It was suspended at eye level, near the water’s edge. I literally bumped into this spider early in the morning while photographing a pair of swans. The lower end of the strand seemed anchored to the ground, though I couldn’t follow it, and the upper end to a bush nearby. The effect was magical.

The day had broken gray and overcast, with a fine mist on the water. The light was pearl-soft, transforming everything it touched. It caused the filament to glow.

The date was August 8, 2012, at 6:19 am.

See related post: Misty Swans*. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 

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It was early. The day had broken gray and overcast, with a fine mist on the water. The light was pearl-soft, transforming everything it touched. The swans — mere apparitions — sailed silently south in the still water. I pulled on some clothes and rushed down to the water’s edge — too late. One of the pair had already vanished behind a neighbor’s hedge. I took what photos I could.

Then, my attention was diverted by a fine, developing sunrise, one that ultimately betrayed its early promise. By the time I turned back to the swans, they had sailed silently past me again, retracing their course towards the north.

The date was August 10, 2012, shortly after 6:00 am

See related posts: Swan of Tuonela*, Spider on Strand, Serene Swans*.

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Regular readers will recognize this scene, appearing often in this blog as the “sunset” scene. This photo was shot about an hour earlier than the sunset photos — so “Cloudy Evening” is apt.

The date was August 6, 2012, at 6:48 pm.

See related posts: Cloudy Sunset, Cumulus Sunset. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 

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Two Green Herons appeared recently in the little cove outside my window. I rarely see them here. They’re more often reported at the southern end of the pond. Long-term residents tell me there were far more of them about in years past than now.

These small, stocky herons, usually solitary and secretive, roost and nest singly in trees. They’re small as herons go, yet big enough to catch the Largemouth Bass resident in the pond. That, no doubt, is why they’re still with us.

The gulls and cormorants have all departed. They were dependent on the small Bluegills that died out in large numbers last March. The bass may be the next to go, having a known taste for bluegills too. If the bass population declines, so will the heron presence.

In time, the bluegills will recover. How quickly and fully depends on us humans. Will we undertake the long-overdue maintenance to improve the water quality of the pond? Or will we continue to hide behind the fiction that such a big, unseasonal fish kill was entirely natural and unavoidable?

Click an image to open the full-screen slide show. Then, look closely at the bird in the foreground. You should just be able to make out dark streaks on a white breast. That is a green heron in its first summer; next year, as an adult, it will be dark overall.

I watched these two birds for a time, hoping they would move around or fly away — anything to give me a better shot. Finally, I gave up and left the window. When I came back, the nearer bird was perched atop a small rock, offering me a perfect portrait pose. Alas, it flew off in a southerly direction before I could grab my camera. I did have the pleasure of seeing it in flight, however briefly.

Note the big turtle in the first photo, sunning itself on a flat rock in the foreground. Only two minutes later, in the second photo, it was gone, having slipped back into the water. Perhaps the turtle and the bird were both spooked by the photographer’s presence.

The date was July 30, 2012, at about 10:30 am.

Update, August 12, 2012: These photos were taken when the water in the pond was very low. Since then, several torrential rainstorms have raised the water level about eight inches. The rock shelf used by the turtle is now entirely submerged. Yet the water still remains low by historical standards; more rain is needed.

See related posts: Three Days in August, Green Heron Hopping.

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The lettering on the sail reads, SailboatsToGo.com. From the name, I thought it was a sailboat rental company, but, no, looking at the web site, I see all the boats are for sail sale, and at reasonable prices.

This one is inflatable, with two trailing oars for steering. Not bad for under $1,000! Looks comfy!

The beautiful shades of blue in this photo raise it from the ordinary. It was recorded on July 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm.

See related post: Sailboat. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close.

 

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“Pocket lightning” is a term I made up to describe the little flashes of lightning I saw on a recent July evening, each peeping briefly through its own small opening in a dark, dense, cloud cover exotically colored rust and midnight blue.

I had the devil’s own time getting these four shots. The classic method of shooting lightning is to open the shutter and leave it open until a bolt lights up the sky. The contrast between the intervals of darkness and the moments of brightness are so great that only the latter records on film or sensor.

This sky, however, was relatively bright and the flashes correspondingly faint, so the tried-and-true method didn’t work. Leaving the shutter open gave me only an overexposed, gray sky.

This riveting spectacle could end abruptly, I knew, so I fell back on an old trick. I just opened the shutter, repeatedly, hoping for a chance sync with the lightning. Each time, the shutter remained open for about one second, giving me a properly exposed sky. I missed many good shots with this crude method, but at least I got a few.

The date was July 24, 2012, a little after 9:00 in the evening.

See related post: Lightning Storm.

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