Sunday, July 27, 2014

Star Trails Over Jordan Pond


On my latest trip to Acadia National Park, I was acutely aware of time.   My family had one precious week to stay in one of our favorite places.   Our daughter was 9 months old and growing stronger every day!   The ocean waves at Thunder Hole were arriving approximately every ten seconds in a relentless pounding of the seemingly eternal pink granite shore line.   Every where we visited, time was on my mind.   It became a major theme in my portfolio of this journey.  

On my last night of the trip, I visited Jordan Pond to create an image with star trails.   This beautiful wheel of time has been spinning over Acadia for thousands of years.   It has presided over the glacial actions that formed this beautiful landscape.   It was present when the Abenaki people first visited these verdant summer hunting grounds.   The stars above are as close to eternal as we mere humans can comprehend.

This scene is one of the iconic, clich├ęs of Acadia National Park.   Two Adirondack chairs romantically overlooking Jordan Pond and the famous Bubbles has been photographed numerous times.   By photographing at night, I hoped to put my own spin on the famous scene.

This is the lawn that the wealthy and famous rusticators reposed on during the Gilded Age.   The most powerful Americans at the turn of the last century came here as a way stop on their journeys from one side of Mount Desert Island to the other.   They would drink tea and eat popovers to refresh themselves on their long carriage rides.  Today, one of the highlights of Acadia National Park is to enjoy a popover (I prefer them lathered in strawberry jam or ala mode:) and take in the incredible views from the lawn.   It is hard not to imagine Jordan pond a century ago.

Acadia is well known as one of the best spots for star gazing on the east coast.   The island hosts an annual star gazing festival each September.   The bright stars allowed me to make this star trail image even with a full super moon!   I often try to use the moon as a natural lighting source for my night images.   Of course, the brighter the moon is, the less bright the stars will appear to be.   It is a testament to the dark skies of Downeast Maine that these stars can be seen so clearly.

This fall I will lead a three day photography tour to Acadia National Park.   We will definitely visit Jordan Pond.  If the skies are clear, I will lead an optional night photography session during the tour.   I hope you will join me on this tour to experience the timelessness of Acadia for yourself.   To sign up for the tour, please call the South Shore Science Center at 781 659 2559.  You can find out more about the tour by visiting my earlier blog post here: http://blog.greglessardphotography.com/2014/05/fall-photo-tour-in-acadia-national-park.html

You can also visit the South Shore Science Center website here: http://southshorenaturalsciencecenter.org/event/photographing-acadia-national-park/








Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Surreal


On a recent trip to Acadia National Park, I was very fortunate to witness one of the most beautiful sunrises at Otter Cliffs.   There were plenty of clouds in the sky with just enough space for the sun to peak out and color the clouds and sea a very vibrant pink. 

There was one other person at this iconic setting to view this beautiful scene.  He and I could hardly believe that we were the only two people in America to witness this glorious moment in nature.   Just before the sun broke over the horizon, the pink of the sky was reflected onto the sea.   For a few brief moments, the land and sea was transformed into an other worldly scene.

The chance to return to one of my favorite places and commune with nature rejuvenated a piece of my soul.   Seeing God's creation and witnessing his glory is truly an uplifting experience!   My hope is that you will view this image and be inspired to get up early for a sunrise or stay out late for a sunset and experience the wonder of nature too.

In October, I will be returning to Otter Cliffs as part of my three day fall photography tour that I will be leading for the South Shore Science Center.   There are still some spaces available.  You can read more about this trip here http://blog.greglessardphotography.com/2014/05/fall-photo-tour-in-acadia-national-park.html   I do hope that you will join me on what will surely be a fantastic adventure!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Adventures in Photography: Proliferation of the Wild Turkey


Adventures in Photography: Proliferation of the Wild Turkey

Eastern wild turkeys have been successfully reintroduced to Massachusetts.  After having been extirpated from Massachusetts for more than 100 years, the turkeys are now abundant.   Reintroduction programs from the 1970’s through the 1990’s have restored this bird as part of our natural heritage.

As a kid, a wild turkey in eastern Massachusetts was nothing more than a legend.   Like the bald eagle, the turkey was a myth.   The descendants of the Pilgrims had eaten all of the turkeys in Massachusetts.   I would fantasize about seeing wild turkeys and bald eagles much as the Pilgrims and Native Americans had.   Fortunately, due to conservation and wildlife management efforts, that childhood fantasy is now a reality.

According to Massachusetts government surveys, there are approximately 20,000 wild turkeys living in our state.   This is only fitting considering the history of our nation and the prominence of Massachusetts in the story of Thanksgiving.    

This spring, I returned to what I consider to be a hotspot for viewing and photographing wild turkeys.   There is a neighborhood not too far from Plymouth Rock that supports a very large flock of turkeys.   There are at least eight toms and over twenty females.    These turkeys comfortably avoid hunters during the spring by residing in the yards of local residents.   Fortunately for me, this makes them easy to photograph.

