What a day! The best that fall 2021 has to offer. Great sky, some color in the trees, and the open expanse of the remnant bog at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine, USA. This is a “sweep panorama” with the iPhone SE and the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. A lotta pixels in there! Apple Camera app. Processed in Apple Photos.
North American Porcupine: Wells Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — As I came to the junction of the Piliger Trail and the Laudholm Connector there was a family standing just beyond under the old apple trees, with cell phones out, looking into the deeper brush, so of course, I had to go see what they were seeing. Nothing much they said, just a porcupine in the apple tree. And indeed, there was one, out on a branch asleep when I first saw it. Not easy to see as it blended well with the bark of the tree. I (again, of course), took hundreds of photos from all different angles, mostly trying to get a clear shot of the face. It is pretty rare in my experience to see a healthy porcupine right out in plain sight (as opposed to flattened the road). In fact, my last “out in the open” sighing of a porcupine was the Mexican Porcupine in Honduras many years ago. When I had my photos, I left the porcupine to the attention of others who had come down the path after me. Going up the hill toward the Knight Trail and back to my eTrike, I was pretty full of the experience (and myself to be honest) and decided to take a look at a few of the photos on the back of the camera just to check if I had ever really gotten the face. The face is easily lost, black on black within the gray cowl of the quills. “NO CARD, CAN NOT DISPLAY” What? This was not a good time for the camera to tell me that! Not useful at all. Very disappointing. I mean, why not tell me that when I took my first photo of the porcupine? This is not the first time this has happened to me, but the first time when the photos really mattered to me. I mean, really, my porcupine shots? Not that it would have done me any good if the camera had been more forthcoming. I stopped carrying a second card when out on my eTrike several months ago. That is a bad habit I will now make every effort to break. Always carry a spare card! Sigh! So I trudged back to the apple tree. The porcupine was still there, though it had, under the pressure of less cautions observation (there were a lot of folks using the trail that day), retreated down the branch toward the safety of the crotch of the tree, where it had taken refuge. I was just a bit chagrined to be among the cell phone photographers, but I put my Sirui 60mm portrait lens on my iPhone SE and got as close as I felt good about to take my shots. Nothing great, but I did get the face. This shot has been through Pixomator Pro’s ML Super Resolution treatment to simulate a longer telephoto, as well as being processed in Apple Photos. So folks, always carry a spare card! You never know when you will see something very special in the wild.
As I have said a few times before, it is being a very strange fall here in southern Maine. Still no frost in the third week of October, and the trees are struggling with the change…exposed trees, alone in the field, or on the edge of the forest are turning late and we are not getting the reds of a normal year…and inside the forest many leaves are just turning brown and falling. Still you find scenes like this one…taken into the sun as patches of sun and shadow raced across the field, spotlighting the colors. The sky was so intense I had to tone it down to keep the image from looking too surreal. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Greater Yellowlegs: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine, USA — I was walking the trail at the Rachel Carson Headquarters, standing on the deck actually, overlooking Branch Brook before it becomes the Little River, taking a landscape of the fall colors up the stream, when this odd row of white spots way out in the marsh, running down a bank cut on a far loop of the stream, caught my eye. At full zoom on my camera they resolved into a small flock of shore birds, though at that distance I could not be sure which ones. Still I took a couple of shots at 600mm equivalent just because the arrangement of the birds on the bank was so interesting. I knew that to get any detail at that distance I would have to use Pixomator Pro’s ML Super-resolution (and again, was tankful to have that tool in my arsenal). What you see here is the same shot twice. Once showing the whole group, staggered down the cut, and then just the 4 center birds…cropped and run through MLSR in Pixomator Pro Photo. I count 9 Greater Yellowlegs and one possible Lesser (far left in the wider version). Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Pro Photo and Apple Photos, and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Red Squirrel: Alwive Pond Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Another shot of the Red Squirrel I encountered on my way out from Alwive Pond the other day. In processing this one I noticed that he has all four paws off the tree…so mid leap. I really like the out of focus branch in the background of this series. Also notice the back patch in his tail. Red Squirrel are highly variable in color and color pattern, but i have not seen this back spot in the tail before. A very handsome squirrel. Sony Rx10iv at 400mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Another low light shot. ISO 6400 @ f4 @ 1/400th.
Red Squirrel: Alwive Pond Preserve, Kennebunk Land Trust, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — When I visit Alwive Pond I am always hoping for a moose. I saw on there in early 90s. 🙂 Now days I have to be mostly satisfied with a Red Squirrel, and some visits I don’t even see one of those. I caught this one gathering leaves, probably as nest lining, and, as Red Squirrels will, he decided to contest the trail with me, facing off a daring me to come any closer. Very entertaining. He was all over the tree trunk, striking aggressive poses in hopes that I would back away. I particularly like this apparent handstand on the twiggy branch. It was overcast by the time I was headed out, October mid-afternoon, but there was not a lot of light under the heavy canopy of pines, so this shot is testing the image quality limits of the Sony Rx10iv at high ISO. 400mm equivalent (that’s how close I was). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr using my Sony High ISO preset, so some noise suppression involved, and finished off in Apple Photos. ISO 6400 @ f4 @ 1/400th.
Vesper Sparrow: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Most range maps for Vesper Sparrow do not show it as present in Southern Maine, but we do have a population on the Kennebunk Plains not far from me. It is a grassland bird, and the Plains are as close to grasslands as we have in Maine. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Pixelmator Pro Photo, and Apple Photos. Assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at…), Wells, Maine, USA — I am often at a loss as to how to display or use a panoramic shot. This is something new for me…a three in one view, with the pano at the top and closer views at the bottom. This is made possible by my compulsion to take multiple views when I see something worth capturing. 🙂 I certainly did not envision this in the field. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide. The bottom two images are crops for the detail, but not from the pano. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR. Processed in Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic.
Another celebration of autumn in Southern Maine. The ledges on the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport. The low flow of water has the leaves to contend with as well as gravity. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR. Processed in Apple Photos.
This is one of the upper pools on the Batson River at Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport, Maine, USA. Nothing spectacular but an interesting place for a panorama with the fall foliage. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens, held in portrait position and swept from left to right through only a portion of its 360 degree reach. Smart HDR was on in the Apple Camera app, but I have no idea if it works with sweep panorama. Processed in Apple Photos.