Photographs by Frank

26 July 2019

A Slow Day “Down Back”

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:30 PM

This afternoon (at about four) I donned my waders and headed “down back”. It is a short (maybe a quarter of a mile) walk to the beaver made wetland complex at the back of our property.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was right around 80 degrees. I spent about seventy five minutes watching the wildlife.

The beavers have been busy as the water level in the wet meadow is as high as I have ever seen it. Many of my usual spots: for hunkering down along the pond are now part of the pond!

As seems to be the case all over this season, the number of odes were small. There were darners flying over the vegetation in the wet meadow. They are impossible to enumerate, identify or photograph as they are in constant motion. I also observed a single male meadow hawk at the woodland/wetland interface. It did not stick around long enough for a photo.

The most common odes present were the sprites. I probably saw at least a couple of dozen. Both sedge sprites and sphagnum sprites were present. The latter were more common. Most of the individuals I saw were male but females were present. I saw (but did not photograph) a single pair of sprites flying in tandem. I did not see any damselflies other than sprites,

Sprites are very difficult to photograph. They are the smallest ode we have in the area; about one inch long and very slight of build. They also prefer to stay low in the emergent vegetation. I rarely see a sprite more than six inches off the water.

However, if one stakes out a small open spot and applies some patience a sprite or two are likely to show up. With a little luck you can then find a window in the grasses with a clear view and make a photograph before the critter moves on. The challenge is all part of the fun!

Lastly, as one would expect for the end of July the blue flag irises are done for the year. I did, however, see a number of their fruits (seed pods?). The equally showy but much smaller (the flowers are only about an inch long and their stalks rarely rise higher than six inches) rose pagonias were in full bloom. I saw five or six patches containing from a single flower to more than a dozen.

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Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sedge Sprite (male)
Sprite
Sprite
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Rose Pagonia
Rose Pagonia

24 July 2019

Odes on a Short Walk

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:33 PM

This afternoon, about two o’clock, I headed out for a short walk. My destination was the outlet of “our” wetland. This brook crosses the road across the Harris Center property on Brimstone Corner Rd (in Antrim) roughly a couple of dozen feet below the beaver dam. I spent about two hours total in the field.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the upper seventies. A perfect summer afternoon in New Hampshire.

As I hoped there were odes in the sunny patches along the road, in the old log yard and around the brook. The numbers of individuals were small; only three or four individuals maximum of each species were observed This seems to be the rule this summer… small numbers of individuals but a good variety of species.

I observed the following species of dragonflies: blue dashers (both male and female), calico pennants (both male and female), a female meadowhawk and a few male frosted whitefaces. I also saw a few damselflies: a single spreadwing, and few bluets and a lone ebony jewelwing.

I made photographs of all of these species except for the jewelwing.

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Blue Dasher (female)
Blue Dasher (female)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Spreadwing
Spreadwing
Bluet
Bluet
Calico Pennant (female)
Calico Pennant (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Meadowhawk (female)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Damselfly
Damselfly
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

18 July 2019

One Intersection — Five Photographs

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 10:00 AM

Two dirt roads cross in an out of the way corner of Hancock, NH.

A light rain falls.

So much photographic possibility.

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Crossroads #1
Crossroads #1
Crossroads #2
Crossroads #2
Crossroads #3
Crossroads #3
Crossroads #4
Crossroads #4
Crossroads #5
Crossroads #5

16 July 2019

Spangled Skimmers

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

This coming Saturday (20 July 2019), I am co-teaching a workshop on wildlife photography at the Harris Center in Hancock. This afternoon I headed over there to place some perches near the bird feeders and to scout out the odes.

The weather was warm (about 80), muggy and it was overcast. It was not great weather for odes to be out and about. I was disappointed, but not surprised, that I saw not a single ode in a quick trip around the Harris Center field. The weather for Saturday is predicted to be hot (mid-90s’ hopefully not too hot for either workshop participants or odes) and sunny. The fears of every workshop leader… a large crowd of participants shows up but there is no wildlife to be found, or vice versa!

Ever the optimist, I headed to the boat launch on the Contoocook in Greenfield to see what might be flying in the field. There were many deer flies and mosquitoes around but only a few odes… maybe a half dozen female spangled skimmers.

