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Stephen Ingraham has been at 1 events

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The Weather Channel2,960,460*Upload your photos to this Event on 9/19 or using the #sunsetday hashtag in a public post to celebrate #sunsetday!* Join us for an exciting 24-hour event as we send summer into the sunset in global fashion. We are asking our Google+ audience from around the world to grab your favorite camera on the evening of September 19 and snap your own unique sunset from your corner of the globe. We want to see all types of sunsets in a variety of settings; a city skyline, a beach resort, a beautiful countryside, a desert landscape, a dense forest. *Wherever you may be, please share/upload your sunset image with this event page on September 19.* You can also participate outside of this event page by submitting a public photo post and tagging with #sunsetday. A select number of our favorite photos will be shown on The Weather Channel and accompany a slideshow on weather.com. Other favorites will be posted and rotated through as the cover photo on both +The Weather Channel and the +Google+ Photos  Google+ page. Note: *Only photos uploaded and posted to the event page or associated with the hashtag #sunsetday on Sep 19 will be considered* We hosted two Hangouts On Air in preparation for Sunset Day. The first hangout focused on the meteorology behind sunsets including the reason behind the beautiful array of colors.  The second hangout concentrated on the art of sunset photography. Expert photographers well known to the Google+ community talked about their techniques in capturing the perfect sunset. Links to both HOA videos are posted below. *HANGOUT SCHEDULE* 1. Monday, September 9: "The Meteorology Behind Sunsets" at 11 am ET with host +Timothy Ballisty  (The Weather Channel social meteorologist). *Guests will include:* Meteorologists +Mike Bettes +Brad Panovich +Jacob Wycoff +Jonathan Erdman +Morgan Palmer +Tim Brice and +Maria LaRosa  *HOA video* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz6Zyz5FT-A 2. Thursday, September 12: "Sunset Photography" at 4 pm ET *Guests will include:* Photographers +Trey Ratcliff +Thomas Hawk +Karen Hutton and +Nicole S. Young   *HOA Video* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqgUGb0th_ASunset Day - Upload Your #SunsetDay Photo on September 192013-09-19 06:00:001299  

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Most comments: 39

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2015-06-13 11:23:42 (39 comments, 21 reshares, 287 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Crow at the river...
I was chasing a Kingfisher along the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond when this Crow lit on the rocks in the stream and spent a few moments chasing bugs among the stones. Crows are so common, and have such questionable habits, that they get very little respect among birders. You find them everywhere…anywhere actually where they might pick up a bit of scavenge. But they are, when well seen…if not outright beautiful…at least very handsome birds. This one, in the full sun, with the light on the water behind it, certainly makes a striking portrait.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/125th @ ISO 720 @ f6.5. Processed in Topaz Denoise and Lightroom.

Most reshares: 45

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2015-06-26 11:07:03 (20 comments, 45 reshares, 632 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Piping Plovers!
As I mentioned yesterday, there are a few endangered Piping Plover nests on the south end of Crescent Surf Beach and the north end of Laudholm Farm Beach, on either side of the mouth of the Little River. All Piping Plover nests in Maine are protected by law, both Federal and State, as the bird is on the Endangered Species List. The nests in Kennebunk and Wells are carefully monitored…eggs counted, hatchlings counted, fledged birds counted. There has been, in past years, a full time Maine Audubon staffer on Crescent Surf Beach to watch over the chicks, and to try to keep the nests and chicks from being eaten by domestic dogs. The nest sites are protected by page-wire enclosures to keep gulls, cats, raccoons, foxes, etc from getting to the eggs and chicks. And still, the chicks that reach adulthood in Maine, or at least on our local beaches, can be counted, tooo... more »

Most plusones: 632

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2015-06-26 11:07:03 (20 comments, 45 reshares, 632 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Piping Plovers!
As I mentioned yesterday, there are a few endangered Piping Plover nests on the south end of Crescent Surf Beach and the north end of Laudholm Farm Beach, on either side of the mouth of the Little River. All Piping Plover nests in Maine are protected by law, both Federal and State, as the bird is on the Endangered Species List. The nests in Kennebunk and Wells are carefully monitored…eggs counted, hatchlings counted, fledged birds counted. There has been, in past years, a full time Maine Audubon staffer on Crescent Surf Beach to watch over the chicks, and to try to keep the nests and chicks from being eaten by domestic dogs. The nest sites are protected by page-wire enclosures to keep gulls, cats, raccoons, foxes, etc from getting to the eggs and chicks. And still, the chicks that reach adulthood in Maine, or at least on our local beaches, can be counted, tooo... more »

Latest 50 posts

2015-06-29 12:28:03 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

All my Sunday posts in one spot!

All my Sunday posts in one spot!___

2015-06-29 12:26:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

All the Landscape Love posts in one place!

All the Landscape Love posts in one place!___

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2015-06-29 11:52:12 (17 comments, 28 reshares, 421 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
A view of the middle pool on the Batson River at Emmons Preserve (just down river from yesterday's Pic for Today of the rapids). This is such an attractive spot...worth repeated attempts to catch its essence. It always reminds me of a fairy pool, with the moss and ferns and bolders...the dappled shade and the swirl of frothy bubbles on the surface. It is not easy to capture...impossible without HDR techniques of some kind. I have carried a tripod in to take 3 conventional exposures for HDR, and I have tried the in-camera HDR on every camera I have owned over the past 4 years or so...since they began to include the feature. Only a few companies have really gotten in-camera HDR down to the point where it works most of the time. This is the new Sony HX90V, but any of the HX or RX series, and, of course the larger sensored Alpaha lines, do an excellent job...and are fully... more »

Landscape Love
A view of the middle pool on the Batson River at Emmons Preserve (just down river from yesterday's Pic for Today of the rapids). This is such an attractive spot...worth repeated attempts to catch its essence. It always reminds me of a fairy pool, with the moss and ferns and bolders...the dappled shade and the swirl of frothy bubbles on the surface. It is not easy to capture...impossible without HDR techniques of some kind. I have carried a tripod in to take 3 conventional exposures for HDR, and I have tried the in-camera HDR on every camera I have owned over the past 4 years or so...since they began to include the feature. Only a few companies have really gotten in-camera HDR down to the point where it works most of the time. This is the new Sony HX90V, but any of the HX or RX series, and, of course the larger sensored Alpaha lines, do an excellent job...and are fully adjustable from 1EV to 6EV differences in exposure. This shot was at 5EV difference. It is a jpeg, but I did turn down both contrast and sharpness in the Creative Styles settings to tweak the in-camera jpeg conversion and help the HDR along. The resulting image was processed in Lightroom to bring up even more shadow detail and to soften the highlights. All in all it is pretty close to what you would see if you were standing there. :)___

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2015-06-29 11:21:12 (7 comments, 13 reshares, 130 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Ebony Jewelwings!
It is just about Ebony Jewelwings time of year again. After my encounter with the River Jewelwings a few weeks ago (https://plus.google.com/+StephenIngraham/posts/1cTwH4fe1fw), I went back to the rapids on the Batson River on Saturday to check for early Ebonys, and there were indeed a number of males dancing over the rapids and pools. All Ebonys, no River…which is, I think, an interesting thing to note. And I found no females, either near the river in the forest, or in the meadows. Maybe next week. There is, of course, nothing like the iridescent blue/green of the Ebony Jewelwing’s body…sometimes bright blue and sometimes bright green, depending on the angle of the light.

The center image is from the Sony HX90V and the surrounding images are from the Nikon P900. All are processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage. Coolage is such a greatprogr... more »

Pic for Today: Ebony Jewelwings!
It is just about Ebony Jewelwings time of year again. After my encounter with the River Jewelwings a few weeks ago (https://plus.google.com/+StephenIngraham/posts/1cTwH4fe1fw), I went back to the rapids on the Batson River on Saturday to check for early Ebonys, and there were indeed a number of males dancing over the rapids and pools. All Ebonys, no River…which is, I think, an interesting thing to note. And I found no females, either near the river in the forest, or in the meadows. Maybe next week. There is, of course, nothing like the iridescent blue/green of the Ebony Jewelwing’s body…sometimes bright blue and sometimes bright green, depending on the angle of the light.

