Photographs by Frank

28 August 2015

The American Rubyspot

Filed under: Odontates,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

This afternoon, I made the two and a half hour round trip to Athol, Massachusetts to photograph the American Rubyspot.

The section of the Millers River just upstream from where Route 2A crosses the river at the western edge of the downtown business district in Athol is a hot spot for this uncommon damselfly. The southern part of Case Meadow Conservation Area lies along one bank of this stretch of river and parking is available at the Millers River Environmental Center; both make for easy access.

I spent just over an hour from first to last frame exposed. I saw around a dozen and a half rubyspots including two females at two spots along the river bank. I also observed a few large dragonflies (darners most likely) out over the river. I also saw a few darners flying in the meadow on the walk back to the truck.

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American Rubyspot (male) #1
American Rubyspot (male) #1
American Rubyspot (male) #2
American Rubyspot (male) #2
American Rubyspot (female)
American Rubyspot (female)
American Rubyspot (male) #3
American Rubyspot (male) #3

 

Late Season Odes, Down Back

Filed under: Odontates,Summer,The Yard — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:30 PM

Yesterday afternoon I headed “down back” to the beaver-made wetland at the back of our property.

I was expecting to find the usual late-season odes… autumn meadowhawks and a number of the spreadwings. Although the numbers of individuals were small, there was a nice variety of species present.

I observed a total of three meadowhawks (all female) and about a dozen (total) of the three species of spreadwings.

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Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Spreadwing (Common, Southern, Sweetflag?)
Spreadwing (Common, Southern, Sweetflag?)
Northern Spreadwing (female)
Northern Spreadwing (female)
Spotted Spreadwing (male) ?
Spotted Spreadwing (male) ?

 

21 August 2015

Gregg Lake Clubtails

Filed under: "Camp",Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 4:00 PM

August at the lake is time for the big dragonflies… clubtails and darners.

The most common ode around the lake on Wednesday afternoon was the black-shouldered spinyleg, one of the clubtails. I also observed a number of dragonhunters (another clubtail) and a number of unidentified darners. The last of these only as they flew by at breakneck speed.

As for damselflies, there were a few male variable darners hanging around the vegetation along the shore; always low to the water. These are stragglers. The bulk of the population mated some weeks ago and are now gone.

The clubtails and darners are difficult to observe and especially photograph. Both groups are strong fliers and don’t spend much time perched.

Darners are the worst in this respect. They are really fast in flight, so you don’t get a good look at them. They also tend to perch high in the trees and thus are hard to see and harder to photograph.

The clubtails are a bit easier… they tend to perch lower down, often on rocks. Thus, getting a good photo is at least thinkable. On the lake they like to perch on the deep water side of the many rocks that emerge from the water.

My strategy is to watch them carefully and observe where one lands. I can usually observe them with the binos. Often, I can then get the kayak in position to make a good photo before they decide to take flight again.

Photographing at high magnification from a moving platform (i.e. a kayak) has its own challenges and my “keeper” rate is lower than is typical. However, the “hunt” is an entertaining way to spend a hot sunny afternoon.

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Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #1
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #1
Dragonhunter (male)
Dragonhunter (male)
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) #2
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) #2
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #3
Black-shouldered Spinyleg (male) ? #3
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)

 

14 August 2015

Zealand River Falls

Filed under: Landscapes,Summer,the White Mountains — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Yesterday, we went back to the Zealand River area. Joan needed to collect seeds from the plants she surveyed about a month ago.

The temperature in the mountains was about 70 degrees and it was most cloudy, not ideal weather for odes but good weather for photographing flowing water. I was more-or-less prepared* to do either!

These photos are of “the Zealand Falls” which are at the head of the valley near the AMC hut. Rather these are much small falls farther down stream; quite near the trail head.

The two falls shown are actually side-by-side on the river. There is a stretch of uninteresting stuff between them, so I photographed them individually.

The first photograph shows the smaller falls (about five feet high) it is on the left as one faces up river. The total fall of larger falls is roughly twenty feet.

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Zealand River Falls #1
Zealand River Falls #1
Zealand River Falls #2
Zealand River Falls #2

* I did not bring a tripod; only my monopod for odes. Thus no really long exposure “silky water” photos!


 

11 August 2015

The Past Week’s Birds

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,The Yard — Tags: — Frank @ 2:00 PM

No special “photo sessions” in the past week… I keep the camera set up on the deck and “catch-as-catch-can”.

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Purple Finch (female)
Purple Finch (female)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
Hairy Woodpecker (female)
Hairy Woodpecker (female)
Purple Finch (female) #2
Purple Finch (female) #2
Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

Suspicions… Confirmed!

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer — Tags: — Frank @ 12:30 PM

Regular readers will remember that we have had a pair (one male and one female) of red-breasted grosbeaks visiting the feeders for most of the summer. In the past few weeks, I have noticed that these birds would make their exit from the feeder in the same direction while carrying a seed. I suspected that there was a nest in the neighborhood, but I had no real evidence.

Yesterday my suspicion was confirmed. Just before lunch, I was able to make two photographs of the adult male feeding a juvenile. There was a five second interval between these two frames. In another second, the adult had flown off.

