Photographs by Frank

16 May 2021

First Odes of the Season (2021)

Yesterday, I saw my first dragonfly of the season; a Hudsonian Whiteface perched on the outside of our kitchen window. I actually made a photograph of it, but I’ll spare you having to see it!

This afternoon (with the temperature around 70 deg. F and partly cloudy skies), Hudsonian Whitefaces were common in the yard. Both females (yellow, thick abdomens) and immature males (yellow, relatively thin abdomens; the yellow will turn red as they mature) were present. The were more than a dozen individuals, all actively feeding and perching low to the ground for short periods while they devoured their prey. I also saw (and photographed a single immature male Chalk-fronted Corporal.

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Hudsonian Whiteface
Hudsonian Whiteface
Chalk-fronted Corporal (imm. male)
Chalk-fronted Corporal (imm. male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (imm. male)
Hudsonian Whiteface (female)
Hudsonian Whiteface (female)

15 May 2021

Landscapes in Infrared

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Spring — Tags: — Frank @ 10:15 PM

A bright sunny day, harsh light… what is a landscape photographer to do?

Make infrared (IR) photos of course!

Warning… photo talk ahead!

These photos are made by placing a filter* on the camera that blocks all but the longest wavelengths of light from getting to the sensor. Straight out of the camera the photos have a deep red color and very low contrast. Processing the files on the computer gives the results you see here.

Green foliage is very reflective in the IR and so it appears bright white in these photos. Water, on the other hand, efficiently absorbs IR light and thus can appear very dark.

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Untitled (IR)
Untitled (IR)
Weeping Willow (IR)
Weeping Willow (IR)
Contoocook River #1 (IR)
Contoocook River #1 (IR)
Contoocook River #2 (IR)
Contoocook River #2 (IR)
Farm Field (IR)
Farm Field (IR)
Farm Pond (IR)
Farm Pond (IR)
Bear Hill Farm (IR)
Bear Hill Farm (IR)

* Specifically, I used an ‘R72’ filter which blocks all light below 720 nm (a deep red color). The filter looks black. If you hold it up to the sky, you can barely make out the disk of the sun.

14 May 2021

Loon Update #2 (2021)

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 10:44 PM

I spent about two hours (from 3-5 PM) watching the loons this afternoon. The temperature was about 70 deg. F and it was mostly cloudy. When I arrived at the lake there was a loon sitting on the nest. (S)he was alert and a bit pestered by the black flies.

Periodically the sun would peak out and the bird would open its mouth to “pant”. Avian “panting” is a thermoregulation mechanism. Birds don’t sweat. Thus, when they get hot the open their mouths to evaporate water from their mucus membranes in order to cool off.

After about an hour and a quarter, the loon stood up, examined the nest and settled back down facing in a slightly different direction. His/her movements looked a bit like egg turning, suggesting that at least one egg had been laid. Joan (who had arrived just a few minutes before this), using the spotting scope and a higher vantage point, confirmed that there is at least one egg (and possibly two) in the nest.

Thus the wait begins! The incubation period for loons is 25-30 days.

Roughly five minutes later and without warning, the loon on the nest slipped off the back of the nest into water. Shortly thereafter, the head of a bird appeared in a gap in the vegetation. It climbed up onto the nest, briefly examined the contents and sat down. I was puzzled by this turn of events until I finally noticed the head of a second loon just to the left of the nest. We had witnessed a ‘changing of the guard’! I had been completely unaware that the second loon had arrived at the nest. One of the hazards of peering into a telephoto lens is ‘tunnel vision’!

The loon in the water spent a few minutes moving nesting material towards the nest and then headed out to feed. After watching the sitting loon for a few more minutes, and knowing it could be an hour or more before the next changing of the guard, we packed up and headed home.

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Ever Watchful (Loon Sitting on Nest)
Ever Watchful (Loon Sitting on Nest)
Avian Panting (Loon On Nest)
Avian Panting (Loon On Nest)
Egg Turning? (Loon on Nest)
Egg Turning? (Loon on Nest)
Resettled
Resettled
The New Arrival
The New Arrival
Mounting the Nest
Mounting the Nest
Examining the Contents
Examining the Contents
Two Loons!
Two Loons!
Moving Nest Building Material
Moving Nest Building Material
Loon #2 Sitting on Nest
Loon #2 Sitting on Nest

Anthotypes

Filed under: Alternative Processes,Anthotype — Frank @ 10:30 AM

A few days ago I coated some paper with turmeric extract in anticipation of the next sunny day. Yesterday was that day!

