An Adirondack

Beaver Pond   

                                        A Long Term Project


The Adirondack Beaver Pond

Deep in the heart of the ancient Adirondack Mountains lies an old beaver pond that beckons me to return, time and again. It is here that solitude, so rare these days, can be found.

As dusk settles over the mountains a whitetail deer silently appears at the shore of the pond to drink. Dead timber, skeletons of the trees they once were, are now standing like sentinels all across the pond. Wood ducks float quietly among these strange guardians.

Dusk deepens into night. A full moon rises above the treetops, its illumination discovering wakes on the still surface of the pond. Wakes left by beavers on patrol, inspecting the dam and preparing for a long nights work stocking the beaver lodge's pantry for the long winter ahead. Crickets are singing and a barred owl, up on the hillside overlooking the pond, cuts the dampening air with a series of hoots. Not wanting to be discovered by this avian predator a ruffed grouse hunkers down in a tangle of blackberry bushes. The moon slips behind a lonely, thick cloud that blots out the moonlight. The darkness deepens and where there were hundreds, now there are thousands of stars twinkling across the dark expanse.

A faint glow appears in the eastern sky, a new day is beginning. The beaver return to the lodge. A good nights work has been accomplished by nature's engineers and now it is time for some rest. The whitetail deer returns to the pond for a quick drink before heading off to its daytime bed.

The sun takes its turn to peek over the eastern treetops, the new day is here. The ruffed grouse leaves the protective berry patch, heading off in search of some succulent vegetation for breakfast. Soon a flock of cedar waxwings are busy plucking ripe blackberries from the pond-side berry patch that protected the grouse last night. A black bear intrudes on the cedar waxwings feast, scattering them to all points of the compass. Having eaten its fill the bear wanders off along the muddy shoreline of the pond leaving its tracks in the mud. The ripe blackberries signal the arrival of autumn at the beaver pond. The next feast for the pond's neighbors will occur with the ripening wild cherries and mast, beechnuts and acorns.

Long before autumn is officially over winter will arrive. At first with a dusting of snow on the landscape. The surface of the beaver pond turns to ice, locking the beaver in the lodge and under the surface of the pond. The beavers' work repairing the lodge will discourage a marauding coyote, bobcat or otter from digging into the lodge which now has a frost hardened mud coating that is as tough as concrete. The beaver will pass the winter safe and well fed under a heavy blanket of snow.

The black bear will solve the problem of surviving the long cold winter by hibernating, but only if it managed to obtain enough forage to provide sufficient fat reserves. Most of the ponds neighbors will struggle to see the return of spring, only the strongest will survive.

All is well at the pond. The cycle of life continues as it has for eons.

 

The Beaver Pond September 26, 1999

 In 2006 the beaver that had occupied the pond, abandoned it. The trees and plants that are the beavers preferred food sources, especially aspen, had been exhausted from the larder that surrounded the pond. By late summer 2007 the pond was a mere puddle surrounded by a wide belt of soggy ground.

The change was dramatic and inspired me to begin photographing a series of yearly panoramas of the beaver pond. To obtain a photo of the entire pond required eight separate images "stitched" together to cover a 220° pan of the camera.

The original purpose for photographing the pond, after 2006, was to document the changes to the pond and surrounding area as it went through the process of succession. Now that a new colony of beaver have taken up residence the focus of the project is changing from documenting  the succession of the pond to long term documentation and maintaining a photo-journal as well as a written journal of the changes at the beaver pond.

 

 The Beaver Pond August 19, 2007


I've gone back to my early journals to discover the first entry relating to the beaver pond. Although I had been in the area of the pond many times, September 26, 1999 was the first mention of it in my journals. From the period 1999 through 2006 journals I've excerpted all relevent mentions of the beaver pond, as well as finding and digitizing slides that correspond to the various entries, to provide a more complete long term project.


Beaver Pond Journal, September 26, 1999

"Drove on towards Indian Lake. Stopped at the beaver pond at the side of the road just east of Squaw Lake trailhead. The fall colors on the hillside across the pond and reflection on the pond were quite good. The level of the pond was up since the last time we were here. I got out my compass to check the location of the late afternoon sun. Looked as though this would be a great scene as the sun begins to drop in the western sky. Mary and I decided to be back at the pond about 2:30 P.M. I'd try photographing this landscape with the 4x5 camera, Mary with her 35mm gear.

About 2 P.M. we began the drive back to the beaver pond, arriving at 2:30 P.M. The light looked O.K. so I set up the 4x5 camera to take a look on the ground glass, not bad. Then I added a polarizing filter and an 81B warming filter......WOW! Mary worked with both her Minolta 600si and 7000 bodies and a few different lenses to shoot a number of images while I worked with the 4x5 taking three images."

 

4x5 Camera Set Up

 

 

 

 

 The Beaver Pond 35mm



 Beaver Pond Journal 1999 - 2001
 
November 28, 1999- Stopped at the beaver pond east of Squaw Lake where we shot a few photos.

 

Beaver pond in Moose River Plains Wild Forest during a November 28, 1999 snow squall

 

Obviously my memory failed me when I wrote my journal entry for the day. I shot four images looking across the beaver pond, the far hillside ablaze with peak autumn colors and the surface of the pond without a ripple, reflecting the hillside 

October 11,2000- "The light was too harsh for photographs."

 

  The beaver pond on a glorious autumn day 

 

October 7, 2001- Approaching the large beaver pond east of Squaw Lake we could see there were images here waiting to be captured. Pulled into the parking turnout, then walked over to the pond for a better look. Mary went back to the Trooper to retrieve her camera while I debated whether or not to get out the 4x5 camera. Big snow plops were dropping off of the trees. Finally I decided I would be far too distracted to do a good job with the big camera.

Eventually I got out my Minolta 7xi body, added the 28-80mm lens, mounted it on my tripod and returned to the pond.Composed two different images looking across the pond. These images contained lots of color, lots of snow and the pond. I had to wait about 15 minutes for the light I wanted before tripping the shutter.

 

 Looking across the beaver pond after a snow squall

 

Mary had finished photographing by now. She and our golden retriever, Sairy, went for a walk up the road. Sairy seems quite spry today.

I changed my composition to look across the pond, parallel to the dam, towards a stand of spruce trees. This was about ninety degrees to the left of my first images.When I got the image framed snow began falling and the sky darkened. My shutter speed dropped to 1/15 second. I reasoned the snowflakes would show as streaks, adding to the mood of the image. We'll see. The intensity of the falling snow increased after taking a few images, so I shot a second set. 

 

By the time I was picking up it was really coming down!


 
Beaver Pond Journal 2002 - 2007

Journal entry for November 11, 2002    Mary and I took the day off to visit Moose River Plains. We had driven in to the end of the road at the smaller Indian Lake. The journal entry reads: "During our return drive back towards the Plains we stopped at the unnamed beaver pond near Squaw Lake trailhead. Mary and I needed to stretch our legs, plus the beaver pond looked interesting enough to photograph, which we did."
 

 Beaver pond in Moose River Plains Wild Forest after a cold rain

 

 

Journal entry for June 24, 2007    "Drove on to Otter Brook then towards the end of the road at Indian Lake. Stopped at the beaver pond just east of the trail to Squaw Lake. The beaver had abandoned the pond and the dam is now in disrepair. The water level is down somewhere between 2-3 feet. It occurs to me as I write this journal entry I should begin a photo documentation of the pond reverting back to solid ground."

 

 

Journal entry for August 19, 2007    "About 10 A.M. Mary and I stopped at the large beaver pond east of Squaw Lake trailhead. The pond had been abandoned by its resident beavers two years ago. The dam has given away dropping the water level over three feet. It occurred to me it would be interesting to photo document the succession process from year to year.

As best my memory would let me, I framed an image similar to some I have taken in the past. The light overcast sky provided more contrast than the camera's sensor could record so I shot six bracketed exposures to try combining in Photoshop. While I was picking up my equipment I noticed some deer tracks in the mud and photographed them for stock.

