Yes, spring is here. We’re in for a wintery mix, but look at this. There are buds on these trees.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I may have seemed quite for the last several days. Bear with me, I just got a new computer, so I’m a bit disestablished. I don’t buy computers very often, and when I do I become obsessed (possessed). All of those little things that I’ve set up to make an efficient work flow are now gone. All my favorite apps, like Live Writer need to be set up.
So tonight, it’s a quick little post of young cows I shot at a nearby farm. These little boys and girls are a bit camera shy. They would get into position and pose just right but as soon as the camera came up the would get all self-conscious. Oh well. I shot them a couple of weeks ago.
It’s Eine kleine Nachtpost, just a little night post to keep the flows moving. I’ll be more social again shortly. Promise.
Monday, March 28, 2011
This is such a good sign of spring ariving. As a youngster I sugared with my brother in Vermont. The smell of boiling sap is indescribable. This ain’t your Log Cabin, this is the real deal and it comes from trees. Real trees tapped by real people.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
I've changed my tune a bit with Ring-billed Gulls. Prior to living on Cape Ann, Ring-bills were a bit of a trash bird. It seemed that they are always hanging out in big parking lots. Here it is a bit of a different story. Ring-billed gulls are more of a winter bird for us and they have such a mild nature compared the the boisterous Herring Gulls. They seem to be a bit more laid-back. Below are a winter adult and a second year bird practicing yoga in the sand.
In my last photo here, this Ring-bill is preening feathers. He's going through a serious molt as shown by the new feathers erupting. Yes, that has to itch.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Straightsmouth Island Light is located in Rockport, Massachusetts. It is one of our six lighthouses on Cape Ann. The light flashes green every six seconds. Straightsmouth Island is owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society and is maintained as a bird sanctuary.
Today's image catches the backlight of the sun setting in the west as we look north east.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Here is a photo that shouldn't be published, yet here it is on Forgotten Photo Friday. It's a picture of a crab. Can you spot it? It's a little fuzzy because it was shot through three inches of water.
You may have to wait until it moves…
Thursday, March 24, 2011
When we returned from vacation, I noticed something was different about Gloucester Harbor. It seems to have gotten a face lift. At sunrise, I saw that the #11 green buoy (above) was replaced by this #10 red buoy seen below bathed in the early morning golden light. There are several new channel markers throughout the harbor.
A late afternoon shot of the Midnight Sun passing by the #10 buoy.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
As I mentioned yesterday, Saturday we had very low and high tides caused by the super perigee moon. Before I shot the moonrise over Thacher Island, I went over to Annisquam to check out the low tide. This is a good area to find live sand dollars during abnormally low tides.
What I found was a purgatory for sand dollars. Many were stranded for hours without water. This is a live sand dollar. Note that it is rich brown in color and it has spines that give it a velvety appearance. These bristles move slowly and propel the animal along and in the sandy bottom.
It's fun to pick up a souvenir from the beach, but if you find one like this it is a living creature. These sand dollars are in a bit of trouble. They are stranded high above the water line and the tide I out. Yet their spines slowly work their three inch diameter bodies into the sand. But if the conditions are not right, they can become stranded on the surface.
Then at last, the tide turns and brings the fresh sea water over their tops. And they are safe for another 12 hours. It isn't every day that they are exposed like this on Annisquam. Only during the really low tides.
Monday, March 21, 2011
I had set a target to go shoot Thacher Island at moonrise for several months. Either I would not be paying attention and miss the full moon or I would be at work when the sun was setting only to find it 30 degrees above the horizon while driving home without my gear or it would be cloudy.
This month, I decided to pay attention since it would be Saturday and I would have the freedom to be where I wanted to be, when I wanted to be there. My big dream was to catch the moon rising over Thacher Island. Let's face it. If you just want a picture of the moon, you can shoot it anytime it is visible. But I wanted something special such as having the moon between the Twin Lights on Thacher Island. Besides, this was going to be a special full moon.
According to the folks at the observatory that publishes the moon gadget that I use, the last full Moon so big and close occurred in March of 1983. The perigee (closest point of an elliptical orbit) is 50,000km closer to the earth than the apogee (furthest point). In this case, the perigee was within an hour of the the time of the actual full moon.
In great enthusiasm, I got up Saturday morning and the sky was clear and it was supposed to stay that way. Around 10:00 the clouds rolled in and it was raining and sleeting in Ipswich where I was running an errand. Disappointed, I did not give up and bided my time. By midafternoon the clouds thinned and by 4:00 the sky was 80% clear.
I left the house at 5:00 pm and headed over to Annisquam. "What?" I can hear my local followers gasp, "Have you lost your mind? Annisquam is on the west side of Cape Ann, Thacher Island is on the east." Well, let me explain. This super perigee moon is giving us some pretty high tides and with high tides come low tides, which means a great time to head over to Annisquam. You will see why I did this in a couple of days, stay tuned.
