July 25, 2012

Wild Skies at Great Meadows

Last night's impromptu evening walk coincided with the dramatic arrival of a refreshing cold front.  A colorful and ominous gathering and swirling of clouds and color greeted us as we stepped onto the Dike Trail.  Great egrets and great blue herons were caught up in the buffeting breezes.

Great egrets soaring
Dressed for the sunset
The expanse around us was filled with the silhouettes of swallows skimming the water, then soaring up to flutter past the waxing moon and rosy sky.  And in both directions, thousands of lotus blossoms glowed, like so many candle offerings in the evening light.

As the sun set, the eastern grew more fitful with flashes of lightening and rumbles of thunder.  Strong winds blew up the river in our direction, shaking the whole floodplain forest and setting the lotus field a-tremble.  At its pitch, we decided to head back toward the parking lot and safer ground, thrilled by the entire experience.

July 23, 2012

Impromptu Evening Walk, 7.24.12

Lotus carpet at Great Meadows

 Tuesday, July 24, 7-8:30 pm

Great Meadows in Concord is now clothed in thousands of creamy lotus blooms and the evening light sets them all aglow.  Great blue herons and greater egrets line the channels for a few last fish before day's end while swallows glide overhead.  In response to a number of requests, I'm adding an impromptu evening walk this week on Tuesday, from 7-8:30 pm.  Join me for a stroll through this luscious summer landscape.  We'll meet by the kiosk at the parking lot.  $5 donation requested.

In the event of a thunderstorm at 7 pm, the walk will be cancelled.

July 10, 2012

Concord Summer Photo Forays

East Quarter Farms Community Garden
This summer, I'm offering two photo forays, adding Concord's agricultural landscapes to our usual wilder expeditions.  Concord's agricultural history dates back 4,000 years and its East Quarter has been shaped and defined by agricultural commons and farming since the town's founding.  The forays are scheduled to make the most of morning and evening light and will emphasize the relationship between the river floodplain and the rich agricultural lands that surround it.  You're welcome to register for one or both, following the directions at the end of this post.

In each workshop, tips on composition, lighting, exposure, and depth of field will be shared along the way.  All ranges of experience are welcome.  Bring a digital or film camera and please familiarize yourself with its basic operation prior to the foray. 

 Concord's East Quarter Photo Foray

Sunday, July 22, 8:30 - 11 am

Battle Road Farms cattle

Gaining Ground sugar house
Thanks to Concord's conservation and agricultural priorities and the National Park Services's historical mission, many acres in Concord's East Quarter have remained open and farmed, much as they have for centuries.  Today many local farmers continue to work this land and several non-profit and community farming ventures are thriving -- including the Battle Road Farms on NPS land, Gaining Ground organic farm (adjacent to Thoreau Farm) on Virginia Road, and the East Quarter Farms community Garden in the heart of the East Quarter.  Through the lens, we will explore these fertile fields -- their flowers and crops, animal life, hedgerows, and agrarian vistas.

Meet in the parking lot to the right of the Ripley School building, at the end of Meriam Road in Concord.  We will carpool from there.

Evening Photo Foray at Great Meadows

Friday, August 10, 5:30 - 8:00 pm 

American lotus after evening shower

The summer evening sun illuminates the marsh and river edges with a warm light, setting the lush vegetation, feeding birds, and still waters aglow.  Join me for an exploration of angled light, lengthening shadows, and saturating colors as the sun sinks behind Punkatasset Hill.  We'll explore the vistas and wildlife from the central Dike Trail, then walk west along the river to Borden Pond, just beyond the refuge boundary, to photograph cardinal flowers, silhouetted plants at the water's edge, perhaps an otter or beaver, and the herons and egrets flying in to roost at sunset.

Meet in the Great Meadows NWR main parking lot.

Sunset behind Punkatasset Hill

Fee:  $25   Limited to 10 participants, ages 12-adult

Please send a check to Cherrie Corey, 277 Old Bedford Road, Concord, MA  01742. Then please email to let me know you're registering by mail and include your name, address, and phone number(s) in the message:  cherrie.corey@verizon.net or 978-760-1933/cell

July 4, 2012

Rare Duck Greets Night Walkers

© Christopher Rowan 2012

Some 30+ enthusiastic walkers turned out at Great Meadows in Concord last night to join me for a summer evening walk with hopes of a moonrise at the finish.  As high clouds gathered, I reminded myself to focus on the encounters in each moment as we walked down the Dike Trail and not hang disappointment on the flat light and moon's no-show...a lesson in presence that I often share. 

Almost on cue, Ryan Dougherty came running toward us with report of a Black-bellied Whistling Duck sitting quietly by the shoreline mid-trail.  Alone and far from home, it was patient as ALL of us had a long look.  Thanks to Chris Rowan for this use  of his magnificent photo.

For the rest of our walk we focused on the abundant wildflowers along the trail, got a brief peek at the moon as it was rising behind clouds, and enjoyed the flyover of a black-crowned night heron as we walked back toward our cars.

Lovely evening, wonderful company!