New England Blogs

Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's good to be back

I've missed being here and hope you are all doing well. It's time for some changes here and this is what I have in mind. This new phase of the blog will not contain daily images. I hope to post at least once a week, perhaps more on a good week. I also want to focus more on "quality" rather than "quantity" of the posted images, taking into consideration what I want the viewer to "get" or "feel" from the images.......not just throw a snapshot up because I have to, but rather post an image because I want to. I will be posting the things that make me happy and I hope to convey my feelings in each image as well.
I hope you like the new look of the blog. I have done some housecleaning and decorating here during the little hiatus. Since I will not be posting daily, I hope you take advantage of the new "FOLLOW BY EMAIL" signup at the top of the page. If you sign up, you will be given email notifications when new posts are made here.
My shutter finger got itchy yesterday, so I went out to give it a little workout using the new (to me) 70-300 mm lens. I am finding some purple fringing with this lens that I am not too happy with. Not sure if it will be visible in the image size posted here, but when viewed larger, it is visible to me.
These are from the backside of Whitman's Pond in Weymouth MA.....behind the cemetery.......yes, I'm still cruising the cemeteries for photo's........they are lovely places and a lot of people are just dying to get in there! :-)
Here is a Mama Swan sitting on her nest.
And here's a White Egret who was hanging out amongst the reeds.

The Specs:
Nikon D90, 70-300 mm lens, ISO 500, f11, 1/1250, -1/3ev
The Specs will once again be posted, as this is an important thing to share on a photography blog.
It's good to be back.........

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Beginnings

Day 730. The end of the 365 day blog/year 2. I hope you have enjoyed this journey as much as I have. I went back to where it all began this evening. Day one of year you remember where it was????

Going full circle...........Two years later:

And of course, a little celebration earlier as the sun was setting at Little Harbor Beach in Onset......

Thank you all for your support. I will be taking a bit of time off, but will be back.
Promise! :-)
A time for new beginnings...........

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Water and ice

A potpouri of images from this weekend in VT......common theme is water and ice.........

Waterfall along the base of Mount Pisgah, Westmore VT

A sunset in Island Pond

Day 364/365

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monroes Sugar House

We visited Monroes Sugar House in Barton on Saturday afternoon. Our friends Steve and Terry Monroe own this sugar house, and they tap 6000 maple trees in the sugar bush that they own. This is a family run business. When we arrived on Saturday, Steve and Terry were both working, along with their daughter Josie (yup, the same Josie who is my new VT photography buddy!), and Terry's mom and dad were also working.
The smell.......oh the smell was insanely delicious!!
Steve gave us a tour of the sugar house, and all of the equipment used, as well as all of the steps taken to produce the maple syrup. It's a 24 hour a day job, and Steve has a bedroom in the sugarhouse where he spends his nights during the entire syrup season!
Here's the evaporator and steam hood with my reflection:
Day 363/365
Here's Steve working:

As I briefly touched on last night.......Steve told us that this is not a good season due to the warm temperatures. He is producing half the syrup that he produced last year. But, like all true Vermonters, he wasn't complaining or whining about it, he was just stating the fact that that's the way it is. That is what I love most about the Vermonters. This is another example of the resiliency and spirit of the Vermont people, just like I mentioned to you here after the floods from Hurricane Irene. They quietly dust themselves off and move forward.

The syrup prices will go higher this year due to the shortage......but to me, this liquid gold is priceless anyways. :-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

A drop in the bucket

Day 362/365
It's Sugar Time In Vermont!!!!!
The trees have been tapped and the sap is running. It's not a good season for maple syrup production due to the warm temperatures this year. I will write more about this on tomorrow night's blog.
After we photographed the sunrise Sunday morning, we headed to Shadow Lake Road in Glover, where we found these tapped maple trees. I was a very happy girl. We had a great morning.

Thank you Mr. Farmer for parking this old truck here. :-)

This road (yes, this really is a road) was lined with sap buckets.

After this, we headed back to the house for a pancake breakfast served with freshy canned Maple Syrup.
I posted 2 blogs tonight to make up for the one I missed this weekend, so please be sure to scroll down and see where we photographed the sunrise on this day.

