Sunday, May 31, 2009

Verrill Farm construction clearly underway

Verrill Farm's new retail space (prior building burned down last fall) should be spectacular. The framing has gone up very quickly and we can begin to see the shape of the new structure. As long as their cookies and scones stay the same, I will be happy!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sycamore tree in Sunderland, MA


Some say (I read it on the Internet, for what that is worth) this is the largest tree east of the Mississippi. Any way you look at it, it is BIG. The plaque in front of it says that it has been around since colonial times.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yankee Candle Company makes a fun visit

Laurie and I took some time last weekend to walk through the main Yankee Candle shop in Deerfield. This is their flagship store, and the corporate headquarters is just down the road. Certainly there were plenty of candles for sale at the "Scenter of the Universe". (cute, huh, get it, "scent"-er of the universe.) But it is much more than scented candles. Best to describe it as the biggest gift store I have ever been in. The final picture here is perhaps a comment on the economic times we are in. A gallery of 35 pictures is here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It is amazing where a bird will nest



These two images were taken at Andy and Nancy's, this past Sunday. I wonder when these eggs will hatch?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Breakfast at Elmer's Store in Ashfield

Laurie and I drove out to have breakfast with Andy and Nancy this past Sunday. We drove into Ashfield to have a fine breakfast at Elmer's Store. Check out their Web site. It is on their site that we learned that Yankee Magazine found them to have the best pancakes in New England. (Though we all had eggs.) And they are having a Cowboy Festival on June 14! What fun.

If you are interested, I have 9 images posted here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fishing on Friday

I had a fabulous day fishing Friday, along the Millers River. In addition to catching 20 rainbow trout and 1 brook trout, between 11 and 18 inches, I was able to see an amazing nature story.

The emergence of an adult dragonfly took about 30 minutes after I saw it's head already breaking loose from the nymphal skin. And with my camera I watched the entire thing, taking perhaps 50 pictures, though I have decided that the story can be adequately told with 16 images.

This all took place a few inches from the waters edge, very close to where I was standing when I took the picture on the left. Dragonfly nymph live underwater until it is time to migrate toward the shore when they then break out of the nymph shell and emerge as adult. As I understand it they only live a few days as dragonflies, eat mosquitos, lay eggs and die. I am showing at the bottom of this post only the first and last photos (before and after!), as teasers. For the full show, see the images individually or watch a slideshow at the links below.




Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cactuses from flower show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden


Tower Hill Botanic Garden is a huge piece of acreage in Boylston, not far from Worcester. It is a 30 minute drive from Westford, down 495 to 290. I think it is one or two exits after Solomon Pond Mall. Their Web site is www.towerhillb.org.

Laurie and I had never been there and we were lucky enough to see a Cactus flower show. They have other flower shows throughout the year, including a rose show in June and a Lily show in July.

I took lots of pictures and a couple came out pretty well. The one shown here is perhaps my favorite image of the group.

I have a gallery of 16 images on my Zenfolio site (here or use the link below).



Saturday, May 23, 2009

Eastern bluebird likes our backyard


I am pretty sure this is male eastern blue bird. I went through nearly every page of our bird guide book, so I think I have it right. But please, if you know otherwide please let me know.

He has been on the deck next to the porch a couple of mornings. This is a bit blurry presumably because I took the picture through the window glass.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kind of a neat picture of my office building

To get this picture exposed the way I wanted, I took 3 pictures of the same scene, at different exposures. That way I was able to get the parked cars better exposed, as they were entirely in the dark when I took the first picture.

A lot of cameras have what is called "automatic exposure bracketing" where the camera will take 3 (and sometimes 5 or 7) images in a row with only one press of the shutter. When three images are taken, as in this case, the camera shoots the first image at normal exposure, the second image slightly underexposed (making the sky bluer/darker) and the third image slightly overexposed (thereby getting the parking area a bit brighter). The three images are then combined in software.








Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flowers from the front yard

I've assembled on my Zenfolio site here a gallery of about a dozen flower pictures taken in the front yard. A couple of them, but not all, have been posted here already. Hopefully I will be able to add to the gallery once the lilies come out! (And assuming the deer don't eat them first!)

http://pfrailey.zenfolio.com/frontyardflowers

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two more images picked for the Multi-Screen competition

In addition to the two B&W prints (see May 17th post) chosen to represent my photo club at the annual Multi-Screen competition (4 or 5 regional clubs competing against each other), I learned that two of my digital images were also submitted for two of the "category" contests: "Nostalgia" and "Something That Floats". My two category images are called: "Stopping at the Corner Store" and "Lobster Buoy".

