By now you’ve probably figured out that I LOVE loons. They are seriously cool birds and make very interesting subjects to photograph. Yesterday, I headed out to one of my favorite ponds to see if the nesting pair I had photographed a couple of years ago had returned. Sure enough, they were there and had a little baby in tow!
This pond is less than 20 minutes from my house now that I’ve moved, which means that sunrise shoots are super manageable, even during the summer, when days in New England are quite long. I woke up at 4am in time to photograph yesterday’s sunrise and then spend a couple of hours with the loons before the light got too harsh.
Here are a few quickly processed shots from yesterday. I haven’t even put them live on the website yet, and still have to edit a bunch of images, but I’m pretty happy with my first real photo shoot of 2014.
I also created this quick video with some GoPro footage (from my ancient first generation GoPro) to show you what it’s like to spend a morning on the pond. As you’ll see I use both my iPhone and 5D Mark II to capture images. I love having the ability to instantly share photographs from the field using the iPhone, but the DSLR beats it hands down when it comes to quality.
June’s Image of the Month is this one, of a lovely waterfall in its lush green late spring glory. I chose this photograph because the location is one that is very special to me and currently changing. For the past three years, I have lived on a beautiful piece of property in the southeastern corner of New Hampshire, where I have rented a room/apartment from a fantastic retired couple. Sugarbush Hill spans 60+ acres of field and woodland, and we are lucky enough to have a brook that runs through the property and drops along an area where the topography changes and it drops in tiers of waterfalls. Since the waterfalls are located on private property, I never have to contend with other photographers, swimmers, or other outdoor recreation enthusiasts at the falls and they are a mere five minute walk from my door. I have never taken advantage of this luxury as much as I should, but during late spring when water levels are high and everything is vivid green with fresh new leaves, the waterfalls are pretty spectacular and make a great photographic subject.
Last week I closed on a new home and am in the process of moving all of my worldly possessions out of my apartment at Sugarbush Hill. I’m really excited about this new chapter in my life, but leaving such a beautiful home with such great people is somewhat bittersweet, as all good endings should be. This morning, I woke up at Sugarbush Hill to see the outside world shrouded in fog and hear the birds singing happily despite the lack of morning sun. The trees and plants are dressed in their boldest green, and the water is running heavily and clearly through all the streams. This is likely my last morning here, as I have just a couple more car trips to move the last of my things. As eager as I am to finish the moving out process, I know I will miss this place and it will remain fondly forever in my heart.
PS: Don’t forget, you can get 15% off current Image of the Month prints. Just enter code IOTM at checkout.
I’m packing. Again. Packing has always been one of my least favorite chores, along with laundry and trips to the post office to mail things, both of which need to be done as well. A year ago, I would have been packing for my eighth trip of the year, to be immediately followed by a ninth, but this year it’s my first and also possibly my last.
This year is different from last year in so many ways. Last year I wandered from continent to continent, from sea level to 19,000 feet, over oceans and across the equator. This year, I’ve stuck to New England, with only a single recent trip to New Jersey to visit my mom. Last year I photographed rhinoceros and crocodiles, this year nothing. From the outside, this year might seem anticlimactic and ordinary, but I’m not only okay with it, I love it.
This year, I am buying a house, starting a new full time position at a place I love to work, and spending time investing in myself and nurturing relationships with people I care about. I am busier, happier, and healthier than I have been in a long time. My work has nothing to do with photography, and months go by where I don’t pick up my camera. Photography is still a part of my life, but not an everyday part.
When I see photographers posting advertisements for workshops on Facebook or images from their latest and greatest adventures abroad, I feel no envy. I actually think, “Thank goodness I am done with that.” Then I go to work, get accidentally pelted with a hockey puck, reprimand a group of 6th graders for yelling too loudly, and discover a new bruise on my collarbone from dynamic dumbbell squats.
These days, I am most inspired by the kids who work a project on our climbing wall for days, weeks, or months until one day they finally make it to the top. I’m inspired by local photographers who capture the beauty of New England with such detail and artistry that you would have no idea that they work night shifts behind a bar and shoot with an entry level camera. I’m inspired by the obese woman who gets up the courage to join a gym and put on a bathing suit because swimming is the only activity she can do that doesn’t hurt her joints because of her weight. It’s cool if you are one of those photographers who has spent tens of thousands of dollars on camera gear and traveled halfway around the world to photograph the same attractions in ways similar to how hundreds of others have before, but you no longer inspire me and I no longer envy you. It’s cool and all, but it doesn’t bring happiness to my heart or tears to my eyes the way the people in my life now do.
