Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beaver Pond Journal 2014 #3

Journal Entry for Thursday October 2, 2014  Made another late start for the beaver meadow at the end of Indian Lake Road.As we were crossing The Plains we spotted a black bear walking along the road, heading in the same direction as we were traveling. The bear crossed the road, turned around and headed back in our direction. Suddenly the bear's eyesight must have come into focus because it stopped momentarily, then dove into the roadside brush and disappeared. When we first spotted the bear I was hoping to get a photograph, but the bear was too far away and I wasn't set up for the 600f4 lens.

Finally reached the beaver meadow near the terminus of Indian Lake Road. Decided not to shoot another panorama Today. The light was harsh and the autumn colors were fading. An ancient stump covered with lichen made a good subject. A young bush limb was somewhat distracting and I decided to do some gardening but decided to leave it like I found it.

As we packed up and headed back towards the truck, we nearly stepped on a wood frog. Stopped to shoot a couple of images of the frog, then headed for home.

An Old Stump Covered With Lichen

A Wood Frog Hiding in Forest Litter

Beaver Pond Journal 2014 #2

Journal entry for Tuesday September 23, 2014  Made a purposeful late start for the beaver meadow this morning.Pulled out of the driveway at 9A.M. Since it was Tuesday and mid morning, the traffic was very light, making for a pleasant ride north.

Just beyond Lewey Lake at the base of Snowy Mountain we spotted a flock of wild turkeys. Unfortunately I had not reset my camera and fumbled getting ready to shoot as the turkeys moved away, toward some thick vegetation. I also began shooting before I had settled down and as a result most of the images were blurred. Incredibly the first and last images were usable, the rest were discarded. Things were looking up, now the day would not be a bust!

Arrived at Cedar River Flow gate at 11:45 A.M., signed the register then began the drive towards our destination, the beaver meadow at the terminus of Indian Lake Road. We noticed how quiet it was this this morning. Passed a few occupied campsites along the way as we enjoyed a midday snack, apple fritters.

It was 2 P.M. when we arrived at the end of the road and the beaver meadow. All day it looked like it was about to rain, and it did once for just a few minutes. Walked down to the meadow to look the situation over. The overcast light toned down the contrast, so I was certain the results would be good.

Set up my panorama gear then proceeded to shoot two nine image panorama series for stitching together using Photoshop. Next I shot two images of the decaying beaver lodge. I finished the day shooting three images of the stump detail.

September 23,2014 Panorama

Beaver lodge and Downed Timber
Near the Old Dam

A Couple of Stump and Downed Timber Details

The trees at the higher elevations were sporting their beautiful autumn colors. A Great day!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beaver Pond Journal 2014 #1

Journal entry for August 10, 2014  Today was the day to make our first trip to the Moose River Plains Wild Forest this year. We were up at 3:30, made coffee and lunch, then packed our gear in the truck. Pulled out of the driveway at 4:15 A.M. under a starry sky with a yellow-orange supermoon. Just after clearing the village limits we spotted a red fox running across the road. Portending a great day?
The day's goal was to shoot a sequence of images to blend into the 2014 panorama of the beaver meadow. Also we were interested in photographing any interesting flora and fauna.

Arrived at the Cedar River Flow gate, signed the register then passed through the gate. It sure was quiet as we drove towards The Plains. Saw a moderate number of campers along the way. The only wildlife we observed were a few songbirds,red squirrels and chipmunks, that was all.

When we pulled into the parking area at the end of Indian Lake Road one truck was there, but no one
was around. Mary and I walked across the road and down to the beaver meadow. As we entered the meadow a red-tail hawk flushed from its perch on an old snag, then the hawk disappeared in an instant.

The light contrast was very high, not the best conditions, but we were there, might as well haul down my mountain of gear and get set up. Maybe if I'm lucky the contrast will calm down. Shot a couple of panoramic sequences under the changing light, but didn't like either of them.

While waiting for better light I shot the stump detail image for 2014. Like the panoramic's, I used set up pins to accurately position my tripod and camera from year to year.

Stump Detail

Finally, some cloud cover, allowing me to shoot a panorama sequence under good light. After repacking the photo gear back in the truck we took a break to eat lunch, then began the long drive home.