I set up eight printing frames for exposures (four on 5×7 paper and four on 8×10 paper) and had them out in the sun by 10 AM. A little after 4 PM (i.e. a six hour exposure), I removed the paper from the frame and sprayed with a solution of washing soda (sodium carbonate). This changes the bright neon yellow of the turmeric to the nice red-brown you see here and (hopefully) stabilizes the print against further changes upon exposure to more light. Borax is more commonly used for this and gives a fairly neutral brown. I like the red-brown seen here better!

I think these four might just get matted!

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Untitled #1
Untitled #1
Untitled #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #3
Untitled #3
Untitled #4
Untitled #4

13 May 2021

Luna Moth

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Other Insects,Spring,Wildlife — Frank @ 9:15 PM

Joan spotted this female luna moth perched near the ground along side the road between our house and the Price Farm. I am pretty sure it is a female given the small size of its antennae and the large size of its body..

Luna moths are not rare, but they are rarely seen since they are nocturnal.

An interesting fact about the imago (winged, sexually mature) form seen here: they have no digestive system. The only function of the “adult” luna moth is reproduction. It will live for about a week and use the fat stored as a caterpillar as its sole source of energy.

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Luna Moth (female, dorsal view)
Luna Moth (female, dorsal view)
Luna Moth (female, ventral view)
Luna Moth (female, ventral view)

P.S. Quick loon update… there was a loon sitting on the nest when I drove by (twice, about an hour apart) late this afternoon,

Loon Update #1 (2021)

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

Yesterday afternoon Joan sent me a text message saying that there was a loon sitting on then nest. Her brother George had also seen a loon on the nest earlier in the day.

When Joan’s message arrived, I packed up my gear and headed down to the lake, arriving at the bridge at about 4:30. Joan reported that the bird had slipped off the nest as she put her phone away after sending the text!

Joan headed home. I set up the tripod etc. and settled in to see what would happen anyway.

I spent most of my time watching the main part of the lake hoping to pick up a bird as it came back under the bridge. However, after roughly a half hour wait, I first saw a single loon, on the upstream side of the bridge, over near the Craig Road bridge.

This bird just “hung out’ in the area between the two bridges for about twenty minutes. It was not actively fishing, it did a bit of stretching at one point, but it really just hung around. Eventually, it headed over towards the far ‘shore’ where the nest is, but again, it just meandered about for another ten or fifteen minutes. Finally it headed over to the nest a climbed up.

I watched the bird on the nest for a half hour or so. It was attentive, looking around a lot, and was still on sitting on the nest when I packed up and headed home about 5:45 PM.

Given that the nest was left unoccupied for long intervals yesterday, it is probable that the birds have not yet laid any eggs.

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Hanging Out #1
Hanging Out #1
Stretching
Stretching
Hanging Out #2
Hanging Out #2
Heading to the Nest
Heading to the Nest
On the Nest
On the Nest

12 May 2021

Two Walks

Filed under: Landscapes,Monadnock Region,Spring,wildflowers — Frank @ 10:45 AM

These photos are from walks on two recent days. The trees are beginning to leaf out and the hobblebush is in full bloom, as are many other early spring wildflowers and the black flies!

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Hobblebush #1
Hobblebush #1
Hobblebush #2
Hobblebush #2
Hobblebush #3
Hobblebush #3
Hobblebush #4
Hobblebush #4
Balancing Rock
Balancing Rock
Beech Foot
Beech Foot
Beaver-work
Beaver-work
Hand Labor (Stone Wall)
Hand Labor (Stone Wall)

8 May 2021

The Loons Return for 2021

Filed under: Birds,Monadnock Region,Spring,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 11:15 AM

Stalwart readers will remember that 2020 was a year to be remembered in Gregg Lake loon-dom… we had the first loon chicks hatched and fledged in living memory.