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two Black and Whites chosen for regional competition

I was really pleased that two of my black and white prints were picked by my photo club to represent the club in a regional contest called the "Multi-Screen". It is a competition between four or five regional clubs.

Both were taken with my little Fuji 6mp pocket camera.

The spiral staircase is inside Cape Nedick Lighthouse on the Maine coast, and the sailboats were on Great Pond in Belgrade Lakes, Maine where Pine Island Camp is located.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Nice Car

I spotted this old car at Cataldo's Nursery. It's a Ford, but I have no idea what model this antique is. It is in beautiful condition. Someone has put a lot of time into maintaining this beaut.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron made an easy subject. He (she?) was in the beaver pond on the other side of Patten Road. As I drove out of our driveway I saw another car stopped at the side of the road with its passengers obviously watching something in the pond. I don't know that I would have seen the heron otherwise; as the coloration is so muted and similar to the wetlands environment. Great Blue's are known to be easy subjects for photographs because they remain frozen in one position for long periods of time as they wait for a food source to reveal itself. The real prized photographs are when you actually catch them eating, as when a frog or minnow is hanging from the mouth. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures like that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Field Trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery

The photoclub had a "field trip" to Mount Auburn Cemetery this past Saturday. This cemetery attracts birders from all over. On a nice day there can be hundreds of bird watchers, spread out over the 175 acres. The Cemetery is filled with trees, flowering shrubs, ornamental gardens. There are several ponds. I have posted 30 images in a gallery online at Zenfolio. Click here to go to the gallery.

I knew nothing about the Cemetery until this trip. I found out that it has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Founded in 1831 it was the first large-scale designed landscape in the United States open to the public (according to the Cemetery's Website)


Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Bunch of babies

The mallards in the pond next to our office building have been very busy. I don't think these ducklings are more than a couple of days old.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Let's form a pyramid!


The turtles are back. The canals and ponds around my office are full of turtles. They began to emerge (from the mud?) about two weeks ago and now I can depend on seeing them every sunny day.


Can't tell whether this is a bona fide "pyramid" or if it is merely a "pig pile".

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Poop machines in the front yard





Laurie and I weren't too pleased to find these annoying creatures in our front yard after we arrived home from work.

Based on the "gifts" on the driveway I would say they were there all day. I did discover that they don't like the sound of a lawnmower running after them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An awesome picture from Laurie


Laurie last night downloaded about 9 months of images from her camera. This beautiful morning shot was taken at the airport in Orlando, Florida in November when she attended the annual conference of the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sander's next car: It could be a Honda Element

Sander and Melissa drove a Honda Element out to Westford Saturday. He rented it in Somerville (?). It was a Zip Car rental. I really liked it too, and am wondering if it might make a nice "next van" for me. Lots of room for stuff, and I kind of like its utilitarian appearance.

When Sander does buy, luckily he lives in NH where there would be no sales tax. Hopefully he'll be able to find it in all-black, which he prefers over the two-tone model.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What kind of tree is it?


No, this isn't a test. I really have no idea what kind of tree this is. But what a huge specimen!

Do you know what kind of tree it is?
This picture was taken up the street from the Verrill Farm farmstand in Concord. I believe this is on the actual farm's land, and near where the horse barn is.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

With landscapes, lighting is the key (Re-posted with pictures)

I took pictures of these two trees last weekend, about 5 minutes apart. Actually, it was not until I returned home and viewed them on my computer monitor that I realized they were the same tree, just taken from different sides of the hill.

The first was taken with the sun behind my back and is the more colorful. This is the technique that gets the nicest colors and best exposure. With sun shining on all areas of the landscape the camera's exposure works for the entire scene.

The other was taken with the sun directly in front of me. Getting the right exposure is difficult because the contrast is so great: The sky is very light and the foreground is dark.

Pictures taken with the sun in front of you don't work out too often. But I like this one. To me, it is far more interesting than the first picture. Of course, your mileage may vary.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Reed has been enjoying the nice weather


Reed sent me this picture of his new Jeep, with the top taken off. What a great way to enjoy this nice weather!