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Tag Archives: pond

Making an island glow

Glowing islandAt Chittenden Reservoir in Vermont there is a pretty little island about 300 yards off shore. It is a favorite  place for photographers and I’ve photographed it on many occasions at different times of day and different seasons. I decided to try it at night and use a large flashlight to illuminate the island using a technique called light painting, where you pass the light over the subject many times during a long exposure, I usually do 30 seconds.  So tonight I started about 30 minutes after the sun went down and shot for the next hour. There was only a slight breeze which gave me the nice reflection on the water. Then I was lucky to have a shooting star which gave me a beautiful final touch. This is one exposure with only minor adjustments in Lightroom. As the sky got darker I needed to bump my ISO up to 400 and I was shooting at f/5.6.

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Always finding something new

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I’m always amazed at how often I’m looking for one thing and finding another. During this weekend’s Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop, I was looking hard for the beautiful colors produced by the maple trees when I noticed this plant along a pond’s edge. At first I wasn’t too interested, I was looking for bright reds and yellows. But when I looked closer, I loved the way this plant’s leaves intertwined and how it stood out against the deep blue of the water reflecting the clear sky.

I worked the angles a bit to make sure there wasn’t anything but water behind the leaves and shot like a fool. It wasn’t the colors I was looking for, but I sure like the outcome.

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Birches and reflections make a good mix

pomfret_birch-2478I was up at my favorite pond in Pomfret, VT, this afternoon and enjoyed the way the foliage was reflecting on the water. There were two small birch trees on the near side of the pond in the shade and made an interesting shape. Since they were in the shade, they tended to look a bit blue when I opened them in Lightroom, my photo editing program. So when I made the trees look white it really enhanced the yellow of the reflections.

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Learning about the New London, NH, area

20130816-LEF_128320130816-LEF_1252I have spent a lot of time scouring the backroads of Vermont looking for great photo locations but I haven’t crossed the Conneticut River much to see what is in New Hampshire. After a recent workshop I got an invitation from Mary to show me around the New London area and I took her up on it today. There are several lakes and large ponds in her area and very few near me in Vermont. We started the day a bit after sunrise and caught the mist rising on Little Sunapee Lake, it was a beautiful day and there is plenty to shoot there. We drove around the lake to an esker created by the glaciers that nearly cuts the lake in half. OK, I didn’t know what an esker was either and Mary explained that it is sand and gravel deposited by a river flowing under a melting glacier. It made a nice background and good place photograph Mary on the trail.

20130816-LEF_1383We went to several lakes and ponds and I learned the New England difference between a lake and pond is not the size but the depth. In theory, light can hit the bottom of a pond but not a lake. She then took us to Muster Field Farm, a collection of historic buildings that are preserved on a farm that was where the local militia was mustered and trained, thus the name. By the time we got there, the light wasn’t great, but I was amazed by the boards on a barn, I’ve never seen boards that wide, it took only eight to cover the barn’s side.

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A duck of a different color is still just a duck

I went to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge today to see what might be flying through. I have several favorite places, some require a little hiking and I was feeling lazy so I drove to the spots that have easy access. I pulled up to the largest pond that you can park beside and there were a couple of people out taking photos.

On the far side of the pond was a bunch of ducks. This time of year usually the only thing I see floating is Canada geese. When I see them, I don’t even stop, but the ducks looked interesting. The ducks were pretty far away, too far to get a very close photo. The other two people with cameras were moving around quite a bit, which kept the ducks away. When everyone stood still for a while, the ducks would slowly move closer and then one of them move around and the ducks would move away.

The two camera toters finally gave up and left, I guess the ducks were too far away. That was fine with me, so I froze in place and the ducks slowly got closer. The ducks were diving and popping back up, they were fun to watch. I remember reading that diving ducks use their feet to help them take off. I don’t know why, but they run across the water as they take to the air. They were almost in camera range when something gave them a little spook and several took off to the other side of the pond. I didn’t spook them but I was ready.  They weren’t in the light I wanted but it is a fun photo anyway.

And once again, waiting for the shot pays off. The other two with cameras left without anything, if they would have been quiet and hung out another 10 minutes they may have made a shot.

I’ve shot a lot of ducks, but I don’t know what kind this one is. I looked it up in my bird books, but I still am not sure. If you have any thoughts, let me know.

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Special Maine sunrise makes getting up early worth it


I’m not naturally an early morning person, but it is rare that I’m upset when I see the sun rise. Sunday was one of my favorite sunrises ever. I was along Flagstaff Lake in Stratton, Maine, as the sun rose in a clear sky. Fog filled the mountains and hovered over the lake, which was fine by me.

