkjet Alternatives Workshop” which was scheduled for the end of April. Of course, given the current state of the world the workshop was cancelled.

However, the Burkholder’s recently began selling a kit for gilding prints so I bought a kit to experiment with. I figured that a workshop would have been ideal but that the kit would get me started. I was intending to learn the materials and method with inkjet prints before moving onto cyanotypes.

However, as I went to start experimenting with the kit at the beginning of the week, I said to myself… “Self, why not just try with cyanotypes.” So I did!

I chose an image of the Cape d’Or light in Nova Scotia made with my camera obscura for this test. The negative is 4.5 inches square.

After a delay of a couple of days during which I made a stock of cyanotypes to experiment with, I began the gilding process on Wednesday. I had my first finished glided (using copper leaf) cyanotype by late yesterday (i.e. Friday) evening. The image is 4.5 inches square and it is mounted in an 8×10 inch mat.

Here it is, although I don’t think that the scans do it justice:

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Final Product (matted)
Final Product (matted)
Front
Front
Back
Back

It has a few flaws which I can hopefully avoid with the next one but it is, I think, not half bad for a first attempt!

18 May 2020

Gregg Lake Loons, Update (May 2020)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 3:43 PM

Last Friday (15 May 2020) morning , I spent a couple of hours watching the loon nest. I observed a single individual sitting on the nest and then spend a considerable fraction of the two hours I was there working on building up the nest. I saw no evidence of eggs.

This morning (Monday, 18 May 2020), I again headed down to observe the nesting loons. I arrived at about 10:15 and found a bird sitting on the nest. The temperature was in the low sixties and it was overcast.

Ten or so minutes later, I noticed a great blue heron approaching the nest area from the right. It was on the other side of vegetation from the nest and I had great hopes of an interesting photo of both the heron and the loon in a single frame. Well, I got the photo… sort of… see the third photo!

A few minutes later Joan arrived and set up the spotting scope. We were hoping to get definitive evidence of eggs.

About fifty minutes after I arrived, the loon stood up, rearranged things in the nest,sat back down and began working on the nest.

Joan was able to clearly see a single egg at this point with the spotting scope. At one point Joan could clearly see the loon lift the egg and add nest material underneath. A while later, she was able to get a clear view of two eggs in the nest. My camera was set up at a bit of a lower angle (and it does not have the same degree of magnification) so I was not able to get photos showing eggs.

Eventually, the loon must of run out of nest building material. It slipped off the nest and spent the rest of the time (more than an hour) we observed it gathering more nesting material. It does this by dredging up material from the bottom and tossing it over its shoulder towards the nest. The bird was never more that six or eight feet from the nest. On occasion it would climb onto the nest and add material to the nest. However, it was mostly in gathering mode.

About two hours after I first arrived the second loon finally made an appearance near the nest. We heard some low vocalizations between the birds at this point. The newly arrived bird tentatively approached the empty nest and eventually climbed up on to it. After a short period of egg turning and shifting around it settled down on the nest.

We decided that it was lunchtime and headed home about half past noon.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Loon Sitting On Nest
Loon Sitting On Nest
Nearby Great Blue Heron
Nearby Great Blue Heron
Loon On Nest with Heron Flyby
Loon On Nest with Heron Flyby
Loon Turning Eggs
Loon Turning Eggs
Nest Building #1
Nest Building #1
Nest Building #2
Nest Building #2
Gathering Nest Building Material
Gathering Nest Building Material
Nest Building #3
Nest Building #3
Loon Near Nest
Loon Near Nest
Loon #2
Loon #2
Loon #2 Climbing Onto Nest
Loon #2 Climbing Onto Nest
Loon #2 Making Adjustments
Loon #2 Making Adjustments
Loon #2 Settled In
Loon #2 Settled In

14 May 2020

Gregg Lake Loons (May 2020)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:23 PM

About five this afternoon Joan’s brother George called to say that he and Michelle had seen a loon on a nest on the north side of the bridge while they were out on a walk.

Of course, I grabbed Big Bertha (my 600 mm lens) , camera and tripod and headed down to the lake as soon as I could. The bird and its nest were easily seen at the waters edge on the far side of the lake.

Five or ten minutes after I arrived the bird on the nest slipped into the water leaving the nest empty. This behavior (i.e. leaving the nest empty) suggests to me that the nest does not (yet, hopefully) contain eggs.

I made a couple of photographs of the empty nest hoping to be able to decide if eggs were present or not. However, the angle of view did not allow a clear view of the interior of the nest.

Joan says that she saw two birds in the water at one point, but I, while concentrating on the camera, only saw one. The individual I saw stayed in the general vicinity of the nest for another five or ten minutes before disappearing. At one point it swam close enough that I could fill the frame with the bird. I watched for another fifteen or twenty minutes before hunger and the black flies drove me back home and did not see either loon again.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Common Loon on Nest - Gregg Lake (May 2020)
Common Loon on Nest - Gregg Lake (May 2020)
Common Loon Near Nest - Gregg Lake (May 2020) #1
Common Loon Near Nest - Gregg Lake (May 2020) #1
Common Loon Near Nest - Gregg Lake (May 2020) #2
Common Loon Near Nest - Gregg Lake (May 2020) #2
Common Loon #1 (Gregg Lake - May 2020)
Common Loon #1 (Gregg Lake - May 2020)
Common Loon #2 (Gregg Lake - May 2020)
Common Loon #2 (Gregg Lake - May 2020)

9 May 2020

Cyanotype Toning Experiments

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Cyanotype — Frank @ 4:00 PM

If you follow my blog, you will know that back about a month ago I started making cyanotypes again after a hiatus of roughly twelve years. I began by adapting my previous knowledge to my current situation.