 

The Abandoned Beaver Pond

 

Drove on to Indian Lake, which was crowded again this week. Turned around and, drove back to the campsite at the top of the ridge above Squaw Lake, where we ate lunch last week. We ate lunch there again and explored the immediate area around the campsite.

After lunch we returned to the beaver pond. I had decided to try shooting a panorama of the pond. Set up my tripod over a cluster of  four beaver cut alders. After adjusting my camera, I shot a series of eight images that assembled perfectly to provide a panorama that encompassed a view of 220°."

 

2007 Panorama



Beaver Pond Journal 2008

Journal entry for July 27, 2008  "Last August I thought it would be interesting to photograph the succession of the pond back to dry land. I accomplished last years panorama by shooting 7 frames that stitched into a 220° panorama of the pond. Today my goal was to photograph a 2008 duplicate of last years panorama.

Found the location where I set up last year, then positioned my tripod as close to last years set up as my memory would allow. I shot three 7 frame series of images under different lighting conditions. This would allow me to use the series with the most pleasing light for the final stitched image."

 

 Abandoned beaver pond July 27, 2008

 

Note, my memory was incorrect, the 2007 panorama was shot and assembled with 8 frames not 7 as I shot last week.

Journal entry for August 3, 2008  "Drove on to the abandoned beaver pond just east of Squaw Lake trailhead. Ate a snack while Mary and I waited for the rain to stop. Finally, about 10:45 A.M., the rain ceased and I got set up to shot the panorama of the abandoned beaver pond. This time I decided to use the 50 f1.4 mm lens rather than the zoom lens I used last week and last year. This set up required 8 frames as opposed to 7 frames at 46 mm that I used last weekend. Worked great with the fixed focal length lens, a much better chance of getting a duplicate field of view each year.

 Beaver Pond August 3, 2008

 

Mary picked blackberries while I shot the panorama, then I helped with the picking. Quite good!

 

A single frame of the abandoned beaver pond and lodge

 
 
Beaver Pond Journal 2009

Journal entry foe August 9, 2009  "Arrived at the beaver pond about 10:15 A.M. under a threatening sky. Made a quick check of the pond then returned to the truck for my camera gear. Located my tripod over the flagged alder stumps, then set up my equipment using measurements documented in my journal. Once the set up was complete I shot three series of seven images for the 2009 beaver pond panorama.

I wasn't pleased with today's conditions, very hazy and lots of wind. My polarizing filter didn't do much to cut the haze, but did help with the glare from the wet vegetation.

Clouds were spitting a little rain while I was packing my gear. I hope to improve on today's images with another shoot before the end of the month, but at least I have something for 2009 if I'm not able to get back."

 

Beaver pond on August 9, 2009

 

Journal entry for August 30, 2009  "Arrived at the abandoned beaver pond about 10:15 A.M. After parking the truck I walked down the road to check out the pond before setting up my equipment. The first thing I noticed was the remains of the old dam had washed out even more.

Passing the dam I was scanning around the pond as I walked along when my peripheral vision detected a sizable track in a muddy section of the current shoreline. Staring down at the track I could hardly believe my eyes, four toes, no claw marks and a pad. The only conclusion could be a cat; retractable claws and a pad with four toes. Mary and I measured the track, 3 3/4 x 3 3/4". It must be a cougar track, there have been many sighting over the last few decades. I photographed the track plus a second track that was a good imprint. The tracks appeared to be quite fresh. (On September 7th while adjusting one of the cougar track photos I had to leave the office for a moment. Upon returning I was looking at the photo from the far side of the room and I was able to make out a nearly imperceptible fifth toe imprint. So, it wasn't a cougar track after all but rather a black bear, probably a yearling. The unanswered question is why aren't the claw marks visible?

Found my set up location then went to work getting my tripod level and the panoramic equipment in place and leveled. I didn't record any of the 2007 panorama set up measurements but did so for the 2008 panorama. I shot two panoramas in 2008 and I chose the wrong one for my set up measurements when I shot the August 9, 2009 panorama. Now I have recorded the set up parameters and will shoot all future of the beaver pond using them. My goal is to shoot this same panorama set up during the month of August for as long as I'm able.

