Almost Missed The Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is one of the most beautiful and imposing birds in New England. Eagles, Osprey, and Blue Herons are the shots all New England photographers want.

If I hadn’t turned my head at the exact moment this Heron stretched his wings these pictures would never have been taken. I also need to thank the drivers behind us for not running me down as I threw myself from the car. I should have become a hood ornament at that moment.

IMG_7275The bird had perched on a small scrub pine on the edge of a marsh. If he had remained in the reeds he would have been invisible.

IMG_7326Blues are the largest North American Heron and have a head-to-tail length of  36-54 inches (91–137 cm). The tallest and heaviest of the Blue Herons live in New England. He might not have been bigger than me, but that was the impression I got.

IMG_7297Herons don’t fly. They levitate into the air and simply glide away.

IMG_7298I am grateful this particular Heron sat and watched as I stumbled around photographing him. The bird was very patient with us and we left him alone in the marsh after a few minutes.

 

 

 

 

You Can Always Use Gulls

When all else fails “You can always use Gulls“.

Around Connecticut there is never a shortage of some type of Gull. They always put up a good show. Better yet, very photogenic.

During the winter here there are times you don’t find that ‘thing’ you started out to photograph. A dark sky, dull horizon, and bright (or dirty) snow can ruin any day of shooting.

Connecticut Gulls

Connecticut Gulls

When I have been out for awhile and running empty I know “You can always use Gulls“.

The other day I was sitting on a large log on the shore. Sunny, which is rare now, and not too cold. My subject was on hand. So here they are in black and white which worked well with the shadows and reflections.

Connecticut Gulls

Connecticut Gulls

Connecticut Gulls
Connecticut Gulls

Special thanks to Connecticut photographer George Savic for the reflections idea. I saw these shots and thought of his great photograph.

 

Little Guys Left Out Of Photos Lately

As a rule the small birds are easy to find but hard to shoot. An Eagle flies fast, yet its in a smooth motion. The little guys are perpetual motion machines. They never sit still for very long.

Once spring comes the trees will fill out making it all the harder to get a clean photograph. While I can I want to get as many images as possible.

Black Capped Chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee, click to enlarge

Gold Finch
Gold Finch

River Coyotes, A Second Meeting

A few days ago after photographing landscapes several miles down river we made a quick stop closer to home.

It was the end of the day and there was a chance of an Eagle sighting before dark. I hoped to get a few more good images before they move to the island nesting areas.

No Eagles, however 2 Coyotes were walking down the frozen river.

IMG_7014I walked along the same path, on the bank, photographing as we moved down stream. Even though they knew we were there they ignored me paying more attention to anything behind them.  I got the impression they were being followed. I didn’t see anything and maybe they were just being Coyote  cautious.

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This pair have a routine I think. Like the previous meeting the larger dark Coyote climbed the bank and walked through the woods. The smaller stayed in the open.

I went as far as I could and finally just watched as they tried to find ice thick enough to stay on the river. It looked like they were also heading towards the islands down river.

It was a great way to end the day.

Geese Of A Different Color

Winter is a challenge to photograph. Color is lost with light glaring on the snow and ice. Add water to the mix and a camera will see things very different than your eyes.

A flock of fast moving geese with little color becomes a different subject entirely when done in black and white.

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Black and White Geese Formation – Click To Enlarge

 

 

Bald Eagles Must Like Rain And Fog

March is turning out to be a lot like February. Today was the exception since yesterday’s snow became today’s rain and fog. The first real rain I have seen in months.

I knew the ice and water would be causing a problem somewhere around the house so I had to talk myself into getting out for some photography. I always keep my pack full, but it’s heavy and the big lens clumsy, and the photo guy  getting lazy.

Turned out this morning was a banner day for Eagles on the Connecticut river.

I took a shortcut to the river and didn’t even get to stop the car. I had  planned on a hike, however at the first open water I found a mated pair finishing what appeared to be a deer carcass washed down with the current.

Pair Of Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge Image
Pair Of Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge Image

 

Bald eagles mate for life, but when one dies, the survivor will not hesitate to accept a new mate. During breeding season, both birds protect the nest territory from other eagles and predators. Within days this pair will be hiding on one of the islands down river.

They watched me for awhile, ate, had a fight, and finally ‘made up’ with each other. It was what I would call a National Geographic moment.

Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge
Bald Eagles Click To Enlarge

After a short while they seemed to have had enough of my company a flew down river towards the islands. There is no access to any of these islands down stream which will give them a private place to hatch their eggs.

It was above freezing with just a slight drizzle by the river. This was warm compared to what we have had so the original idea to walk along the river still seemed like a good one.

At the next open water free of ice I found a single adult sitting in a tree that hung over the river.  I have noticed the Eagles I have found along the river here all roost in a particular type of tree. I won’t be able to identify the trees until they leaf out. But every photo taken along this part of the river have the same branch and buds.

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As expected I was only tolerated a short time.
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Most days I don’t get more than a few opportunities for a good photograph. Today was a good day.

 

Colt – The Gun That Won The West

The Hartford skyline has a unique feature, the Colt Manufacturing Onion Dome. Yes, the ‘gun that won the west’.

Samuel Colt manufactured the Colt 45 here, as well as many other pistols and rifles. The factory was active for over 100 years. At one point all the major U.S. firearms companies were within a 50 mile radius of Hartford.

The dome unfortunately sits atop the closed, and rundown factory building. Just recently the area received the status of a National Historic Landmark and will be renovated soon.

IMG_6658 Until then it remains as the photo above. A rusty hulk and nothing like the huge facility it had been in the 1800’s.

Just a note about the area. Coltsville was a small self reliant city inside the city of Hartford. Housing, schools, and stores were provided by Colt. Some housing is still in use.

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Colt was also responsible for building a large flood dyke to stop the Connecticut river from flooding the area. It is still used and has saved the Coltsville area of the city from many dangerous floods.

 

TPJ Photography