Photographs by Frank

11 October 2018

2018 Road Trip (Part 1) — Introduction / Canyon de Chelly

Filed under: Landscapes,Road Trips — Frank @ 9:12 PM

We are back from our 2018 road trip!

We headed west on Labor Day and arrived home on Sunday… five weeks and 6940 miles total. We pulled our little teardrop camper and spent most nights camping.

The centerpiece of the trip was the Grand Canyon. We spent five days at the North Rim and then ten days rafting the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek (more about this in another post). Both before and after the Grand Canyon, we stopped at a number of other national parks and monuments.

On the way west, we spent four  days (three nights) on the interstate system before hitting the local roads somewhere west of Albuquerque, NM and heading for Canyon de Chelly National Monument along the Arizona-New Mexico border in the four corners area.

We arrived at Canyon de Chelly in the late afternoon and camped there for two nights. This was our standard  operating mode for most stops, giving me two late afternoons/evenings and two mornings for photography when the sun is low(ish) in the sky.

From Canyon de Chelly, we headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where we spent four nights camped in the National Forest campground just north of the park. From the North Rim, we headed to Flagstaff (and one night in a motel) to meet up with the folks we would be rafting with.

Early the next morning (15 Sept.) we were on the AZRA* bus headed for the put-in at Lee’s Ferry. We spent the next ten days floating the river and being well tended to by the guides. The take-out was on the morning of the 24th. After another bus ride (back to Flagstaff) and another night in a motel (with hot showers!), we were ready for the rest of our trip.

We did not get too far on the first day, post-raft trip… only to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments, twenty or twenty-five miles north of Flagstaff, where we camped for one night.

From there we headed for Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah (for two nights) then, with a quick daytime stop at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, to Capitol Reef National Park (two nights). Next it was on to Hovenweep National Monument (two nights) with another quick stop at Natural Bridges National Monument on the way. After Hovenweep we headed to Mesa Verde National Park (two nights) and Great Sand Dunes National Park (one night) in southwestern Colorado, before deciding to find Interstate 70 and head home.

Of course, I took some photographs along the way….  3263 exposures total to be exact! I have spent much time since we returned home editing this mass down to 495 frames (i.e. 15% of the total) which I “developed”. I then made a second pass at editing and have 182 photos (5.6% of the total) which will appear here on the blog. Hopefully, this is a small enough number that no one will fall asleep during the slide show!

Thus, to begin, here are the photos from Canyon de Chelly; more (from other places) will follow in subsequent posts.

Color Work

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Canyon de Chelly 01
Canyon de Chelly 01
Canyon de Chelly 02
Canyon de Chelly 02
Canyon de Chelly 04
Canyon de Chelly 04
Canyon de Chelly 05
Canyon de Chelly 05
Canyon de Chelly 06
Canyon de Chelly 06
Canyon de Chelly 07
Canyon de Chelly 07
Canyon de Chelly 08
Canyon de Chelly 08
Canyon de Chelly 09
Canyon de Chelly 09
Canyon de Chelly 10
Canyon de Chelly 10

Black and White Work

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Canyon de Chelly 11
Canyon de Chelly 11
Canyon de Chelly 12
Canyon de Chelly 12
Canyon de Chelly 13
Canyon de Chelly 13
Canyon de Chelly 14
Canyon de Chelly 14
Canyon de Chelly 15
Canyon de Chelly 15
Canyon de Chelly 16
Canyon de Chelly 16
Canyon de Chelly 17
Canyon de Chelly 17
Canyon de Chelly 18
Canyon de Chelly 18

*AZRA — Arizona Rafting Adventures (more about them in a later post)


Part 2 >

22 August 2018

A Jaunt in the “Neighborhood”

This afternoon, I headed out on a walk down Hattie Brown Road, just to see what was up. I had not been out that way in probably almost a month. Weather-wise there were broken clouds and the temperature in the mid-70’s. There was also a nice breeze blowing… nice because it kept the mosquitoes down.

As I left the house, I noticed a small (a couple of dozen individuals) feeding swarm of darners over the yard. Feeding swarms are large congregations (dozens to hundreds of individuals) of big dragonflies (usually a mix of darner species) that gather over open spaces to feed on small flying insects. Feeding swarms form most often in late summer and in the late afternoon. I paused only briefly to watch the swarm before driving down to the bridge.

As I walked out Hattie Brown Road, the sun kept peaking out of the clouds and I saw both female autumn meadowhawks and spreadwings in some of the patches of sunlight along the road. I also saw an occasional darner cruising the road well above head height.

