Thursday, December 15, 2011


Here are a few random macroshots form a walk I took a few months back.

McDaniels Marsh, Springfield, NH, [from July]

Since I moved to Illinois for grad school, I've been too busy to keep up with the blog. Below is a blog post from my last trip home to Springfield, NH. My twin brother, me, his girlfriend and one of my best friends from home went paddling at McDaniels Marsh, in Springfield New Hampshire. The McDaniels Marsh Wildlife Management Area covers roughly 600 acres, located off of route 4A, quite close to Gile State Forest (~6600acres). A beautiful wetland system stretches far back around the bend in the pond, around which there are hundreds (thousands?) of acres of forest.

lily pads

old beaver lodge

pickerel weed

looking northeast

Thursday, October 13, 2011

one of my favorite poems

-The Peace of Wild Things-

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stissing Mountain

Looking east from the top of the old 90-foot fire tower on Stissing Mtn.
I went back up Stissing Mountain in Pine Plains NY with several friends this past Saturday. We also jumped in Stissing Lake, at the base of the mountain. It was a perfect day for a hike and swim. 


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th Weekend

I was in NH over the holiday weekend. It was one of my last weekends in NH before I leave for grad school in a few weeks. Above are a few shots of the fireworks display at Sunapee Harbor. The fireworks were launched from the water, with dozens of boaters nearby in the water. It was impressive.

I had the chance to go kayaking twice, to Little Lake Sunapee and also to Coniston Lake on Sunday evening.

Ripples and bubbles from a loon diving below while hunting

 It was after 8:30pm when I took most of these photos on Lake Coniston. It was a calm and beautiful evening, and I was the only person on the water. Although campers could be heard from the only development on the lake, a YMCA camp which has a  beach and several lodges along part of the shore, it was a quiet and peaceful paddle.

Two loons were hunting on the lake. I stopped paddling at one point so I wouldn't disturb them and they swam within 40 feet of my kayak. It was already getting dark, so I took these photos with a very high ISO, causing them to be quite noisy.

I paddled into a small cove because there was a small amount of fog beginning to form and it struck my eye. I also enjoy explore vegetated areas along lakes, plenty of plants and animal life to see. Once I was in the cove I noticed a great blue heron perched on a fallen log, hunting for frogs and fish I assume. I let my kayak drift so I could take a few photos but it got spooked and fly off (see photo below). A few minutes later I spotted it again along the shore, below some over-hanging hemlock branches. At this point it was around 9pm and very dark, difficult to get any decent photos. There is a blue heron rookery in a wetland a mile down the road from my house, and about two miles from this lake, I wonder if this heron lives there and this is part of its hunting territory.

I tried to get a panning shot of the heron flying off.
 One of my favorite parts of getting home- the dogs!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Northern Water Snake

On a recent visit to the Fern Glen I spotted a medium-sized northern water snake basking in the sun on a log near the shore of the pond.

 According to the UMass natural resource website, "Water snakes can almost always be counted on to bite, defecate and spray a particularly foul-smelling musk when handled."
It was really tough to get close enough to get a decent photo without spooking the snake away,  so I had to make do with the 60mm I was using at the time. I startled it several times, causing it to shoot into the water, I had to crouch and wait for a while before he was comfortable enough to get back on the log where I could take a photo.

 They have a very dark pattern of red-brown and black cross-bands and "blotches" down the body, making for a subtle beauty, but excellent camouflage for living along the edges of water bodies.

On a much different note...... Two months ago I had the interesting chance to taste northern water snake. A friend was told of a water snake that was just hit on a nearby road, and instead of letting it rot on the road, he  picked it up, skinned it and cooked it (see photo below before it was prepared).

 As you might be able to tell, it was much larger than the individual I photographed in the Fern Glen. If you are wondering, it had a chewy texture with a very mellow taste, difficult to describe or compare with any other meat I've had. They are a protected species in NY, and are illegal to hunt. I hope you get the chance to see a living northern water snake, they are beautiful!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Summer Walk

blue damselfly

View of the Catskills from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
green frog

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stars and fireflies on a hazy night

I tried to photograph the fireflies in the field by the house. The combination of light pollution and haze (during the hot and very humid stretch we just had) made it a bit tough.

Monday, May 23, 2011


During one of the many recent rainy nights, I had some fun inside with my macro lens.

I tried to get some close ups of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial on the penny. I think it is pretty tough to see normally, without the aid of a macro lens or a magnifying glass. I almost forgot he was visible on the penny.

Jefferson's home

one of the new pennies

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rondout Creek

my hiking boots green and dusty with pollen
I was recently back at Rondout Creek conducting fieldwork with a coworker. It was a beautiful day, so we ate lunch by the creek and snapped a few photos.
John Burroughs wrote this about the Rondout:
My eyes had never before beheld such beauty in a mountain stream. The water was almost as transparent as the air — was, indeed, like liquid air; and as it lay in these wells and pits enveloped in shadow, or lit up by a chance ray of the vertical sun, it was a perpetual feast to the eye — so cool, so deep, so pure; every reach and pool like a vast spring. You lay down and drank or dipped the water up in your cup, and found it just the right degree of refreshing coldness. One is never prepared for the clearness of the water in these streams. It is always a surprise. See them every year for a dozen years, and yet, when you first come upon one, you will utter an exclamation. I saw nothing like it in the Adirondacks, nor in Canada. Absolutely without stain or hint of impurity, it seems to magnify like a lens, so that the bed of the stream and the fish in it appear deceptively near. It is rare to find even a trout stream that is not a little "off color," as they say of diamonds, but the waters in the section of which I am writing have the genuine ray; it is the undimmed and untarnished diamond. If I were a trout, I should ascend every stream till I found the Rondout. It is the ideal brook.[
Even though he wrote those words many decades ago, the Rondout has seemed to retain its beauty.
The photos provide only a slight glimpse into the beauty of this special creek.
a pool in the beautiful Rondout Creek
another view of the Rondout
a patch of wood anemone

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Signs of Spring in the Fern Glen

green frog

painted turtle
I have seen this beautiful painted turtle basking in the sun on this log on several occasions in the last several days.
green frog
pickerel frog
trout lily