The center image is from the Sony HX90V and the surrounding images are from the Nikon P900. All are processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage. Coolage is such a great program for this kind of panel!___

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2015-06-28 20:01:00 (6 comments, 8 reshares, 85 +1s)Open 

First Great Spangled Fritillary of the season. On Knapweed. I do not think this specimen's wings were fully extended. They seem unusually rumpled. Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 

First Great Spangled Fritillary of the season. On Knapweed. I do not think this specimen's wings were fully extended. They seem unusually rumpled. Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. ___

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2015-06-28 17:48:24 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

First Ebony Jewelwing of the season. Batson River rapids, Emmons Preserve, Kennebunkport Land Conservancy. Maine. 6/28/15. Sony HX90V at 1440mm equivalent field of view (2x Clear Image zoom). Processed in Lightroom. 

First Ebony Jewelwing of the season. Batson River rapids, Emmons Preserve, Kennebunkport Land Conservancy. Maine. 6/28/15. Sony HX90V at 1440mm equivalent field of view (2x Clear Image zoom). Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-28 12:53:56 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 44 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Introducing The Willing Eye. Happy Sunday!
I love the little stretch of the Batson River (more a large brook) that passes through the Kennebunkport Land Conservancy’s Emmons Preserve. The meadows above the river behind the Headquarters building are a good spot for butterflies, dragonflies, and birds, and the shaded rapids and small falls and pools of the river as it passes through the forest are always a delight. This time of year, the Ebony Jewelwings dance over the rapids, and I am always attracted to the water where it tumbles down over a rocky bed between moss-grown banks, singing all the way. I have photographed this little run hundreds of times, but I am compelled to photograph it again on every visit.

This shot is an in-camera HDR with the new Sony HX90V, a camera I a trying out for just such scenic views and macros.

I have been thinking a lot, overt... more »

Pic for Today: Introducing The Willing Eye. Happy Sunday!
I love the little stretch of the Batson River (more a large brook) that passes through the Kennebunkport Land Conservancy’s Emmons Preserve. The meadows above the river behind the Headquarters building are a good spot for butterflies, dragonflies, and birds, and the shaded rapids and small falls and pools of the river as it passes through the forest are always a delight. This time of year, the Ebony Jewelwings dance over the rapids, and I am always attracted to the water where it tumbles down over a rocky bed between moss-grown banks, singing all the way. I have photographed this little run hundreds of times, but I am compelled to photograph it again on every visit.

This shot is an in-camera HDR with the new Sony HX90V, a camera I a trying out for just such scenic views and macros.

I have been thinking a lot, over the past week or so (inspired by a dream I had one night) about a name for the aspect of my photography that extends beyond the technical stuff and photographic inspiration of Point and Shoot Nature Photography (psnp.lightshedder.com). I am about to embark of a series of tours and workshops…group trips to photogenic locations…where I will attempt to help others to get the most out of their Point and Shoot cameras photographing nature…but there is more to my photography than that…more I have to share. There is a way of seeing…there is the underlying motivation for my photography…the act of seeing, celebrating, and sharing…that is a akin to worship…and that gets recorded often in these Sunday posts.

My smugmug gallery is called WideEyedInWonder, and the name is taken from one of my favorite sayings of Jesus: “The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore if you eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light.” (I should warn you there is a little scripture lesson coming…but persevere!) In my favorite, non-literal, translation it reads “If you go through life wide eyed with wonder and belief, then your whole being will be filled with light.” That actually might come closer to what Jesus meant than the traditional translation. We have what he said already in translation…in Greek (which he certainly did not speak)…and the gospel writer used a word for what your eye needs to be that is translated several different ways in different contemporary texts. It could be “single” as in “single minded…focused on one thing.” (as the King James version has it) or it could be “simple, as in uncomplicated” (as several modern translations have it), or it could be “generous, as in giving and forgiving, open to the needs of others.” (which, oddly, no translator has used). Some modern translations say “if your eye is” “clear”, or “healthy”, or “sound.” I think it is a combination of the literal meanings of the Greek word…single, simple, generous…that inspired the “wide eyed in wonder and belief” translation. And the word translated “body” is definitely the Greek work that implies the whole being, body and soul.

However, Point and Shoot Nature Photography is already a long name for what I do. Wide Eyed In Wonder is another long name. I need something (or so the dream said), short and pithy, but something that still captures what the eye needs to be if we are to be filled with light, and if we are going to have light to share with the world. Single, simple, generous.

That is where “The Willing Eye” comes from. It means to me: willing to see, and to see good in all we see, willing to believe (to see the divine in all we see), willing to celebrate, willing to help, willing to share. It is a active seeing…a willful seeing…a vision that celebrates. The Willing Eye.

So it is with this photograph of the rapids on the Batson River. It is seen with The Willing Eye…and if fills my whole being with light…as I can only hope it does yours. Happy Sunday!___

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2015-06-27 11:44:40 (2 comments, 5 reshares, 64 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Pond with Birch Saplings. There is nothing to match the elegance of young birch trees...here set off against the blue sky and the its reflection in a still pond. It is another image with no obvious center of interest...but I like this kind of landscape where you have to enter into the whole experience of the place to find the meaning. In-camera HDR with the Sony HX90V at 24mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Lightroom.

Landscape Love
Pond with Birch Saplings. There is nothing to match the elegance of young birch trees...here set off against the blue sky and the its reflection in a still pond. It is another image with no obvious center of interest...but I like this kind of landscape where you have to enter into the whole experience of the place to find the meaning. In-camera HDR with the Sony HX90V at 24mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-27 11:21:39 (4 comments, 5 reshares, 61 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Evening Willet
On my after supper visit to the local beach, with the sun about an hour from setting, but already warm with the evening light, there were several Willets feeding in the marsh grasses and along the edge of the tidal flow of Back Creek near where it meets the Mousam River. Our New England Willets are warmer in tone than western Willets anyway, but the early evening light really brings up the warm, almost rust, color of plumage.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 320 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Evening Willet
On my after supper visit to the local beach, with the sun about an hour from setting, but already warm with the evening light, there were several Willets feeding in the marsh grasses and along the edge of the tidal flow of Back Creek near where it meets the Mousam River. Our New England Willets are warmer in tone than western Willets anyway, but the early evening light really brings up the warm, almost rust, color of plumage.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 320 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-26 14:18:36 (1 comments, 6 reshares, 41 +1s)Open 

Tranquilo Bay Panama in October The Willing Eye and the Point and Shoot Nature Photographer will be at Tranquilo Bay Lodge in Bocas del Toro Panama October 11-17 for a week of learning to see wildlife and nature, and to photograph it with Point and Shoot superzoom cameras. There is no place better. Join me at Tranquilo Bay's special October rate of $1575. I can promise you some of the best memories of your life. Contact me by direct message for registration details. This is a Green Basilisk lizard from Popo Island where we will photograph Poison Dart Frogs. 

Tranquilo Bay Panama in October The Willing Eye and the Point and Shoot Nature Photographer will be at Tranquilo Bay Lodge in Bocas del Toro Panama October 11-17 for a week of learning to see wildlife and nature, and to photograph it with Point and Shoot superzoom cameras. There is no place better. Join me at Tranquilo Bay's special October rate of $1575. I can promise you some of the best memories of your life. Contact me by direct message for registration details. This is a Green Basilisk lizard from Popo Island where we will photograph Poison Dart Frogs. ___

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2015-06-26 12:21:12 (6 comments, 6 reshares, 83 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
I was at the beach yesterday in the early evening light of a Maine Summer (equivalent to about 2PM light in a Maine winter) for a few landscapes. The slant of the light, and the few clouds in the sky...reflections in the full tide waters, and some texture from the pilings. Lots to like. This is an in-camera HDR from the Sony HX90V which I am trying out. Processed in Lightroom.