I was on a narrow road that sliced through the water, so every direction I looked was water, mountains and fog. It was one of those times when there was so much to shoot I was running in circles to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I had cameras on two tripods and was firing away like a mad-man, literally screaming joy into the wind.

A couple of photos are posted here, you can see more over on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LorenFisherPhotography.

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You otter see this

An otter peeks through ice in Woodstock, Vt.

 

At first light I headed out to see how Vermont looked after five inches of snow fell overnight. The short answer: beautiful. As I was heading out of the village, I looked down at a small pond that had a few holes in the ice. I noticed something dark moving in one of the holes, so I pulled over. Another something was moving and my brain registered I was seeing a couple of otters playing in the water.

I hopped out of my Jeep with my telephoto lens and tripod. Even though I was 100 yards away and up a hill, the otters weren’t thrilled with my presence. They craned their necks to get a better view of me and then dropped back into the water. One would pop up out of another hole, take a quick look at me and go back under the ice. Even though I stayed right by the Jeep, I was in their comfort zone. I thought if I hung out for a while they would realize I wasn’t a threat. After 3o minutes and no sightings, and strong winds trying to blow me over, I headed off to enjoy the beauty of the day.

Trees on a hillside in Woodstock, Vt.

Wind blows snow around ice fishermen on Silver Lake in Barnard, Vt.

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Hang out near a beaver pond and you’ll see beavers

A beaver swims in a pond in Barnard, Vt.

I drove back past where I photographed the bull moose yesterday, just hoping he might still be hanging around. He wasn’t. So I went to a beaver pond near Barnard, Vt., about a mile away. I photographed some cedar wax wings flying around the trees. I hung out for about an hour and a half but there wasn’t much going on. On the road I saw a candy wrapper, so I walked over to pick it up. I looked at the pond and beaver was swimming toward me. I went back to the Jeep to get the camera, but I feared my movement might scare it. The beaver turned around and twacked the water with its tail. I thought I was done, but it kept swimming around. It came closer to me and didn’t mind my presence. As it was going back and forth another one appeared. They both swam around in front of me for a while but I was blocked from clear shots by branches and weeds. They would pop into the open and I got a few shots I like.

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Reflecting on Earth Day

Bare trees are reflected in a pond as new spring green leaves sprout.

Every year on Good Friday, I think about my senior year of high school when friend Tim Kochert and I hopped in his car and drove around the lake region of northern Indiana. I remember it as the perfect spring day, warm and sunny with that great feeling in the air. We drove around a state park where I’d later work for two summers and then headed around several of the lakes. I had known Tim since before we started grade school and even though we shared a locker, we didn’t hang out together much. It was a fun day of not doing anything special with an old friend and the memory has lingered all these years. Tim created another special memory for me last summer when he took me on a flight in his plane over glaciers in Alaska.

Today wasn’t a beautiful day but I wanted to celebrate Earth Day by being sure to get out and spend some time in the great outdoors. I went to Lord Stirling Park, which is a large county park adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife refuge. The swamp isn’t too pretty this time of year, it is a swamp, after all. With all the rain, the grass is brilliant green contrasted against the dark, swampy water. I was fascinated with the way the trees were reflecting in the water as a few blades of grass stuck out of the pond.

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Parks closed: gotta cull the deer herd

Frost covers a leaf at Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary.

This morning I thought it would be good to go to Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge, NJ, which is adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.  They are essentially the same place, they are only separated by the Passaic River and a different name. I got there while it was still fairly dark, taking advantage of the last day of daylight savings time. Now I have to get up an hour earlier to see the sun rise. I got out of the Jeep and saw a sign that said Trails Closed and then a rope across the main trail. Hanging off the rope was a little sign saying something about deer management. In other words hunters were in there culling the herd. So I thought I’d just go over to the NWR, I still had plenty of time before the sun came up. Of course, only hunters were allowed. I’m sure I could have found a trail in but a bored hunter might take a shot for fun.

Mist rises from a waterfalls at Lendells Pond in Mendham, NJ.

I understand the need to hold down the deer population. There are too many and when there is a tough winter, there won’t be enough food for them to sustain themselves. They are changing the landscape, you can see a browse line at their head height in any woods in the area. Many people complain about the deer eating their scrubs, I don’t care about that, but no new growth is happening because the deer eat tree saplings before they have a chance to grow. But I hate having the image in my head of a deer being shot by an arrow and then running in pain for however long it takes for the deer to bleed to death. I guess that is better than starving to death.

So I went over to the Audubon Society’s place, which is only a few miles away. They didn’t have any hunters but I was there before they opened the gate. So I drove around the property and came upon a water falls at the end of Ledells Pond in Mendham. It seems like I have been shooting lots of waterfalls lately but it looked good as the mist rose.