Since pretty much everything (printer for digital negatives, UV light source, physical space, etc.) had changed I began more-or-less from scratch. The learning curve was relatively short since I was not starting anew in terms of experience. Once I had the basics figured out I moved on to toning cyanotypes.

Earlier this week, I decided to do a bit more systematic experimenting with the toning of cyanotypes. I began the process by accumulating multiple copies of more-or-less the same cyanotype prints to use as starting material for toning. I won’t bore you with the details, but it took me two evenings of work to accumulate enough small prints for a toning trial.

Toning cyanotypes requires two components, a polyphoenol and a base (or alkali). There are three commonly used pure polyphenols: tannic acid, gallic acid and pyrogallic acid. Natural mixtures of polyphenols in the form of coffee and various teas are also sometime used. They are not considered here.

Most of my previous work was with tannic acid. I did have a stock of gallic acid which I had tried only randomly before. I had never tried pyrogallic acid before so I ordered some for this set of trials.

The commonly used bases for toning are sodium carbonate (washing soda) and ammonium hydroxide (household ammonia). I also wanted to include (because of some very preliminary tests a week or so ago) sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in my trial.

The general procedure I used for these experiment was as I described previously. I pre-wet the dried prints in water for two or thee minutes minimum and then transferred the print to a bath of the 2% (w/v) polyphenol in water (i.e. 2 g / 100 mL). After soaking in the polyphenol solution for 5 minutes, the print was drained and dipped briefly (10-15 seconds) in water and then transferred to the base solution (7.5% w/v for sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate or 5% v/v of household ammonia) for another brief interval (15-60 seconds; tone judged by the eye of the beholder). Finally the print was washed thoroughly in water before drying.

In general this procedure causes, in addition to the desired shift in hue, a very mild bleaching of the color . Thus is is best to start with a print that is on the dense side of acceptable rather than one on the light side.

There is also a lose of contrast due to staining of the highlights. This staining seems least with gallic acid and worse with pyrogallic acid. I have not investigated the staining of papers in any systematic way, but expect that there will be some variation among papers.

My first series of tests investigated the effect of changing the polyphenol. All the toned prints in this series were treated with ammonia as the base. These prints were on Rives Heavyweight cream paper (175 gsm). Here are the results:

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Untoned
Untoned
Tannic Acid / Ammonia
Tannic Acid / Ammonia
Gallic Acid / Ammonia
Gallic Acid / Ammonia
Pyrogallic Acid / Ammonia
Pyrogallic Acid / Ammonia

For the second series, I used prints made on Arches Hot Press (300 gsm) paper and varied the polyphenol again. The base was ammonia as it was in the first series.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Untoned
Untoned
Tannic Acid/ Ammonia
Tannic Acid/ Ammonia
Gallic Acid /Ammonia
Gallic Acid /Ammonia
Pyrogallic Acid / Ammonia
Pyrogallic Acid / Ammonia

It is interesting to note that the paper seems to affect the final tone achieved by each combination; compare the corresponding images in the first two series. Given that I have only tested two papers, this will need further testing to confirm the generality of this observation.

For the third series, I again used prints made on Arches Hot Press paper (300 gsm). Tannic acid was the polyphenol and I varied the base. (Note that first two prints in this series are the same as the first two in the second series.)

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Untoned
Untoned
Tannic Acid / Ammonia
Tannic Acid / Ammonia
Tannic Acid / Carbonate
Tannic Acid / Carbonate
Tannic Acid / Bicarbonate
Tannic Acid / Bicarbonate

When toning with sodium carbonate, the color, which ends up as a chocolaty or reddish brown at completion, passes through a warm purple phase on the way from the native blue. In the past, I have tried to stop the process at the intermediate stage without much success and without any reproduciblity.

Since bicarbonate is a weaker base than carbonate, my thought was that it might let me “trap” the intermediate tone more reliably.

The result of this trial shows that bicarbonate certainly gives a different tone that is less reddish-more purplish than does carbonate; compare the last two prints in this series.

30 April 2020

April Photos

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 6:03 PM

Here it is the end of April and I have not posted any new photos since the 10th of March. Early spring is usually a slow time for me photographically, but this year given the pandemic, has been especially slow.

I have been spending much of my time thinking about and making cyanotypes and I continue to do this. I have made some new photographs in April mostly by taking a camera with me on my regular walks around the area, although I did not download any files off the camera until today.

So, here are ten photos made in April… the earliest from the 6th and the most recent from the 28th. They are displayed in chronological order below.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Jane's Barn
Jane's Barn
Beaver Pond and Lodge (Harris Center Property on Brimstone Corner Road)
Beaver Pond and Lodge (Harris Center Property on Brimstone Corner Road)
Beaver Dam Which Creates the Pond
Beaver Dam Which Creates the Pond
Suzy's Stone Wall
Suzy's Stone Wall
Infrastructure #1 (On a Bright Sunny Day with Harsh Shadows, Photograph the Shadows!)
Infrastructure #1 (On a Bright Sunny Day with Harsh Shadows, Photograph the Shadows!)
Infrastructure #2
Infrastructure #2
Untitled (Shadow)
Untitled (Shadow)
Ice on the Road
Ice on the Road
Stone Wall in Snow (22 April)
Stone Wall in Snow (22 April)
Mill Buildings, Harrisville, NH
Mill Buildings, Harrisville, NH
Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress