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.
Looking into Autumn, and into the sun, down another long alley of marsh, this time just over the hill from the Kennebunk town line on Rt. 9. I really like the perspective of the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide for this kind of of shot, especially since it is wide both ways…vertically as well as horizontally. It gives the scene a very natural look. At least to my eye. The high contrast light picks out every detail, and the Apple Camera app’s Smart HDR renders the range of light effectively, producing another memorable image of fall. Or that is what I think. Processed in Apple Photos.
Of course, this time of year, I have my eye out for great autumn shots…places where the color is at its best and well displayed. I was in the passenger seat of our car (a rare position for me to be) when we crossed the marsh at the edge of Kennebunk Lower Village, in leaf-peeper traffic at its best (or worst), and glimpsed this scene out the widow as we passed. It was overcast with a dull grey sky, so I could let the scene pass, but I would remember. I immediately began to plot how to get there safely on Indigenous People/Columbus Day Monday, when better skies were predicted, on my eTrike, without getting myself run over by a leaf peeper. By 11am the next morning the sky was promising and I got the trike out and took my chances…going the long way around to approach from the right side of the road, and avoid as much traffic as I could…as well as the stretch of horrible trike road on Rt. 9 coming into Lower Village. When I got there I found that there was enough of a shoulder on the bridge over the marsh so I could safely park my trike for the photos. I took many views of this with slightly different compositions, and picked this one as the best of the non-panoramic set. I might post the panorama another day. Anyway. This is a classic southern Maine autumn landscape. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
Great Egret: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I almost rode right by this Great Egret feeding in the marsh along the access road to our local beach. I was at the end of my eTrike ride, headed for home, just checking the marsh for anything spectacular. So I guess it is safe to say I did not consider the Great Egret, well out in the marsh, spectacular. 🙂 Still, my theory is that if you do not take the easy shots when they are on offer, you might not get the chance of the “special” shots when they happen. And, with a bit of post processing magic to bring the Egret in closer, I managed satisfying, if not spectacular. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, then enlarged in Pixelmator Pro Photo and recropped for the equivalent of at least a 2000mm field of view. Finished off in Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th. Assembled in FrameMagic.
Yerba Mansa: Leanora Curtin Wetlands Preserve, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA — The Leanora Curtin Wetlands are a tiny cienega (a natural marsh) just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, managed by the Santa Fe Botanical Gardens. It features a small pond, boardwalks over the marshy area, some giant Cottonwoods. and acres of wetland plants, including large beds of Yerba Mansa. While comments made by others during our visit lead me to believe that Yerba Mansa might be an invasive exotic, a bit of research this morning indicates that it is indeed native to New Mexico and wetland all the way to the west coast. It is related to the Lizard Tail plants, and the aromatic roots have been used in traditional medicine to treat skin and digestive disorders. The flowers are pure white when new, and get the red spots as they age. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100. 1-3 @ f7.1, 4 @ f5.6 @ 1/1000th.
The atmosphere yesterday must have been ideal for the formation of contrails. This was taken from our local beach at the mouth of the Mousam River, and all those contrails point to Portland, Maine, away there, not so far, over the horizon. I know some landscape photographers hate contrails, and I know all about the chemtrails conspiracy theory (or as much as I want to know…I got educated by (or at least “due to”) folks who commented on past contrail containing landscapes). But sometimes the “flaws” in a photo are actually what the photo is about. Case in point. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm wide angle lens. Standard Apple Camera app. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Ever since borrowing a ZEISS 18mm equivalent lens for a trip to Europe many years ago, I have enjoyed the ultra-wide, not too wide, and definitely not fisheye, view of the 18mm. So, of course, one of my motivations for exploring photography with iPhone was the existence of many 18mm equivalent wide-angle clip on lenses. I have two, one of the ubiquitous cheap ones I bought as an example of the kind in a full lens kit for under $30, and then my Sirui which is rated among the best. Combined with in-camera (or in-phone) HDR the results are pleasing…if not comparable to my 18mm lens set on the Sony a6500. But then I did expect large sensor performance from the tiny phone sensor. This is the marsh down by the mouth of the Mousam River a few miles from my house. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 18mm lens. Vivid HDR extension in ProCamera. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Southern Maine’s second fall…when the oaks and birches turn…is not, perhaps, as spectacular as the first…when the Maples turn bright yellow and red…but it has a beauty of its own…especially under the late October (and sometimes November) skies. October this year, definitely, as the season came early. This is a little stream that comes down to the Mousam River and crosses under Water Street in Kennebunk, Maine. Sony Rx10iv at 28mm equivalent. Program mode with Auto HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Nominal exposure: ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/320th.
This is a somewhat awkward season in Southern Maine for photography…and, as it happens, I am rarely in Maine in August. The bird life is kind of quiet, dragonflies and not in flight as much, and we often have blue sky days…not my favorite for landscapes. I generally attend the Tucson Birding Festival the first part of the month and for the past two years have been in Africa late in the month. This year, of course, I am home. 🙂 So, here is a somewhat random abstract shot from along the Bridle Path in Kennebunk. I love what the water and wind does with the salt grass, and what the weather and the years have done to the posts. Sony Rx10iv at about 170mm equivalent. HDR mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
This week’s Supermoon (the last for this year) caused exceptionally high tides all along the coast here in southern Maine. This is Branch Brook at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells Maine, a good mile inland from the sea. All about color and clouds and reflections.
Sony RX10iii at 24mm equivalent field of view. In-camera HDR. Nominal exposure: 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr on my Android tablet.