Photographs by Frank

3 April 2019

Common Mergansers

Filed under: Birds,Early Spring,Monadnock Region,Wildlife — Frank @ 10:30 PM

Despite the inch of snow we got last night, spring is coming slowly to our neck of the woods. The new snow was gone by 10 AM. One sign that spring is nigh. Additionally, the local lakes and ponds are starting to show some open water and the birds are beginning to return. In the past week or so, we have been hearing sparse bird songs in the woods and a few waterfowl have appeared.

Late this morning Joan called me from Memorial Park (where she was doing some spring cleaning of the flower beds) . The news was that there was a pair of common mergansers on the Mill Pond. Of course, I dropped what I was doing, broke out Big Bertha for the first time in some months and headed downtown.

In addition to the mergansers there was a pair of geese present. The midday light was high and harsh. Terrible, especially, for photographing a black and white bird. I knew that “keepers” were unlikely but I spent an hour or so watching and photographing just for practice before heading home.

A few hours later, I returned to town to run some errands and stopped by the pond again to see if the birds were still around; both the geese and the mergansers were still there. Although the sun was still pretty high, the light was a bit better as there were some scattered clouds. I spent another hour or so photographing the mergansers.

Catching a merganser with prey on the surface was a rare treat. Generally, as with most diving birds, mergansers swallow their the prey while under water. One sees them with prey only when they are having difficulty in getting the prey down their gullet, as with the fairly large fish here.

Eventually, the wind kicked up and blew my hat into the pond. I got both feet wet retrieving the hat (just before it sank out of sight). and spooked the birds in doing so. I took this as sign to head home.

All of these photos are from the second session. They are more heavily cropped (one third to one half of the full frame) than I would like but mergansers are very wary birds.

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24 March 2019


Filed under: Early Spring,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 6:15 PM

March is prime time if you are in the maple syrup business. The sap is flowing and folks are boiling more-or-less constantly.

This weekend a number of local sugar houses were open for “tours”. I put tours in quotes since most sugar houses are small structures and thus a “tour” consists of maybe eight or ten people at maximum standing in a circle around the evaporator.

Joan and I took a break from our regular activities this afternoon and visited two Antrim sugar houses.

I, of course, took my camera along.

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12 May 2018

Spring Olio

Filed under: Early Spring,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:00 PM

Early last week I noticed that all of the remaining beech leaves which hung to the trees all winter long were suddenly on the ground. A couple of days later, this years crop of beech leaves exploded into view. The maple trees began producing leaves in concert with the beeches and a day or two later the first ferns of the season poked up out of the leaf litter.

Spring has really sprung!

The first photo of this group (‘Raindrops’) was made during a one minute (literally) spring shower that occurred just as I passed by the stream which crossed the the road near brimstone corner. The rain lasted just long enough that I could make three exposures.

The last photo, that I have titled ‘Happy Accident’, is exactly that. As I lowered my camera back to my side after making an exposure, I accidentally tripped the shutter. I discovered this frame (which is reminiscent of those in my series titled “Autumnal Abstracts”)  on my memory card when I moved the days photos to the computer.

These two photos are evidence that serendipity plays a larger role in making photographs than we might like to admit. Although, I also think that Pasteur’s famous statement “Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés.*” is also worth remembering in this context.

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* In english: “In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.”


Spring Ephemerals

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

Despite today’s cool wet weather (45 degrees and showers), spring has finally sprung here in NH. I saw my first odes of the season the middle of last week (no photos though), the early green of spring has exploded in the last week or so and the early spring ephemerals are in bloom.

I photographed a few of these flowers on my walk yesterday.

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26 April 2018

Bailey Brook

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 11:59 PM

This afternoon, I spent some time at Bailey Brook in Nelson. This brook has two very nice water falls separated by about a quarter mile of stream containing numerous small cascades. The stream was flowing well as we had about a half inch of rain yesterday.

