Sally Frank is a printmaker whose images are drawn from her close observations of the natural world. She uses a variety of printmaking techniques from traditional etchings, woodcuts and monotypes to newer printmaking methods.
While driving to work each day I regularly pass a swampy place with hundreds of tall dead trees that has always appealed to my sense of aesthetics. While taking some “drive-by pictures” one morning, I noticed what looked like a cluster of nests high up in some of the trees about 70 to 80 feet into the swamp. Thanks to the excellent camouflage provided by the trees, it was hard to make out if there were any birds on the nests. One morning I happened to drive by when two Great Blue Herons flew in the area. Nearly running off the road, I realized that the nests must belong to Great Blue Herons. Now I was completely fascinated, so I started pulling off the road to watch for them for a while each time I pass. Once I knew what I was looking at, I easily counted the herons. First time around there were 8!! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Now I believe there are about at least a dozen.
The following images are not very good photographs. They are just my best shot at trying to share this incredible scene. The birds are actually building their nests, getting ready to lay eggs. Each day they grow larger. I have seen these amazing birds carrying stick back and forth, from the ground to the treetops. I’ve seen them holding on tight in the wind as the trees bend and sway. The birds seem to share some of the nests and sometimes fly from one nest to another.
My pictures are sort of like looking for Waldo, but if you look closely you will see the herons. Click on the photos to get a better look. I hope you enjoy seeing them as I’ll be keeping their location a secret! Sorry. I will follow there progress of this heronry (as I’ve learned they’re called) and post the best pictures I can take as spring arrives, and so do the chicks.
It was cold again this morning but the light was beautiful. It seemed to change every few minutes. I marvel at how many different grays there are.
On the way home I spotted a colony of Great Blue Heron nests high up in some barren trees in a marsh. The herons were in residence. What a site! I couldn’t take a picture without ending up in the swamp myself but now that I know where they are, I will get them eventually.
Yesterday, my mother asked me is I’d seen the snow geese flying overhead. She said, it’s that time of year, and I should be on the lookout. I said I didn’t think I could tell the difference from the ground between the snow geese and the Canada geese but she said, oh yes, there is a big difference and that I could definitely tell. The snow geese are much larger and make a very loud call. Some of her friends in Pennsylvania had seen them, so surely I would too. You must have a local hotline to call to see if snow geese had been sited in the area, she said. I will be on the lookout, I told her. So now I am looking up a lot. I did see a barren Baltimore oriole nest hanging high over the road this morning. I probably would have missed it had I not been on the lookout for the snow geese.
Last Sunday was a spectacularly beautiful day and I was able to take a walk in the Pound Ridge Reservation with son Andrew and some friends. Spring is beginning to stir most in the swampy areas where clumps of bright green moss are beginning to emerge, green and purple spotted skunk cabbage is poking up through the wet leaves, and all around there are sounds of frogs croaking and birds calling. Not far along the trail was a pond teeming with mating frogs. The sound of their calls filled the air. We sat by on a rock and listened, letting the sound surround us.
Spring. As much as I love the stark silhouettes of the winter landscape, I must say I am thrilled with the thought that spring is here and that soon, the leaves will return to the trees. The moss will become emerald green again and the chill in the air will lift.
Of course I won’t abandon winter imagery just yet and next week I will return to the Center for Contemporary Printmaking one day a week where I will work of completing the series of prints, mostly monotypes, that I began in my residency at Weir Farm this time last year. Meanwhile I will be searching the landscapes for my next subjects.