I went back over to the Audubon sanctuary and while I was driving around I saw three large bucks. I couldn’t tell if they were in the rut or scared by the hunters, but they looked nervous. Hopefully they didn’t stroll under a hunter’s tree stand.

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Fox and heron at the Great Swamp

A red fox at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge pounces on prey.

I headed off to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge this morning. I thought with the cool morning air and water still being warm there mist be some nice mist shots as the sun came up. If they were there, I didn’t find them.

A red fox at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

I was driving down a small gravel road and saw a red fox in the road about 1/4 mile ahead of me. As I got closer, it went into the trees but I couldn’t see it anymore. I creeped away and saw it in my mirror, so I turned around and slowly drove back toward it. It didn’t mind me being there as long as I kept my distance, so I followed it for a while. It stopped a few times and I took pictures through my windshield. It stopped and looked at something in the grass. The fox hunched down and got ready to pounce and then it jumped through the air and landed on a vole. It brought the tasty breakfast back to the road, gobbled it down and then walked toward me as I shot more pictures through the windshield. The fox walked right past me on the road that is barely wide enough for two cars. It didn’t even look up to see what I was doing, it just went back to where I first saw it and headed back into the trees.

A great blue heron stalks prey in the grass of a pond at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.

My favorite bird is the Great Blue Heron. They are pretty and they make me smile when they walk. They are pretty skittish, I haven’t found a way to sneak up on one, but if I see one working the shore of a pond, I know if I stay still, it may walk right in front of me. This morning I saw one sitting on a small log in a pond. I pulled my Jeep off the edge of the road and the bird stayed put. I sat there for over an hour taking pictures of the heron on the log and then walking through the grass. When it was in the reeds it would peek through while looking for some breakfast.

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Canada geese fill pond in Bridgewater, NJ

Geese float on a pond in Bridgewater, NJ.

I took a walk with one of our dogs in Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, NJ, late this afternoon. As we pulled into the park, I saw there were tons of Canada geese in a field by the road. That isn’t uncommon around here so I didn’t pay much attention to them. As Zian and I were walking, the geese took flight with a lot of noise. They were in four or five flocks and circled around and all landed in a small pond with a lot of commotion. We were about done with our walk so I put the dog in the car and pulled out the camera. There were are 250 geese in the pond and I sat there for a while hoping they would all take off again at once so I could get one of those cool geese taking flight shots. They didn’t, but I enjoyed watching them floating and bitching at each other.

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Vermont fall foliage finally shows its colors

Colorful fall foliage is reflected in Lime Pond in Pomfret, Vermont. (Loren Fisher/LorenPhotos.com)

Colorful fall foliage is reflected in Lime Pond in Pomfret, Vermont.

I went to a little pond, Lime Pond, that I’ve driven past several times in Pomfret, Vermont. I seen the trees full of color and knew it would make a nice reflection as the sun got low in the sky. The foliage was looking good and may not be at peak. There are still plenty of green leaves on the hillside so it will probably be good all week.

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Searching for moose in Vermont, but finding only fog

Autumn in Vermont: fog covers the hills surrounding Lewis Pond (Loren Fisher/LorenPhotos.com)

Fog covers the hills surrounding Lewis Pond.

I got away to the northern part of Vermont. I was hoping to find some moose, but all I saw was more highway signs saying “moose crossing next five miles.” I swear those are put up by the Vermont Department of Tourism. I asked everyone where to find moose and spent lots of time on back roads and everywhere moose should be, but no moose. I had read about an overlook onto Lewis Pond that was supposed to be spectacular. It was a cloudy, rainy, foggy day and the overlook is good for leafpeepers, but photographers wouldn’t find it very good. You can see the pond but it isn’t worth the long drive on a one-lane dirt road.

Fog settles into a swamp after the sun sets near Island Pond, Vermont (Loren Fisher/LorenPhotos.com)

Fog settles into a swamp after the sun sets near Island Pond, Vermont.

I traveled up and down Route 105 east of Island Pond hoping a big bull moose would wander up along the highway. It sure looks like prime moose territory, but none showed up. I had to settle for a nice scene after the sun went down.

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What’s good: Beautiful morning in Vermont

Clouds reflect in a Vermont pond before sunrise. (Loren Fisher)

Clouds reflect in a Vermont pond before sunrise.

Another beautiful Vermont morning. I watched the sun rise at my favorite pond. The pond was quiet this morning, a few frogs were making their presence known and the wind blowing in the trees was about the only other noise.

Dew drop sits on a leaf as the rising sun hits a Vermont pond (Loren Fisher)

Dew drop sits on a leaf as the rising sun hits a Vermont pond.

An overnight rain put a clean shine on everything and left some drops.

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