Friday, July 31, 2009

Baby hawk in the woods

Yesterday we discovered that a baby hawk has been hanging around our yard. We heard all the screeching, and when Tyler was over last night he located it in the woods, on a branch on an old pine tree. Well, (of course) I grabbed the camera and took a few shots from a very long way away. And I took some more as I walked across the back yard trying to get closer before he flew away.

Today, the hawk is still hanging around. Probably screeching for an adult to feed it. And this afternoon was saw two hawks together. Our best guess it is the adult trying to get the young 'un moving and flying.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another nice night at Fruitlands

Laurie and I were quite surprised when we saw Guthrie, Aishling and Emarie at fruitlands in Harvard, MA last week for the Concord Band's evening concert. Emarie in particular was quite photogenic.

Three pictures included with this blog, and 22 photos here:

Monday, July 27, 2009

My van gets taken away on flatbead by Tyler

Saturday I barely got my van home. A couple of miles from home, I noticed that the brakes were smoking, although they seemed to be functioning alright. But the smell of burning brakes is a terrible smell.

At the time I wasn't positive about what was going wrong. My first thoughts were about (lack of) water in the radiator or whether I'd run out of oil. Anyway... long story short... I parked it in the driveway and gave Tyler a call.

He came over today (Sunday) and took it away.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Flowers at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH

By accident, Laurie and I stumbled onto this park during our trip to Strawbery Banke. The gardens are beautiful and the park occupies a huge swath of land between Strawbery Banke and the waterfront. This first picture only shows a portion of the park. It extends to the left along the waterfront. In fact, while we were there was a free afternoon outdoor concert was going on.

The two closeup pictures here could be amply named "little critters". There were a lot of bees around, as you might imagine after seeing the extent of the gardens.

I have posted 10 images here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

We visited Strawbery Banke over the weekend

Strawbery Banke (no, that is not a misspelling, see the sign on the left) is a living museum in Portsmouth, NH. It is similar to Sturbridge Village, with renovated buildings and volunteers dressing and role playing as if they were living at the time.

However, building have not all been renovated back to a specific date. Instead, one home has been renovated back to a ship captain's home in the 1800's, while one of our favorite renovations took the building back to what it looked like in the early 1950's. At any rate, the renovations generally began in the 1950's in an effort to ward off the urban renewal projects that would have torn down this historic area of Portsmouth for the sake of progress.

I have uploaded 30 images to my photo galleries. If you are interested in viewing the full set you can go to the gallery by clicking here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Emarie With Laurie

Another picture from Taipei, Taiwan (from Reed)

Reed sent along this pic last night. He said he had a great visit at the fire department and was treated like a king. I hope he brought an extra t-shirt to trade for one of theirs!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Japanese Beetle feeding on Laurie's marigolds

I found this Japanese Beetle having buried itself headlong into the center of this marigold flower. It was actually there well over a day before I asked it to leave ... with a flick of my finger. This picture was taken after a heavy morning dew had covered the plants and grass.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Concord Band at Fruitlands in Harvard MA

For about 6 weeks during the summer, on Wednesday evenings, the Concord Bank performs an outdoor concert at Fruitlands, in Harvard. Not "at" Harvard, but "in" Harvard, it being a small town just west and south of Westford. You bring a picnic and chairs and spread out on the lawn which faces west. There's a beautiful view of the hills around Worcester and the sunsets are spectacular.

As you can see from these pictures, last Wednesday was a beautiful night!

Friday, July 17, 2009

From Taiwan (from Reed!)

I got this picture emailed to me from Reed. It arrived last night at 9pm (9am Friday morning, his time), and is from the rooftop pool at his hotel. The trip there was long; it took about 29 hours according to his email.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lily Society flower show at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens

I drove down to Tower Hill Botanic Gardens Sunday morning for a couple of hours. I wanted to go to the flower show and photograph the lilies.

Unlike the cactus show that was held under bright and natural light, the lilies were a bit more problematic to photograph. They were packed close together as you can see in the photo on the left. Also, there was only flourescent light in the room. The shades were drawn to keep natural light out. I don't know anything about lilies but my guess is that they must show better under minimal light.

Nevertheless, I did isolate a few lilies around the edges of the room, where I could position the camera to align the flowers with a solid and neutral background, usually a wall.

I have included three photos here. These and 7 other images can be viewed in larger format at: http://pfrailey.zenfolio/lily

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big perch brings back memories

Every time I catch a perch at the Land of the Nuclear Sunfish (secret pond!) I remember the day Reed (when he was about age 9 or 10) caught a 14" one.

I caught this 11" or 12" one yesterday and thought immediately of that day with Reed. I have been fishing here several times per year since then, but have never caught one as big as his.

Good memories.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boston Harbor: Photo gallery completed

I have settled on 50 images from last week's evening cruise around Boston Harbor and a few of the tall ships. Many will only be of interest to my fellow employees because they are people shots while getting ready to depart and while mingling on-board. But there are some nice evening harbor shots plus a few tall ships that we got close enough to so no telephoto lens was needed.

Here's the link:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Boston Harbor on July 7th

On the evening of Tuesday, July 7th, Wingate took its employees on a harbor cruise aboard U.Mass Boston's research vessel, the Columbia Point (the larger boat at the end of the pier). Also it was the first night that some of the tall ships were sailing into Boston. Though the true Tall Ships event was not to start until the 8th there was nevertheless a good number of tall ships in or just outside of the harbor.

As you may recall, Tuesday was one (of the many) rainy, stormy, thundery days we have had recently. Some areas even received hail in the afternoon, and Laurie and I drove to Columbia Point in a driving rainstorm. But, we should have put our trust in the Captain. He had told us all that there would be a break in the storm at just about the time we were to "shove off". And he was right. At 6:30 as we departed the rain subsided and there were breaks in the clouds. Compared with the severe weather we were prepared for, we all agreed later that the weather was terrific.

Here are a couple of pictures which I cropped to a 2:1 ratio to make look a bit more "panoramic", I will post more images (about 40 or 50!) soon, probably over the weekend.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Converting Color to Black & White

One of the nice things about digital cameras is that you can take a color picture and convert it easily to black & white. The problem is in knowing what images will actually look good in b&w. In my experience it is images that have (1) high contrast and/or (2) lots of texture, though that is not always the case. But I did like this storm cloud picture when converted to b&w. (It is from my recent fishing trip to Colebrook, NH.) Your mileage may vary.

4th of July

Laurie and I went over to Emerson Field in Concord for their annual "picnic in the park", but to specifically see the Concord Band play their July 4th program. We had tried to see them Wednesday evening before the fourth, at Fruitlands in Harvard, but this year again they were rained out!

On Saturday at Emerson Field there was no need to worry about rain, though I heard from Jaimie that it was absolutely pouring in Maine.

We got there early and really enjoyed the folk/country group that was performing ... while children played games and vendors sold food. The folk/country group is called the "South Railroad". Raffle winners were announced following their performance, and the Concord Band finished off the day's program with about 90 minutes of good fourth of July music. Their final song was (of course!) Stairs and Stripes Forever.

You can view larger renditions of all 14 images here:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fishing Trip to Colebrook NH

I just returned on Monday from a four day fishing trip with three friends to Colebrook, NH. This location is quite a bit north of Franconia Notch and we were driving very close to the Canadian border on occasion. We fished primarily the Connecticut River below the dam at First Connecticut Lake and the Androscoggin in Errol. I will post all my photos later. Here are several of my favorites, plus a group shot and an obligatory photo of the Sportsman's Lodge on Diamond Pond. It is hard to believe it from the pictures, but we had rain most of the time.