Photographs by Frank

24 September 2020

Yesterday’s Photos

Filed under: architecture,Early Fall,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 10:00 PM

I left the house yesterday morning about ten on a mission. I first headed to Littleton, MA to meet my friend (and stalwart commenter here) Joe.

Joe’s car was loaded with cameras… roughly four dozen. A friend of Joe’s had decided to down-size his collection of antique cameras and I was glad to facilitate their donation to the Vermont Center for Photography.

After transferring the cameras to my truck I headed directly to Brattleboro (where the VCP is located) to deliver the goods.

One the way back home, I made a couple of stops at favorite places to photograph in Marlborough and Harrisville. The late afternoon light was nice and, at least in some directions, there were interesting clouds.

I pulled into the driveway at six on the dot. It ’twas a successful day.

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Mount Monadnock - Early Foliage (with the camera obscura)
Mount Monadnock - Early Foliage (with the camera obscura)
Barn Windows
Barn Windows
Barn Window
Barn Window
Monadnock Mail
Monadnock Mail
Roadside Oddity #42
Roadside Oddity #42
Harrisville Mill Buildings
Harrisville Mill Buildings

14 September 2020

A Hike to Trout Pond

This morning Joan and I headed out for a hike on the Peirce Wildlife and Forest Reservation in Stoddard. Our goal was Trout Pond, a beautiful and completely undeveloped body of water. Of course, I took along my camera.

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Trout Pond #1
Trout Pond #1
Trout Pond #2 (three frame pano)
Trout Pond #2 (three frame pano)
Trout Pond #3 (three frame pano)
Trout Pond #3 (three frame pano)
Untitled #1
Untitled #1
Untitled #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #3
Untitled #3

30 August 2020

Late Season Odes — Opportunities

This morning. as I headed out the door to go for a walk, I noticed a meadowhawk perched on a flower just outside the porch door. I successfully resisted the urge to get my camera and headed out for the walk.

Shortly after my return home, I was sitting in my chair rehydrating when I hear Joan call from out in the flower bed where she was working “Perched Darner! Perched Darner!”. As quick as I could I headed out the door, camera in hand but as is usual with darners (they do not stand still for long… ever) the perched individual was long gone.

It turns out that as Joan worked on cleaning up the flower bed she was disturbing lots of small insects and creating her own mini-feeding swarm in the process. There were at least there or four darners making regular passes over the beds and carefully veering around us as we stood there. In addition to the darners, there were also a number of autumn meadowhawks also taking advantage of the bounty.

Darners are very frustrating to photograph. They spend the large majority of their time in flight; even eating most prey while on the wing. Every once in a while, when one does perch, it is their habit to hang vertically from a branch or twig quite near the trunk of whatever plant they chose. (They are big and heavy as odes go and prefer good sturdy shrubs for perching.) This often makes for very cluttered photos.

In all today, I saw three perched darners. The first was in such deep shadow in a rhododendron that the photos are not worth showing. I never got close enough to the second to even make a photo. However, I was able to get a pretty typical photo of the third darner. I was able to make exactly three exposures before it took flight again.

Meadowhawks, on the other hand, are pretty easy to photograph. They perch frequently and often on nice isolated stalks of vegetation.

There were plenty (a few dozen) of meadowhawks around both the flower bed where Joan was working and at other places in the yard. Most were mature males but there were a few immature males and females in the mix.

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Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (male)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
White-faced Meadowhawk (male)
White-faced Meadowhawk (male)
Meadowhawk with Prey (immature male)
Meadowhawk with Prey (immature male)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Darner (Canada or Green-strip)
Darner (Canada or Green-strip)

24 August 2020

Forgotten Exposures

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 AM

On Saturday, I took my camera obscura out for a “spin”. I had not used it in a while. I have had a photo in my head for some months now and Saturday afternoon I thought that the conditions (skies, light, etc.) might be good, so I headed out.

The photo I had in mind is the last one in this set. It is the old railroad trestle across the Contoocook River by the paper mill in Bennington (NH). In addition to the light being right and having a good sky, this photo required that the river level be fairly low as I needed to “rock hop” out into the middle of the river in order to get the angle of view I wanted. It all worked out pretty well, except that I strained a muscle in my left thigh “hopping” the rocks. I put “hopping” in quotes because in reality there was no hopping done; only a slow cautious crawl out and back! In the end I made the photo I had in mind and as the saying goes one has to suffer for one’s art!

When I got back to the computer, I discovered that there were some exposures on the memory card that I made back at the end of April (the 28th to be exact). I had never downloaded these files and, in fact, had completely forgotten about them… sort of like what happened back in the day of yore film when you developed a roll of film and found exposures at the beginning that you made some months prior. This doesn’t happen often in the digital age, but it is fun when it does!