This year is new and exciting in a much different way than last year, and I find myself enjoying each day more and more and very happy with the direction my life has taken. As I pack, I am reminded of all of the clutter of the past. I am both surprised and saddened by all of the unnecessary possessions I have accumulated in the three years I have lived here. My goal has always been to “Simplify! Simplify!” as Thoreau once wrote, and now I am finally doing it.
It has never been easy to decide between wanting to travel and explore and experience the world and my desire to have a place that feels like home and people who are more or less constant forces in my life. Balance is key, of course, but it is hard to find. Now, as I pack my backpacking gear for one last trip, and everything else for a final move, purging all the excess I don’t need, I feel happy and light. I am at peace with my choices and their outcomes. I am happy where I am in life. I know none of these things are forever, but it’s nice to know where home will be and where my paycheck will come from for the foreseeable future. The very best part – familiar hugs are just a few miles away when I need them.
Because the first of this month happens to fall on a Thursday, I’ve picked a much older image to share in keeping with the #throwbackthursday trend on social media. Why not?
This photograph, of two laughing gulls in a bit of a squabble, was taken back in 2006 at the beginning of my nature photography career. I call it the beginning because although I had been taking pictures much longer and have loved animals, plants, and the outdoors my whole life, 2006 was when I started to focus my professional photography skills almost exclusively on subjects related to nature. That was the year I began dating another nature photographer, who I would end up spending the following three years learning from and traveling and shooting with, the year I bought a telephoto lens to enable me to photograph wildlife from a distance, and the year I bought a car, to give me freedom to explore wild places on my own.
This was on one of my first outings with my new boyfriend and new lens. We drove to Assateague National Seashore because I had visited there once before and loved it, and Chris had never been even though he lived in northern Virginia, much closer to Assateague than I did in New Jersey. The laughing gulls were in full breeding plumage and being hysterical, as usual, so I crawled on my belly on the beach to snap shots of them as they pranced along ahead of the turquoise blue waves. I was enthralled with my new-to-me Sigma 500mm f/4.5 lens and happily took many photos, managing to capture this great interaction between two gulls as they squabbled over territory. This image stayed undisturbed on my hard drive for some time afterwards, until I one day discovered it and decided I really loved it. Now it’s one of my favorites.
Photographed with a Nikon D70 and Sigma 500mm f/4.5 lens.
REMEMBER: A 15% discount is available for all purchases of the Image of the Month during the month that it is featured only. If you would like to order prints or other products of this photograph, now is the time to do it. Just enter discount code IOTM at checkout.
Wow have things been busy. I know I know, my life is ALWAYS busy, but it’s true and I like it that way!
Earlier this month, I led a photo workshop for my alma mater, Antioch University New England, where I completed my Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies back in 2012. The workshop was a great success, and I had a group of eager and enthusiastic students from Antioch and the local community. Feedback from the workshop has been very positive and I had a great time, so hopefully I’ll be offering some more local workshops in the future. Here is what a couple of the participants had to say:
“Workshop was great! Very informative. I liked the variety of exercises in class as well as the presentation style of the teacher.”
“[It] as great to spend time with such an accomplished photographer and nature lover. [Kari] was very engaging, friendly and helpful, and knew her subject thoroughly.”
This October, I plan to offer a fall foliage workshop in the White Mountains through the Appalachian Mountain Club. If you have any interest in attending and would like more information, feel free to send me an email so I can keep you in the loop and you can be one of the first to sign up.
Teaching photography is not the only thing that has kept me busy this month – there have also been some BIG personal changes taking shape as well. As you may know, I have plans to move from my lovely shared apartment to a new home and some new developments on that front that have kept me very busy. I’m not ready to divulge what they are yet, but I am very excited about them and will reveal what they are when the time is appropriate.
In the meantime, I’m still trying to declutter and clean house before my move. My goal is to “Simplify! Simplify!” as Thoreau put it, and get rid of all of my access things and belongings that I have no need or desire to take with me. While I LOVE my photographs, I’d much prefer to sell off my remaining stock, move only things I absolutely want and need to my new home, and then restock prints once I’ve settled in.