Landscape Love
I was at the beach yesterday in the early evening light of a Maine Summer (equivalent to about 2PM light in a Maine winter) for a few landscapes. The slant of the light, and the few clouds in the sky...reflections in the full tide waters, and some texture from the pilings. Lots to like. This is an in-camera HDR from the Sony HX90V which I am trying out. Processed in Lightroom.___

posted image

2015-06-26 11:07:03 (20 comments, 45 reshares, 632 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Piping Plovers!
As I mentioned yesterday, there are a few endangered Piping Plover nests on the south end of Crescent Surf Beach and the north end of Laudholm Farm Beach, on either side of the mouth of the Little River. All Piping Plover nests in Maine are protected by law, both Federal and State, as the bird is on the Endangered Species List. The nests in Kennebunk and Wells are carefully monitored…eggs counted, hatchlings counted, fledged birds counted. There has been, in past years, a full time Maine Audubon staffer on Crescent Surf Beach to watch over the chicks, and to try to keep the nests and chicks from being eaten by domestic dogs. The nest sites are protected by page-wire enclosures to keep gulls, cats, raccoons, foxes, etc from getting to the eggs and chicks. And still, the chicks that reach adulthood in Maine, or at least on our local beaches, can be counted, tooo... more »

Pic for Today: Piping Plovers!
As I mentioned yesterday, there are a few endangered Piping Plover nests on the south end of Crescent Surf Beach and the north end of Laudholm Farm Beach, on either side of the mouth of the Little River. All Piping Plover nests in Maine are protected by law, both Federal and State, as the bird is on the Endangered Species List. The nests in Kennebunk and Wells are carefully monitored…eggs counted, hatchlings counted, fledged birds counted. There has been, in past years, a full time Maine Audubon staffer on Crescent Surf Beach to watch over the chicks, and to try to keep the nests and chicks from being eaten by domestic dogs. The nest sites are protected by page-wire enclosures to keep gulls, cats, raccoons, foxes, etc from getting to the eggs and chicks. And still, the chicks that reach adulthood in Maine, or at least on our local beaches, can be counted, too often, on the fingers of both hands (one hand some years).  The Piping Plover in Maine hangs by a thread.

These shots were all taken at 2000mm or more, and of birds away from the nests and the nest sites. I certainly do not want to add to the pressure on the Piping Plover. They are such perky little birds…full of scrap and sass…and they look like they should be able to take care of themselves. The problem is that the beaches where they nest are also the beaches most attractive to humans, and they nest, often, right on the sand above tide line, or just into the beach grass, where human traffic is always present. As I have mentioned before, domestic dogs and cats are a huge problem…the Plovers have no defense. The beaches where they nest are closed to dogs and well posted, but I am rarely on those beaches without seeing one or more dogs, often running loose while their people watch. All I can say is “what’s up with that!!??” What are they thinking? A few times I have confronted dog owners…but it is like talking to a wall. Anyway. Rant over. Back to enjoying the Piping Plover while we can.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.___

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2015-06-25 13:59:22 (10 comments, 19 reshares, 115 +1s)Open 

Panama in October. I will be at the Tanquilo Bay Lodge in Bocas del Toro Panama the week of October 11-18th this fall. Take advantage of Tranquilo Bay's special rates ($1575) to join me there for a week of truly spectacular Point and Shoot nature photography. Relaxed, nurturing, totally exciting. It will be one of the best weeks of your life! Contact me via private message for details and registration information. This is a Shining Honeycreeper photographed from the observation deck at Tranquilo Bay. 

Panama in October. I will be at the Tanquilo Bay Lodge in Bocas del Toro Panama the week of October 11-18th this fall. Take advantage of Tranquilo Bay's special rates ($1575) to join me there for a week of truly spectacular Point and Shoot nature photography. Relaxed, nurturing, totally exciting. It will be one of the best weeks of your life! Contact me via private message for details and registration information. This is a Shining Honeycreeper photographed from the observation deck at Tranquilo Bay. ___

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2015-06-25 13:45:21 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 22 +1s)Open 

Black Saddlebags mating wheel. Laudholm Farms, ME. Nikon P900.

Black Saddlebags mating wheel. Laudholm Farms, ME. Nikon P900.___

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2015-06-25 11:49:05 (10 comments, 10 reshares, 112 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Maine beaches are never more than a thin layer of sand over cobble...and depending on the recent storm surges, more of less of the cobble is exposed. This area was sand a year ago, and may be sand again after the next big storm. High summer...even though it is only the second day of summer, technically. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom.

Landscape Love
Maine beaches are never more than a thin layer of sand over cobble...and depending on the recent storm surges, more of less of the cobble is exposed. This area was sand a year ago, and may be sand again after the next big storm. High summer...even though it is only the second day of summer, technically. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-25 11:29:19 (19 comments, 38 reshares, 612 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Least Terns in Flight
Yesterday, prompted by a post on Maine Birds, I took a walk to the mouth of the Little River on Laudholm Farm Beach at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center. There is a protected colony of Least Terns there, on both sides of the river back a few hundred yards from the sea, as well as a few Piping Plover nests…Piping Plover is an “endangered” bird. I saw terns in good numbers and a few Plovers. I say protected colony because it is very visibly posted and “roped” off, more heavily on one side of the river than the other, and they have erected actual cages around the Piping Plover nests. Maine Audubon and the Fish and Wildlife Service have monitors on site for most of the breeding season, especially on the north side of the river where dogs often run free. Dogs are prohibited from the beach but that area backs up to summer homes. On the southside, it ... more »

Pic for Today: Least Terns in Flight
Yesterday, prompted by a post on Maine Birds, I took a walk to the mouth of the Little River on Laudholm Farm Beach at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center. There is a protected colony of Least Terns there, on both sides of the river back a few hundred yards from the sea, as well as a few Piping Plover nests…Piping Plover is an “endangered” bird. I saw terns in good numbers and a few Plovers. I say protected colony because it is very visibly posted and “roped” off, more heavily on one side of the river than the other, and they have erected actual cages around the Piping Plover nests. Maine Audubon and the Fish and Wildlife Service have monitors on site for most of the breeding season, especially on the north side of the river where dogs often run free. Dogs are prohibited from the beach but that area backs up to summer homes. On the south side, it is Laudholm Farms behind the beach and access is through the Farm itself, which has a strict no dogs policy. Then there are cats, foxes, gulls, raccoons…even Blue Jays.  It is a big deal every time a Piping Plover nest successfully fledges, and every chick that reaches maturity is a victory!

The Least Terns were actively feeding in the shallow ripple sections of the river where it crosses the sand of the beach…and. of course, I had to try to catch them in the air…in flight. It took me a while to get my hand and eye in…and I have not done a lot of Birds in Flight (BIF) with the new Nikon P900…so out of several hundred exposures I got maybe a dozen keepers. This panel of 4 shots is representative. Not easy. Quite frustrating. And lots of fun!

Nikon P900 at various focal lengths: from 650mm equivalent field of view to 1200mm. Generally ISO 100 at 1/640th. Cropped and processed in Lightroom. Assembled in Coolage.___

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2015-06-24 11:55:58 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
An in-camera HDR of a very simple scene. A tree with a lot of character on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Merriland River at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. 
Nikon P900. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
An in-camera HDR of a very simple scene. A tree with a lot of character on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Merriland River at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. 
Nikon P900. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-24 11:12:18 (3 comments, 4 reshares, 49 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Eastern Towhee 2
I mentioned in previous posts that we seem to have a lot of Eastern Towhee’s this year…the females are everywhere I go…but that I had not seen many males. In the past few days I have encountered two males, widely separated, so they are indeed here as well. This male was singing along the trail at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farm. Not easy light, but a decent image of this interesting bird.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/30th @ ISO 800 @ f6.5. It is hard to imagine that any camera could manage this image! Processed in Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Eastern Towhee 2
I mentioned in previous posts that we seem to have a lot of Eastern Towhee’s this year…the females are everywhere I go…but that I had not seen many males. In the past few days I have encountered two males, widely separated, so they are indeed here as well. This male was singing along the trail at the Wells National Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farm. Not easy light, but a decent image of this interesting bird.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/30th @ ISO 800 @ f6.5. It is hard to imagine that any camera could manage this image! Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-23 11:18:20 (12 comments, 24 reshares, 161 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Once the rain cleared out yesterday, late in the afternoon, I had to get out, even if only for a hour. I went to Rachel Carson NWR down the road, but on the way back I stopped at one of my favorite little ponds along the route. The Wild Iris were in bloom near the spillway, and, what with the interesting clouds and reflections, I could not resist framing a few shots. This shot, like many of my landscapes, makes use of the great depth of field of a Point and Shoot camera at wide angle to include a strong foreground element. I was less than 3 inches from the flower.
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Exposed for the highlights and processed for the shadows in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
Once the rain cleared out yesterday, late in the afternoon, I had to get out, even if only for a hour. I went to Rachel Carson NWR down the road, but on the way back I stopped at one of my favorite little ponds along the route. The Wild Iris were in bloom near the spillway, and, what with the interesting clouds and reflections, I could not resist framing a few shots. This shot, like many of my landscapes, makes use of the great depth of field of a Point and Shoot camera at wide angle to include a strong foreground element. I was less than 3 inches from the flower.
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Exposed for the highlights and processed for the shadows in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-23 11:03:00 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 31 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Chipping Sparrow Chicks
We had had a nest of Chipping Sparrows in our Honeysuckle bush in the front yard, right at eye-level but buried deep in foliage, right next to the driveway where there is a lot of foot traffic (my wife teaches piano and her students and their families are coming and going all day long, every day). I had little hope for a successful fledging...but they made it. At least four chicks moved off the nest yesterday. For a while it was just an adult on eggs peeping up over the edge of the neatly woven nest, and then you could see a few dark grey heads with bright yellow gapes if you stood on your tiptoes, and then they took on more of a sparrow look, and now they are gone...probably sheltering on a branch somewhere near and still being tended by the adults. This shot, though it might look invasive, was taken from outside the bush with about a 170mm equivalent... more »