The first four photos below were made back in April. The last three were from Saturday.

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Mill Buildings (Harrisville, NH)
Mill Buildings (Harrisville, NH)
Skatutakee Lake (Harrisville, NH)
Skatutakee Lake (Harrisville, NH)
Untitled #1 (Hancock, NH)
Untitled #1 (Hancock, NH)
Untitled #2 (Hancock, NH)
Untitled #2 (Hancock, NH)
Untitled #3 (Hancock, NH)
Untitled #3 (Hancock, NH)
Papermill Dam and Powerhouse (Bennington, NH)
Papermill Dam and Powerhouse (Bennington, NH)
Railroad Trestle (Bennington, NH)
Railroad Trestle (Bennington, NH)

19 August 2020

Odes at the Harris Center Property on Brimstone Corner Rd.

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 3:45 PM

Yesterday afternoon, about 3:30, I headed for a walk down the road on the Harris Center property near us. The weather was in the low 70’s and it was partially cloudy. Although at one point, I had to sit out a brief sprinkle under some hemlock trees. I got back home just before 6:30.

The pattern for this year held true. There were small numbers of odes present but a decent number of species to be found. The most common species were the meadowhawks, slatey skimmers and spreadwings (probably Elegant spreadwings, but possible Slender spreadwings). I saw about six of each. The meadowhawks were all in the old log landings along the road and were all yellow (i.e. either immature males or females). The skimmers were mostly male and found at the waters edge near the beaver dam. Although, I did see one female in a clearing along the road. The spreadwings were mostly in the stream flowing out of the beaver pond. I also saw two male eastern forktails (one immature) in the grass along the road just downstream from the dam.

Additionally, I saw very briefly a nondescript brown dragonfly that paused just long enough for one exposure as well as an unidentified damselfly and what I think was a male common pondhawk neither of which stayed around long enough for even a single photo.

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Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Dragonfly (ID?)
Dragonfly (ID?)
Elegant (?) Spreadwing (male)
Elegant (?) Spreadwing (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)
Eastern Forktail (immature male)
Eastern Forktail (immature male)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Blue Dasher (female)
Blue Dasher (female)

15 August 2020

Hattie Brown Road Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 8:00 AM

Yesterday afternoon about 3:30, I headed out Hattie Brown Road to look for odes. The temperature was in the low 80s and it was partly to mostly cloudy. I spent just about three hours in the field, arriving back at the truck at 6:15.

Walking down the well shaded road through the woods, I did not see a single ode. When I got to the spot where the road crosses the beaver-made wetland things began to get better. As I moseyed along this stretch of road, I saw maybe four or five male white-faced meadowhawks.

At the clearing past the wetland, I saw more white-faced meadowhawks , several male common whitetails (including four sunning themselves on a large granite boulder), a single male spangled skimmer and two female spangled skimmers.

I headed farther up the road into the woods again, but I did not go too far. I saw no odes. However, there were plenty of mosquitoes!

White-faced meadowhawks were, by far, the most common ode I saw this outing; numbering between one and two dozen. I only saw males. I found exactly zero damselflies on this trip.

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White-faced Meadowhawk (male) #1
White-faced Meadowhawk (male) #1
White-faced Meadowhawk (male) #2
White-faced Meadowhawk (male) #2
White-faced Meadowhawk (male) #3
White-faced Meadowhawk (male) #3
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)

8 August 2020

Gregg Lake Loons – An Update

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 7:15 PM

Joan had the first shift as Lake Host this morning. She got to the Gregg Lake boat launch by 7. An hour or so later the phone rang and although the call was dead when I answered (cell phone signal at the lake is poor), the caller ID said that it was Joan.

Surmising (properly as it turns out) that she was calling with a wildlife sighting. I packed the camera, long lens and tripod into the truck and headed down to the lake to see what was up.

Joan had spotted a sapsucker spending much time at the hole in a dead tree along the road. By the time I had set up, I was able to make one exposure (which is not worth showing) before the bird took flight and I did not see it again… maybe tomorrow!

About 9:30, the loon family made an appearance off the point at the beach. I headed over there and was able to make a few photos of the youngsters at a decently close range. My photo op did not last long because all of a sudden the two adults (who were quite a distance away from the chicks) sounded the alarm call and the family rapidly converged and headed off.

Initially, I thought that I had spooked them, but I was not really very close. (The photos below are significant crops of the full frame.) I packed up when they got too far away and headed back to the truck. It turns out that I was not the cause of the loon commotion. Joan said that an eagle had passed fairly low overhead causing the ado.

