No need for any story line here.
No need for any story line here.
The Harkness Mansion in Connecticut is an incredibly beautiful building. There are also large Victorian style gardens, open fields, marsh lands, and it’s topped off with rolling waves on a rocky beach. Something for everyone. This is all part of the Harkness state park we photographed a few months ago.
I visited this time on a bright and sunny winter day. However there were a few shots that just seemed to need a different presentation. So here I have tried to have a ‘haunted’ mansion feel.
Lately I’ve been slowly adding the short lens back into my photography. Like the shots here, it is back to the basics. Compose the picture, set the camera, use multiple shots and exposure, then process back in the office.
Typically I have myself set up with a long telephoto lens, mounted on a monopod, and a sling pack of misc. stuff. I photograph anything that blinks!
Part of me likes how much more territory is available in the view finder. How lightweight everything is and there is no mad rush to get the shot right.
Still I am positive a once in a life time wildlife picture, say an Eagle in a top hat riding a Moose in pajamas, will present itself and I will not be ready.
All winter the ponds, parks, and rivers have one constant, Mallards.
In the rivers and woods they will quickly fly away. But in the parks and ponds just float and wait for food to appear.
No matter where, they are bright and colorful. Over the past few months I have collected numerous photos. I thought at this point they should be added here. It may be snowing and cold yet, but spring is around the corner and the Mallards will be too busy to pay attention to us.
No, that’s not a typo. Bent Of The River is an Audubon Center preserve in Southbury Connecticut. It also happens to be on a bend of the Pomperaug river.
The car was parked in deep mud, everything else was either solid ice or hard crust snow. This was my first time here so I was not sure of where any trails might be. A path along the banks of the stream seemed as good as any place.
It was completely void of movement. The brook was full and rushing however the only hint of life were tree stumps left behind by local Beavers. The fields and stream are beautiful this time of year so there was plenty of landscape photos to take.
We finally did find the centers barn and being an Audubon preserve, bird feeders. Everywhere. A field and barn yard filled with small birds. The barn has a porch over looking the fields. It’s a great place to take a million photos of the local small birds. Like the thousand other shots we already have. But of course we stayed and photographed everything that moved.
For me the real find was an Eastern Blue Bird on the road back to the car. I don’t remember the last time I saw one.
The final show was announced before we could see it. Crows, loud and then diving around the wood line. Finally a Broadwing Hawk flew off and high followed by the crows on his tail.
All in all it is a great place to wander around in and we will be back, in summer.
Over the last few months many of the articles here revolved around the frozen Connecticut river. At times this year the river bed was like a highway. I photographed coyotes, eagles, and numerous other animals all along the river stretching from Hartford south to the shore.
Now, mid March, the river is officially open. So far no floods, a few ice jams, but nothing of concern yet. To the north I’m sure much of the Connecticut river is still iced over. We may still have an adventure or two.
Ring Necks did better than most ducks during the period of hunting for feathers in the 1800s. In New England, especially Connecticut, hats were a big business. Think the Stetson cow boy hat. Made down the road, not anywhere near the wild west. While other birds were hunted to near extinction Ring Necks did fine. They don’t gather in large flocks and stay in the rivers away from all the shore birds, and people.
Loons are usually associated with Maine. Not in the winter. They move down the rivers following the freeze. Finally they stay around the salt water inlets until spring. They also have a complete new ‘look’ in winter.
The first time you see the small Horned Grebe there is a shock. They are not wounded, just have weird eyes.
Like the Grebe, a Red Breasted Merganser will dive and stay submerged on the bottom for long periods of time. We have several different types of Mergansers but the Red Breasted seems to be the most prevalent this year.
I haven’t included any geese or mallards since they appear everywhere and I have a series to be written that prominently feature them as photography examples anyway.
Oh, and there is another important item related to the rivers opening. The mud has arrived.
Last week we went to the Connecticut shore with the idea of getting different types of photographs. With all the snow piled on the roads I found myself going to the same locations too often. With spring coming it won’t be long until we need to change our style of images. Trees will have leaves hiding wildlife and bushes will block views.
While sitting and resting awhile I noticed large parts of the beach had no sand at all. Snow was melting and as far as you looked the ground was covered with small shells. It’s easy to assume a beach with sand when looking at photos. Here, millions of tiny shells with different shapes and colors.
I find the most amazing things while holding the camera and looking for the next shot.
It was a fairly one sided conversation. Loud too. He barged right in and start ‘talking’ right away.
Right before my new friend came along I was standing behind a snow bank overlooking the Connecticut river. Several Ring Neck ducks were coming along and I just wanted them to get closer for a few photos. As usual it was quiet. The wind and Gulls were all you could hear. I never saw him coming and suddenly he landed on a nearby sign post and began to yell at me. From very close range too! Got my attention.
The ducks were obviously forgotten real quick. As I shot pictures of him he sat there scowling. I expected him to take off as soon as I pointed the camera at him. We were close and I’m sure the lens looked like a cannon to him. He didn’t move and continued that stare. It was getting a little weird.
Taking a few more quick shots I backed up a bit to watch him. This was my first conversation with a Crow, even though it was one sided. I thought I would watch and see what else he had in mind.
Funny thing was, as soon as I stepped back he dropped to the ground, picked up some unseen scrap and left as fast as he arrived.
I’m guessing this was Crow speak for “excuse me, you’re standing on my lunch”.
Next time I’ll know better.