The sun was already behind this bank of oncoming clouds by the time I was on my way back to the car on my last hike at Laudholm Farms. I have never known exactly if those farm buildings just down the hill from the big yellow house and barns that is now home of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve were part of the original Laudholm Farms, or just a neighbor. When looking at the photo this morning the word that came to mind was “bucolic”…so of course I had to look bucolic up to make sure I was using it right…and because that is just me. (I used to have difficulty looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary, which, as a hopeless speller, I spent a lot of time doing before spell-check was a thing, because I would get literally lost in the words. I would get caught on a definition (often not the definition I was looking for) and have to trace back all its associations and roots…and that of course would lead me to the discovery of new words, which I would have to explore, etc. I could loose a half hour between “thistle” and its spelling. Any day.) So bucolic. “Ox keeper” or “ox herd”…by extension “shepherds” and “herdsmen” of all sorts. And by further association, the countryside in an idealized fashion. The way we would see it in a painting or in this photo. The beauty, the quaintness, the charm, without the awkward barnyard smells and the stinging wind in our face and the chapped lips…if you know what I mean. The sanitized version of country life. So yes, the farm seen from the hill under the racing clouds over the cleared fields and against the backdrop of the forest with its fall colors is bucolic. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
As I have mentioned several times now, we don‘t seem to have had as much red in our foliage this autumn as I remember in the past. That does not mean, however, that we had had no red at all 🙂 And, what red there is, really stands out! This is at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
I posted a few shots of the Red Squirrel I encountered on the way out of Alwive Pond Preserve, but I did not post any photos of the pond itself. 🙂 iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos. Alwive Pond is part of the the Alwive Pond Preserve, maintained by the Kennebunk Land Trust, in Kennebunk, Maine, USA. (There seems to be some dispute as to how to spell “Alewife”. Kennebunk Land Trust, the owner of the property, spells it Alewive, which is also the name of a road in the area. The State of Maine spells it Alewife and that is how it is on Apple and Google Maps…except that the Department of Inland Fisheries spells it Alewive when referring to the fish. ?? Apparently I am the only one who spells it Alwive. It is, by the way, when referring to a human, a female brewer, or the wife of a brewer, as in ale wife…when referring to fish, it is a species of herring that runs up rivers and books in the spring, and is harvested with standing cone shaped nets…we see them in the spring here in Southern Maine on some of our rivers. )
Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine, USA — Monarch butterflies are struggling in North America, largely because this plant is struggling. If Laudholm Farms is anything to go by, Milkweed is struggling even where an effort is being made to make space for it. I remember the Milkweed meadow at Laudholm being thick with Milkweed when they first set it aside…but this year there were only a few plants that made it all the way to pods. I am not sure what is going on. On the other hand, it seemed to be a good year for Monarch in Southern Maine. I saw quite a few on the Kennebunk Plains during the Blazing Star bloom. Anyway, I have been fascinated by the silky fluff of Milkweed seeds and the leather hunks since I was a boy. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
Red-Squirrel, Alwive Pond Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — So this is totally cheating. This is the same Red Squirrel I posted twice already (different pose in a different section of the tree, but still from the same encounter). The problem was that the background was totally washed out…I mean so white that I could not recover any detail in it. Still, I like the pose so I thought, lets have a little fun with it. I took it into Pixomatic for some MagicCut work, refined the results, and pasted in another forest photo, taken with the iPhone at Laudholm Farms. Adjusted the brightness and contrast to make it fit better. Took the result back into Polarr and worked on it some more. Finished it off in Apple Photos. It is not perfect, but I put as much time into it as I was willing to give this morning, and it makes for an interesting image (and an interesting exercise). I think 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed as above. Just for fun.
If you stand on the bench at the Webhannet Marsh overlook at Laudholm Farms, in the fall, you can see over the reeds to the border of trees in their full autumn splendor. Add a spectacular October sky and there you go! iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
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.