2014 Panorama

Decaying Beaver Lodge

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beaver Pond Journal 2013 #3

Journal entry for September 8, 2013  Mary and I were on the road by 7:15 A.M., a rather late start for us. It was nearly 9:30 A.M. when we arrived at the Cedar River Flow gate. We only observed a few small flocks of wild turkeys and one whitetail deer along the drive from home to the gate. Signed in at the register and drove through the gate into the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. About a mile beyond the gate we stopped to pour our coffee and unwrap our fritters. Continued the drive towards the beaver meadow, eating our breakfast as we went.

Driving towards, and then across The Plains, we didn't observe any wildlife at all. Not many campers about, only a handful of campsites were occupied. Very quiet.

It was nearly 11:30 A.M. by the time we arrived at the Indian Lake trailhead. One Jeep was in the parking area, but no people around. When we left home the sky was completely crowded with clouds. As we traveled north the clouds began to break up and continued to do so until the sky was nearly cloudless. Not what I was hoping for!

Shortly after arriving at the parking area Mary and I walked down to the beaver dam and meadow to look things over. Too much contrast was the verdict. Well, we were here, might as well give it a try. By  1 P.M. I had shot three separate panorama series. The first was the best although not great. Repacked all my gear and we went back to the truck for lunch.

Beaver Meadow Panorama

With lunch out of the way I went to the north side of the beaver meadow, adjacent to the dam. My goal was to photo document the amount of dead, downed and standing timber that littered the area upstream from the dam about halfway up the meadow. I was also interested in shooting images of the beaver lodge and feed bed. As I was shooting two guys on trail motorcycles stopped to look over the break in the dam and the beaver meadow. Finished shooting the detail shots, packed up my equipment and returned to the truck.

Detail Images of the Dead Timber
Scattered Over the Meadow

The Beaver Lodge and its Entrance

The Beaver Lodge and Feed Bed

During the trip home as we reached the eastern edge of The Plains, just beyond the spur road to Lost Ponds, we saw a garter snake sunning in the road. Stopped and shot some images of the reptile.

Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sintailis)

Click on any image for a larger view

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beaver Pond Journal 2013 #2

Journal Entry for August 25, 2013  Mary and I were up at 4:00 A.M. and on the road at 4:30 A.M.,destination Moose River Plains Wild Forest and the new beaver meadow that was the beaver pond.

 Arrived at the Indian Lake Trailhead parking lot at 8:40 A.M.  After parking the truck I grabbed my 5D Mark ll camera with the 100-400mm lens attached then walked across the road and down to the meadow to see if any wildlife was about. All was quite, suddenly the silence was broken by loon yodels and wails from the area of Squaw Lake.

Looking across the meadow I noticed over thirty dew drenched, backlit spiderwebs along the south edge of the beaver meadow. I couldn't resist, just had to shoot a few images of the spiderwebs.

 Early Morning Spiderwebs

Headed back to the truck to arrange my packs for the bushwhack around to the far side of the meadow. Stopped to retrieve my cached set up pins along the way. After getting the set up pins I'd only gone a few steps when a movement caught my eye. I had nearly stepped on a toad, an American toad I believe. The toad hopped back into a depression it appeared to have dug. Again I couldn't resist, shot an image of the toad nestled below ground level in the depression.

Toad Nestled Down in a Depression

Mary and I arranged our packs then completed the bushwhack that was far more difficult than I had anticipated. We made the bushwhack O.K. but won't go back the same way.
After a short break I positioned my tripod, then assembled the panoramic gear to shoot the beaver meadow. The light was very harsh, lots of contrast, this was going to be a difficult shoot. Put in nearly two hours of shooting five panorama series as the light continually changed. None of the light was
great , but the changing shadows did help.

Beaver Meadow From the Southeast Corner

Meanwhile Mary shot some images along the southern border of the meadow and collected a few flowers and leaves and put them in her flower press.
Packed our gear and began the hike back to the truck before noon. Took a break for lunch, then went over to the beaver dam, found the Dam set up pin and shot an image as close as possible to the original Dam Detail image. Next I moved the tripod about six or eight feet to the right and higher, then shot a few more images of the dam area. That done I moved my gear over to the location of the Timber Detail set up pin and shot five more images.

Dam Detail

Two More Dam Images

Two Timber Detail Images

Click on any image for a larger view

Thanks for visiting my journal,


Beaver Pond Journal 2013 #1

Journal Entry for August 11, 2013   As we approached the new Indian Lake trailhead and parking area I noticed recent roadwork had been completed. The old culvert under the road was washed out on or about June 6th when the old beaver pond dam gave way. A new and better culvert had been installed.