The trip was worth it, I was able to make a photograph of two perched dragonflies in the same frame. Although closely perched damselflies are quite common, this is a very rare event with dragonflies.

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Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmers (female)
Spangled Skimmers (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)
Spangled Skimmer (female)

Powdermill Pond Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 5:30 PM

Yesterday afternoon (from roughly 4 to 6:30), with the weather mostly sunny and the temperature in the low 80s, I headed to Powermill Pond for some odeing.

I parked the truck at Elmwood Junction and after a quick look around the waters edge and the road there, I headed down the trail (old rail bed) towards the bridge across the river. My ultimate goal was the field at the Cilley Family Forest (formerly the Robertson farmstead) in Greenfield. Google maps indicates the walk is about nine tenths of a mile one way.

I found a single female whiteface near the water where I parked and nothing along the road (which is usually a good spot for odes). On the way out, odes were sparse along the rail bed until I got to the bridge. Here I observed a half dozen or so male common pondhawks and a similar number of slaty skimmers.

At the field , the most common odes were Halloween pennants; I saw somewhere between six and twelve individuals. All of those I got close enough to see well were yellow (i.e. either immature males or females). There, I also observed a single male calico pennant and two stream cruisers (the one I photographed was male).

On the way back to the truck, the odes were a bit more numerous along the rail bed. In addition to the common pondhawks by the bridge, I found a single clubtail, a male chalk-fronted corporal and a male blue dasher.

Nine species of dragonflies on a two mile walk… not bad. Interestingly, I saw no damselflies. However, I did photograph a butterfly!

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Whiteface (female)
Whiteface (female)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Butterfly
Butterfly
Halloween Pennant (immature male)
Halloween Pennant (immature male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Calico Pennant (male)
Stream Cruiser (male)
Stream Cruiser (male)
Clubtail
Clubtail
Common Pondhawk (male) with Prey
Common Pondhawk (male) with Prey
Blue Dasher (male)
Blue Dasher (male)

10 July 2019

Contoocook River Odes

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,Wildlife — Tags: , — Frank @ 9:36 PM

Well, the winter’s firewood is finally stacked… all 10 plus cords. Now I have some time and energy to get out and photograph the odes.

This afternoon, I had lunch with my friend Victor at the Common Place in Bennington (NH). After we parted ways, I stopped at the canoe/kayak launch on the Contoocook River by the papermill.

I have never looked for odes here before but I will be stopping there more often going forward.

This site is just downstream from the papermill’s last dam. Just below the dam there is a small falls/rapids and then, after the drop, there is a stretch of fast moving, rocky bottomed river. There are also a number of backwaters with essentially still water and muddy bottoms. A very different habitat than I usually visit.

The weather was mostly sunny and the temperature was in the mid-80s.

I spent about an hour, covered no more than 200 feet of river and observed eight different species of odes.

The damselflies I saw were: powdered dancers (one of each sex, I think; this is a new species for me), a couple of male ebony jewelwings and a single male stream bluet.

As for the dragonflies, the most abundant were male common whitetails; there were many dozens of them, but no females. Next most abundant were spangled skimmers, I saw roughly a dozen of them; all males again.

I also observed single individuals of the following species: dragonhunter, twelve-spotted skimmer and slaty skimmer. Again, these were all males.

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Powdered Dancer (male) ?
Powdered Dancer (male) ?
Powdered Dancer (female) ???
Powdered Dancer (female) ???
Dragonhunter (male)
Dragonhunter (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Ebony Jewelwing (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Stream Bluet (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Common Whitetail (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)
Slaty Skimmer (male)

24 June 2019

More Experiments

Filed under: Garden Flowers,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 11:00 PM

I have a shoe box full of random lenses mostly salvaged from various devices over the years. This afternoon, I took the usual lens out of the camera obscura and tested each lens from my box by holding it up to the opening in the box. Most of the lenses resulted in horribly out of focus images and will require more work — making lens tubes to fit them, etc. — to see if they can be focused on the ground glass.

However one lens, a single convex lens (flat on one side and convex on the other), in a convenient aluminum frame threw a decent image when held against the opening. I taped this lens in place and headed out to the yard to experiment. I did not stay out too long as the mosquitoes were fierce.