Pic for Today: Chipping Sparrow Chicks
We had had a nest of Chipping Sparrows in our Honeysuckle bush in the front yard, right at eye-level but buried deep in foliage, right next to the driveway where there is a lot of foot traffic (my wife teaches piano and her students and their families are coming and going all day long, every day). I had little hope for a successful fledging...but they made it. At least four chicks moved off the nest yesterday. For a while it was just an adult on eggs peeping up over the edge of the neatly woven nest, and then you could see a few dark grey heads with bright yellow gapes if you stood on your tiptoes, and then they took on more of a sparrow look, and now they are gone...probably sheltering on a branch somewhere near and still being tended by the adults. This shot, though it might look invasive, was taken from outside the bush with about a 170mm equivalent telephoto. I was careful when checking the nest, not to get close enough to alert predators, and I only checked the nest about once a week...and I certainly did not move branches for a better view. The Chipping Sparrow buried the nest deep in the bush for a reason. Considering the placement of the bush, I was really happy to see them succeed. :)

Nikon P900 at 170mm equivalent field of view. 1/80th @ ISO 100 @ f4.5. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-22 11:13:01 (3 comments, 11 reshares, 74 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
This is about 40 minutes later than yesterday's Landscape Love shot. The Mousam River again, with the storm front passing overhead. View it large for best effect. This shot is all about reflections, but of course the dramatic sky helps...the sweep of the water back into the frame, the patch of sunlight in the distance. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Exposed for highlights using the histogram, processed for shadows in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
This is about 40 minutes later than yesterday's Landscape Love shot. The Mousam River again, with the storm front passing overhead. View it large for best effect. This shot is all about reflections, but of course the dramatic sky helps...the sweep of the water back into the frame, the patch of sunlight in the distance. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Exposed for highlights using the histogram, processed for shadows in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-22 11:01:13 (6 comments, 5 reshares, 54 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Cedar Waxwing Encounters
As I have mentioned in past posts, we seem to have a lot of Cedar Waxwings (along with Eastern Towhees and Brown Thrashers) this year, compared at least to recent years. Twice now I have come across extended families of Cedar Waxwings (tribes? of CWWs) actively feeding. Most recently I encountered them in the trees along the water meadow on the Kennebunk Bridle Path. They were again, all around me…moving between trees on both sides of the path, landing as close to me as 10 feet. This shot was only just over half the reach on my 2000mm equivalent zoom…but that is why a zoom is so handy to carry. As you see the bird was buried in foliage, backlighted, and there was a dark cloud passing overhead so the light was very subdued…and still the camera pulled out a shot I could process to a satisfying image. I love the combination of subtle shading on thebody,... more »

Pic for Today: Cedar Waxwing Encounters
As I have mentioned in past posts, we seem to have a lot of Cedar Waxwings (along with Eastern Towhees and Brown Thrashers) this year, compared at least to recent years. Twice now I have come across extended families of Cedar Waxwings (tribes? of CWWs) actively feeding. Most recently I encountered them in the trees along the water meadow on the Kennebunk Bridle Path. They were again, all around me…moving between trees on both sides of the path, landing as close to me as 10 feet. This shot was only just over half the reach on my 2000mm equivalent zoom…but that is why a zoom is so handy to carry. As you see the bird was buried in foliage, backlighted, and there was a dark cloud passing overhead so the light was very subdued…and still the camera pulled out a shot I could process to a satisfying image. I love the combination of subtle shading on the body, and the contrasting bright red and yellow “waxlike” highlights.

Nikon P900 at 1100mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 220 @ f5.6. Processed in Topaz Dejpeg and Lightroom.___

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2015-06-21 12:56:15 (1 comments, 3 reshares, 34 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
The Mousam River, under what can only be called "threatening" skies. That black cloud passed without dropping any rain over us, which was good, since I was on my bicycle, but one behind it let loose with a downpour just after I got home. There is drama in a landscape like this. Turner might have painted it. 
Sony Alpha NEX 5T with 16-50mm zoom. 24mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom.

Landscape Love
The Mousam River, under what can only be called "threatening" skies. That black cloud passed without dropping any rain over us, which was good, since I was on my bicycle, but one behind it let loose with a downpour just after I got home. There is drama in a landscape like this. Turner might have painted it. 
Sony Alpha NEX 5T with 16-50mm zoom. 24mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-21 12:23:31 (26 comments, 33 reshares, 391 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Rose Pogonias. Happy Sunday!
Yesterday afternoon it was such a beautiful day, and we were back from my early Father’s Day lunch at Unos in plenty of time: I had to get out of the house. Both cars were gone so it was walk or bicycle, and I decided to walk to the gravel pit down the road from us, where, in years past, a tiny emergent bog one level down into the pit has produced a crop of Rose Pogonias about this time of year. I have been checking for them regularly in the real remnant bog at Laudholm Farm, but my memory is that they bloom even earlier on that exposed wet shelf of the pit. Indeed they were in full bloom, and they have spread from last year as the moisture level in the boggy area changes year to year. There had to a 100 plants in one area the size of a decent living room or a spacious bedroom. I had two cameras with me, and I spent a half hour or so among thef... more »

Pic for Today: Rose Pogonias. Happy Sunday!
Yesterday afternoon it was such a beautiful day, and we were back from my early Father’s Day lunch at Unos in plenty of time: I had to get out of the house. Both cars were gone so it was walk or bicycle, and I decided to walk to the gravel pit down the road from us, where, in years past, a tiny emergent bog one level down into the pit has produced a crop of Rose Pogonias about this time of year. I have been checking for them regularly in the real remnant bog at Laudholm Farm, but my memory is that they bloom even earlier on that exposed wet shelf of the pit. Indeed they were in full bloom, and they have spread from last year as the moisture level in the boggy area changes year to year. There had to a 100 plants in one area the size of a decent living room or a spacious bedroom. I had two cameras with me, and I spent a half hour or so among the flowers, enjoying every moment. The panel above, assembled in Coolage, shows several aspects of these beautiful blooms.

While looking up the spelling of the name, I came across the Robert Frost poem of the same name.

A saturated meadow
Sun-shaped and jewel-small,
A circle scarcely wider
Than the trees around were tall;
Where winds were quite excluded,
And the air was stifling sweet
With the breath of many flowers–
A temple of the heat.

There we bowed us in the burning,
As the sun’s right worship is,
To pick where none could miss them
A thousand orchises;
For though the grass was scattered,
Yet ever second spear
Seemed tipped with wings of color
That tinged the atmosphere.

