I shot this at noon last Friday. I could not believe how wonderful the light was at mid day. This bridge is the longest operating covered bridge in Vermont at 271 feet. It crosses the West River just outside of Brattleboro, VT.
This sub was being tugged into the Navy Shipyard in Portsmouth, NH. I was taking a sight seeing cruise on the Tug Ally Too. We were surprised to see this coming at us.
Yes, folks, there were USCG boats, Navy boats, the two big tugs, police boats and a lot of people with guns. I wasn’t too sure if they would appreciate a big telephoto lens pointing at them, click-click-click, so I played it cool, not worrying too much about getting the best shots. But hey, for a guy that came from Colorado, this isn’t something that I saw every day.
I didn't have the best butterfly season. I was saved in early September by visiting the Ipswich River Audubon property in Topsfield where they have a butterfly garden set up. Here are the species that I shot that day.
Great Spangled Fritillary
Below are some photos I took of my home town on the 25th of September. Be sure to have a look.
I grew up in a small town, so small, the dogs used to have to wag their tails vertically. That didn’t seem to matter much, when you are young and your bodies are small, the world is a big place. Even if that world consists mainly of a couple of counties and a piece of another state.
I grew up in a time when you made your own fun. For me that was spending my time in the woods just exploring. You see, back then, boys were expected to be in the woods. It kept them out of the way. Dad used to say, “why don’t you boys go play in the traffic?” when we were bothering him. Yah, dad, what traffic?
This was before bicycle helmets were invented, penny candy meant you got two pieces of candy for your penny, Bazooka Joe was two cents and it really hit hard on our allowance when it was raised to a nickel.
We had toys such as darts with real metal tips, played with toy guns and built forts in the trees. Our friends had barns and tractors. We built dams in the brook, played baseball, caught lightening bugs in jars at night, after dark, without parents near by. Yes, we were boys, we got dirty, lost in the woods and played outside until dark.
Somewhere along the line, we became teens and discovered cars. We got through high school and went our separate ways. Some stayed, I went north to attend the University, go married and headed out to L.A. to get our first jobs. I lived in L.A. for three years (yah Toto, I wasn’t in Kansas any more) then Boulder Colorado, Tennessee and now Massachusetts.
Now I live five hours away from my childhood home, Wells, VT. Friday I had a floating day to take off, the weather was perfect and I got a bee in my britches and headed across Rt 2 over to Brattleboro and picked up Rt 30 to visit my old stomping grounds to find out, can you really go home?
Well here it is. These are some of the landmarks that I think of when I think of my home town. This shot was taken from the top of Lake Hill, over looking the Little Lake. Behind the lake in the picture is Pond Mountain which overlooks the village.
At the outlet of the Little Lake is a damn that raised the level of the lake. This spash of color was nice because it is still a little early for the fall colors.
Down in the center of the village is the library. It was open so I decided to see what it was like inside.
I went in and except for a little extra seating, it is exactly as it was when I was school. I had a great chat with the new librarian.
This is the Episcopalian church where my family went on Sundays. It was built by the first bishop in Vermont. Take a look at the top windows. They are not windows, but are painted to look like windows. This church was actually struck by lightening once, not in the steeple, but in the back along the chimney.
It’s not hard to see that this building is the grammar school. This is where I went to school from the third grade through the sixth. Back in the day, there were six grades in three rooms.
Today, the school has been extended in the back. I was shooting the building late in the afternoon and was fortunate to be able to talk with one of the teachers and one of the sixth grade students about student life, the state of the school and life in Wells. The huge piles of wood chips you see are the remains of the ash and maple trees that we played under when I was young. They were taken down two weeks ago. Sad, but hey, they were old 40 years ago when I when to school there.
I felt strange driving through my old home town with Massachusetts plates. How ironical! I’ve become a leaf-peeping flatlander. My time was short, I had to get back down to Brattleboro and meet up with my brother and his wife.
I’m just fascinated at what wonderful photographic subjects these dragonflies are. In this post, I’m showing some experiments. The first three are Meadowhawks followed by a Common Pondhawk feeding on a fly and a Blue Dasher finishing a meal.
About the pictures. As my followers know, I do not live in a place where I get a lot of song birds. I have gulls and eiders in my yard. So finding these birds bathing along the banks of the Ipswich River was a real treat for me. In all of my time photographing birds, now measured in decades, this is the first time I’ve gotten decent photos of American Goldfinch.
I had a great time shooting Portland Head Light and Cape Elizabeth light. On a little beach, there were some sea vegetables washed up by an earlier storm. This is a boon for migrating shore birds because the washed up seaweed holds sea lice, invertebrates, attract flies and all kinds of high protein goodies that fatten up our little friends.
When it does happen, what I like to do is find a rock to sit on and just chill out for a while watch the flock. I’ll snap some pictures towards them, point my camera a other things and just let them know that I’m cool. I don’t try to be “real still” or “blend in” or anything like that. I don’t wear camouflage, hide in blinds or set up blinds. No, I’m out there sticking out like a sore thumb.
Sooner or later, they will settle down and they will approach me at their comfort level, usually at about 10 feet at the minimum, although when I was in my 20’s, I had three Black Turnstones walk up to within six inches of my feet while I was sitting on a rock on a jetty.
This is when I get into the “Zone”. Those of you who are wildlife photographers know what I’m talking about. This is when your co-workers think you’re nuts, your lodge buddies are wondering why they didn't black-ball you and your spouce starts calling the layer. Yes folks, this is the photographer’s “Zone”. Just me and the peeps. Don’t bother me. Don’t hold dinner and no, I’m not answering that text message. I’m in the “Zone”.
Least Sandpiper walking towards me.
This Least Sandpiper settledown to do a little digesting about 15 feet away. This was the end of the shoot. Whoo-hoo, what a thrill!
After 15 minutes, I had the shots I wanted and as fascinated as I was, these guys need to put on fat and get through the migration. The fact that they will not come closer than 10 feet means that I'm still an intrusion.
So I went back to the car and took a few more shots of the lighthouse and headed back to home.
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