The loons (presumably the same pair as last year) are back again this year!

On the first of April this year (2021), Joan observed a single loon on the lake during an early kayak excursion. A week later (8 April) she observed a pair of loons. About a week ago (on 2 May) we had the first report of nest building behavior and a day or two later we observed this ourselves.

Late yesterday afternoon, I packed up my camera gear into the truck and made the mile drive down to the bridge to see what was up. I spent a couple of hours observing the loons. Or, more precisely I spent about forty five minutes waiting for the loons to make an appearance and a bit more than an hour watching the loons. The weather was cool (upper forties) and there was a bit of a breeze. Thus the black flies were not an issue and I never donned the bug jacket I brought along.

I first spotted the pair swimming together on the main part of the lake. They dove in unison, swam under the bridge and headed for the far ‘shore’ where they nested last year. They spent a short time adding nest material to the site they used last year and one of the birds climbed up to try out the result. The pair then explored two other sites nearby. At one of these sites they began to make another nest and, again, one of the birds climbed up to test things out.

Eventually one of the birds headed back to the main part of the lake. The second individual spent a few more minutes working on the nest before it headed off for the main part of the lake as well.

Twice, while the loons were hanging out near the nascent nest site(s), I observed a behavior that I had not witnessed before. One of the birds appeared to jump out of the water and pounce on something. The water by the nest sites is much too shallow for a loon to dive. Thus, I wonder if it was pouncing in attempt to catch prey, much like a fox or similar animal does when hunting rodents in a grassy field. I captured this behavior in two photos made a fraction of a second apart.

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The Pair
The Pair
Nest Building #1
Nest Building #1
Nest Building #2
Nest Building #2
Testing It Out
Testing It Out
More Nest Building
More Nest Building
"Pouncing" Behavior #1
"Pouncing" Behavior #2
Stretching One's Wings
Stretching One's Wings

2 May 2021

Two Days Work

Filed under: Landscapes — Frank @ 10:00 PM

Friday morning I headed to Laconia to help my friends Joe and Diana with a printer problem. On the way home, after lunch, I stopped at the Canterbury Shaker Village and made a number of photographs in the rain.

Early Saturday morning, I made a few photographs on Meetinghouse Hill before picking up my friend Victor for the drive to Brattleboro. We had our the first in-person meeting of ‘Carry It In’ (CII) in some months. CII is a group of photo-friends that get together once a month to share prints and talk photography. We spent the winter Zooming, but it is just not the same as getting together in person. We met outside, it was cool and breezy but tolerable and much better than Zoom.

The last two photos in the group below were made on Saturday; all of the others are from Friday.

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Ossa de Arboribus #1
Ossa de Arboribus #1
Ossa de Arboribus #2
Ossa de Arboribus #2
Ossa de Arboribus #3
Ossa de Arboribus #3
Ossa de Arboribus #4
Ossa de Arboribus #4
Ossa de Arboribus #5
Ossa de Arboribus #5
Canterbury Center
Canterbury Center
Stone Labor
Stone Labor
Orchard Shed
Orchard Shed
Untitled #1
Untitled #1
Untitled #2
Untitled #2
Untitled #3
Untitled #3
Meeting House Hill #1
Meeting House Hill #1
Meeting House Hill #2
Meeting House Hill #2

25 April 2021

WPPD – 2021

Filed under: Landscapes,Pinhole Photography — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Today, is Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day!

I celebrated by mounting a pinhole body cap on my dSLR and taking a drive to some of my favorite places to make photographs… Hillsborough Center, East Washington, Bradford Center and Washington.

One can only submit a single photo to the WPPD gallery. However, I can show a few more here!

Care to guess the one I submitted?

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Church, Hillsborough Center
Church, Hillsborough Center
Church and Graveyard, Bradford Center
Church and Graveyard, Bradford Center
Pound, Bradford Center
Pound, Bradford Center
Common, Washington, NH
Common, Washington, NH
Church, Hillsborough Center, NH
Church, Hillsborough Center, NH
Gazebo with Flag, Washington, NH
Gazebo with Flag, Washington, NH
March of the Flamingos
March of the Flamingos
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