Also available is an “Artist Sample” 11×18 stretched canvas of Slow Motion Daydream, sale price $100. Normal price for a non-sample is $250! The Artist Sample means that the image has a copyright on the outside border (along the wrapped part of the canvas, not the front, and would not be at all visible if framed), and has been used for displays so it may be a little less “mint” than a brand new piece. Save 60% by taking advantage of this discount!!!
Please send me an email if you are interested in any of these prints or display pieces. Shipping within the continental USA on all prints and matted prints is included in the cost, but shipping costs extra for mounted pieces. Keep in mind that this sale won’t go on forever and once a print has sold, it is gone and any purchases made after will be at the full retail cost. Also, your purchases help me with my moving cost, so buying prints gets you great art at a great price and me a little less stress about my move. It’s a win win for everyone!
I’m leading a photo workshop this weekend for my grad school alma mater, Antioch University New England. It will be my first in nearly a year, since I took a break from workshops and photography after leaving NatureScapes.Net to pursue other passions. This will be my first spring spent in New Hampshire; for the past five years I have traveled to Florida every April to attend the Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest. While I will miss seeing all of my friends in St. Augustine, I really am enjoying feeling settled here in New England and looking forward to spending spring in the northeast at home with my friends and family.
This photograph was taken on April 13th of last year, on the last day of an osprey workshop on Lake Blue Cypress near Vero, Florida. April 13th of this year I’ll be wrapping up my workshop with Antioch students in humble little Keene, New Hampshire. What a difference a year makes.
Spring is and has always been my favorite season. When I lived in New Jersey, signs of spring became readily apparent April. In between what always seemed like a lot of rain, this was the month during which flowers began blooming in abundance, the song of birds began to greet me awake in the morning, and warm weather made it possible to wear fewer layers while enjoying the outdoors. The warm temperatures, smell of wet earth, and signs of new life, from critters becoming active again and buds appearing for the first time in months, have always made spring my favorite. This time of year is always filled with such hope and promise it seems.
I can’t help but think that my love for spring is somehow connected to my mom’s love of gardening. My mom has always maintained a fairly extensive flower garden, and all throughout college I made it a point to photograph her flowers at least a few times during the spring and summer months when they were in peak bloom and I was visiting home. In fact, mom’s flowers were the motivation for me to buy my first macro lens. Despite the hardships of trying to plant a beautiful organic garden in the suburbs of New Jersey (deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other critters enjoying making a meal of mom’s bulbs and buds), my mom keeps at it and I’m always amazed by the beauty of her little suburban oasis.
Tulips are my favorite flower. I love their shape, from the voluptuous bell shaped flower itself to the angular arching leaves that frame the thick stem on either side. The year this photo was taken my mom planted 200 tulip bulbs in her garden, knowing I loved them so much, and deer ate all but two of them. This was one of the survivors. The yellow and pink glow in the background are the only others.
Spring now is a little different that it was for me growing up. In New Hampshire, the approach of spring is a bit delayed and always preceded by mud season, which is pretty miserable. Here, the season is shorter, and aside from that, I’ve never actually spent a spring in New Hampshire. Ever since relocating several years ago, I have traveled for much of the spring season, spending a portion of April in Florida each year for the Birding and Photo Fest in St. Augustine, and heading down to Baltimore and West Virginia in May to lead a backpacking trip for Johns Hopkins University. This will be the first year since I’ve moved here that I will be able to experience a New Hampshire spring, departing for only two weeks at the end of May for the backpacking trip. Even though I anticipate it will be far less spectacular than those down south, where azaleas, rhododendrons, Eastern redbud, and numerous other flowers appear in abundance, I’m excited to be able to have time to enjoy the season at home, mud and all.
REMEMBER: A 15% discount is available for all purchases of the Image of the Month during the month that it is featured only. If you would like to order prints or other products of “Tulip Abstract” now is the time to do it!