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Poppies
Poppies
Peonies #1
Peonies #1
Peonies #2
Peonies #2
Flocked
Flocked
Untitled
Untitled
Our House
Our House
The Front Door
The Front Door

23 June 2019

Experiments with Slits

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Summer,The "New" Yard & Environs — Tags: — Frank @ 7:30 PM

We had nine cords of wood delivered on Thursday. Thus, these days, I spend my mornings stacking firewood. I am trying to do about a cord each day.

Afternoons, however, are for experiments.

These photos were made by replacing the lens in my camera obscura with a slit made by placing two razor blades very close together. The slit acts similarly to a pinhole in forming an image, except that the image is stretched out along the length of the slit. I have placed the slit on the camera (with tape, nothing fancy!) at a roughly forty-five degree angle.

I took my experiment for a walk around the yard just to “get a feel” of what it might do,

The viewfinder of the digital camera is very dim; I can often see only a couple of the brightest spots in the scene. Thus framing is imprecise.

By cranking up the ISO as high as it goes (3200 on my little Nikon 1 V1), I can get a reasonable shutter speed; 1/4th to 1/20 of a second. I deal with the horrible noise this causes in the computer, but since nothing is really sharp to begin with heavy noise reduction seems to work fine.

I will be as interested as anyone else to see where this experiment leads!

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Flocked
Flocked
Peonies #1
Peonies #1
Peonies #2
Peonies #2
On the Road
On the Road
Our House
Our House
Garden Flowers
Garden Flowers

20 June 2019

A Short Drive in the Rain*

Filed under: architecture,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 9:30 PM

This afternoon, despite the rain, I headed out to Tenney’s , our local farm stand. I was in need of a real local** strawberry fix; the first of the all-to-short season.

Of course, I took along my (current) favorite optical tool… the camera obscura. After the strawberries were safely stowed behind the seats in my truck, I decided that the rain was light enough for some photography and thus went on a short drive.

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Bandstand & Vestry (Hancock, NH)
Bandstand  & Vestry (Hancock, NH)
Bench, Hancock (NH) Green
Bench, Hancock (NH) Green
Meetinghouse (Hancock, NH)
Meetinghouse (Hancock, NH)
Dam & Powerhouse (Bennington, NH)
Dam & Powerhouse (Bennington, NH)
Meetinghouse (Greenfield, NH)
Meetinghouse (Greenfield, NH)
Bench, Greenfield NH
Bench, Greenfield NH
Bandstand (Antrim, NH)
Bandstand (Antrim, NH)
Coke & Wood Pile
Coke & Wood Pile

* The fourth post today. I think that that is a record!

** We have been subsisting on those inferior substitutes — the grocery store variety — for some weeks now. They are better than nothing, but not by much.

A Walk and Backyard Birds

Can you tell it is a rainy day here in Antrim? Must be, it is a three blog post day!

Yesterday was a hot (for NH) and sticky day. The temperature was in the upper seventies and it was mostly cloudy. The rain held off until early evening.

I took a walk up Brimstone Corner Road with the camera rigged for odes. There was not much activity and the only species I saw were chalk-fronted corporals. I saw roughly two dozen individuals in the roughly three miles I walked.

In one old log yard, I found three different wildflowers all within about a six foot radius. I barely had to move between photographs!

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Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (female)
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #1
Wildflower #2
Wildflower #2
Wildflower #3
Wildflower #3

When I got home from the walk, I decided to set up the camera rigged for birds on the deck. It was pointed towards the feeders. All the usual suspects were present. Finches both gold and purple as well as downy woodpeckers have been most abundant recently.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks are also common. On other days I have seen as many as three individuals on the feeders simultaneously. They were present yesterday, but I did not get any photos as they have the annoying habit of flying directly to the feeders with out stopping at one of the abundant perches available. And, as I am wont to say one should not make photos of birds on bird feeders unless one is trying to sell bird feeders!

Every once in a while, a we get other woodpeckers. Hairy woodpeckers being next most common and very occasionally a red-bellied. We hear pileated woodpeckers in the woods regularly but have never seen one on or even near the feeders.

Red-winged blackbirds are also infrequent visitors to our feeders. They are common in the wetland “down back” (about a quarter mile away) but are rare in our yard tucked away in the woods.

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Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Purple Finch #1
Purple Finch #1
Purple Finch #2
Purple Finch #2
Goldfinch (male)
Goldfinch (male)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (female)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
Downy Woodpecker (male)
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