When I reached the beaver pond, the birds took noticed. A crow perched high in a nearby tree, being a social bird, began to call loudly announcing my presence to its compatriots. A great blue heron, being a solitary sort, silently took flight from its fishing spot near the road and headed to the other side of the pond.

As I arrived at the pond, I noticed a large dark cloud come over the ridge to the west and within a minute or two it began to rain lightly. Unsurprisingly, there were no odes to be seen.  Since there was only gray sky to the west and the patches of blue to the east were rapidly receding.  I decided to head back towards the truck without dallying. It rained lightly the entire walk back.

Of course, just as I arrived back at the truck the sun began to reappear and after a short interval the rain stopped.

Since the weather was looking better, I stopped at the road into the Harris Center property along Brimstone Corner Road rather than heading directly home. Parking near the gate, I walked down this road as far as the beaver dam and observed small numbers of the same odes as I saw on Hattie Brown Road. There were a couple of darners patrolling the road, a few spreadwings in sunny spots along the road and a couple of female meadowhawks at the log landing. I saw no odes out over the beaver pond itself.

Eventually, I lost the nice light as the sun disappeared over the ridge to the west. Thus, I headed back up the hill to the truck and arrived back home at 6:30, a bit more than two hours after I departed. The feeding swarm in the yard was gone.

As you might expect, I took a few photos while I was out!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Spreadwing #1
Spreadwing #1
Wildflower
Wildflower
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Autumn Meadowhawk (female)
Grass Seedhead
Grass Seedhead
Toadstool
Toadstool
Spreadwing #2
Spreadwing #2

 

18 August 2018

White Clapboard — Winter Light

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

Recently. I have been working on a physical book the idea for which has been rolling around in my cranium for some time.

Back in the winter of 2016/2017 I spent some time photographing meeting houses and churches in the general “neighborhood”. I ended up with almost one hundred processed, finished photographs.

My first thought was to put together a press printed book, containing three or four dozen photos total. However, the project stalled at the photo editing stage. I simply could not cull the set of photographs down from one hundred to forty-ish. Every time I tried, I ended up with a different subset. I put prints in a folder and put the project aside in frustration.

A month or so ago, one of my photo friends* suggested that selecting a smaller number of photos and making a shorter book might actually be easier. Lo-and-behold, she was right!

I ended up with a dozen photos that I have sequenced and printed four to a 13″x19″ sheet. I have printed four set of folios on some very nice two-sided matte paper. Now all I have to do is decide on the covers and sew the covers and folios together. The decision is always harder than the sewing!

This morning, as an experiment, I spent a bit of time putting together an ebook version (as a pdf file) of this project.  Here is a link to the book which is titled “White Clapboard — Winter Light“.

The ebook is best viewed by downloading the pdf file and opening it in Acrobat Viewer rather than just clicking on the link and viewing it in your browser.**

What do you think?


* We are a group of about ten photographers who meet on an irregular basis to discuss “projects and objects”… that is, our creative processes and the prints that result.

** Opening the file in most browsers will display the book one page at a time. This is OK. However, Adobe’s Acrobat Viewer will display the book as two page spreads, as I designed it.

Morning Visitor

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Summer,The Yard,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:59 AM

One the the large oak trees down by the road has a large dead branch that overlooks Joan’s vegetable garden. Semi-regularly we see birds of prey, usually hawks sitting in this branch.

This morning, while eating breakfast, Joan noticed a hawk perched in “the branch”. I made a few exposures from the driveway before it decided to head off.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Hawk #1
Hawk #1
Hawk #2
Hawk #2

 

22 July 2018

Bonnyvale Odes

Filed under: Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 1:00 PM

In a couple of weeks (4 August to be exact) I will be teaching a workshop titled “Photography of Dragonflies and Damselflies” and cosponsored by the Vermont Center for Photography and the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC).

Yesterday afternoon, I made a trip to the BEEC to scout out the odes there ahead of the workshop. The temperature was in the mid-70’s F, there were a few very scattered clouds and a slight breeze blowing, just enough to add challenge to photographing insects perched on tall grasses!

There were a couple of immature (i.e. orange-ish) meadowhawks flying over the fields. While walking in a field of tall grasses, one often flushes small birds. Yesterday, was no exception.  However, yesterday I also flushed a large deer. It jumped up from where it had been laying not more that twenty five feet from me and I nearly jumped out of my skin!

There is a very small (maybe twelve feet in diameter) pond in the lower field which contained dozens of bluets of two different species, including a number of ovipositing pairs. There was also a single male common whitetail that spent most of its time cruising the perimeter of the pond and only rarely perching and then for only a short interval. Very frustrating for photographers!