Crystal Lake Sunrise

Patrick and I got up early Sunday morning and headed out to do some early morning photography. We were joined by my young friend Josie. (You remember Josie, right?) We headed to Crystal Lake in Barton for sunrise.

Day 361/365

There were interesting cracks in the ice.

It was a magnificent morning.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday Morning

We had an amazing weekend. How about you? I hope you got out to enjoy this beautiful weather. I'm really tired tonight.....let's get right to it!
The drive up to VT Saturday morning was beautiful. We left here at 5 am. We hit some beautiful fog in NH on the drive up. I particularly liked the play of fog and light along the back of Cannon we pulled off into a trailhead parking are so I could take a few shots:

We arrived at the Barton house at 9am. Out friends Heather and Patrick and their 2 boys joined us for the weekend....they arrived about an hour after us. The weather was divine. It wasn't as warm as remained in the 50's all day, but the sun was bright and warm and their was virtually no wind. We spent the entire rest of the day outdoors. Here's a few shots I got at Lake Willoughby:

The water was so still and smooth and crystal clear.....great for reflections.

Here's James playing in the water

What an amazing March morning in Vermont.
Will post 2 blogs tomorrow night to catch up for the day I missed this weekend. I have lots more to share with you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Made with love :-)

My mother has been making Irish Bread since I was a little girl. It has become a favorite of Miss J's, and now that she is on her own and married, she wanted to learn how to make it from her Nana. A few months ago, Miss J went over my Mom's for an Irish Bread Baking lesson. My mother was so happy to have her grandaughter learn from her. (Miss J and my Mom have always had a very special bond.)
The folks and I met Miss J for lunch today during her lunch break from work. She brought Irish Bread that she baked for both me and my Mom.
It's deeeeeelicious Miss J!!!!! You did a great job.......but how could you fail when you have learned from the best????? :-)
Happy St Patricks Day everyone. I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the beautiful weather. I will be up in VT for the weekend, and will return Sunday night with some photos to share.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More birds with the 70-300 mm lens

Here's a few more images taken yesterday with the Nikon 70-300mm f4-f5.6 G Lens:
This was another bif shot at 300 mm.
Here's another shot taken at 300 mm:

Here's an image taken at the mid range of this lens. This was taken at 120 mm:

Yes, I know......look familiar? This is similar to one of the recent images I posted using the Nikon 18-200 mm VR lens at 150 mm f5.6.
This one was shot with the 70-300mm lens, f11, at 120 mm.
Are you getting sick of the birds? These are the final bird shots for a while. Promise. :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A temporary solution

Do you remember when I rented the Nikon 300 mm f2.8 lens to shoot the snowy owl?? At the end of that post, I wrote that one of my photography goals was to save enough money to buy a longer lens for wildlife photography. The longest lens I owned was th Nikon 18-200mm VR lens, and I wanted more reach than 200 mm's. Also, I found the lens was soft at 200 mm's as well.
I purchased a used Nikon 70-300 mm f4-5.6 G AF lens last evening for $125.00. This is NOT the Nikon 70-300 mm lens with VR which has very good reviews. This is the one without VR, and the reviews of this lens are mostly not favorable. I knew what I was buying, and was willing to take a chance on this lens. I read Ken Rockwell's review and went out bird shooting today, using Ken Rockwell's recommendations to get the best IQ from this lens.
So far so good! I shot mostly at 300 mm's today, because it's the long reach that I am interested in and wanted to experiment with. Here are a few gull in flight shots. I stopped down the lens to f11, and set the ISO to 500 to get the shutter speed that I wanted.
This first image was shot at ISO 500, 1/640, f11with a focal length of 300mm.
Here's another shot:

This second shot is ISO 500, 1/320, f11, with a focal length of 300mm
I also went through the cemetery today and took a few pictures of the Robins:

