Photographs by Frank

22 April 2014

Spring Progress

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,Mammals,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:00 PM

After getting off to a late start, spring is progressing nicely.

The last of the ice on Gregg Lake  finally disappeared over the weekend, the daytime temperatures have been in the fifties and sixties and even though it has been getting down around freezing at night we have not been lighting the stove every evening.

The chipmunks have become active over the past few days and “new” birds are appearing regularly.

I spent a couple of hours down by the lake yesterday morning watching a trio of wood ducks wend their way around the lake north of the bridge. The female spent most of her time feeding. The males spent most of their time jockeying for position and posturing.

Yesterday evening, I watched a pair of loons fishing near the public beach. They were too far away for good photos.

Lastly,  chipping sparrows and juncos have appeared in small numbers around the feeders by the house. They are mixed with all of the “year rounders”.


Woodland Streams

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Yesterday, I took a walk in the woods with camera, tripod and neutral density filter* in hand. My goal was some of the local woodland streams that are at their peak flow this time of year.

Here are the results:

*Warning, photo talk ahead… one uses a neutral density filter to block light, in general, from getting to the lens. This allows one to use a slower shutter speed that would otherwise be possible. The slow shutter speed (between one and three seconds in these photos) gives the silky texture to the flowing water and necessitates using a tripod.


15 April 2014

Van Dyke Brown Prints

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Van Dyke — Frank @ 1:00 PM

Sunday, I attended a small workshop on Van Dyke printing at the Vermont Center for Photography. I spent an enjoyable afternoon learning a new alternative process.

The Van Dyke process is  very similar in many ways to cyanotype but yields a nice chocolaty brown print instead of the blue of cyanotype. It is an iron-based process (like cyanotype) in which the photoreduction of  iron  is used to drive the reduction of silver which actually forms the image.

I sent three files to the instructor (Bill Dixon) ahead of time and he prepared very nice digital negatives from them.

Scans of the resulting prints are shown below… pretty good for a first attempt, if I do say so myself!

I have all of the chemicals needed to try this at home… now I just need to find some time!


8 April 2014

Signs of Spring… Finally

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 12:28 PM

Spring is very slowly coming to our neck of the woods. The snow is getting patchy and the lake is beginning to thaw around the edges. I saw a bufflehead in the small patch of open water near the bridge this morning and there have been Canada Geese in the same spot over the past week or so.

The other morning at breakfast we noticed two mourning doves “interacting” atop the large rock just off the deck. I made some photos from inside the house but, as one might expect, the quality though two layers of glass is not great.

Over the past few  days we have noticed juncos on the ground by the feeder and robins in the yard. There were also purple finches at the feeder; coming and going among all year round residents.

On Sunday, I spent some time practicing with “Big Bertha” (i.e. the 600 mm f/4 lens) again. I set up a downed pine branch as a perch about a foot from the feeder and a chair roughly twenty feet away (Bertha”s close focus distance is about 6 meters). By the time I got the camera set up on the tripod the birds were already using the perch and I was good to go.

Here are the results:


2 April 2014

Keeping Busy in the Late Winter and… Signs of Spring

Arrrgh… blasted computers!

I went to write this post (the first in two months… how time flies!) and found that WordPress was asking me to update a number of things; which I dutifully did. This broke gallery plug-in that I have been using to display sets of photos. I have spent part of two days trying, without success, to get things working again! I have given up (at least for the moment). Thus, you will note a much less elegant presentation of the photos included in this post. Please click on each thumb nail for a larger version and then click on the larger image to close it.

Here is the post I was contemplating before update hell intervened…

February and March are always the slow time in my photographic year and this year has been no exception. Stretches of cold gray weather followed by a day or two of  cloudless bright sun… neither of which are very conducive to landscape or wildlife photography. Most years we see signs of spring by early April and the photographic opportunities reassert themselves… not this year, as yet!

There is still more than a foot of snow on the ground and “ice out” on the lake  is no where in sight. There are a few meager signs that spring is coming… the snow has a nice wet slushy consistency, a few robins have appeared, the temperatures are falling to barely below freezing at night and the road is a quagmire! Yesterday, it was even warm enough to spend some time making saw dust fly in the garage Spring can’t be too far away… right!?

Although the making of new photographs has been slow, I have been “photo-active” in other ways. For instance, I put together and submitted a portfolio of fifteen 8″x 10″ prints (matted to 11″ x 14″)  in support of my application to become an exhibiting member at the Vermont Center for Photography. I am glad to say that this portfolio was favorably received and I was accepted as an exhibiting member at the end of February.

The Vermont Center for Photography is a gallery and resource center located in Brattleboro, VT (about an hours drive from the house). For the moment, I plan to take part in their group exhibits. I also plan to use their darkroom facilities as I experiment with hand-made cameras (see this post, for example).

Here are the photographs I submitted:

 

31 January 2014

Conowingo Dam

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

This past Monday morning, Joan and I pointed the car south and headed to Maryland. Photographically, our destination was the Conowingo Dam. We also visited Katrina (our daughter) in Baltimore as well as my sister and her family and my parents, all of whom live in suburban Washington. We arrived back home early yesterday evening.

The Conowingo Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna River just north of where the river enters the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace. The dam is ‘famous’ for the birds, especially bald eagles, which hang out there in the winter. The Harford Bird Club maintains the Conowingo Dam Site Guide with much useful information about the site.

We intended to arrive at the dam early enough on Monday afternoon to get in some photography then. However, complications of the dental kind conspired against us and we did not arrive until dusk. We spent a short while reconnoitering the dam and its environs before before heading off in search of dinner and a motel.