 

Beaver pond on August 30, 2009

 

Before leaving I shot a few images of the pond using my 15mm f2.8 fisheye lens using both horizontal and vertical formats.

 

 

The fisheye shots


Beaver Pond Journal 2010

Journal entry for August 1, 2010  "I wanted to be sure to photograph a series of images for this year's abandoned beaver pond panorama. This wasn't going to be as easy as during the past three years because Indian Lake Road has been closed due to impassable road conditions.

Reaching Otter Brook bridge the road was blocked with a closed gate. Parked the truck in one of the campsites then Mary and I arranged our packs for the three mile hike to the abandoned beaver pond. Along with the camera gear already in my pack I added my old laptop and rain gear. Mary packed lunch, her rain gear, a book and insect repellent.

It was 8:30 A.M. when we made our way around the closed gate, crossed Otter Brook bridge and entered the solitude that lay ahead. The dirt road made the walking easier than a trail, but I knew we had some elevation to gain and the high humidity wasn't going to make it pleasant. In addition to my large camera pack I had my LowePro Toploader 75AW chestpack loaded with my Canon 20D / 100-400 mm lens in the event we happened on any cooperative wildlife. As it turned out the hike to the pond was uneventful and not as difficult as I had anticipated.

Arrived at the pond at 9:40 A.M.  Unpacked my equipment, set up my tripod over the flagged shooting location and mounted my camera. Next I got out my old Averatec laptop and studied the 2008 panorama to be sure of the starting point for the first frame. I had gotten that slightly off when shooting the 2009 panorama. That done I waited for some cloud cover to block the sun and tone down the high contrast the direct sunlight was providing. The number of billowy clouds were increasing and finally covered the sun. Shot the first series of eight images that would be stitched together in Photoshop to produce the panorama. I immediately shot a backup series of images in case my frame spacing was off.

I wasn't very pleased with the light so I kept waiting for better light as new clouds took their turn blocking the sun. By 11:49 A.M. I had shot a total of ten series of images. It was quite hot and humid, Mary and I found some shade where we could eat lunch. Fired up the laptop and downloaded the images so I could review the results so far.

After lunch and reviewing the images I decided to try another series of images if the light got better. Thicker clouds were off to the west and headed our way. One of them did a good job of providing much better light. At 12:27 P.M. I began shooting two more series of images. The last set was the one I picked to assemble as this years panorama.

In spite of the heat and humidity the return hike along Indian Lake Road was quite pleasant, very quite, no vehicles and no people. Unfortunately no wildlife either, but that changed in an instant. As we walked along the side of the ridge above Falls Pond Outlet's bog, suddenly a large black bear appeared on the road about one hundred and fifty feet ahead of us. Without stopping it turned and ran down the road ahead of us with an easy, slow, fluid  gait, then up a short but steep slope and was swallowed by the forest. Not a sound could I hear, it always amazes me how something so large and bulky can move so silently..

Arrived back at the truck at 2:10 P.M."

 

The black bear photo I forgot to take!

 

Beaver pond on August 1, 2010 

 

A single frame showing the beaver lodge in disrepair

 

Journal entry for October 31, 2010  "At 12:10 we gave up on a moose sighting and headed back to the abandoned beaver pond, arriving at the pond at 1:00 P.M. A light dusting of snow on the bare trees would make a nice contrast with the summer panoramas. 

Got out my tripod, positioned it and leveled it over the flagged location. Set up my camera, mounted it on the tripod then began shooting the eight required frames, finishing at 1:41 P.M.

While I was repacking my gear a hunter, who was from Vermont, stopped to visit a few minutes. We had a pleasant conversation."

 

Beaver pond on October 31, 2010


A single frame showing the beaver lodge in disrepair


 
 Beaver Pond Journal 2011 #1
 

Arrived at the old beaver pond at 10:30 A.M. I had been using an old log that was wedged between four beaver cut stumps as my set up location for the panorama. Since the log was deteriorating it was time to make a more permanent marker. I brought along some rebar stakes, that I cut to length and ground points on one end, to serve as set up markers for the panorama and some other detail images I wanted to photograph around the perimeter of the pond.

