Green Heron: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, December 2023 — The community owned dock in Puerto Viejo is home to several shallow bottomed boats with rain and sun awnings that will take you, on a good day, upstream on the Sarapiqui and then up the Rio Puerto Viejo into the heart for the La Selva Biological Station. I say a good day because the water levels have to be fairly high, and yet the current not too strong. On downstream days it is still a nice ride, but downstream is through mostly banana plantations, and upstream in into the rainforest…so you always see more wildlife on upstream days. I was resigned to having a downstream trip this year, but the boat captain decided at the last moment to take us upstream. These boat captains (or this boat captain, I am pretty sure I have always had the same boat) know the river intimately, and can find the resident and visiting birds and wildlife with amazing accuracy. No two trips are the same, of course, but I have seen some very interesting wildlife from the boat. This bird, though a great bird to see anywhere, is not maybe a good example of interesting…as it is bird that you can see pretty much anywhere from the Canadian Border (a few even breed in Canada), all down through the US, south through Central American, to the Amazon drainage and northern South America. Always around water…shallow rivers, lakes, and ponds. We have them nesting around ponds here in Southern Maine. So I can’t say I was over-the-top excited to see this one on the Sarapiqui in Costa Rica…but it is still a good bird and always fun to photograph. This one was nicely posed against the shadows of the undergrowth on the bank of the river. OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm IS zoom at 800mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Photomator.
This shot is just right at the edge of what I can call Nature Photography. If it were a close up of the sailing ketch then, for sure, it would not be a nature photo…but in this ultra-wide view, the ketch…off Hog Island, Maine, USA…and the boats behind it, become elements in the land, sea, and sky scape. Mostly it is just a pleasing photo. iPhone SE with Moment thin case and Sirui 18mm ultra-wide. Standard Apple Camera app with smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
On Friday morning before Emily’s wedding I had no assigned duties, so I took Anna’s boyfriend, visiting from New Mexico, looking for Lighthouses and classic Maine seaside village scenes. Sarah came with us because she likes bridges and wanted to go over the Deer Island bridge…a vintage suspension bridge just about two cars wide and with a significant humpback. I had found a light off Little Deer Island on the map of Maine Lighthouses I had consulted on the internet, but had to go by dead-reckoning once on the Island itself in hopes of finding it, and a photo worthy view. We drove out in the general direction of the light as far as we could go…and there it was…sitting on its little island just off-shore. It is the Pumpkin Island Lighthouse, decommissioned long ago, but still maintained by the same organization that maintains most of the Maine Lighthouses…as a historical monument. It is an odd light, far up into Pennobscot Bay, only visible for 3 miles on a good day (or night), and essentially landlocked. Before decommissioning it was judged to useless…and actually slightly dangerous as it often lead ships into a ice bound passage during winter months. But it sure is pretty!
In-camera HDR at 111mm equivalent field of view. Sony RX10iii. Processed in Lightroom.
Tawas Point State Park is apparently a popular put-in spot for sailing catamarans. There were 30 or more sailing a circle coarse off the head of the point on the Lake Huron side. And it was a glorious day to be on the water. This is a telephoto shot, reaching out to isolate the boats between the glitter of the water and the piled sky.
Sony HX90V in-camera HDR. 505mm equivalent field of view. Nominal exposure 1/1000th @ ISO 80 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.
Rockport Massachusetts, on the tip of Cape Anne, north of Gloucester, is such just about your archetypal picturesque New England fishing village: there are postcard views just about where ever you look. This is one of the fishing piers and lobster boat basins just of the main street. It would have been easy to drive right by it, but we were looking for ducks in any likely spot, so we turned in. How could anyone resist taking a photo here?
Sony NEX 3NL with 16-50mm zoom. 24mm equivalent. ISO 200 @ 1/250th @ f16. Processed for HDR effect in Snapseed and Photo Editor by dev.macgyver on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Because the lens distortions were distracting (at least to me), I used Perspective correction in Photo Editor to pull the buildings on the side back up straight. 🙂
Along the Gulf Coast of Alabama, these dock/boat hoists are common. The tides are shallow and it is easy to simply lift the boats out of the water. This day everyone on the coast was watching the weather carefully as, out over that deceptively calm horizon, a Gulf hurricane was brewing. In fact two hours later when we drove back by this spot, the owner of this boat was on the steep shore frantically trying to lift the boat almost straight up on to its trailer for transport inland and away from the storm.
What attracts me here is the light over the water and the way it plays around the dock, the boat on its hoist, and the bird house. Then too, there is a tension in the suspended boat that matches the day.
Samsung Smart Camera WB800F in Rich Tone mode (in-camera HDR). Processed in Snapseed on the Nexus 7.
The hotel we stay at for the Dutch Bird Fair is across a narrow brick road from Lelystad Haven, an upscale yacht and boat basin on this inland sea. The Haven boasts everything from the most modern (and expensive) yachts to genuine Dutch canal boats in various stages of renovation. While white is the predominant color of the yachts, the canal boats tend to verge toward the brighter hues 🙂
This old boat is a case in point. The classic worn black hull is set off by the flaming yellow of the apparently freshly painted dinghy. Samsung Smart Camera in Rich Tone mode (HDR). Processed in PicSay Pro on the Google Nexus 7.
I have been back from Holland a week now, but before the experience passes completely into memory, I will share at least one more shot of the Yacht Basin at Lelystad, across a narrow brick street from my hotel. Back from a stormy day at the Dutch Birdfair, with the weather finally beginning to break, I could not resist the the low angle of the sun picking out the foreground detail and the deep layers of massed clouds over the Markermeer.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation. 24mm equivalent field of view. f5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 160. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.
Another shot from our short trip to Burlington Vermont this week. Among the attractions of Burlington is a series of beaches and parks in towntown Burlington along the shore of Lake Champlain. This marina would be full in another season…it will in fact fill up quickly over the next 6-8 weeks, but for now it is a study in graphic design, with the lighthouse on its breakwater forming a middle ground and the layered mountains behind. It stretches the eye and challenges our sense of space but I think it works exactly because of that.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and -1/3EV exposure compensation. 90mm equivalent field of view. f4 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 100.
Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity and sharpness.
Continuing with found beauty in Vegas, unlikely as that is…
The Gondolas on the Canal in the Venetian are all ornate, but this one is particularly attractive, especially against the blue water and the red brick. I tried this as an HDR, but I like the untreated image better. Any painterly quality here comes purely from the high ISO…though this is pretty good IQ indeed for 1000 ISO on a small sensor in artificial light.
Canon SX40HS at 100mm equivalent field of view. f4.5 @ 1/20th @ ISO 1000. Program with iContrast and –1/3EV exposure compensation.
Processed in Lightroom for Intensity and Sharpness.