Using my car as a mobile blind, I will often spend my mornings witnessing one of the great spectacles of nature.   The mating ritual of the turkey is an amazing display of dancing, posturing and very colorful feathers and heads.   The male turkey’s head will turn bright blue while its neck will turn bright red.   The male will display his tail feathers as a fan and scrape his wing feathers on the ground while slightly shimmying his feathers.   The scraping of the wings creates a subtle rattle like sound.   

It is commonly believed that turkeys are stupid.  Among people in the know, turkeys are considered to be incredibly wily.   The intelligence of wild turkeys makes them a challenge to photograph.   A few tips for making your own image include using a long lens (300mm or longer), use your car as a blind, and look for turkeys during the mating season.   During the mating season, male turkeys need to display to attract females and they generally let their guard down, allowing a closer look than at other times of the year.

As always, treat all wild creatures with respect.   Please don’t harass any creature to make an image.   Many people want to make great action images of birds in flight.   Some people will cause the bird to fly which is never appropriate.   I can honestly say that my flight images have always come from patiently waiting for the bird to move on its own accord.   Sometimes that means waiting for hours…

This Month’s Tip:  If you are successful in finding turkeys to photograph, try to create artful images that communicate your feelings for this fantastic creature.   This will often occur after you have repeatedly visited the turkeys.   The more time you spend in the field, the better your chances will be to create a beautiful masterpiece.

Greg Lessard is a professional photographer.  You can join him on a three day tour of Acadia National Park this fall.   Visit http://blog.greglessardphotography.com/2014/05/fall-photo-tour-in-acadia-national-park.html to find out more.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Upcoming Photography Workshops


I will be leading a number of workshops in the next few months.  I do hope you will join me for some or even all of them!   To sign up for any of these workshops, please contact the groups I will be working with.   Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  

The image accompanying this post is of the Margaret Todd, a four masted schooner that frequents Frenchman's Bay in Acadia National Park.   I will be leading a 3 day workshop in Acadia National Park this fall.   You can find more info on this trip and other workshops below.

Scituate Community Education Photography Workshops

Photography: Sunset at Scituate Light    Greg Lessard Thursday July 17th  7:00-9:00pm  at Scituate Light  $35.00 This is a sunset photography field class. 

Photography:  Scituate Harbor Walk    Greg Lessard Thursday July 24th 6:00-8:00AM     $35.00 We will meet at the Morrill Band Stand & walk approximately 1 mile while photographing the beauty of Scituate Harbor.

To sign up for these classes and for more info visit  http://www.scituate.k12.ma.us/index.php/district-information/district-news-archive/759-scituate-community-education-summer-session?highlight=WyJjb21tdW5pdHkiLCJlZHVjYXRpb24iLCJjb21tdW5pdHkgZWR1Y2F0aW9uIl0=  and click on the tab “Summer Classes”

Mass Audubon Photography Workshops

1 781 837 9400

August 5th Driftwood, Feathers and Seashells at Duxbury Beach 9:30-11AM Free - Please call to reserve a spot.

August 9th Powder Point Bridge 6:45 – 8:30PM $10 members/$12 non-members  Please call to reserve a spot.

October 2 6-8PM Fall Photography Techniques Mass Audubon North River Sanctuary 2000 Main St., Marshfield, Ma $16member/$20 non-members  Please call to reserve a spot.

October 9 4:30-6:30PM Fall Photography Field Session Bay Farm Duxbury - From Route 3 South: Take Exit 10 and bear right onto 3A North.  Turn right onto Parks St.    Bear left at the fork onto Loring Street.   Continue onto Loring St. past Bay Road.   Parking will be less than half a mile on the left.   $16 member/ $20 non members   Please call to reserve a spot.  

October 16 4:30-6:30PM Fall Photography Field Session Sampson Forest Kingston - across from 70 Elm St., Kingston, MA   $16 member/ $20 non-member   Please call to reserve a spot  

October 23 4:30-6:30PM Fall Photography Session Norris Reservation, 10 Dover St., Norwell, MA $16 Members/ $20 non members Please call to reserve a spot

October 30 6-7PM Fall Photography Presentation and wrap-up. The top images of every participant will be presented in a slide show with a peer conversation of what makes the images work well. Greg will also answer any remaining questions about Fall photography. North River Sanctuary, 2000 Main St, Marshfield, Ma   Please call to reserve a spot.   Free to anyone who signs up for one of the previous four sessions.

South Shore Science Center

Acadia National Park Fall Photography Trip Have you ever caught the sunset at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, or the sunrise at Otter Cliffs? How about the fall foliage on the Bubbles? Or first light from the top of Cadillac Mountain? Have you ever had the popovers at the Jordan Pond House? All of these opportunities and more are available on our first ever fall digital nature photography trip to Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island. Our director of education, John Galluzzo, will be joined by professional nature photographer Greg Lessard for this three-day digital photography adventure (Friday, October 17-Sunday, October 19).