I headed over to Rockport at 6:00, thinking I would just go over to my favorite spot. It is a midpoint so if I needed to scamper to a more advantageous spot, I could head south or north and be where I needed to be in 5 to 10 minutes.
Well, it turns out that when I got there, there were two vehicles there already. This was unusual because it was typically butt cold and what nut would be out freezing when they could be sitting in a warm home with a glass of wine?
There was a couple on the rocks, literally, not figuratively, and I saw that they were trying to get a picture of themselves with the landscape in the background. The woman set the auto timer, put the camera on a rock, pushed the button and scurried over the scree to her companion. I've tried this. It takes a pro. I often volunteer to take pictures for a couples in such circumstances. This is much better than having them remember the picture as the time they sprained their ankles on the rocky shores of Cape Ann.
I chatted with the couple and the man said, "Oh we saw it come up last night just to the left of the north tower." "Sweet", I thought to myself, "I've got a damned good chance of pulling this off!" This was fortunate, because of what I will tell you next.
I set up my tripod on a stable rock and bided my time, rehearsing my camera sets in my mind and going over what I needed to remember as the event will unfold. Then I noticed that there were people coming in by twos and fours. Wow, this wasn't just a photo shoot, it was a happening! I hope he was right about where the moon was going to come up because my plan of scampering to the north or the south has thoroughly been shot in the ass by all these people driving to this spot. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to move my car!
The blush band is the sky was gone and twilight was upon us. The sky was turning indigo, then heard someone on the knoll behind me say, "Here it comes!" And sure enough, it popped up to the right of the North tower!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Walking about Charleston, South Carolina, we came across this beautiful tree in full bloom. But alas, there was a little news stand that kept getting in the way of the composition.
Look, when things are not going right, it is time to change your considerations. Try this, "Isn't this a wonderful place to pick up the morning paper?" In other words, "If you can't hide it, feature it."
Also in Charleston was this wonderful garden where passers-by are granted permission to take a peek. It's a little early for this garden, I'll bet is is stunning in the summer months.
Finally, what do you do when some damn Yankee won't get out of the shot? Hmmm…some things belong behind the camera, not in front of it. Can't hide it? feature it!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
When you see as many gulls as I do when something different comes along, it sticks out like a sore thumb. On a beach walk in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina I has such an occurrence. A smallish, black backed gull with bright yellow legs was something that I knew I've never ticked off my list before.
Since the airlines have become suppressive and even started charging for carry-on items, I had to stuff two cameras (three counting the point-and-shoot) plus a small laptop and other goodies into a bag that would fit under the seat. Therefor there wasn't room for field guides and binoculars. So this was shoot first and ask questions later.
Turns out to be a bird I've been waiting to see in Gloucester for a long time. It's a Lesser Black-backed Gull. This gull ranges along the Atlantic seaboard up through Nova Scotia, however I've never seen one. This was my big day.
Here is is with a first winter Herring Gull to give you a size comparison. It is a bit smaller, but much smaller than the Great Black-backed Gull.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Digging deep into the archive is one of my favorite plovers, the Piping Plover. This is a lucky found image taken on Cranes Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I decided to take a beach walk to do some combing in Myrtle Beach. I could see a storm cell approaching and was about a mile away from the hotel. I made it back…almost. I got a little wet, but it wasn't so bad. As if Mother Nature sent an apology, we were treated to a rainbow as the storm passed.
The last piece of the storm was chased away by this dog. Then we had two days of good weather.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
It seem that no mater where you go, there are Herring Gulls. These three are on the beach in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The look a bit different than our population in that their legs are a bit more on the pinkish side which is closer to most field guides' representations.
Monday, March 14, 2011
This entrance to the Joseph Manigault House was built in 1803. It is reminiscent of the Classical "temples" that were all the rage in English and French gardens at that time. This is a unique structure in Charleston, South Carolina. I couldn't resist photographing this seductive group of forms that just begged to be captured.
The above photo is the main subject of the post. As we were curious when we found this structure, you too may wonder what lies within. Once entered, the viewer is treated to a wonderful antebellum mansion with a formal lawn.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Continuing with the Myrtle Beach pictures, I want to present to you the Laughing Gull. The Lauging Gull is a three year, hooded gull. This is an adult coming into full breading plumage. Note the bill is beginning to take on a red color. Many of the Laughing Gulls that I have seen, even in the summer months have black bills, which enters confusion because the majority of field guides show the summer adult having a red bill.
On Cape Ann, we will see Laughing Gulls infrequently and in various plumages. Laughing Gulls are increasingly common as you travel further south. They are called Laughing Gulls because their long call takes on a characteristic laughing cadence.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
We just arrived back in Gloucester from a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We wanted to get out of the nasty New England weather for a spell, maybe get a little sun, take some beach walks in without having to bundle up like the Michelin Tire Man and just bask in the take it easy for a while.
This was day one. But when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Such is this photo of a man taking a short walk under a long pier.