I drove a set up stake through the set up log, right down to the top of the log. Using the top of the stake as my starting point, I went through the set up procedure to get my equipment positioned correctly, leveled and the camera adjusted to put the nodal point over the axis of rotation.

Finished shooting the panoramic series at 11:45 A.M. Retrieved my old Averatec laptop from my camera pack to download the images. I wanted to be sure the exposure was good and the files weren't corrupted. Meanwhile Mary dug out lunch and we retreated to a shady spot, the bright sun was making it too hot. I fired up the little laptop and began the download process. Mary and I ate our lunch while the computer worked away. When the download was complete I checked and found all images were fine.

Back in the hot summer sunshine, I disassembled my panoramic set up. Next I coupled the 24-70mm f2.8 lens to my camera for some detail shots.

Looking around I spotted an old stump, its roots were exposed and radiating spider-like into the water and nearby mud. No question, this would make a great yearly interval, time lapse detail image. Set up my tripod, mounted my camera and began checking for the best composition. Once I found it I drove a stake directly below the center of the ball head and measured from the top of the stake to the top of the center column, 27 1/2". Set the lens to24mm, angled it down somewhat, framed the image and shot it.

Repacked everything and prepared to hike back to the truck. It was getting extremely hot and humid and I didn't feel up to hiking up around the pond for more detail shots, although I wanted to..

Cached the remaining stakes behind a large dead tree near the panorama set up location. I'm planning on using them around the perimeter of the pond later this year or next."

(Note~Couldn't get to the pond until Sunday September 3rd because every Sunday in August was rainy.)

 

Beaver pond on September 3, 2011

 

Stump detail

 

 A single frame showing the beaver lodge in disrepair


Beaver Pond Journal 2011 #2

Journal entry for October 2, 2011  "When Mary and I arrived at the beaver pond an almost imperceptible, light, misting rain was falling. After parking the truck we walked back down the road to the pond and a startling discovery! As we gazed across the pond we saw the water level had risen since our last visit. The beaver lodge and dam had been repaired and a store of branches were piled at the feedbed near the lodge for the winter's food supply.

Now what to do? It looked like my panorama set up location was under water. Mary and I changed into our boots, then made our way out to check the depth of water at the set up pin. I was happy that I realized I needed a more permanent location marker for setting up my tripod and had driven the rebar set up pin when I shot this years panorama. As long as the water level doesn't rise any higher I'll be able to get set up O.K. The stump detail is a lost cause for now. The set up pin for that photo is beneath nearly two feet of water, That detail shot won't happen until the beaver move on and the dam repair washes out.

Returned to the truck, then hauled my camera gear back to the high ground near the panorama set up location. Since the beaver have returned I decided to make the best of the situation and shoot a panoramic series to document the higher water level. Maybe the beaver will move on next year if they can't easily obtain a sufficient supply of food.

Since the light, misting rain was still falling I didn't waste any time getting set up and shooting the images. When I was finished I quickly repacked my gear and returned to the truck in case the rain got more serious

  

Beaver pond on October 2, 2011

 

A single frame showing the repaired beaver lodge


Beaver Pond Journal 2011 #3

Journal entry for October 9, 2011  "Arrived at the beaver pond about 12:15 P.M. The autumn colors and reflection were quite beautiful today. Hauled all three of my photo packs the short distance down to the beaver pond at an area adjacent to the repaired section of dam. While setting up my tripod a duck took to wing from the middle of the pond and flew to the far shore where it landed. A female wood duck I believe.

Once I was set up I shot images of the dam and pond from two different perspectives. Also captured an image of the beaver lodge and surrounding portion of the pond reflecting the autumn colors.

Repacked my camera bags then stowed everything back in the truck. While I was repacking Mary was collecting colorful leaves to put in her flower press."

Great day!

