Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Luck and patience

Around lunchtime today I decided to strike out into the snow to try to capture some wildlife pics. I brought my macro lens with me, and little else, hoping not to accidentally ruin any extra gear.

I descended down through the knee-deep snow towards the nearby pond where many ducks hang out year-round. Once I got close, I painstakingly made my way down the steep, snow covered banks of the water as to not disturb the flock.

I took off my lens cap and tried framing a few shots of the mallards resting in slushy ice.... As it turns out, brownish-grey ducks on a white background look about as interesting as one might imagine. I got up and left soon after.

On my way back towards home, I was keenly aware of many birds chirping away in the trees above me. As I saw one that got close enough for an interesting photo, I actually snapped off a frame that had serious potential, and then went to check the result:


...As the curse words poured from my mouth in an endless fountain of frustration, I most likely managed to scare off any remaining animals nearby. I didn't even think to check within the inner reaches of my pack to check where I usually keep a spare memory card. I was done for now. Defeated, I made my way home.

I headed inside to warm up and commiserate with Andrea, who always reassures me that I'll get the shot next time. This turned out to be incredibly ironic, as after I informed her of my folly, I then said "I would have killed for a shot of a male cardinal or something"

Andrea, who happened to be standing next to our backyard sliding glass door, then immediately says "Oh look, there he is now!" as a gorgeous bright-red cardinal landed on our back fence....

I sprinted into action, re-gathering all the winter gear that I just took off, as additional curse words were exclaimed. Andrea gave me some bread to throw out in front of me as I took up a position, lying low in the snow, partially shielded by some bushes where the birds were fluttering about. I stayed there perhaps 20 minutes as the snow fell around me, barely moving.

Here are my favorite results:

The elusive cardinal:

Female Dark-Eyed Junco

Cardinal returns. Hide and Seek.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Wachusett-area relic

For those who grew up in the Wachusett area, you may remember the semi-famous stone church. This building is all that remains of the old town of West Boylston Ma. With the creation of the Wachusett reservoir, engineers flooded the old downtown.

In 1897, the Nashua River above the town of Clinton was impounded by the Wachusett Dam. Six and 1/2 square miles were flooded in the towns of Boylston, West Boylston, Clinton and Sterling. The church now sits just feet from the reservoir that engulfed everything else around it.

Here the stone structure sits, an abandoned skeleton of its former self. The building is far from forgotten though. On Christmas day, when my wife and I took a brief reprieve from the holiday hubbub to visit the site, we encountered at least eight other groups and families stopping by the church for no clear reason we could determine.

Not deterred by the horde of roosting pigeons above us, Andrea gladly served as my model as I experimented with lighting and composition inside the hollow structure.

I have to say, the area around the church is very peaceful. The church is surrounded by water on 3 sides, with fairly picturesque alpine and deciduous forest lining the shores of the water. It's also on a less than high-traffic road through a fairly sleepy section of West Boylston. I find there are less and less places like this that I find, and I hope that it remains standing for many more generations to stop by, if not for historical sake, but to just escape it all for a bit.