Thank you to all of you who have purchased some prints and helped me downsize before my move. I still have a few remaining items left:
8×12 Prints Matted to 12×16 Inches – $35 each, including shipping in the continental USA. Regular price $50. – Iris Abstract
– Northern Gannet in Flight
– Snowy Egret Portrait
– Madison at Sunset
– Waves Washing Over Rocks
– Pratt’s Falls
– Bog on Mount Monadnock
Unmatted 8×12 Prints – $35 or can be matted to 12×16 Inches for $40. Regular price $40 for print only, $50 matted. Shipping included. – Spring Bloom
– The Southern Gentleman
– Country Morning
Also available – RB Ricketts Falls in Springtime – 16×24 print. Regular price $150, SALE price $125! – Snowy at Sunset – 12×18 printed on aluminum with a satin finish and ready to hang. Regular price $175, sale price $125. – Slow Motion Daydream – 11×18 stretched canvas “Artist Sample”, sale price $100. Normal price for a non-sample is $250! The Artist Sample means that the image has a copyright on the outside border (along the wrapped part of the canvas, not the front), and has been used for displays so it may be a little less “mint” than a brand new piece. Save 60% by taking advantage of this discount!!!
I’m moving! This summer, I’ll be relocating to a new home within the Monadnock Region and I’m super excited about it. I’d prefer to make as few trips as possible to complete my move so I’m using this opportunity to downsize and simplify, and have decided to offload some of my printed stock that I usually bring with me to craft shows and gallery displays. I have a handful of 8×12 prints that are signed and matted, along with some larger prints and ready to display pieces that I would rather sell than take with me and put back into storage. In hopes of moving these pieces quickly, I’ve decided to offer them at a steep discount.
Also available is an “Artist Sample” 8×12 stretched canvas of Slow Motion Daydream, sale price $100. Normal price for a non-sample is $250! The Artist Sample means that the image has a copyright on the outside border (along the wrapped part of the canvas, not the front), and has been used for displays so it may be a little less “mint” than a brand new piece. Save 60% by taking advantage of this discount!!!
These prices ONLY apply to the stock I already have. Once it is SOLD it is GONE so buy early! First come, first served. Email me to reserve your prints.
I’m going to start to try to do some regular features on my blog and social media. I have a few ideas of things I would like to focus on, but I’ve decided to start with an Image of the Month feature. Every month I will select an image taken during that month at some point in a previous calendar year and display it on my website and blog as the featured image along with a little blurb about it. The blurb may be a photo tip, the story behind the image, or other interesting info related to the selected photo, and will hopefully be educational, inspiring, or ideally a mix of both. In addition, I will offer a 15% discount on prints and products of that photo for the month it is featured only! So hopefully, the Image of the Month feature ends up being a great way to give readers something to look forward to on my blog each month, and maybe learn a thing or two while saving on prints as well!
The first photo I’m selecting for this new feature is one of a Northern Gannet in flight, taken on March 23, 2008. This photograph illustrates how understanding animal behavior – and networking with other photographers – can yield great photo opportunities. Gannets are pelagic birds who live most of their lives at sea. They feed on marine fish by plunge diving from high overhead, tucking their wings into their bodies and shooting like torpedoes through the air and deep under the water’s surface to catch prey. One such fish they enjoy is green herring, and in March off the Atlantic coast of the United States, herring congregate to spawn. During this migration, gannets are attracted to the schools of fish by the hundreds.
I used to live in New Jersey, and the Cape May-Lewes ferry provides car and passenger service across the Delaware Bay from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE. During March of 2008, thousands of herring appeared in the waters of the bay during their migration, attracting the gannets. As the ferry made its regular commute back and forth the boat’s motor would stun and churn up the fish, making them easy targets for gannets, gulls, and other birds. Some photographer friends gave me a heads up that this was happening, so my photographer boyfriend at the time and I decided to go and ride the ferry with them to photograph the gannets. We arrived early in the morning for the first ferry, carrying all of our camera gear, and ended up riding the ferry all day, photographing the birds. Fortunately days in March are still fairly short, and the sun doesn’t rise or set too quickly. At the end of the day, our last round trip yielded some beautiful light, with the sun low in the sky and casting a warm golden glow on the activity, pretty clouds, and cooperative birds. Most of my best shots from the day were in this last pass.
In this shot, I managed to get lucky, and captured an adult gannet with it’s wing spread right in front of a cloud that perfectly mimicked the wing shape. There is no photoshop here, and I was fortunate that no other birds ended up in the background of this shot. To get the composition right, the photograph did require a small crop, but I still am quite happy with the end result.
Techs: Canon 1D Mark II N, Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens, 1/2000s, f/6.3, ISO 500, handheld, cropped.