We raised a simple prayer
Before we left the spot,
That in the general mowing
That place might be forgot;
Or if not all so favored,
Obtain such grace of hours
That none should mow the grass there
While so confused with flowers.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Robert Frost. I grew up on his poetry…a few miles, in fact from where he lived part of his life…and saw him read as poet laureate at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration…surely a high-point for poetry in America by anyone’s standards. It grieves me then to take issue with his poem. Sentiments have changed perhaps, but I could not imagine picking Rose Pogonias, or any other wild orchid…and the notion that no one would miss them…that is so “man” centered that I am surprised Frost could have written it even a few years ago. Of course, here in Southern Maine, I have never seen them growing in a wet meadow…only in mossy areas so saturated with water that no one would be tempted to mow them anyway. I do expect, some dry spring, to find that the bulldozers have scraped the boggy area clean, and drained the marsh that feeds it in the gravel pit…but the remnant bog at Laudholm is protected, as are the others in Southern Maine that I know of…so I am pretty certain the Rose Pogonia will continue long enough so my children’s children will be able to find the flower Frost wrote about in its wild state. Like Frost, I do offer a prayer for a “grace of hours” for the Rose Pogonia, for all the wild orchids, and indeed all the wild things of this world, which, for certain, whether we know it or not, we would so sorely miss if they were gone. They might be of no practical use to anyone…but they enrich our lives…feed our spirits…in ways we can appreciate even if we do not understand.

So when I find a spot, as Frost did in his sheltered meadow, or as I have done on the exposed wet lip of a gravel pit, where orchids still grow, I have that same instinct to worship and to share. I spend my half hour among them…in reverance and in joy…and bring you back a panel of images to share. Who knows, if Frost had had a digital camera with a good macro lens, the world might have lost some fine poetry…but it might be a world with a few more Rose Pogonias still in it. In the spirit I might be tempted by that trade. :)

So, with apologies in advance to the Poet Laureate.

I have never seen
the Rose Pogonia grow
in any place a man
would want to mow.

Mossy bog or fen,
where both worship
and photography
are wet business
about the knees and feet
as you bow

to breath and frame,
to fill your SD card
(and your spirit)
with the essence of what is still wild,
of no use, and of such great value
the stars would weep
if you picked one.

Therefore the picture,
and this poem,
that your spirit might also know
that still, the Rose Pogonias grow
in a forgotten corner of a gravel pit
just down the road from home.

Happy Sunday!___

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2015-06-20 11:31:14 (20 comments, 33 reshares, 225 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
A front passed during the day yesterday, and that generally makes for fantastic clouds along the coast here. This is Back Creek, near enough that I was on my bicycle...out for a photoprowl. I packed my Sony NEX 5 to try some in-camera HDRs to compare to the Landscape Mode images I have been getting with the Nikon P900. There is no doubt that the APS-C senor in the Sony captures more detail in landscapes...though at normal screen resolution it is not obvious. I like the play of light across the marsh here, and, of course the bright roses in the foreground. 
Sony Alpha NEX 5T at 24mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
A front passed during the day yesterday, and that generally makes for fantastic clouds along the coast here. This is Back Creek, near enough that I was on my bicycle...out for a photoprowl. I packed my Sony NEX 5 to try some in-camera HDRs to compare to the Landscape Mode images I have been getting with the Nikon P900. There is no doubt that the APS-C senor in the Sony captures more detail in landscapes...though at normal screen resolution it is not obvious. I like the play of light across the marsh here, and, of course the bright roses in the foreground. 
Sony Alpha NEX 5T at 24mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-20 10:59:07 (4 comments, 1 reshares, 37 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrashers are another bird (in addition to Cedar Waxwings and Eastern Towhees) that seem to be present in Southern Maine in larger numbers this summer than in any summer past. I don’t know why that would be…but I certainly have seen more of them over the past few weeks than I ever have in Maine. This fine specimen was singing loudly from the top of a bush by the parking at the Wells Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farm on my way back from my walk there the other day. The warm light of the late afternoon really lights up that eye!

There seems to be some question as to where the name “thrasher” came from for this group of birds. It might be a derivative to thresher which was Old English and became Thrush. On the other hand, anyone who has ever seen a thrasher feeding on the ground, knows they do thrash about just a bit :)
Nikon... more »

Pic for Today: Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrashers are another bird (in addition to Cedar Waxwings and Eastern Towhees) that seem to be present in Southern Maine in larger numbers this summer than in any summer past. I don’t know why that would be…but I certainly have seen more of them over the past few weeks than I ever have in Maine. This fine specimen was singing loudly from the top of a bush by the parking at the Wells Estuarine Research Center at Laudholm Farm on my way back from my walk there the other day. The warm light of the late afternoon really lights up that eye!

There seems to be some question as to where the name “thrasher” came from for this group of birds. It might be a derivative to thresher which was Old English and became Thrush. On the other hand, anyone who has ever seen a thrasher feeding on the ground, knows they do thrash about just a bit :)

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.

#birdsgallery  ___

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2015-06-19 16:46:46 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

Subtle does not work on Google+. :( I posed a full length pic of this Northern Watersnake as today's Pic for Today. Because of the way Google+ displays pics, it is getting almost no attention. We sill see if there is a difference with this one. (Maybe folks just don't like snakes :)

Subtle does not work on Google+. :( I posed a full length pic of this Northern Watersnake as today's Pic for Today. Because of the way Google+ displays pics, it is getting almost no attention. We sill see if there is a difference with this one. (Maybe folks just don't like snakes :)___

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2015-06-19 12:29:10 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Day Brook Pond again. I spend a lot of time there looking for dragonflies and wildlife, so, of course, I photograph the landscape frequently. The changing foliage...and the sky of course...make every visit and every view unique. 
Nikon P900 at 24mm equivalent. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
Day Brook Pond again. I spend a lot of time there looking for dragonflies and wildlife, so, of course, I photograph the landscape frequently. The changing foliage...and the sky of course...make every visit and every view unique. 
Nikon P900 at 24mm equivalent. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-19 11:38:14 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Northern Water Snake
View large! for full effect
I am not quite sure how I saw this snake, about 10 feet out over the water in a tangle of branches from a fallen tree, but I was looking for Dragonflies along Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area when it caught my eye. I had to look twice…no…three times…before I convinced myself it was actually a snake wrapped around the branch, hanging on with its tail. A little research yesterday afternoon showed it to be a Northern Water Snake, relatively common in Maine and through out the northern states, but it is certainly the first one I have seen in a tree, and, other than the endangered Erie Water Snake, the only water snake I have seen beyond a nose and a ripple in the water. The Northern Water Snake is highly variable in color and pattern…this one is about as brightly patterned as they come.It did ... more »

Pic for Today: Northern Water Snake
View large! for full effect
I am not quite sure how I saw this snake, about 10 feet out over the water in a tangle of branches from a fallen tree, but I was looking for Dragonflies along Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area when it caught my eye. I had to look twice…no…three times…before I convinced myself it was actually a snake wrapped around the branch, hanging on with its tail. A little research yesterday afternoon showed it to be a Northern Water Snake, relatively common in Maine and through out the northern states, but it is certainly the first one I have seen in a tree, and, other than the endangered Erie Water Snake, the only water snake I have seen beyond a nose and a ripple in the water. The Northern Water Snake is highly variable in color and pattern…this one is about as brightly patterned as they come. It did not move, except to fold its head back on itself and close its eyes, in the hour I was at the pond, so I have lots of pictures of it…including a super-high resolution 8 image panel assembled in Photomerge showing the whole snake in all its glory (if you could view it on a very big monitor). For this shot, which is more conventional, I have pasted in a close up of the head for your viewing pleasure :)

Nikon P900 at 400mm and 2000mm equivalent fields of view. Main image: 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f5. Assembled in Photoshop and processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-18 14:33:07 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 32 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
One of my favorite views...in all seasons. Looking down the Merriland River toward the junction with Branch Brook from the bluff at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. This is a conventional Landscape Mode image, adjusted in camera to preserve the highlights, and then processed for shadow detail in Lightroom. We are coming on to full summer in Maine, and everything is green, green, green. 
Nikon P900. 