A $75 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required at the time of registration. No cancellation refunds will be issued 6 weeks prior to the program unless we can fill your space. Single supplement $90. Full fee covers all transportation, lodging and park entry fees. Payment in full is required by September 17, 2014. Contact John Galluzzo at jgalluzzo@ssymca.org for an itinerary.

Event: Photographing Acadia National Park

Start: October 17, 2014

End: October 19, 2014

Cost: $375.00

Phone: 781-659-2559

 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fall Photo Tour in Acadia National Park

I am happy to announce that I will be leading a photo tour for the South Shore Science Center to Acadia National Park.   The tour will be from October 17-19.   We will visit many of the highlights of this fantastic island right at the peak of the foliage season.

During the three day tour we will be among the first people to see (and photograph) the sunrise in the United States.   We will stay in historic Bar Harbor, photograph iconic Otter Cliffs and we will visit a quaint fishing village at sunset.   Acadia is a beautiful land with an undeniable
charm.   Photographing Acadia is always a highlight of my year!   I hope you will join me to see why.

The price for the tour is $375, which includes all transportation, lodging and park entry fees.    We will be joined by author and naturalist John Galluzzo, who will help us appreciate and understand our natural surroundings.

For more information, please visit the South Shore Science Center's website here:
http://southshorenaturalsciencecenter.org/event/photographing-acadia-national-park/

To sign up please call the South Shore Science Center at 781-659-2559.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Adventures in Photography: In Quest of the Northern Ghost


 
The winter of 2013-2014 was a record setting year for snowy owls in New England.   The normally elusive raptors were seen in droves.   An unprecedented irruption from eastern Canada brought hundreds of young owls to coastal New England in search of food and a warm climate.

The owls became one of New England’s most popular attractions.   Some visitors traveled from as far away as Italy to see the majestic creatures.   In some places, birders and photographers were so numerous, that small traffic jams were created.   Finding a quiet spot with a snowy became quite a challenge.

For me, pre-dawn hikes provided an escape from the crowds.   While the vast majority of people were still asleep, I would walk many frigid miles in search of the ghost of the tundra.   More often than not, I would find an owl just as the sun was rising.   Armed with five layers of clothing as well as numerous hand and toe warmers, I would spend the first few hours of the day observing a snowy in a peaceful bliss.

Photographing the owls artfully was my goal.   Simply documenting the owls was not enough for me.    I observed most of the owls for hours at a time.   I was hoping to see interesting behavior combined with beautiful settings.    In many instances I was able to accomplish my goal as seen in the image above.    Making beautiful images of such an intriguing subject was truly gratifying. 

One of the most memorable moments came on a frigid February morning.   I had spotted an owl far away on a snow packed beach.   It suddenly flew in the air to avoid the rush of a coyote.   At first, I thought that they may have been fighting over prey.   After a long observation, I realized that the coyote had tried to attack the owl in earnest.   The winter had been long and cold.   The coyote was probably very hungry indeed.

While I was too far away to make any images of the encounter, I was thrilled to observe the interactions of two top predators.   I began to wonder how often these types of engagements occur.   In addition to the coyote, I have witnessed snowy owls being attacked by a peregrine falcon, osprey, crows, swallows, and other snowy owls.   Surprisingly, I have yet to witness them making attacks of their own on prey.

All too often I have seen and heard stories of people harassing snowy owls.  Their beauty and mystique lures us to view them.  Unfortunately some people will take unethical and illegal actions to make photos of them.   Please respect all wildlife.   This will not only protect the animals, it may protect you, and it will likely make a better experience for the next person to enjoy.

Tip of the Month:  For wildlife photography it is important to know where local hotspots are and what season is best to view them.     By wisely choosing your location and studying the behavior habits of your subject you can maximize your chances of making a great wildlife image.  

Greg Lessard is a professional photographer.   You can join him on a three day trip to Acadia National Park this fall.   For more information contact the South Shore Science Center at 781 659 2559.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Think Spring!! Free Flower Photography Workshop at the Williams Trading Post


On Saturday, April 12, I will offer a free flower photography workshop at the Williams Trading Post in Middleboro.   The Williams Trading Post will have hundreds of colorful flowers that we can use to create beautiful images.   We will discuss a variety of techniques including macro photography, kaleidoscope zooming and a review of the basics including composition and exposure.   Tripods and macro lenses are helpful, but not necessary.  Photographers of all experience levels are welcome.

I hope you will consider joining me for an exciting photography adventure.   The workshop will begin at 11AM and run until we get tired of smelling the roses:)

You can read about a previous flower photography workshop at the Williams Trading Post on my blog here: http://blog.greglessardphotography.com/2011/04/flowers-clowns-and-cute-dogsoh-my.html

Below is a link for directions to the Williams Trading Post.
 
https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Williams+Trading+Post,+Wareham+Street,+Middleborough,+MA&hl=en&sll=42.036922,-71.683501&sspn=2.129653,5.410767&oq=williams+tr&hq=Williams+Trading+Post,&hnear=Wareham+St,+Middleborough,+Massachusetts+02346&t=m&z=13

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