Patience pays off – an encounter with a green heron

Yesterday’s kayak trip took place just down the street at Eckblaw Landing. Here you can take a trip down the Quinsigamond River. I’ve done this trip several times and don’t usually see all that much in the way of birds because the MA Turnpike runs right over the river. Still, sometimes you really hit the jackpot:

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This is the green heron, not to be confused with his much bigger counterpart, the blue heron:

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The green heron is not nearly as common. This one put on quite a show for me, staying for a long time and allowing me to get quite close:

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It’s hard to describe how I feel when I see such a site and have the privilege of viewing it for such a long time. I credit my mother with passing along this joy of nature to me. It fills my heart, mind and soul with things beyond words. Sitting in my kayak I found myself wishing my mother had had the chance to enjoy birding in this way, totally still on the river, watching the show unfold. She was afraid of the water and I don’t think she would have enjoyed kayaking for that reason but the thrill of seeing such a magnificent creature up close and personal might have assuaged her fear. Someday when we meet again, we will have to talk about this.

9-painted turtle2 featuredIn the meantime, I hope you enjoy the show. By the way, did I tell you I also saw a painted turtle swimming under the water? I wish I could have captured him on film but rather than take the time to find my camera, I decided to just watch another one of God’s creatures paddling under water without a care in the world.

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Accidental art: the joy of random photography

I am really digging photography. These days if all you have is a cheap camera, patience and a mindfulness for opportunity, you can come up with some pretty cool pictures.

I am a total amateur when it comes to taking pictures. I have no idea how I get some of the results I get. Taking pictures while kayaking does afford some amazing opportunities to get up close and personal, and patience can really pay off.

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My technique is so random I’m almost embarrassed to share it but I figure if it works for me, it could work for you too. Here’s what I do:

  • When I go out kayaking, I mount my camera on a small tripod; it makes it easier to have a steady hold on the camera. It also gives you added height (aka, you can’t stand up in a kayak, so you hold the tripod over your head to get the picture).
  • My technique? Snap as many pictures as you can and sort through them later. Oftentimes I can’t even see what I am photographing because of the glare on the viewfinder so taking lots of pictures is a must. Digital photography makes that quite affordable.

My late cousin Donna loved to take pictures in the wilderness; she did it because she was an artist at heart but could not paint. I feel the same way. I see images and wish I could paint them. I love searching for opportunities and setting up shots. Sometimes you hit the jackpot like I did on my last trip.

The location is South Grafton, MA in the spot known as “Fisherville.” This is a truly beautiful site as you can see:

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It being June, the mountain laurel was in full bloom. I wish I could say what the other flowers were (and if you know, please leave a comment!) but they were lovely just the same:

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In my attempt to both zoom and focus I sometimes got the opposite of what I wanted! Yet the pictures look kind of cool anyway:

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I was excited to get this spider web (considering how much the boat was drifting!):

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The jackpot was my close encounter with a chipmunk. I found him on a boulder in the middle of the stream. He froze long enough for several quick shots and then he jumped off (cheeks full of course) and quickly swam away. I had no idea chipmunks could swim. Super cute!

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While I would love to have an upgrade in my camera equipment (and I’m considering putting it on my Christmas wish list), you can get a lot done with your average digital camera.

If you’re an artist at heart and wish you could paint, try a camera and a great setting. Very satisfying. 🙂

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