Landscape Love
One of my favorite views...in all seasons. Looking down the Merriland River toward the junction with Branch Brook from the bluff at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. This is a conventional Landscape Mode image, adjusted in camera to preserve the highlights, and then processed for shadow detail in Lightroom. We are coming on to full summer in Maine, and everything is green, green, green. 
Nikon P900. ___

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2015-06-18 11:23:45 (29 comments, 32 reshares, 359 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Red Squirrel Story
I took a late afternoon walk at Laudholm Farm (Wells National Estuarine Research Center) yesterday…down across the mini-bog, through the low-lying forest to the road to the beach, and around the boardwalk to the open fields and back to the farm buildings and the car. Just before I started the boardwalk section, I put my camera away in its bag so I could have both hands free to get a drink from the water bottle I carry in my vest, so, as I started down the boardwalk, I did not have my camera out an ready. “Now that’s not right” I thought, “what if I see something?” So I stopped to dig the camera out and get it turned on. I was still fumbling with it when I looked up and saw a Red Squirrel sitting on the boardwalk eating some kind of berry, not 20 feet in front of me. “Ah! There you go!” I thought. “Thanks for the reminder!”

TheSquirrel, as it tur... more »

Pic for Today: Red Squirrel Story
I took a late afternoon walk at Laudholm Farm (Wells National Estuarine Research Center) yesterday…down across the mini-bog, through the low-lying forest to the road to the beach, and around the boardwalk to the open fields and back to the farm buildings and the car. Just before I started the boardwalk section, I put my camera away in its bag so I could have both hands free to get a drink from the water bottle I carry in my vest, so, as I started down the boardwalk, I did not have my camera out an ready. “Now that’s not right” I thought, “what if I see something?” So I stopped to dig the camera out and get it turned on. I was still fumbling with it when I looked up and saw a Red Squirrel sitting on the boardwalk eating some kind of berry, not 20 feet in front of me. “Ah! There you go!” I thought. “Thanks for the reminder!”

The Squirrel, as it turned out, would probably have waited for me to get the camera out anyway. I got of a series of shots at 20 feet, zooming in and out for framing, and then took a step closer. Squirrel on the run! But it only ran another 20 feet down the boardwalk before it found another of those apparently irresistible berries, and stopped to eat it. More pics before I took a step closer. This continued for several hundred feet down the boardwalk, with the Squirrel searching the edge of the boardwalk for berries, until I finally told the Squirrel that I had played with him long enough and he would have to let me by so I could continue my walk. He hopped into the forest when I made it clear that I was not going to respect his 20 foot boundary any more. :)

I have lots of shots in forest shadow and a few in patches of sun…but this one with the dappled light…warm light due to the lateness of the day…is my favorite. It brings out the red in Red Squirrel very nicely.

Nikon P900 at 1400mm equivalent field of view. 1/125 @ ISO 400 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.

And the moral of this Red Squirrel story, of course, is “always have your camera ready!”___

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2015-06-17 11:52:52 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
This is what you might call a "landscape detail". It is, in reality, just a portrait of the light in the forest. I find forest light constantly fascinating...the play of light and shadow...bright and dark...and the living textures of tree bark and leaves...satisfy my eye and capture my mind...awake something in my spirit. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
This is what you might call a "landscape detail". It is, in reality, just a portrait of the light in the forest. I find forest light constantly fascinating...the play of light and shadow...bright and dark...and the living textures of tree bark and leaves...satisfy my eye and capture my mind...awake something in my spirit. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-17 11:35:55 (1 comments, 5 reshares, 96 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Bay-breasted Warbler
We have had a few rainy days in Maine, and I don’t have any new pics, so this is an ideal time to drop back and pick up a warbler from The Biggest Week in American Birding. I always come back from Magee Marsh with hundreds of warbler shots, most of which no one else ever sees (the pictures that is). Bay-breasted Warblers were crossing Magee Marsh in great numbers the week I was there, and I managed several keeper shots of them. I like the attitude this bird is showing.

Nikon P900 at about 1800mm equivalent field of view. 1/125 @ ISO 640 @ f6.3. Processed and cropped slightly for scale in Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Bay-breasted Warbler
We have had a few rainy days in Maine, and I don’t have any new pics, so this is an ideal time to drop back and pick up a warbler from The Biggest Week in American Birding. I always come back from Magee Marsh with hundreds of warbler shots, most of which no one else ever sees (the pictures that is). Bay-breasted Warblers were crossing Magee Marsh in great numbers the week I was there, and I managed several keeper shots of them. I like the attitude this bird is showing.

Nikon P900 at about 1800mm equivalent field of view. 1/125 @ ISO 640 @ f6.3. Processed and cropped slightly for scale in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-16 11:26:52 (5 comments, 5 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Another panorama for today. This one captures the bend in Branch Brook on its way to meet the Merriland River and become the Little River a mile from the sea. 180 degrees. The cloud formation, in particular, added to the sweep of the water. It is one of my favorite local views...from an observation deck at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells Maine. 
Nikon P900 in Easy Panorama Mode. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
Another panorama for today. This one captures the bend in Branch Brook on its way to meet the Merriland River and become the Little River a mile from the sea. 180 degrees. The cloud formation, in particular, added to the sweep of the water. It is one of my favorite local views...from an observation deck at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells Maine. 
Nikon P900 in Easy Panorama Mode. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-16 10:07:49 (6 comments, 3 reshares, 37 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Belted Kingfisher
The members of the Kingfisher family are among my favorite birds. I like all the American branch of the family…from the big Ringed to the tiny Pygmy of Central America, and I have had a chance to photograph all but one. It is, of course, a world wide family. In Europe I have seen the Common Kingfisher, but I have not seen any of the Asian or African species. One day!

Our only Kingfisher in the most of North America is the Belted, and that is pretty much everywhere there is fresh water…ponds, rivers, and streams. The Belted Kingfisher has a reputation for being difficult to photograph. They are hyper-aware, and are generally off their perch and moving well before anyone gets in photographic range. I have found them to be somewhat easier in Florida, where I have had them perch within 40 feet for moments at a time, and even easier in Texas, where theyhav... more »

Pic for Today: Belted Kingfisher
The members of the Kingfisher family are among my favorite birds. I like all the American branch of the family…from the big Ringed to the tiny Pygmy of Central America, and I have had a chance to photograph all but one. It is, of course, a world wide family. In Europe I have seen the Common Kingfisher, but I have not seen any of the Asian or African species. One day!

Our only Kingfisher in the most of North America is the Belted, and that is pretty much everywhere there is fresh water…ponds, rivers, and streams. The Belted Kingfisher has a reputation for being difficult to photograph. They are hyper-aware, and are generally off their perch and moving well before anyone gets in photographic range. I have found them to be somewhat easier in Florida, where I have had them perch within 40 feet for moments at a time, and even easier in Texas, where they have two fellow Kingfishers, Ringed and Green, to bolster their courage (or so I suppose :).

I find it interesting that Kingfishers are no respecter of city boundaries. I have found them hunting likely waters in residential San Diego in the shadows of apartment buildings and on the river Lahn where it separates the old Wetzlar Germany from the new, and this image is from a park along the Mousam River where it passes through downtown Kennebunk Maine. Wherever I see them, it always makes my day.

Nikon P900 at 4000mm equivalent field of view (the bird was across the river). 1/400th @ ISO 400 @ f6.5. Processed in Topaz Denoise and Lightroom.___

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2015-06-15 11:09:10 (10 comments, 9 reshares, 105 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
It is difficult to capture the leafy, dappled shade of the forest with any fidelity. The image never records what looks fascinating to the eye and mind at the moment. This vertical panorama comes close...providing a narrow slice of the eye's normal 180 degree view. I exposed for the sky and the glimpse of sun through the foliage at the top, then swept down. Restoring the foreground to anything like the correct tones required some work in Lightroom, including a graduated filter effect up from the bottom...but the net result is relatively balanced and natural looking. Panoramas are difficult to view...but I think this one works. 
Nikon P900 in Easy Panorama mode. 

