Aug 302015

fair harbor fisheye view (late afternoon, ocean side)
fair harbor fisheye view (late afternoon, ocean side)

Annual trip to Fair Harbor, Fire Island, New York, and various points along the Fire Island National Seashore. This time, I brought my trusty Samyang 7.5mm m4/3 manual fisheye (big bang for the buck, and a whole lot of fun).

the clouds with that Fair Harbor sunsetclouding up in the late afternoon

And here’s a smattering of typical Fire Island wildlife photos featuring deer and shore birds, even though I did not have a proper wildlife lens, only a slow, f/4-5.6, m4/3 60-150mm (oh, btw, this is what you get with a proper, 300mm wildlife lens). But this time the set includes a praying mantis which made a surprise appearance on the kitchen window screen before lunch (likely awaiting lunch his/herself as it perched above a window flower box, waiting for hapless insects to come within reach).

diggin' Sandpiperawaiting lunch (praying mantis on the window screen)

And here are a few more photos, including a surprise appearance by Dr. Seuss and your typical array of sunset shots because of course. Also including an homage to the evening ritual of heading down to the Bay, gin and tonic (with lime, of course) in hand just before and after sunset (photo composition and title (Fair Harbor Properly Approached at Sunset) credit: David Aimen ;)).

Full set can be seen here, on Flickr.

Jul 252014

water off the tail fin (with tug boat)
water off the tail fin (with tug boat)

Whale watching trip on a glorious July day, heading out of Plymouth Harbor on a four-hour tour of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Saw an incredible number of Humpback Whales (more than on any other whale watch I’ve been on, and I’ve been on a few).

Humpback whales often feed by skimming the surface of the water, open-mouthed, capturing small fish, krill and other zooplankton by filtering them through their baleen.

Here are a few shots from the whale watch, including shots of a Humpback blow hole, an exhaling Humpback blowing spray, and Humpbacks diving and filter feeding (and attracting gulls and other sea birds to feast on any leftovers).  Full set on Flickr.

I also got a few good shots of sea birds and ducks.
take off

Jul 152014

in the muck (Collared Plover on Plum Island)

Collared Plover Hanging out on Plum Island

Summer trip to Plum Island, Massachusetts. Piping Plovers, a rare species protected under the federal and Massachusetts Endangered Species Acts, nest in the dunes and upper beaches on Plum Island, but are not accessible at this time of the year.  All dune and beach areas with (eggs or) hatchlings are protected with fencing and are strictly off-limits. But it was easy to get fairly close to some adult Collared Plovers (not endangered) away from the beach, as seen by these few shots.
above the muck (on Plum Island)

May 172014


An absolutely perfect spring day in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, which straddles Cambridge and Watertown. Birds, bees, frogs, turtles and colorful explosions of bloom and blossom everywhere you turned. All in a sprawling, historic cemetery (the first “garden cemetery”), that is also an amazing arboretum and urban wildlife sanctuary.

And in early- to mid-May, Mt. Auburn becomes a hot spot for birders around the region because it is teeming with birds, especially warblers in their spring migration. According to MassAudubon’s Carol Decker, “for warblers who have often traveled more than 200 miles the previous night and need a day or two to rest and feed, this place [Mt. Auburn] represents a significant green footprint.” See this Boston Globe article for more.

contemplating a snack  peeking

Although it’s a bit difficult to get great warbler shot armed only with a consumer level 70mm-300mm lens, I did catch a few decent shots.  It’s a bit easier to capture photos of turtle, frogs, and tadpoles in any of Mt. Auburn’s many ponds.
croak softly and cary a big stickpsychedelic tadpoleNot Yet Yertle

And these are even easier to capture:

Leopoldfiddlin around_ B&Wthe chapel

Jan 242014

sitting pretty (Snowy Owl)_final

Sitting Pretty (Snowy Owl)

Went for a walk on Salisbury Beach State Reservation and Plum Island, Massachusetts over the MLK Holiday weekend looking for Snowy Owls and . . .  I saw four different ones (!), plus a Merlin Falcon (photo here).  A beautiful, brisk, blustery winter day on the salt marshes and near the beach.  The above photo of a Snowy Owl sitting on a salt marsh was the last photo of the day, shot as the sun was getting lower in the late afternoon, winter sky.  I love it when one of your favorites photos from an outing is your last shot . . . and one you didn’t expect. The full set may be seen here, on Flickr.

I was also happy with several other photos of the salt marsh and dune landscape on Plum Island and Salisbury Beach (including the two framing folks also out nature hiking or birding):

step into a worldStep Into a World

top of the duneTop of the Dune

Winter DuneWindswept, Snow Dusted Dune

A few more Snowy Owl shots (click for larger image).  Reports have it that one owl has been reliably perching atop the Pink House on Plum Island most days this winter. Good news for the Bob Lobster Shack, open year round just a few blocks away. I’ve also included a couple of shots of a Snowy Owl on a salt marsh in Salisbury: One in-flight, one just before taking off, and one nearly camouflaged.

Snowy Owl perched atop the Pink House on Plum Islandgetting ready to fly awayPerched (Snowy Owl)gonna fly nownestled (Snowy Owl)

And finally, a couple of bleak, but beautiful, black and white landscapes from Plum Island, featuring some storage sheds, blowing snow and the sun dramatically poking through the clouds.


bleak trio (with blowing snow)

May 182013

Mary Baker Eddy Memorial

The Mary Baker Eddy Memorial on Halcyon Lake in Mt. Auburn Cemetery

An absolutely perfect spring day in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, which straddles Cambridge and Watertown. Birds, bees, frogs, turtles and colorful explosions of bloom and blossom everywhere you turned. All in a sprawling, historic cemetery (the first “garden cemetery”), that is also an amazing arboretum and urban wildlife sanctuary.

i like turtlesbuzzzzz

pond reflections (with three frogs)

Frog is greater than (frog > stick)

Frog is greater than (frog > stick)

Here’s a Vine video loop of tranquil Willow Pond:


And here’s Washington Tower and the Chapel in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  Also, the large stained glass window in the Chapel and the view of Cambridge, Watertown and the Boston skyline from the Tower:

with the sun peaking out from behind Boston & Cambridge & Watertown from the Tower (at 60mm)stained glass Chapel

May 192012

Boston (curved) click to view large

Finally got a chance to use my new Samyang 7.5mm manual fisheye lens (m 4/3 for my Oly Pen E-P3).  I spent a gorgeous spring day in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, including atop the Tower and its panoramic views of the Boston skyline.  The sprawling cemetery spans parts of Cambridge and Watertown, contains several ponds and vernal pools, and is awash in wildlife (it’s a well known haven for bird watchers from around the Northeast).

Here’s a 50mm shot (cropped) from the Tower.  That’s the Harvard Stadium in the far foreground: