Michele Barker Photography: Blog http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog en-us (C)Michele L. Barker Photography mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:49:00 GMT Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:49:00 GMT http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/img/s/v-5/u1023468850-o613327250-50.jpg Michele Barker Photography: Blog http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog 120 80 Northern Hawk Owl in Maine http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2013/2/northern-hawk-owl-in-maine  

After reading about some sightings of a Northern Hawk Owl in Aroostook County, I was very excited to think that I may actually get to see one.  I contacted a friend and fellow photographer of mine, Sharon, and asked if she was ready for another photo adventure.  We set out for a two hour drive in what we thought was just going to be some snow flurries.  A storm was coming in but it was forecast for later in the day and was supposed to be coming in from the coast. To our surprise we headed right into it!  Neither Sharon or myself had ever seen a Northern Hawk Owl and the anticipation of photographing it was very exciting.

 

As we ventured on it was snowing harder and harder, which made for what seemed like a never ending drive.  Upon arrival we started searching the roof tops and tree lines of the area.  Sharon was the first to spot the owl high up in a tree, all covered in snow and weathering the storm.  The lighting was less than perfect and the snowflakes were making it very challenging to get focus where I wanted it.  But after adjusting some settings I managed to get some great shots.

Northern Hawk Owl Northern Hawk Owl

 

 

 

 

Being able to observe the Northern Hawk Owl and photograph it for the very first time in my life is something I will never forget.  It is moments like this that remind me of why I enjoy photography so much.

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Birds of Prey Maine Northern Hawk Owl http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2013/2/northern-hawk-owl-in-maine Sun, 17 Feb 2013 13:11:37 GMT
Patience http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/11/patience "I don't know how you get such great shots. I am sure it is with lots of patience!"
"She must have infinite patience."

I often hear comments like these when people have viewed my wildlife photography. Patience is a huge part of photographing wildlife whether your photographing a squirrel raiding your feeders in your backyard or a mink scurrying around the water banks. mink

The majority of the time I spend out photographing wildlife I have to be prepared to be out in the early hours of the morning and spend the entire day in one area. And all the hours in between the morning and evening you wait, and you wait, and you wait some more.

I have spent many hours or multiple days at the same location and in return got little or no reward for my efforts.  It is sometimes hard to stay focused on why I am out there.  But then in one swift moment my efforts are rewarded. "bald eagle"Bald Eagle

I had never witnessed anything like it!  I had been waiting for 2 hours for this bald eagle to take off from where it was perched to catch a meal. It was only a matter of seconds and the moment was over. It all happened so fast that I was questioning what had just unfolded in front of me. But a quick review of my images assured me that my patience had been rewarded!

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Maine bald eagle birds of prey wildlife http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/11/patience Sat, 10 Nov 2012 01:00:13 GMT
Atlantic Puffins - Machias Seal Island http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/7/atlantic-puffins After several successful photo mission this spring, I was looking forward to June and the start of summer in Maine.  But the month got off to a rough start.

Our dog Skye was losing her battle with Lymphoma and it was time to let her go.  It was very hard for us to say "goodbye" to our faithful companion.  But even though she is gone her loyalty, great disposition, and those sky blue eyes of hers will never be forgotten.

As the month progressed I was beginning to look forward to the start of my next vacation.  For my first day of vacation I had scheduled to go on a puffin trip.  But just prior to my trip, Mother Nature decided to give us what seemed like an endless amount of rainy days.  June 28th at 8:00 am was when I was scheduled to make the sea bound journey to Machias Seal Island from Cutler, Maine.  The forecast was calling for rain through the 27th and possibly into the morning of the 28th.  It was not looking good.  But as luck would have it, the morning of the 28th the weather cleared and my puffin trip was still a go!

Cutler Harbor, MaineCutler Harbor

I met up with my friend/fellow photographer Ed at Cutler Harbor where we boarded the Barbara Frost with Andrew Patterson as our Captain (Bold Coast Charter Co.).  As we headed out of the harbor we cruised by the Little River Lighthouse and an eagle flew by!  The weather was gorgeous and it seemed like we were off to a good start.

Little River Lighthouse, Cutler Harbor, MaineLittle River Light

Bold Coast Charter Co. is one of the few companies that have a special landing permit to allow people to go on the island to photograph/observe the puffins from blinds.  The weather and sea conditions have to be just right for this to happen.  Captain Andrew had explained that even though it looked nice and calm in closer to the harbor, the further out to sea we went the rougher it was going to get.  But he would evaluate the conditions once we reached the island and go from there.

As we reached Machias Seal Island our hopes of landing were diminished.  The rolling seas were making for unsafe landing conditions.  But Captain Andrew made every effort to provide us with the best opportunity to photograph and see all the sea birds that were around.  With the boat anchored and continually moving up and down, I turned my attention to the fast flying puffins coming by with fish in their bills for their little ones.  It was very challenging to photograph them as they flew by with their catch.

Atlantic Puffin in flight with fishPuffin in flight with fish

Captain Andrew was able to shuttle small groups at a time around the island so we could get a closer look at the puffins.

Atlantic Puffin, Machias Seal IslandPuffin

After several hours of watching the puffins and other sea birds it was time to leave but others had asked where all the seals were since the island is called "Machias Seal Island".  He explained that they all hang out on an island just off to the side.  As he pointed the island out to us and we could see several seals basking in the sun.  Before we headed back to the mainland he took us around to the side of the island so we could see the seals.  It was amazing to see so many seals at once.  There were grey seals and harbor seals.  I had never seen a grey seal before so it was very exciting to get to see one in real life for the first time.

grey seal Machias Seal IslandGrey Seal

After watching the seals for a bit it was time to head back to Cutler Harbor.  It was a successful day despite not being able to go on the island and my photo mission was complete.  To see more of my photos from my puffin trip please check out my coastal, lighthouses, wildlife - birds-misc, and wildlife - misc galleries.

 

 

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Bold Coast Charter Co Machias Seal Island grey seal puffins seabirds http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/7/atlantic-puffins Wed, 11 Jul 2012 22:45:02 GMT
Fishing Masters http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/5/fishing-masters As spring arrived and everything started to bloom, I began to look forward to one of my favorite times of the year to photograph birds of prey.  It was time for the alewives to make their journey from the sea to the freshwater to spawn.  The “masters” of fishing would soon be displaying their skills.  It was time to photograph the eagles and osprey in action!

My days often started at sunrise and ended at sunset at different locations across Maine waiting for an opportunity to photograph them in action.  Some days felt longer than others with little reward, but in the end all my time and effort paid off.  I was able to observe and successfully photograph several ospreys with their catch and had a great opportunity to even get an eagle in action.

Osprey in flight with fish Bald Eagle

 

 

 

 

While the eagles and osprey steal most of the attention, another “master” of fishing that doesn’t get a lot of credit is the herring gull.  It is amazing to watch them dive head first into the water and come up with an alewife that is as long as their body is.  The other gulls will attack each other for the fish so they have to be quick once they make a catch.  The gulls will take flight and before you can even think about taking the shot they will have swallowed the fish whole!  It is amazing to see and something that was unexpected the first time I ever saw it.

Herring Gull with Alewive Fish Herring gulls with Alewife Fish

 

 

 

 

This spring also brought many other unexpected wildlife adventures.  I got to observe a mother fox caring for her Kits, black bears, peregrine falcon chicks, an eagle nesting,  and seals enjoying the fish feast as well.  Not all of the encounters made for great photographs, but for me the opportunity to observe the wildlife going about their normal activities was AMAZING!  Capturing great photographs of these moments is rewarding, but observing even a small glimpse into the life of a fox, eagle or any other wildlife gives you a greater appreciation for all wildlife.

Fox feeding fox kits

So the next time a chipmunk, raccoon, or any other small creature wanders into your yard, take the time to stop and observe them in action.  You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you will learn and begin to appreciate the wildlife we still have!

To see more of my wildlife images and larger photos of the ones in this blog, please visit my Wildlife Gallery.

 

 

 

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Damariscotta Fish Ladder birds of prey eagles fox kits herring gulls osprey http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/5/fishing-masters Fri, 01 Jun 2012 01:33:43 GMT
A Free Meal! http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/3/a-free-meal Today's weather forecast was calling for sun, blue skies and highs in the 60's.  And for Maine in March it is the perfect combination to be outside.  I was just thinking how disappointed I was in myself for not having any photo missions planned, when I received a phone call from a friend who was out ice fishing.

He called to tell me there was an immature eagle hanging out waiting for a free meal.  I quickly got ready and headed off to the lake.  As I was walking out I could see it sitting on the ice waiting for a freshly caught pickerel that my friend Rod was waiting to toss out on the ice.  Just as I arrived the eagle flew off and perched in a tree.  Rod tossed the fish out on the ice and within a few minutes the eagle took flight and swooped down and grabbed the fish.  It took it back to a big pine tree, where I watched the fish dangling from the eagles talons still fighting to get free.  From there the eagle flew off and landed on the ice with the fish still in its grasp.  But it wasn't long before the eagle made a quick meal out of it and was gone.

Immature Bald Eagle with a pickerel

I waited for three more hours hoping to get another opportunity to photograph this majestic bird in action, but despite my efforts the mission was over.  But it didn't matter because I was out on a great day, doing what I love to do, and had witnessed a great moment!