Landscape Love
It is difficult to capture the leafy, dappled shade of the forest with any fidelity. The image never records what looks fascinating to the eye and mind at the moment. This vertical panorama comes close...providing a narrow slice of the eye's normal 180 degree view. I exposed for the sky and the glimpse of sun through the foliage at the top, then swept down. Restoring the foreground to anything like the correct tones required some work in Lightroom, including a graduated filter effect up from the bottom...but the net result is relatively balanced and natural looking. Panoramas are difficult to view...but I think this one works. 
Nikon P900 in Easy Panorama mode. ___

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2015-06-15 10:59:39 (9 comments, 7 reshares, 100 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Chickadee on a post...
We have Black-capped Chickadees at our back deck feeders every day, but still any encounter with them “in the wild” is always a special treat. I was attempting to photograph a Racket-tailed Emerald in a little pool in the marsh beside the Kennebunk Bridle Path when I caught motion at the corner of my eye and turned to find this chickadee sitting on a post, apparently trying to figure out what I was doing. I had time to zoom out to full zoom and get off a burst of shots, from which this portrait is selected. I like the pose of the bird, so intensely alive, the texture of the old broken fence post with their lichen, and the gentle bokeh of the marsh grasses behind.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 140 @ f7.1. Processed in Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Chickadee on a post...
We have Black-capped Chickadees at our back deck feeders every day, but still any encounter with them “in the wild” is always a special treat. I was attempting to photograph a Racket-tailed Emerald in a little pool in the marsh beside the Kennebunk Bridle Path when I caught motion at the corner of my eye and turned to find this chickadee sitting on a post, apparently trying to figure out what I was doing. I had time to zoom out to full zoom and get off a burst of shots, from which this portrait is selected. I like the pose of the bird, so intensely alive, the texture of the old broken fence post with their lichen, and the gentle bokeh of the marsh grasses behind.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/400th @ ISO 140 @ f7.1. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-14 13:02:27 (7 comments, 4 reshares, 40 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Not so long ago, Day Brook Pond was an active beaver Pond. I am not sure if the pond was formed by a beaver dam, but there are signs of beaver at work all around the pond. This is the "lodge", up against the south bank. I suspect the Fish and Wildlife Service trapped the beaver and moved them elsewhere, as Day Brook is part of the watershed for the Kennebunk and Kennebunkport water district...and I see no recent sign of their work. This is another difficult landscape shot, with a wide range of light and dark. Landscape Mode on the Nikon P900, adjusted by histogram to keep the highlights in check, and then processed in Lightroom to reclaim the shadows. 

Landscape Love
Not so long ago, Day Brook Pond was an active beaver Pond. I am not sure if the pond was formed by a beaver dam, but there are signs of beaver at work all around the pond. This is the "lodge", up against the south bank. I suspect the Fish and Wildlife Service trapped the beaver and moved them elsewhere, as Day Brook is part of the watershed for the Kennebunk and Kennebunkport water district...and I see no recent sign of their work. This is another difficult landscape shot, with a wide range of light and dark. Landscape Mode on the Nikon P900, adjusted by histogram to keep the highlights in check, and then processed in Lightroom to reclaim the shadows. ___

posted image

2015-06-14 12:34:04 (3 comments, 5 reshares, 30 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Eastern Towhee. Happy Sunday!
There are Eastern Towhees calling all around Day Brook Pond. I have never heard as many in any one location. For some reason the ones I see around the pond are mostly females or young males, and they are only giving the rising “chewink” whistle call…though I hear the occasional adult male (presumed) singing it’s “drink-your-tea-tea-tea” song from further out in the plain or deeper in the forest. Until 1995 the Eastern and Spotted Towhee (common in the west) were considered one species…Rufous-sided Towhee…and there is still some debate. Hybrids certainly appear in the contact zone…and there is a third distinct, pale-eyed, variety found in Florida, which might be hybridizing with southern Towhees in their contact zone…producing or blending with at least one more recognized sub-species. Complicated. I suspect much more complicatedfrom our point of v... more »

Pic for Today: Eastern Towhee. Happy Sunday!
There are Eastern Towhees calling all around Day Brook Pond. I have never heard as many in any one location. For some reason the ones I see around the pond are mostly females or young males, and they are only giving the rising “chewink” whistle call…though I hear the occasional adult male (presumed) singing it’s “drink-your-tea-tea-tea” song from further out in the plain or deeper in the forest. Until 1995 the Eastern and Spotted Towhee (common in the west) were considered one species…Rufous-sided Towhee…and there is still some debate. Hybrids certainly appear in the contact zone…and there is a third distinct, pale-eyed, variety found in Florida, which might be hybridizing with southern Towhees in their contact zone…producing or blending with at least one more recognized sub-species. Complicated. I suspect much more complicated from our point of view than from the Towhees’. :)

The emphatic call of the Towhee is one the things that makes Day Brook Pond seem so alive this season. It is simple and clean. The very essence of uncomplicated. I think sometimes, in our efforts to categorize and quantify nature, we obscure as much as we elucidate. There is more than one way to understand nature. When we approach nature as a problem to be solved…a puzzle with a solution…then the call of the Towhee, the color of its eye, the extent of rufous on the breast, etc. become “evidence” for our theories…particulars for our enumerated construct of reality. I don’t mean to imply that that diminishes the Towhee in any way. Science is an important way of understanding the world. But it is not the only way. Appreciation is also understanding. Immersion is also understanding. The clean clear chewink that draws the eye to the brown and while bird in the dappled light of a birch or maple…that draws the mind to contact and the heart to joy…that awakes the spirit to a delight in life and living…that is a valid understanding of reality, even the particular reality of the Towhee, as well.

It is tempting to put the mind and science on one side and the heart and immersion on the other…but that is not the way we are made. The spirit is always seeking life, seeking understanding…and it seeks through naming and enumeration just as it seeks through appreciation and contact. As long as we do not become focused on one way of understanding to the exclusion of the other, then we will grow ever more alive…and the Towhee will grow in its meaning for us…its meaning to us…and every encounter will be richer, more vivid, more full of life. And that is how it ought to be…what the spirit of creation in us is striving in us to create. God, the creator, is good. Happy Sunday.___

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2015-06-13 11:45:00 (0 comments, 4 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
The Mousam River at Roger's Pond in Kennebunk Maine. A very famous stretch of trout water...and a difficult subject with the dappled light. I tried both in-camera HDR and Landscape Mode...both adjusted by the histogram to preserve the highlights. The Landscape Mode version took more processing in Lightroom, but I prefer it. 
Nikon P900 in Landscope Mode. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
The Mousam River at Roger's Pond in Kennebunk Maine. A very famous stretch of trout water...and a difficult subject with the dappled light. I tried both in-camera HDR and Landscape Mode...both adjusted by the histogram to preserve the highlights. The Landscape Mode version took more processing in Lightroom, but I prefer it. 
Nikon P900 in Landscope Mode. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-13 11:36:01 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Calico Pennant mating wheel. Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. ME.
Nikon P900. 

Calico Pennant mating wheel. Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. ME.
Nikon P900. ___

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2015-06-13 11:23:42 (39 comments, 21 reshares, 287 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Crow at the river...
I was chasing a Kingfisher along the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond when this Crow lit on the rocks in the stream and spent a few moments chasing bugs among the stones. Crows are so common, and have such questionable habits, that they get very little respect among birders. You find them everywhere…anywhere actually where they might pick up a bit of scavenge. But they are, when well seen…if not outright beautiful…at least very handsome birds. This one, in the full sun, with the light on the water behind it, certainly makes a striking portrait.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/125th @ ISO 720 @ f6.5. Processed in Topaz Denoise and Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Crow at the river...
I was chasing a Kingfisher along the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond when this Crow lit on the rocks in the stream and spent a few moments chasing bugs among the stones. Crows are so common, and have such questionable habits, that they get very little respect among birders. You find them everywhere…anywhere actually where they might pick up a bit of scavenge. But they are, when well seen…if not outright beautiful…at least very handsome birds. This one, in the full sun, with the light on the water behind it, certainly makes a striking portrait.

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/125th @ ISO 720 @ f6.5. Processed in Topaz Denoise and Lightroom.___

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2015-06-12 11:27:41 (1 comments, 3 reshares, 31 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
More of a sky-scape than a landscape perhaps. We don't have much open country in Southern Maine, but the Kennebunk Plains is a remnant sand-plain...a habitat so rare these days that this parcel is carefully managed by the State, the Nature Conservancy, and the Land Trust under the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area title. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
More of a sky-scape than a landscape perhaps. We don't have much open country in Southern Maine, but the Kennebunk Plains is a remnant sand-plain...a habitat so rare these days that this parcel is carefully managed by the State, the Nature Conservancy, and the Land Trust under the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area title. 
Nikon P900 in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-12 11:06:28 (7 comments, 6 reshares, 70 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Calico Pennant
I always look forward to the first Calico Pennant of the season. I found some teneral (newly emerged) Calicos at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area a week ago, but did not find any adults until yesterday. There were hundreds around the pond...males outnumbering females about 6 to one...but then the females had probably already dispersed for the day to feeding grounds further from the water. I did find a mating wheel. Calicos are relatively easy to photograph as they settle out frequently on perches that are predictable, once you know what to look for...and sometimes sit sunning themselves for 60 seconds at a time.

