This is one of my favorite close-to-home spots. One of my dreams is to own a waterfront home on a quiet lake or pond, one that has loons on it, that has a largely undeveloped shoreline, is teeming with wildlife, and visited by few people. This spot is something like that. I think more people know about it than I care to admit, but in the mornings I rarely see anyone here. There are loons, beavers, herons, turtles, and frogs. It's big enough to explore, but small enough to not get lost. It's too small for motorboats or jetskis, so it's quiet and clean and peaceful. There are some "islands" and little paths made by beavers through water almost too shallow to paddle through, so there are interesting spots. I love this place.

Since discovering this gem several years ago, I try to make it out here a couple times each summer to spend a morning with the loons. Thankfully this spot isn't so far from my house that a sunrise paddle is a huge hardship - during the longest days of the year I can wake up, get here for sunrise, spend an hour or two shooting, drive back home, unload my car, run, shower, and still get to work on time, but it does make for a really long day. At other times, I've come out here with family and friends. I've always brought a camera of some kind (if I'm with Winston, I just bring my GoPro because carrying anything that isn't waterproof with him in the boat is just a little too risky), and over the years have amassed a collection of varied photographs from this beautiful and amazing little piece of heaven.

First and Last Light

The first rays of sunlight hits the top peak of a hill off in the distance while the moon remains high in the sky overhead on a calm morning on a pond in New Hampshire. I LOVE mornings at this spot. I don't love having to wake up at 4am to get here for sunrise during the long days of summer, but there is something so calming and peaceful about having this place all to yourself.

Morning Rise

An adult Common Loon flaps its wings dry in the morning sun as its young chick looks on. This is "my spot" for photographing loons, which is why I never reveal the location publicly. Loons are pretty sensitive creatures, and I really don't want to ruin this home for them by too broadly advertising it. Whenever I photograph loons I'm always careful to approach slowly, give them plenty of space, and retreat if my actions seem to be causing them stress. Fortunately the loons here are pretty tame and I can often photograph them unobtrusively with a long lens.

Growing Up

A baby Common Loon begs its parent for some food. This youngster is growing up and white and dark gray feathers are starting to replace its mousey gray-brown down. The pair of loons that call this pond home have been successful in raising chicks at least some years. It's challenging to get the timing right for seeing the babies when they are still cute and fuzzy since I usually only visit a few mornings any given summer (4am wakeups are brutal when working full-time); by the time they are molting youngsters the babies are far less photogenic. Even on mornings when photos are tough, its always a treat to watch the interactions between this family.

Loon with Sunfish

A Common Loon with a sunfish it caught while hunting on a pond in southern New Hampshire. This adult was catching fish to feed its chick. Mom and dad loons are so doting on their babies!

The first rays of sunlight hits the top peak of a hill off in the distance while the moon remains high in the sky overhead on...

First and Last Light

The first rays of sunlight hits the top peak of a hill off in the distance while the moon remains high in the sky overhead on a calm morning on a pond in New Hampshire.

An adult Common Loon flaps its wings dry in the morning sun as its young chick looks on.

Morning Rise

An adult Common Loon flaps its wings dry in the morning sun as its young chick looks on.

A male kayaker explores a quiet New Hampshire pond on an overcast summer morning.

Kayaks Before Coffee

A male kayaker explores a quiet New Hampshire pond on an overcast summer morning.

A Common Loon with a sunfish it caught while hunting on a pond in southern New Hampshire. This adult was catching fish to feed...

Loon with Sunfish

A Common Loon with a sunfish it caught while hunting on a pond in southern New Hampshire. This adult was catching fish to feed its chick.

A cloudless sky is reflected on the calm surface of a pond.

Perpetual Calm

A cloudless sky is reflected on the calm surface of a pond.

A baby Common Loon begs its parent for some food. This youngster is growing up and white and dark gray feathers are starting...

Growing Up

A baby Common Loon begs its parent for some food. This youngster is growing up and white and dark gray feathers are starting to replace its mousey gray-brown down.

Beaver ponds provide habitat for a wide variety of species, from birds and wildlife to diverse aquatic vegetation.

Edge of the Beaver Pond

Beaver ponds provide habitat for a wide variety of species, from birds and wildlife to diverse aquatic vegetation.

Posted in Close to Home.