Across the road from the BEEC buildings and a short walk away, is another small pond. There were a number (maybe six or eight) of what I think were blue dashers out over the pond and perching on the cattails out in the middle. Having donned my rubber boots, I began to venture out into the shallow pond to photograph them. However, I quickly turned around. There was no solid bottom only that semi-solid, boot-grabbing muck that one often finds in small ponds. In the vegetation around the margin of this pond I found two male meadowhawks and a single teneral spreadwing.

I think that there will be enough ode activity for our workshop but I will be looking (with help from the BEEC staff) for another nearby site as backup.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Bluet (male, probably a Northern)
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Slender Bluet (male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)
Meadowhawk (immature male)

 

Down Back on Friday

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 12:00 PM

Friday afternoon, I spent a couple hours in the beaver-made wetland “down back” behind our house; we share this wetland with the NH Audubon Willard Pond sanctuary. The weather was warm (about 80 deg. F), very sunny and only a slight breeze.

There were a few darners flying out over the wet meadow; the first I’ve seen this season. The most common dragonfly was the frosted whiteface. There were dozens, mostly patrolling out of the open water of the pond. Additionally, I saw a single male calico pennant, a single male emerald. A Kennedy’s emerald I think, I have seen one other of these a few years back at the mill pond on the Willard Pond sanctuary, about three-quarters of a mile away. I also saw two or three female spangled skimmers.

There were small numbers of damselflies down low in the vegetation. These are always difficult to photograph. Damselflies tend to perch for only short intervals and finding clear “windows” in the vegetation though which to photograph is not easy. The most common damselflies were the sprites, both sphagnum and sedge sprites were present. Additionally, I saw one or two bluets of some sort and a similar number of spreadwings none of which I photographed.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Sedge Sprite (tandem pair)
Sedge Sprite (tandem pair)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Emerald, male, probably a Kennedy's)
Emerald, male, probably a Kennedy's)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)

 

15 July 2018

Powdermill Pond Boat Launch (Greenfield) Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 2:00 PM

Last Thursday (12 July) afternoon, I spent about ninety minutes (beginning at about 4:30) at the boat launch on the Greenfield side of the Contoocook River (near the covered bridge). The temperature was near 80 deg. F,  it was partly cloudy and calm.

There were numerous male slaty skimmers and slightly small numbers of male blue dashers patrolling and skirmishing out over the water in a backwater by the boat ramp. I was quite interesting to watch the smaller dashers challenge the skimmers for the rights to a prime perch at the waters edge. The dashers were only rarely successful in their challenge.

The emergent vegetation contained at least two species of damselflies: a spreadwing and Eastern Forktails. There were also a few variable dancers along the shore.

Out in the the field, the most numerous ode was the widow skimmer; there were dozens present. They were generally perched down low and hard to see unless you stirred them up as you walked. Both males and females were present in roughly equal numbers.

Additionally, there were small numbers of of male eastern forktails, present down low in the vegetation.

I also observed a single yellow (female or immature male) meadowhawk, a single female calico pennant and one female dot-tailed whiteface in the field.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Meadowhawk
Meadowhawk
Eastern Forktail (male)
Eastern Forktail (male)
Widow Skimmer (immature male)
Widow Skimmer (immature male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Calico Pennant
Calico Pennant
Dot-tailed Whiteface (female)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (female)

 

11 July 2018

Elmwood Junction Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:30 PM

This afternoon I walked the roughly three-quarters of a mile (one way) from the end of the road at Elmwood Junction to the rail bridge over Powder Mill Pond (a dammed section of the Contoocook River) in Hancock. The temperature was right around 80 deg. F and it was partly cloudy. The breeze was slight and intermittent.

The number of odes was small, but the diversity of species was great. I observed eight different species in my roughly ninety minute outing.

When I first arrived, I saw two or three male bluets right at the waters edge near the end of the road where I parked the truck. I also found a single male variable dancer along the edge of the road. At the end of my walk, I saw a couple of male slaty skimmers and a single male blue dasher in the same general area.

Some stretches of the trail (an old rail bed) are quite shady. However, the edges of the trail in sunny areas, especially those close to the water yielded a number of sightings. Common pondhawks (both immature males and females) were the most common species. I saw a total of three or four of each sex. I also observed single individuals (all males) of the following species: frosted whiteface, dot-tailed whiteface and widow skimmer. The catch of the day (for both me and the ode, pun intended!) was a female slaty skimmer eating a male bluet.