Pulled into the parking area at 9:05 A.M.  Mary and I walked across the road to look over the situation. There was nothing left of the pond. Stacks of dead timber scattered about, the beaver lodge high and dry. A small brook has replaced the pond, only a beaver meadow remains. It will be interesting to observe and document the changes over time.

Returned to the truck to retrieve my camera gear. The panorama set up pin was somewhat difficult to locate. The four small alder stumps that had always guided me to the set up pin seemed to be missing, or was I looking in the wrong place. After poking around some more I discovered the pin, its marking tape badly faded. I had been looking for the four short beaver cut stumps that formed a square. Two of the stumps had been broken off, probably by floating timber during the June flooding of the beaver pond.

Positioned my tripod over the set up pin, then I began assembling the panoramic gear and leveling the the rotational base. After attaching the my camera I corrected for parallax and was ready to shoot by 9:30 A.M. The harsh light didn't look promising, but I went ahead and shot a panorama series anyway. Just as I thought, no good, some portions of the images were overexposed.

Now the waiting game began! It took some patience and finally some clouds, acting as a large diffuser covered the sun, allowing me to capture two good series of images. The last series was the one I chose for the 2013 panorama. This years panorama was shot longer in length than normal to show the entire beaver meadow.

2013 Panorama

Next I turned my attention to reshooting the stump detail image, plus three more images of the lower end of the beaver meadow with its piles of dead and downed timber.

Stump Detail

Dead Timber Shots Just Upstream of the Dam

The Break in the Dam Just to the Right of the Two
Standing Tree Trunks on the Upper Left

I need to return to the beaver meadow later this month to shoot a panorama from the far side of the meadow, plus more detail shots.

Click on any image for a larger view

Thanks for visiting my journal,


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Beaver Pond Journal 2012 #3

Journal entry for August 26, 2012  "Mary and I were up at 4 A.M.  When I stepped out on the back porch I was greeted with a sky full of twinkling stars. We finished packing the truck with our camera gear, Mary's sketch pad and bag and our lunch. Our destination was the old abandoned beaver pond at the terminus of Indian Lake Road. The day's goal was to shoot an improved yearly panorama plus more detail images around the pond.
     Arrived at the abandoned beaver pond a little after 9 A.M.  Walked over to the pond to check on the quality of the light. It was very harsh, same as it had been during the two previous visits when I photographed a panorama series last month.
     Big puffy clouds were heading our way, so I hauled my equipment over to the panorama set up location. The clouds were moving slower than I originally thought. Decided to shoot a "dead timber" detail image from the far side of the outlet bay. When I was here on July 29th I shot an image that focused on a single, standing dead tree. Later it occurred to me that a broader view, surrounding the focus dead tree, would provide a better perspective over time of the timber that had fallen, thus documenting one aspect of the succession of the abandoned beaver pond.
     Moved to the north side of the outlet bay. Looked through the viewfinder at various places to find the best location for the dead timber set up. Finding what I considered the best composition I drove a set up pin under the tripod center column, then recorded the set up data. As the quality of the light changed I shot a number of images.

 Dead Timber Detail

      Meanwhile, Mary discovered a small rock ledge that provided a good seat. Arranging her canoe chair she had a comfortable place to do some drawing. Using the view across the outlet bay of a large dead standing tree trunk surrounded by balsam trees and blackberry bushes, Mary made a wonderful drawing that provides a narrow snapshot of the area adjacent to the panorama set up location.
     After shooting the dead timber images I decided to explore the northeastern shoreline of the pond. I wanted to discover what animal sign I could find which would provide me with some idea of the animals that visit the pond. Whitetail deer and coyote tracks were plentiful. I also found fur that had been stripped from a carcass, most likely a muskrat. It had probably been killed and eaten by either a coyote, fox, bobcat, fisher or otter.

Scraps of Muskrat Fur

Coyote Tracks Along the Muddy Shoreline

     Returned to the panorama set up location and leveled the tripod and adjusted the panorama equipment, then mounted the camera so I was ready to go. The clouds just didn't want to mask the sun and reduce the contrast. I shot two series of panorama images. Finally the clouds did their job, shot the third and final series. This last series is the one I chose for the yearly panorama due to the reduced contrast.

The 2012 Yearly Panorama

     Before disassembling the tripod and camera gear I shot. Some images of the panorama set up, then some of the open camera pack and computer bag with the iPad.
     Panorama Set Up Over the Set Up Pin

View From the Front

View From the Back

Camera Pack, Computer Bag and iPad 

Click on any image for a larger view

Thanks for visiting my journal,