 

 

 

 

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Immature Eagle Pushaw Lake http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/3/a-free-meal Sun, 18 Mar 2012 00:36:09 GMT
Realizing our Actions http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/3/realizing-our-actions "May the moments I capture through my photography show the beauty of the world we live in to those who may never get a chance to see it." Michele Barker, Photographer

One of my missions with my photography is to carry out the above purpose.  To capture natures beauty and to preserve that moment in time that will never be seen the same way again.  For generations to come that may never realize what beauty we once had, and for those who are not able to get out and see the scenery and wildlife.  But all too often when I am out capturing the beauty and wonder of nature, I am confronted with scenes like this.

Trash scattered around everywhere.  During my owl photo mission, it seemed like every beach and marsh that I was at had an abundance of trash everywhere.  It ranged from medical waste, sneakers, cans and bottles to childrens toys.  To see such a senseless act, and wonder why it is so hard to dispose of our trash properly is something I will never understand.  If we would only take care of what we have now, generations to come could have an adventure of their own and discover the beauty of the world they live in.

Realizing the effects of our actions and correcting them now can have a positive impact on the future for everyone and everything!

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Sandy Point, Mass snowy owl http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/3/realizing-our-actions Fri, 02 Mar 2012 02:24:37 GMT
Owl Mission http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/2/owl-mission My mission to photograph and see owls in the wild for the first time in my life lead me out of the State of Maine.  I joined up with another photographer and friend of mine, Ed, in Beverly, Mass.  Our owl mission began bright and early (5:30 a.m.) on Friday, Feb 24th.  It was a very rainy and cold day.  As the day progressed and we had only seen a few snowy owls far, far away, I was beginning to think I may not get an opportunity to see one close enough to photograph.  But after miles of driving and walking, our luck changed!  Ed spotted a snowy owl at Sandy Point in Mass.  Through the binoculars I was able to see it.  But Ed had photographed them many times and knew exactly how to get us in position to photograph it. Snowy Owl We were lucky enough to observe this snowy for an hour or so.  Just before dusk we headed to another location to look for short-eared owls. But there were none to be found.

On Saturday, Feb 25th,  there was no rain in the forecast but they were calling for wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour! And the wind was all that and more.  We could barely keep our tripods from blowing over and it was hard to keep it steady. In windy weather the snowy owls seek shelter around the sand dunes or in some cases man-made fire pits. Snowy Owl After a great morning seeing the snowy again, we headed out to other locations to see if we could find screech or barred owls.  We didn't find any so we headed over to a wildlife sanctuary in Topsfield, Mass.  The birds there are used to visitors and welcome the chance to eat bird seed out of your hand.  I got to experience a black-capped chickadee and a tufted titmouse eating sun flower seeds out of my hand (Another first for me!).  We then hiked a trail to see if we could find any white-tailed deer.  We saw 5 or 6 off in the woods peering back at us! After an exciting visit to the sanctuary, we headed out once again in search of the short-eared owls.  It was still windy and cold as we sat at the marsh waiting for a chance to see them.  But once again they were nowhere to be found.

On Sunday, Feb 26th, the weather was frigid with high winds and gusts up to 40 miles per hour.  We headed out to check the usual locations for the snowy owls and around sunrise we got word that one was in Hampton, NH.  This time it was settled in on top of a sand dune.  As we made our way on to the beach the wind battered us with sand.  Holding on to our camera equipment and trudging through the sand storm we arrived just in time to photograph the snowy on the sand dune. It only stayed there for a short time, but it was just as well because we could barely stand the frigid cold.  From there we headed to another hiking location to look for barred owls.  The wind was still going strong, but we thought it would be less windy hiking in the woods. While on the trail looking for the owls a coyote ran across the trail very quickly and unexpected.  This is the first time I have ever seen a coyote in the wild!  We didn't come across any owls but seeing the coyote made the hike worthwhile.  Around dusk we headed out to the marsh to look for the short-eared once again, as this was my last night in Mass.  When we arrived there were several photographers out in the marsh.  Ed spotted a short-eared owl way out so we headed out across the marsh in hopes of photographing one.  The owl never flew close enough for me to get a really good photo, but it was amazing to watch it hunt.  It was just about dark and we headed back across the marsh so we wouldn't get caught out in it in the dark.

My owl photo mission was complete!  I got to experience many different wildlife encounters for the first time, and along with some great photos, I have many great memories!  Thanks again to my friend Ed for a great photo mission!

 

 

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mbarkerphotos@aol.com (Michele Barker Photography) Beverly, Mass Hampton, NH Sandy Point, Mass short-eared owl snowy owl http://www.mbarkerphotos.com/blog/2012/2/owl-mission Tue, 28 Feb 2012 01:15:21 GMT