It was good to see that both youngsters are doing well and will probably learn to fly in the coming weeks.

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Loon Chicks (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)
Loon Chicks (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)
Gregg Lake Loon Chick (Aug 2020)
Gregg Lake Loon Chick (Aug 2020)
Loon Family (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)
Loon Family (Gregg Lake, Aug 2020)

Odes “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Yesterday afternoon I donned my waders and made the short walk to the beaver-made wetland complex at the back of our property. I arrived a few minutes past three and stayed for about 2 hours. The temperature was right around 80 and skies were partly to most cloudy turning to a high thin overcast while I explored.

This combination of beaver pond, wet meadow and floating bog is usually full of odes this time of year. However, as seems to be the pattern this year, the odes were sparse.

In a typical year there would be dozens of darners in flight over the area; this year there were two or three, max, in your field of view at any one time. The most common ode present were meadowhawks; a pretty even mix of red individuals (mature males) and yellow individuals (either females or immature males). Most of the yellow individuals I got close to were immature males. I saw about a dozen individuals total in the couple of hours I was out. In addition to the meadowhawks, I saw exactly two sprites (very small damselflies; most probably sedge sprites, based on previous years) and one immature male calico pennant).

I was able to make photographs of some of the meadowhawks and the calico pennant, but not the sprites.

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Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (male) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #1
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #2
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #2
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #3
Meadowhawk (Imm. Male?) #3
Teneral Maedowhawk (male)
Teneral Maedowhawk (male)
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Meadowhawk (male) #2
Meadowhawk (male) #2

2 August 2020

Early Saturday Morning

Yesterday morning, one of the photo groups I belong to met (in Brattleboro) for the first time since March. We met outdoors in a park, wearing masks, etc.

I got up early and left the house before seven hoping to catch some good light and make some photographs. My first stop, as I headed west on Route 9 was “the truck”. This derelict truck sitting in a roadside field in Stoddard has been a favorite subject since it appeared a few years ago.

The light was just perfect and I spent fifteen or twenty minutes photographing “the truck” and its neighbor. I just discovered “the neighbor”, a second derelict truck maybe fifty feet from “the truck” and hidden from the road by some trees. I have no idea how long “the neighbor” has been there. I’ll be going back as the light on “the neighbor” will be best late in the day.

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The Truck
The Truck
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #1
Truck Detail #2
Truck Detail #2
Truck Web
Truck Web
Truck Detail #3
Truck Detail #3
Truck Detail #4
Truck Detail #4
Truck Detail #5
Truck Detail #5
Truck Detail #6
Truck Detail #6
The Neighbor
The Neighbor
Truck Detail #7
Truck Detail #7
Truck Detail #8
Truck Detail #8

After breakfast at the diner in Keene (with outdoor seating) my next stop was the Stonewall Farm in western Keene. I took a short stroll around the farm and found lots to photograph.

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Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Tractor Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Latch Hook
Stonewall Farm -- Latch Hook
Stonewall Farm -- Safety
Stonewall Farm -- Safety
Stonewall Farm -- Blue Metal
Stonewall Farm -- Blue Metal
Stonewall Farm -- Tools
Stonewall Farm -- Tools
Stonewall Farm -- Red Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Red Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Green Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Green Maple
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #1
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #1
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #2
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #2
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #3
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #3
Stonewall Farm -- Silo Detail #4
Stonewall Farm --  Silo Detail #4

My original plan was to make a third stop at the Chesterfield Gorge. However, I looked at the time and decided I did not have time. This was the correct decision as I made it Brattleboro with about twenty minutes to spare before our 10 AM get together.

1 August 2020

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Late yesterday afternoon, I made the short drive to the paper mill in Bennington (NH) to look for riverine odes. It was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the low 80s. Donning my wades, I spent about seventy five minutes in the river.

Immediately below the papemill dam there is a short rocky falls and then a section of fast moving water with a generally sandy bottom; a very different habitat than the lakes, ponds and beaver-made wetlands I usually frequent. As I expected, I saw some species that I don’t often see. Stream bluets and powdered dancers are species that prefer hard bottomed, fast moving water.

As seems to be the pattern for this year, there were small numbers of odes present. I observed less than a half dozen individuals of each species I photographed, including two dragonhunters perched within a foot of each other on the same dead branch overhanging the water.

Upon returning to the truck, I ordered a pizza from Rick and Diane’s. While waiting for pizza to bake, I walked around the edge of the pond at Memorial Park. There I saw maybe a half dozen eastern forktails (mostly males, but at least one female); the last photo is from this site.

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Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Stream Bluet (tandem pair)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Dragonhuneter (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (male)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Powdered Dancer (female)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
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