I had two interesting avian encounters along the trail. At one point I was standing still scanning the vegetation for odes when a downy woodpecker landed on a tree trunk at the edge of the trail not more that five or six feet from me. It was close enough that a photo was possible with the “ode rig”. However, as soon as I moved, he took off into the woods. A few minutes later, while I was framing  a photograph, a bird (most probably an Eastern Kingbird, there were a number along the trail) flew, at waist height, between my monopod and the dragonfly I was focused on, which was not more than four feet away.

Clearly, it does not take much to amuse me, but I had an entertaining outing!

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Bluet (male)
Bluet (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Variable Dancer (male)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Common Pondhawk (female)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Slaty Skimmer (female) with Prey (Male Bluet)
Slaty Skimmer (female) with Prey (Male Bluet)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (male)
Dot-tailed Whiteface (male)
Common Pondhawk (immature male)
Common Pondhawk (immature male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Widow Skimmer (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)

 

8 July 2018

Odeing the Harris Center Property on Brimstone Corner Road

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 PM

A couple of years ago, the Harris Center purchased a parcel of land along Brimstone Corner Road about a half-mile from our house (down towards the bridge). This parcel contains the north (and downstream) end of the beaver-made wetland complex whose southern end we share with NH Audubon.

Yesterday afternoon, about three o’clock with the temperature in the mid-70s and mostly sunny skies, I walked the roughly four-tenths of a mile down Brimstone Corner road from our house to the road (which closed to vehicles) that passes through this property. About a quarter-mile down this road lies a log yard that was last used about five years ago and another quarter-mile along one comes to a beaver dam and the outlet stream from the wetland complex.

Both sites have good odeing. The old log yard is bright, sunny upland. The outlet area has both vegetated still water habitat (i.e. the beaver pond) and a sandy bottom small stream habitat. The sunny spots along the road also usually contain some odes. All-in-all, lots of good potential odeing in a small area and I was not disappointed yesterday.

Maybe fifty feet after turning off Brimstone Corner Road, I encountered my first ode, a female slaty skimmer. In the quarter-mile down to the log yard, I saw about a half dozen spreadwings down low in the grassy strip at the middle of the road.

When I arrived at the log yard, I immediately saw two large darners having a dog fight over the open area. They flew high and away without a chance for me to photograph them.

The tall grasses covering the log yard are perfect habitat for calico pennants which usually begin to appear in early July around here. As I moved though the grasses, I stirred up a six or eight calico pennants. They were mostly yellow (i.e. females or immature males) but there were also a couple of red (mature) males present.

When I arrived at the water, the first thing I noticed were many (dozens) of male slaty skimmers mostly patrolling and skirmishing out over the open water. In the grassy areas around the dam there were small numbers of both bluets and spreadwings present. (More precise identification requires capturing individuals for examination with a hand lens; not something that I usually do.) I observed one or two female Eastern Forktails here as well.

The downstream side of the road is the beginning of a short stretch of the outlet stream with a nice sandy bottom and rapidly flowing water; perfect habitat for ebony jewelwings. There were a couple of dozen individuals of both sexes present along eight or ten feet of this stream. It seemed that every sunny spot in the area contained a perched jewelwing or was begin fought over by a pair.

On my way back home, I stopped again at the log yard and observed only calico pennants. As before, they were mostly yellow with one or two mature males present. I arrived home a bit after six o’clock. All-in-all a very nice way to spend  part of a nice summer afternoon.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Spreadwing #1
Spreadwing #1
Calico Pennant #1
Calico Pennant #1
Calico Pennant #2
Calico Pennant #2
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Ebony Jewelwing (female)
Bluet
Bluet
Spreadwing #2
Spreadwing #2
Eastern Forktail (female)
Eastern Forktail (female)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Slaty Skimmer (female)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)

 

(Mostly) Wildflowers at Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center

Filed under: Other Insects,wildflowers — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:49 PM

In preparation for my workshop titled “Photography of Dragonflies and Damselflies“, I have (twice in the past couple of weeks) spent some time at the Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (in West Brattleboro, VT). Alas, the odes have been sparse both visits, but there are numerous wildflowers (IDs by Joan) in their meadows. They also have numerous day lilies blooming around their buildings at the moment.

NextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnailNextGen ScrollGallery thumbnail
Cinquefoil
Cinquefoil
Comfrey
Comfrey
Queen Anne's Lace #1
Queen Anne's Lace #1
Queen Anne's Lace #2
Queen Anne's Lace #2
Milkweed
Milkweed
Fleabane
Fleabane
Tiger Swallowtail
Tiger Swallowtail
Mallow
Mallow
Daylily
Daylily

 

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress