Archive for the ‘Images’ Category

A Better Mousetrap

29 November 2012

A couple of weeks ago I spent four days at a camp at Moosehead Lake. Did a lot of hunting, a little shooting, and realized that if I had to rely on my skills as a hunter to feed myself I’d be hungry a lot.

But I did encounter an excellent and ferocious little hunter while there. We had all been wondering why the camp, while showing signs of mice infestation, had no mice in evidence. The night before we left, we found out that a ruthlessly efficient predator had been keeping the place clean.


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Devourer of mice and turkey morsels


Apparently, one of Stoaty’s relatives had been making the camp a part of his hunting rounds. As a reward for his fruitful efforts, some of the guys put out a plate of leftover turkey morsels for him, which he quickly stowed in whatever stashes he had established.


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“Better make sure the mice aren’t playing cribbage on my watch.”


Our presence didn’t seem to alarm him as he made his rounds of the camp, through the kitchen and woodpile, in the bunk rooms and even under the chairs we were sitting in.

After some Googling I’m pretty confident in identifying this as a stoat (Mustela erminea), which Wikipedia informs me is “also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel.” And this guy (or maybe girl, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to lift the tail of something with teeth that sharp) was already dressed in his best winter finery.

I got some more pix of him the next morning as he ripped edibles from the partridge carcasses we had discarded.


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“What? You expect me to stop working and pose for you?”


He was moving pretty quickly, so I was using autofocus, which has its limitations. I got some better quality images than this one that don’t make me try to blink away the blurriness, but this was too good a pose to pass up. One of the carcasses, bigger than he was, got caught in the underbrush as he dragged it away. It didn’t seem to discourage him at all. As we left, he was still happily ripping off pieces of partridge flesh and organs to stash in his various hidey-holes.

I just hope it snows soon. Right now his fur makes him easy pickings for hawks, owls and coyotes.

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19 August 2012

Amber Lamps

8 July 2011

This is what happens when an ambulance drives through a four-second exposure:


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Amber Lamps


Happy Birthday to Me

18 October 2009

Big changes in my life since my last post.

The elderly couple whose properties I had been maintaining both died, and one of the properties was sold, leaving me with not much to feel productive about. I had promised myself that after they were gone so was I, and it seems to be working out that way. Forty years of Maine winters is an awful lot.


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A cold day in heck.


So here I am on my birthday, in a putatively warmer clime, hunting for a house. It’s kind of cool today, I don’t think the temperature broke 70; but it was in the 90s all last week and it’s supposed to warm back up to the upper 80s again later this week. Beats the 30s and snow they’re having today back in Maine.

I stumbled across a small state park this afternoon. Not much there, but it supplied a respite from people and buildings for a little while. Worth the three dollar entrance fee: finally learning how to identify the three different kinds of mangrove that grow around here. I also ran across these little guys:


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A bunch of tiny crabs at the water’s edge at Don Pedro Island State Park.


This one was crossing the path in front of me as I headed back to the car:


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“You’ll never get the secret recipe outta me!”


I paid for that shot. After crawling around on all fours, sticking my macro lens in the claw of this arthropod, I found I couldn’t straighten up. I had to make my way back to the car crabwise. My back is still in spasm. Still, it was worth it.

In The Merry, Merry Month of May, Day Two:

12 May 2009

The next day we went out to the Marshlands Conservancy, in Rye. The terrain was a little flatter than I like, but it was another very nice hike. I must have left my photographer’s brain at home, though, because I came back with a camera full of ruined shots from that day.

We saw a bunch of deer crossing the trail. The ones I managed to shoot either turned out headless, as they were passing behind trees when I tripped the shutter; or blurry, because I didn’t have sense enough to change the ISO setting on the camera to compensate for the dark overcast exacerbated by thick canopy. It sure was green in there, though.

I did manage to get an almost-passable shot of a pair of Great Egrets hunting along the marsh.


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Great Egret [Casmerodius albus] at the Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, N.Y.


Just before the first crack of thunder heralding the coming storm, we came upon a tiny cascade:


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Tiny cascade in Marshlands Conservancy, Rye, N.Y.


The last shot shows just how incredibly green it was in there. It doesn’t show how incredibly overrun with poison ivy it was. At least I haven’t started itching yet.

Right after that we hotfooted it out of the woods and made it back to the car just as the first drops started falling.

Next up: Day Three.

In The Merry, Merry Month of May: Day One

10 May 2009

The area around New York City is beautiful in early May: everything seems to be blooming at once. That will not be reflected in this post.

I just got back from my nominally annual trip to NYC to visit my sister for her birthday. We took a hike in a different part of Westchester County each of the three days I was there. On the first day, we went to the Cranberry Lake Preserve. While the gardens and grounds of the homes in that area are beautifully landscaped, not much seemed to be blooming in the woods.

This was one exception:


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Wild Geranium [Geranium maculatum]


A Jack-in-the-pulpit is a Jack-in-the-pulpit, right?

Ha! Apparently, there are three types of Jack-in-the-pulpit, and I didn’t have my book with me to make a positive identification. But this looks like the variety sometimes known as Indian-turnip:


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Northern Jack-in-the-pulpit [Arisaema stewardsonii]


We never did make it to the second lake, because the trail markers for one whole end of the preserve were nonexistent. They ran out at the same place on two different trails: the old quarry left over from the building of the Kensico Dam. The one quarry pond we found was a nice place to have lunch, though.


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Quarry pond at Cranberry Lake Preserve


There was lots of wildlife. At the quarry pond, we spotted a water snake I was too slow to capture with my camera. We also saw what might have been a redheaded woodpecker, although it was too distant for positive ID. Later in the hike, my nephew with the young eyes spotted this guy sunning himself beside the trail:


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Northern Black Racer [Coluber constrictor constrictor]


Despite not getting to see the whole preserve, we had a pretty good outing. Next up: Day Two.

Update: I’ve added a link to the Cranberry Lake Preserve’s website (just click the name of the preserve either here or at the top in the original body of this post). Not including it earlier was an oversight on my part, now corrected.

Chrome Memories

30 April 2009

The other day, I was driving through Windham, trying to find a boat ramp (I never did find it), when I drove past this beauty on route 302:


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1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan


I drove on for about a half mile and then made a U-turn. It was just what I thought it was.


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1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan


If the captions haven’t tipped you off, it’s a 1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan.


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1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan


Aside from a few cosmetic differences, this is the car my father bought new in 1956. Same colors. Same chrome trim. Aaaaagh! The chrome!


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The chrome! It burns!


Even as an eleven-year-old, I had large amounts of patience and OCD. But the chrome polish was handed to me, and this grille was a killer. There was a lot of it, and the back edges were sharp. And it sucked even more in cold weather, when my hands hurt anyway.


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1956 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan


Still, if I hadn’t just blown my life savings on a new truck, I would’ve been sorely tempted to buy this one-owner sweetie. Chrome killer-grille and all.

Hey, I never said I was rational. OK, maybe I did, but I lied.

Focus

29 April 2009

I was trying to do too many things at once this past Sunday. As a result, I did none of them well.

Sunday was my every-fourth-week drive to Denmark, Maine, with a friend and his daughter. I’ve been promising her for six months that I’d take her on a little hike one of these times, and the weather was too good to pass up this time. As is usual for me, I grabbed my camera and tripod; because, if I’m gonna be out in the woods, I’m gonna be taking pictures.

Except I hadn’t hiked Douglas Mountain in about twenty-five years and my memory was a little fuzzy on the length of the hike. And when I take pictures I like to take my time.

So we ended up not being able to reach the summit, and I hurried the shots and came away with not much usable, and we were late getting to Denmark.

I need to learn to focus.


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A small waterfall on Douglas Mountain


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A small stream on Douglas Mountain


Is It Safe To Come Out Of The Storm Cellar Yet?

4 April 2009

Another day, another excuse from the guy who has over 1100 of my dollars for a new cap for my new truck. He still hasn’t driven down to Massachusetts to pick it up. The upside is that I now have the time to post some stuff I shot a few days ago.

I think I’ve figured out why I get so depressed in March. That’s when, at the end of a long, hard winter, I figure out that I still can’t afford to retire to Florida and I’ll have to spend next winter here, too. Even with that in mind, this past one was particularly bad. Several injuries have left me limping and depressed. In the midst of it all, the 95-year-old whose property I maintain fell and broke his hip. Between hobbling to the hospital every day with his mail, trying to shovel snow using only one arm, and watching my retirement fund fly out the window for a new truck after the old one died of cancer, I’ve been functioning at a very low level.

The good news is that most of the snow has melted and the temps have gotten high enough that I can put out the garden hoses and start spring cleanup. A few days ago, as I was surveying the damage to the trees out back, I came across a little patch of color in the woods. As I couldn’t decide which shot to post, you get two.


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Crocus, unknown species or cultivar.


These crocuses were poking their heads out of the mess of leaves on the far side of my canoe. The colors remind me of a children’s book I had when I was a kid, “The Color Kittens.”


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Same crocuses, different shot.


I didn’t even notice that I was crawling on my belly in the mud until I brought it into the house with me.

And a couple of nights ago, as I was walking home, I thought the fog rolling in to Memorial Field was pretty neat. But by the time I got my camera and got outside, the fog had completely rolled in and there was no contrast between clear air and fog. Some interesting shots, anyway.


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Deering High Memorial Field at night in fog.


The lacrosse players were taking a break on the left side of the picture. They’re pretty hard to see.


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Deering High Memorial Field at night in fog. This view is from ground level.


Back to working on my attitude…

Update: Well, crap. I just noticed that for the last few posts, Worpdress hasn’t been automatically making each image a link to its full-size self. Now I gotta go in and hand-edit all the images. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Update 2, now with more bookly goodness: Here’s the cover from the book. I found it at Wikipedia.


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The Color Kittens


That takes me back about sixty years. That’s scary. And sad.

Happy New Year!

1 January 2009

Stoaty likes to post “a picture of the last light of the year on New Year’s Eve,” but I’m generally a morning person, so I like to shoot the first light of the new year.

I didn’t get out for a proper shoot this year, because I was geared up for snow removal (from a storm that didn’t materialize). So I cheated. I just stepped outside my door and took some quick snapshots of the high school across the street in silhouette, and then of the snow-bound football field. The brief exposure to the 5-degree temperature numbed my fingers and made ’em hurt like heck when they started to thaw.


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Deering High School at dawn on the first day of 2009


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Deering High School football field, imprisoned behind a chain-link fence on the first day of 2009


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Deering High, a closer look


The other day, I found a link to one of those sites that “rate” your blog for you. This one came out as a “G,” I think, with a note that one post had used the word “shoot” once. I dunno how to talk about photography without using the word “shoot,” nor do I want to. Strange that a normal activity, like shooting (whether with a camera or weapon), could be the cause of concern to some. More PC intrusion in our lives.

Shoot.