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Feeding Sequence 1 of 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Feeding Sequence 1 of 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Feeding Sequence 2 of 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Feeding Sequence 2 of 2

 

3 August 2015

Botanicals and a Barn

Filed under: Monadnock Region — Frank @ 12:05 PM

No deep stories here*. Just some visually interesting (at least to me) stuff from around the “neighborhood”.

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Botanical #1
Botanical #1
Botanical #2
Botanical #2
Botanical #3
Botanical #3
Neighbor's Barn
Neighbor's Barn

*I bet though, if that old barn could talk it would have a few stories to tell!


 

Antrim Centor Cemetery

Filed under: Monadnock Region — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Yesterday, I finished reading a wonderful book, Seeking Parmentor; A Memoir of Place by Charles Butterfield.  Highly recommended!

In this book Charles mentions that Amos Parmentor is buried in the Antrim Centor* cemetery. This inspired me to make a visit to the cemetery and the nearby Lily Pond which features prominently in the book.

The Parmentor grave sites were in a deeply shaded part of the burying ground and thus I did not make any photographs of them. I did, however, find and photograph a number of other nineteenth century headstones in”interesting” light.

The first two photographs below speak to a couple of interesting “philosophical” issues in photography.

The first of these is the idea that photography is, in one critical way, fundamentally different from other art forms. In making a photograph, an artist must consciously decide what to exclude (either by the original framing of a scene in the viewfinder or by cropping later) from his or her artwork. In making all other artwork, the artist must decide what to include in their artwork.

The second issue is that of “truth”. It is often suggested that somehow a photograph shows a “true story”.  Of course, in this age of “photoshopping”, this idea has begun to crumble lies in a heap of shards.

However, if you think about the first issue, i.e. that photographers must consciously decide what to include in the frame (and therefore also what to exclude), one realizes that the truth in a photograph is highly subjective and it has always been that way.

The first photograph below shows a pair of gravestones, that of Artamus Brown (who died in 1875 at the age of 73 ys, 4 ms) and Rhoda, his wife (who died in 1813 at the age of 33; one could make an educated guess that childbirth might have been involved in her demise). This photo suggests a tidy story.

However, if one takes a step back and includes one more, adjacent gravestone, that of Almira, [also] wife of Artamus Brown (who died in 1897 at the age of 81 ys, 4 ms), one sees a more complete (“truer”?) story of Artamus’ life.

I am fascinated by an implied story in the second photograph. Notice how Almira’s headstone is not aligned with the other two; it is set back from the other pair. Furthermore the gap between Artamus’ and Almira’s stones is larger than that between Artamus’ and Rhoda’s. What story does this spacing of gravestones tell? Am I “reading” too much in to this story? I doubt that we’ll ever know!

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Artamus Brown and Rhoda, His Wife
Artamus Brown and Rhoda, His Wife
Artamus Brown, The Whole Story
Artamus Brown, The Whole Story
Elizabeth H. Pratt
Elizabeth H. Pratt
Samuel Caldwell and Ealanor, His Wife
Samuel Caldwell and Ealanor, His Wife

* This is the nineteenth century spelling.


 

28 July 2015

Time Marches On

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer — Frank @ 10:30 PM

Well, here it is the end of July. I am not saying that fall is just around the corner, but… I am beginning to see signs of changes around the bird feeders.

In the past couple of days I have seen a chickadee and a tufted titmouse at the seed feeder. These are the two most common birds at our feeders in winter. However, they have been completely absent since late March. I have no idea where they have been!

There are two other changes of note.

The number of chipping sparrows is on the increase, we see small numbers in the summer and significantly more in the fall.

I have also noted a drop in the consumption of “nectar” from the hummingbird feeder. We still get regular visits to the feeder but, these days, the hummingbirds have lots of other choices, including the garden flowers at the foot of the post where the feeder is mounted.

Otherwise, the gang that has been here all summer, are still common… three kinds of woodpeckers (hairy, downy and red-bellied) and white-breasted nuthatches on the suet and two kinds of finches (purple and gold) on the seeds. The rose-breasted grosbeaks also still put in an occasional visit to the seeds.

Oh… and the seed and suet thieves seem to be as active as ever!

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Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
Chickadee
Chickadee
Downy Woodpecker (juvenile male)
Downy Woodpecker (juvenile male)
Hairy Woodpecker (juvenile male)
Hairy Woodpecker (juvenile male)
Chipping Sparrow (male)
Chipping Sparrow (male)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker (juvenile)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (juvenile)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (male)
Purple Finch (male)
Purple Finch (male)
American Goldfinch (male)
American Goldfinch (male)
Thief!
Thief!

 

22 July 2015

Yard Odes and Flowers

Yesterday (Tuesday, 21 July) dawned hot and sticky and stayed that way. Despite the weather I spent some time in the late afternoon haunting the yard in search of odes. The numbers of odes were small, but there was a nice variety. The most common insect was a butterfly; the great spangled fritillary.

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Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #1
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #1
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #2
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #2
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #3
Frosted Whiteface (female)? #3
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male) Oblisking
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)

At some point during my rounds, I turned my attention from odes to the flowers Joan has growing in the many beds and containers around the yard.

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Black-eyed Susan #1
Black-eyed Susan #1
Black-eyed Susan #2
Black-eyed Susan #2
Garden Flower #1
Garden Flower #1
Poppy
Poppy
Garden Flower #2
Garden Flower #2
Purple Coneflower
Purple Coneflower
Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan
Snapdragon
Snapdragon

 

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