The lower falls is visible from the road and is the smaller but more photogenic of the two. The upper falls has a very nice swimming hole at its top. I did not avail myself of this amenity today. It was breezy and the temperature was in the mid-50’s! The skies were partly cloudy with periods of bright sun (not so good for photographing waterfalls) and periods of thick clouds (good for the task at hand). The clouds were moving quickly so I never had to wait long for the light to change.

Bailey Brook is one of the few places in our neck of the Monadnock region where I have observed skunk cabbage*. There were newly emerging plants at numerous locations along the edge of the brook.

Damp feet and knees were a small price to pay for the photographs I made.

Color Work

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Black and White Work

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* Edit: Joan says that this plant is American False Hellebore, NOT skunk cabbage. I have enough trouble with odes… plants are too much for me!


18 April 2018

April’s Fooling Us

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 7:00 PM

Spring has been v—e—r—y  s—l—o—w in coming this year.

However, by the end of last week the majority of the winter’s accumulation of snow was gone and things were looking up. I even got to try out the grill Joan had bought me at Edmund’s Hardware Store ladies night back in December.

There was so little snow left that the treasure hunters were out. On the 11th (last Wed.) I ran into a fellow with a metal detector while I was walking the un-maintained section of Brimstone Corner Road. He had found four very old buttons by searching around one of the old cellar holes.

Then, on Sunday and Monday,  we got two inches of frozen rain (i.e. ice pellets) and, for good measure, some 35 degree rain on top of that!

Spring be damned!

Today, Joan and Ben Pratt headed out on Gregg Lake to do the first water sampling of the year. The temperature was about 35 degrees and there was a stiff breeze blowing when they headed out about 9:30 this morning. The temperature was up to 45 degrees by mid-afternoon when they returned home from delivering the samples to the lab in Concord. They report that the water temperature was 4 degrees C from top to bottom!

Here are some random photos made over the past week.

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8 April 2018

Shadows of the Road

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

Yesterday, hoping for good light, I took my camera along on my walk.  The hope was just that.

For most of the walk the sun was out full resulting in harsh, direct light.

The problem (for photography) with harsh, direct light is too much contrast; harsh, deep shadows accompanied by bright, hot highlights.

When nature hands you lemons make lemonade:

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The Last of the Snow… Hopefully.

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region — Tags: , — Frank @ 7:00 PM

The calendar says “spring”. The weather says otherwise.

We are still having daytime temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s; night time temperatures have been generally below freezing and as  low as the high teens. This is perfect weather for maple sugaring and from what I hear this has been a banner year for such.

This past week brought a few inches of new snow. Fortunately, it is April and the new snow was mostly gone within a day. However, there are still pockets of the winter’s snow still hanging on here and there in the woods.

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22 April 2017

Recent Meanders/Photos

Filed under: Early Spring,Landscapes,Monadnock Region,the White Mountains — Tags: — Frank @ 7:15 PM

On Monday, I meandered home from Peterborough via Temple, Wilton, Lyndeborough and Francestown… I know, it was not exactly the direct route!

On Tuesday I meandered through the western White Mountains… Kinsman Notch and Franconia Notch.

On Wednesday, I had an errand to attend to in Warner… I meandered back home stopping in Bradford Center to make some photographs using my camera obscura.

Here are some of the photographs I made:

White Mountain Landscapes

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Roadside “Attractions”

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With the Camera Obscura

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28 April 2015

Suppertime Visitor

Filed under: Early Spring,Mammals,Monadnock Region — Frank @ 11:00 AM

I arose from the dinner table last evening, took a look out the front door and noticed that we had a suppertime visitor.

This “fellow” was rooting around for supper in the leaves on the inside of the stone wall down by the road; I am unsure as to what it is eating.

Of course, I took the camera and headed out the door. Porcupines are pretty easy to photograph. Their sight is not particularly keen so if one moves slowly on can get pretty close. I stopped and set up the camera/tripod about twenty or thirty feet away.

I made eleven exposures before I was noticed. At this point the critter ambled down across the road and into the woods.

I do not believe that concept of “hurry” exists in the porcupine universe!

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