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At The Rowe Fen. June 13, 2012

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Up in Rowe, MA sits a fen, or basic pH bog, which hosts many hundreds of Northern Pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea.)   I’ve been there uncounted times over the past years to photograph them, with varying degrees of success.

Well, you know, one doesn’t improve by being satisfied with where one’s at.

So today I went back, arriving in late afternoon to find wonderful light slanting through the treetops.

Blue Flag irises separate the fen from the gravel road, and though they were nearly gone by, they were still worthy of a photo:

There’s an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail lighting on the iris just left of center, though it’s hard to see at this size.

In the grass at the fen’s edge, I got this shot of a sluggish butterfly, which looks something like a black Swallowtail, though it’s wings lack the definitive posterior points:

That could be a sign of old age or disease, as the wings tend to deteriorate with age.

The Northern Pitchers were gorgeous in the warm afternoon light, glowing as though illuminated from within:

Their totally unique flowers were red as roses and ripe with last night’s rain:

Before packing up my kit, I got all Artsy-Fartsy and took a couple of 1 second panning shots, hoping for something impressionistic.  While the results of this sort of experimentation aren’t that predictable to me, they were close to what I’d hoped for:


The first shot in this post is from Elliot, the rest are from Gizmo with a 2X Tele-Extender, giving an effective focal length of 800mm, albeit without auto focus or image stabilization.  I used Live View/mirror lock-up and a two second delay to get steady shots.

Up next:  some animal shots, which have been piling up embarrassingly in my to-post pile.

Falling Waters. June 13, 2012

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This afternoon on my way up to a fen in Rowe, I stopped along route 8A to take this photo of a spillway at the head of Pelham Brook:

As I readied to clean up what I thought were sensor spots in the sky of this photo, I discovered that they were actually dragonflies hunting at the dam’s lip, so I left them.  🙂

This is a hand-held shot taken with Ziggy, my Sigma 50mm lens, which I mostly reserve for macro shots because it focuses down to about one inch.

Perhaps I ought to reassess that call.

On A More Pastoral Note… January 10, 2012

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A couple of B-Team landscapes from this past week, which haven’t yet found a place in the ‘sphere.

Sunset along the Deerfield:

Dig the Jesus rays!

…and a moon rising over Pelham Lake in Rowe:

Not exactly what Winter usually looks like in these parts, but then, the camera doesn’t lie, unless you ask it reeeeal  nice.  😉

It’s Cold. January 4, 2012

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Yup, it’s winter, and it’s cold.

Go figure.

I shouldn’t be surprised, you know, seeing as it’s January and I’m in Massachusetts.  But we haven’t had significant snow since Halloween (!) and that two-footer lasted a whole two days.

So I’m stuck here freezing my butt off with nothing pretty to photograph, at least nothing white and sparkly and pristine like early winter is supposed to be.

Thank Gawd for rivers and streams, where at least the illusion of winter manifests in the details:

Pelham Brook in Rowe, a 2.5 second exposure on a cloudy afternoon.

Tomorrow will be in the ‘teens until at least noon, so I might try to snag a few more of these.

That is, if my fingers cooperate…  😉

Summer Time. July 4, 2011

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It’s the Fourth of July, a great American holiday.  I missed the fireworks, chasing The Light with my tools of choice, and instead of Chinese pyrotechnics,  I got a few more shots of My America.

These are actually an assemblage from the week past, but hey, in the grander scheme they’re cotemporal.  (I made that word up because it works.)

For me, the absolute apex of Summer occurs when the wildflowers are at their best.  For the most part, we’re there now, though there will be other shows later.  Right now, the high meadows are filled with Rugosa rose, Ox-eye daisies, Northern bedstraw, clovers and vetches, and grasses unfurling their pollinated flags:

Thistles beckon bees to flit between them:

The fields are ripe, the grasses are high, and the clouds are full of promise:

…and the rivers and streams flow with the rains, which recently have been generous:

Two black and whites, from Rowe and Conway respectively.

And to end this American birthday, a sunset on the Deerfield river:

Proof that humid nights have their greater purpose.

Happy Birthday, America, and good night.

More Signs Of Spring. April 27, 2011

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Driving through Rowe the other day, I checked out the fen where I’ve photographed Northern Pitcher Plants before.  A week before it was graced with a thick layer of snow-ice, a reminder that winter lingers a little longer in the high country; now it was not only ice-free, but sporting some impressive frog-egg masses!  I resolved to return for a photo before the eggs hatched, and yesterday I did just that.

The Rowe Fen, with Frog Eggs:

I’ll have to visit regularly to see if I can capture a hatch.

Daisies At a Pond In Rowe. June 11, 2010

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Driving through Rowe after work yesterday (yeah, it’s kinda the long way home) I was slapped silly by a planar clump of daisies along the edge of a pond in Rowe.  It’s the kind of scene which plays well through the eyes of a tilt-shift lens, a rarity in non-planar New England (the Coast excluded.)

On this occasion, under skies carpeted with heavy-bellied clouds, I slammed on the brakes and puled into a ditch to try and beat the rain.   I threw The Unit together, camera and tripod and Elliot, ran across the road, bellied under the guard rail and set up hastily, tilting and shifting like a mad fool.

I didn’t make it.  I got half-way through the set-up, excited about the common plain of the daisies and the snags in the beaver pond, before the skies opened up.  I hunched over the camera, trying to protect the lens’ articulation from the onslaught, and took several bracketed shots at various f-stops, as the tilt function messes up the light meter in the worst way.

So here’s a gift from Elliot, my 24mm Canon TS-E II lens, an image of a pond in Rowe, Massachusetts, flanked by daisies and hawk weed:

This was a gawd-awfully rushed shot, and could have been rendered better; I may try again this weekend.

Northern Pitcher Plant. June 2, 2010

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Another shot from the fen up in Rowe, this one of a this-year’s flower along side last year’s dried stems:

Its “pitchers” barely protrude above their mossy home, which may have saved them from the killing freeze of this past month.

We’ll talk about their carnivorous tendencies later; for now, we’ll just dig their affect.

Yellow Hawkweed. July 7, 2009

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On a roadcut.

At a farm in Rowe.

yellow hawkweed


Along The Road February 9, 2008

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It’s snowing again today, which pleases me greatly, but the combination of “flat” light and a camera-killing cloud of swirling wetness made the day less than productive.

I managed to play Slide and Seek with a small-town snow plow to get this shot up in Rowe, wrestling an umbrella onto my tripod, working both ends of a bungee cord with one hand, praying for a lull in the breeze so the umbrella wouldn’t take my camera for a catastrophic ride.

I managed this:


I’m working on my water shots these days, so ‘scuse me if I get a bit repetitive.