We were back at the dam a bit before 9 on Tuesday morning. The temperature was about 10 degrees and there was an intermittent breeze blowing… so much for heading south! Dressed appropriately things were not bad as long as the wind was not blowing. Conditions were good for photography with a light overcast diffusing the sunlight. We arrived at the tail end of a release of water from the dam and the concomitant flurry of activity.

Although we stayed until after 1 PM, we did not see another release. Thus, although there were plenty of birds around the action was somewhat subdued.

Here are the results:

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Bald Eagle (in flight)
Bald Eagle (in flight)
Canada Geese (in flight)
Canada Geese (in flight)
Ring-billed Gull with Fish
Ring-billed Gull with Fish
Bald Eagle (in flight)
Bald Eagle (in flight)
Conowingo Dam Spillway
Conowingo Dam Spillway
Hooded Merganser (female)
Hooded Merganser (female)
Common Merganser (male)
Common Merganser (male)
Bufflehead (flock)
Bufflehead (flock)
Great B;ue Heron (in flight)
Great B;ue Heron (in flight)
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle Takeoff
Bald Eagle Takeoff
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Hooded Merganser (male)
Hooded Merganser (male)
Hooded Merganser (male/female pair)
Hooded Merganser (male/female pair)
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Scaup

12 January 2014

Late One Foggy, Rainy, January Afternoon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Frank @ 1:00 PM

“Our Town”… Peterborough, NH.

Joan went to see a concert in Peterborough late yesterday afternoon. We intended to head to another concert in Brattleboro, VT in the evening. Rather than Joan having to drive back home to pick me up after the first concert, I figured that I would find enough to entertain myself while she was listening to Lithuanian music. Thus, I went along with her to Peterborough.

The first concert began at 4. After dropping Joan off, I headed to the Toadstool’s, the bookstore. Three books and $15 later (I shopped the bargain bin!), I was off  with my reading material, to Harlow’s Pub for a beer. By the time I finished my beer, it was good and dark, raining lightly and foggy… perfect conditions for some photography!

Thus, with camera in hand, I made a couple of circuits around downtown Peterborough. By 6:10 we were in the car headed towards Brattleboro.

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Movie Theater Alley Way
Movie Theater Alley Way
Cigars
Cigars
Thirty Percent
Thirty Percent
Diner
Diner
Cafe After Closing Time
Cafe After Closing Time
Untitled
Untitled
Harlow's Side Entrance
Harlow's Side Entrance

5 January 2014

The Usual Suspects

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Winter — Tags: — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Today was the first day above freezing in about a week. I took advantage of the tropical conditions to head out the back door and, again, photograph the birds attracted to the feeder. It was so warm and sunny that, a one point, I headed into the house to doff a layer, as I was over-dressed.

In the past couple of days, we observed a flicker and a red-breasted woodpecker at the suet feeder. Thus I was hoping that they would make an appearance while I was out. Alas, only the usual suspects appeared… chickadees in abundance, smaller numbers of titmice and nuthatches and a couple of downys.

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White-breasted Nuthatch #1
White-breasted Nuthatch #1
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch #2
White-breasted Nuthatch #2
Downy Woodpecker #1
Downy Woodpecker #1
Chickadee
Chickadee
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Downy Woodpecker #2
Downy Woodpecker #2
White-breasted Nuthatch #3
White-breasted Nuthatch #3
White-breasted Nuthatch #4
White-breasted Nuthatch #4

31 December 2013

An ‘Adams Dozen’ for 2013

Back at the end of 2011, I added an entry titled  “Twelve Images” based on  Ansel Adams idea that twelve good photographs in a year is a decent crop. I had intended this to be an annual event but I seem to have missed last year.

I actually chose, printed and matted the twelve photos for 2012; they are stored carefully in their own print box. However, I do not seem to have written a blog entry about them… oh well! It doesn’t seem right to post them at this late date, so I’ll just forge ahead!

Thus, without further ado, here is my ‘Adams Dozen’ for 2013:

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Beaver Swamp in Early Winter
Beaver Swamp in Early Winter
Dunes in Winter
Dunes in Winter
The Presidential Range from Cherry Pond
The Presidential Range from Cherry Pond
Cannon Mountain
Cannon Mountain
Snag with Nest in Winter
Snag with Nest in Winter
Grouse Tracks in the Snow
Grouse Tracks in the Snow
Wetland Margin in Autumn
Wetland Margin in Autumn
Big Dipper on a Moonlit Night
Big Dipper on a Moonlit Night
Blue Flag Iris
Blue Flag Iris
Lady Bug Leap
Lady Bug Leap
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Recycled
Recycled

14 December 2013

Backyard Birds, Again

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

About 1:15 this afternoon, I headed outside to photograph birds attracted to the feeders again. My goal was to get some more practice with these difficult (i.e. small and fast moving)  subjects. I also wanted to try out some new cold weather gear (insulated boots and pants); it was 11 degrees when I headed out.

The new gear worked well. My toes and nose were only mildly cold at 3:30 when I finally called it quits because the light got too low for good photos of flitting birds; the rest of me was still nice and toasty! It was 10 degrees when I looked at the kitchen thermometer after doffing all of the outerwear!

Present, were the usual suspects: lots of chickadees, smaller numbers of tufted titmice and a few nuthatches and downy woodpeckers. On two occasions a flock of goldfinches, a couple of dozen strong, descended en mass on the feeders only to fly a way a short time later, again, en mass.

There were also three or four blue jays in the area. They were very skittish and hung out mainly high in the trees. Occasionally, one would make a very short, tentative foray down near the feeders.

Again, juncos were not present.

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Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Goldfinch
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Nuthatch & Downy Woodpecker (Sometimes you get lucky!)
Nuthatch & Downy Woodpecker (Sometimes you get lucky!)
Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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