This was shot at ISO 500, 1/320, f11, focal length of 300 mm

This was shot at ISO 500, 1/250, f11, focal length of 300 mm.
These were all processed using Adobe Photoshop CS3, with levels adjustments, saturation applied, and sharpened with unsharp mask.
The verdict so far:
I think I can work around the limitations and quirks of this lens and will know more after more trials with it. This lens is very plastic, and does not have the build or weight of my other lenses. I'm not thrilled with having to bump up the ISO when I take this lens to 300mm's. Also, I ultimately would like to have a lens longer than 300mm's. Until I can afford the quality lens that I want, I am hoping this one will get me though until then. For 125 dollars, it just may be worth it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oh Easter Tree Oh Easter Tree

Day 356/365
When the kids were younger, I bought this little Easter Tree and Easter Tree decorations, and each Spring we would unpack all the Spring decor and hang the little ornaments on the tree. I still put it up even though the kids are grown.
I liked how the late afternoon light was coming in through the window today, casting a nice shadow of the tree and decorations on the wall behind it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hearts for Miss J

Day 355/365
I HEART MISS J!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Twenty-five years ago today my life became happier than I ever dreamed it could be. I gave hugs and kisses to my beautiful healthy little boy at home........said our temporary goodbyes to him........and Mr. S and I headed to the hospital.........where Miss J made her entrance into this world weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
When they told me "it's a girl"!!!!! I couldn't believe it....and I remember I kept saying...It's a girl???? It's a girl????? It's really a girl?????
How blessed I was that day......and every day since. Thank you Miss J for bringing so much love and happiness into my life. I thank God that I was chosen to be your Mom. It is an honor. Happy Birthday!
Mom :-) 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Out of the blue

How was your weekend? Hope you had a good one!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

The boys are back in town

A sure sign of Spring! I saw my first Red Winged Blackbird of the year today. I actually spotted a few male RW Blackbirds....not sure if I saw any females. I'm not too good with bird ID's, but I do know that the female RW Blackbirds look more like a sparrow than a blackbird.
And speaking of sparrows, here's a pretty pose that I caught today as well:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hanging in the wind

The very strong winds down at the pond this afternoon helped me to get this closeup shot of this gull in flight. He/she was flying into the wind but wasn't getting very far......was more or less hanging in air. :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guardian of the eggs

Day 350/365's time for the Easter/Spring things. Winter seems to be over (not that we really had a winter anyways........) The temps today were in the 50's, and tomorrow promises temps in the mid 60's.
As all hearty New Englanders know.......March can bring some major NorEasters with heavy snows our way......we can't let our guards down quite yet......but if March follows the same pattern as the rest of this winter, we shouldn't have much to worry about. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these Spring-like days this week!
This shot was taken in direct sunlight through the window. I had originally taken the basket outside and placed it on the railing of the deck, in the sunlight, but the winds were blowing strong, and it was difficult to get everything nice and sharp due to the motion of the wind. So, I went to plan B and used direct sunlight streaming in through the window.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Secret Cabin

Day 349/365
This little rustic cabin in the woods is located at Island Grove in Abington MA. It's actually a Girl Scout Cabin. I'm not sure if it is still used today.......I remember going here when Miss J was a Girl Scout and it was pretty run down back then.
I posted two blog posts tonight, as I realized I missed a day of posting when I went to VT a few weeks ago........making up for that missing post tonight, so please scroll down to the next post to see what else I posted this evening. Thanks!

Together Forever

Day 348/365
This is the lovely pair of swans who inhabit the Island Grove Pond in Abington MA. I converted this to black and white, because I felt it suited the mood of the scene.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The back roads of Plympton

It's fun to tool along the never know what you will find. I stumbled upon this Alpaca farm in Plympton the other day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What Lies Beyond

Day 347/365
Another image taken on Friday at Wompatuck Pond in Hanson MA.
I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Winter Swim

This was taken yesterday morning at Wompatuck Pond In Hanson MA. What drew me to the scene was the one tree with the golden yellow foliage. (I've seen other trees like this that make a winter scene look almost Fall-like.......not sure but think it's a Willow Tree.) So, as I was photographing this tree across the pond from where I stood, this pair of ducks came swimming by. This is just what was needed to make this scene complete.