This shot is a tele-macro shot, taken handheld at 4000mm equivalent using Digital Fine Zoom on the Nikon P900. I had to back off to the minimum focus distance of 16.5 feet to get the bug in focus. 1/500th @ ISO 140 @... more »

Pic for Today: Calico Pennant
I always look forward to the first Calico Pennant of the season. I found some teneral (newly emerged) Calicos at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area a week ago, but did not find any adults until yesterday. There were hundreds around the pond...males outnumbering females about 6 to one...but then the females had probably already dispersed for the day to feeding grounds further from the water. I did find a mating wheel. Calicos are relatively easy to photograph as they settle out frequently on perches that are predictable, once you know what to look for...and sometimes sit sunning themselves for 60 seconds at a time.

This shot is a tele-macro shot, taken handheld at 4000mm equivalent using Digital Fine Zoom on the Nikon P900. I had to back off to the minimum focus distance of 16.5 feet to get the bug in focus. 1/500th @ ISO 140 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.___

posted image

2015-06-11 11:48:49 (1 comments, 3 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
This is a pool in what I always thought, from maps, was the Batson River. They have updated Google Maps and it might actually be Nicholas Brook...whatever. Today's Pic for Today post features River Jewelwings taken at the head of this pool, where the rapids tumble in. I think the human eye is always drawn by reflections...and by deep green gladey forest scenes. :)
Nikon P900 in camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
This is a pool in what I always thought, from maps, was the Batson River. They have updated Google Maps and it might actually be Nicholas Brook...whatever. Today's Pic for Today post features River Jewelwings taken at the head of this pool, where the rapids tumble in. I think the human eye is always drawn by reflections...and by deep green gladey forest scenes. :)
Nikon P900 in camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom. ___

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2015-06-11 11:23:57 (1 comments, 5 reshares, 37 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: River Jewelwing
I took a photoprowl around the meadow loop at Emmons Preserve (Kennebunk Land Conservancy) yesterday morning. I was looking mostly for dragonflies, and on a somewhat tight schedule as I had to have the car back. One of the first dragonflies I saw was what I thought was a female Ebony Jewelwing, and up at the top of the meadow I photographed several…enough to inspire me to make a quick mile hike through the forest to the little set of falls on the Batson River where the males hang out. And there were males, hovering, dancing, and darting right over the rapids where the fall enters the pool, where I have seen them every year. I was a bit bemused though, as it is at least a month earlier than I have ever seen Ebony Jewelwings at Emmons Preserve…and this in a spring that is running late, even as we approach summer. Of course when I got back to the computer andpro... more »

Pic for Today: River Jewelwing
I took a photoprowl around the meadow loop at Emmons Preserve (Kennebunk Land Conservancy) yesterday morning. I was looking mostly for dragonflies, and on a somewhat tight schedule as I had to have the car back. One of the first dragonflies I saw was what I thought was a female Ebony Jewelwing, and up at the top of the meadow I photographed several…enough to inspire me to make a quick mile hike through the forest to the little set of falls on the Batson River where the males hang out. And there were males, hovering, dancing, and darting right over the rapids where the fall enters the pool, where I have seen them every year. I was a bit bemused though, as it is at least a month earlier than I have ever seen Ebony Jewelwings at Emmons Preserve…and this in a spring that is running late, even as we approach summer. Of course when I got back to the computer and processed the images I realized that they were not Ebony Jewelwings at all…they were River Jewelwings…a species I have never seen at Emmons, or anywhere else! The difference is that the Ebony Jewelwing has a completely back wing (bright black in the male, if that is a possible construction, and dull black in the female), River Jewelwings have black only at the tips of the males wings, and the female wings are smoky overall with perhaps a bit of darkening at the tips…though I could not observe any darkening at all. River Jewelwings! On my patch!

Nikon P900 at 550mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f5. Processed and cropped for scale in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-10 11:40:13 (1 comments, 14 reshares, 80 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
Back to Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. This time we do not have a leading line as the birch low in the frame serves a different, less classical, compositional need. Actually I am not sure it is a need at all...but it works for me. Maybe something about sky balance. :)
Nikon P900 at 24mm equivalent field of view in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom.

Landscape Love
Back to Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. This time we do not have a leading line as the birch low in the frame serves a different, less classical, compositional need. Actually I am not sure it is a need at all...but it works for me. Maybe something about sky balance. :)
Nikon P900 at 24mm equivalent field of view in Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom.___

posted image

2015-06-10 11:24:56 (3 comments, 10 reshares, 90 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Bee in Beach Rose
It rained off and on most of yesterday, but about 3 pm I decided to go for a photoprowl on my bike anyway. I pushed through what turned out to be a thin band of light rain and got to the marsh behind the beach in time for the sun to come out. I had some fun chasing bees in the Beach Rose along the road (among other things). The wet flowers, and the freshly washed bees, made for vivid images. I did some tele-macro, and then switched to actual macro as the bees were so busy feeding that they did not seem to mind a close approach. This one was captured at about 80mm equivalent field of view in Close Up Mode.

Nikon P900. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f3.5. Processed in Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Bee in Beach Rose
It rained off and on most of yesterday, but about 3 pm I decided to go for a photoprowl on my bike anyway. I pushed through what turned out to be a thin band of light rain and got to the marsh behind the beach in time for the sun to come out. I had some fun chasing bees in the Beach Rose along the road (among other things). The wet flowers, and the freshly washed bees, made for vivid images. I did some tele-macro, and then switched to actual macro as the bees were so busy feeding that they did not seem to mind a close approach. This one was captured at about 80mm equivalent field of view in Close Up Mode.

Nikon P900. 1/320th @ ISO 100 @ f3.5. Processed in Lightroom.___

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2015-06-09 11:21:03 (6 comments, 34 reshares, 242 +1s)Open 

Landscape Love
We are having another rainy day in Southern Maine, so I am dipping back a week to last Tuesday...another rainy day...for this rainy day landscape. Taken out the open window of the car, parked along the access road to our local beach. The the short telephoto equivalent on the zoom put just enough of the flowers in the foreground against the cluster of pines in the misty rain, while the small sensor camera kept the scene in focus for both foreground and background. 
Nikon P900 at 95mm equivalent field of view. Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom. 

Landscape Love
We are having another rainy day in Southern Maine, so I am dipping back a week to last Tuesday...another rainy day...for this rainy day landscape. Taken out the open window of the car, parked along the access road to our local beach. The the short telephoto equivalent on the zoom put just enough of the flowers in the foreground against the cluster of pines in the misty rain, while the small sensor camera kept the scene in focus for both foreground and background. 
Nikon P900 at 95mm equivalent field of view. Landscape Mode. Processed in Lightroom. ___

posted image

2015-06-09 11:08:11 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 22 +1s)Open 

Pic for Today: Song Sparrow in Sea Grass
There don’t seem to be as many Song Sparrows nesting on the dunes between the Back Creek Marsh and the ocean as there have been in some years, but they are there. I suspect it has to do with our late spring. The Yellow Warblers that are often nesting with them are, as far as I can see, totally missing this year. Hard to say exactly why. Yesterday we had a high wind and this Song Sparrow was singing from such a low perch I could not spot it before it flew out into the Sea Grass where dune meets marsh. It popped its head up just long enough for a few shots. :)

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 220 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.

Pic for Today: Song Sparrow in Sea Grass
There don’t seem to be as many Song Sparrows nesting on the dunes between the Back Creek Marsh and the ocean as there have been in some years, but they are there. I suspect it has to do with our late spring. The Yellow Warblers that are often nesting with them are, as far as I can see, totally missing this year. Hard to say exactly why. Yesterday we had a high wind and this Song Sparrow was singing from such a low perch I could not spot it before it flew out into the Sea Grass where dune meets marsh. It popped its head up just long enough for a few shots. :)

Nikon P900 at 2000mm equivalent field of view. 1/500th @ ISO 220 @ f6.5. Processed in Lightroom.___

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