 

Repaired beaver dam

 

 Same set up shot from a higher elevation

 

Looking directly across the pond from the dam


 
Beaver Pond Journal 2011 #4

Journal entry for October 23, 2011  "Arrived at the beaver pond about 11:00 A.M.  Flocks of songbirds were filling the air with their songs. The pond looked cold and lonely today. Mary thought the feedbed looked as though it had been added too since we were here last, I wasn't so sure. We were both hungry so we ate a quick snack back at the truck.

Thought I'd photograph the lodge so I could compare the resulting image with earlier ones. After looking things over for a few minutes, I agreed with Mary, there still were beaver occupying the pond. The dam had been increased in height by a few inches. The abandoned beaver pond, without a doubt is very active. I wonder how many beaver are in the pond's new colony.

Well I guess I need to shift the focus of the beaver pond project from documenting succession to documenting the life and changes in and around the pond. I intend to continue shooting the yearly panorama from my original set up location for as long as I'm able.

After shooting some images of the beaver lodge, I shot the set up log. Fortunately it isn't fully submerged yet.

Clouds were still crowding the sky. Mary and I returned to the truck where we ate a more substantial lunch. When we finished lunch I decided to see if I could make my way around to the panorama set location with the new flooded areas blocking the way. After some bushwhacking through a blackberry cane tangle I was there. Shot another image of the repaired beaver lodge, from the area of the set up log.

 

The repaired beaver lodge from the beaver dam

 

The set up log nearly fully submerged

 

Checked my cache of set up pins before returning to the truck, where I exchanged cameras and got my tripod to shoot a few images of the dam and pond.I shot these images with the tripod set up to specs for the dam set up pin. Changed the elevation of the center column a couple of times to provide a slightly different perspective.

After repacking my camera gear we began working our way towards home."

 

The beaver lodge shot from the set up log

 

The beaver dam, lodge and pond


 Beaver Pond Journal 2011 #5

Journal entry for November 15, 2011  "Passed the beaver pond and continued on to the terminus of Indian Lake Road at Squaw Lake trailhead, then returned to the pond. Took my large camera bag and tripod and walked down to the dam. Shot more images of the dam, lodge and pond, then worked my way along the shoreline to a spot where I found numerous fresh beaver cut stumps which I photographed for my image catalog. The beaver have raised the level of the dam somemore. I made my way around to the panorama set up location and found the set up pin under six inches of water.

 Mary got some exercise walking the road to keep warm. The day was overcast and very damp. I finished shooting the photos I wanted, repacked my gear and returned to the truck."

 

 Looking over the top of the dam at the beaver lodge


 The beaver lodge on November15, 2011


 Fresh cut beaver stumps near the panorama set up location


 The beaver lodge from the panorama set up location

 

 

Journal entry for December 4, 2011  "Arrived at the beaver pond at 11:57 A.M.  The temperature must have risen because the snow was melting. Skim ice covered the pond promising winter was on the way. The feedbed had been increased since we were last here on November 15th.

Mary and I both shot images of the ice covered pond. I also shot a series of HDR (High Dynamic Range) images to deal with the bright sunshine. The wide angle image included the pond outlet, dam lodge and an overall view of the pond. I was pleased with the result.

Packed our camera gear back in the truck and headed for a few more destinations in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest."

 

 The HDR image of the beaver pond on December 4, 2011


 Wide angle view of a portion of the pond

 

Winter's ice is beginning to lock the beaver under the surface of the pond


 Beaver Pond Journal 2012 #1

Journal entry for July 15, 2012  "As Mary and I traveled over Otter Brook and then Indian Lake Road I was wondering what changes, if any, we would discover at the pond. As we pulled up beside the pond I could hardly believe my eyes, the level of  the water in the pond was lower than I had ever seen it. I wondered if the beaver had been trapped out or if the spring seeps that fed the pond had dried up, forcing the beavers to move on. The dam was still intact, but that gave no clue as to what happened to the beavers. Well, now I was back on track with the abandoned beaver pond succession project.

     Continued another one hundred feet up the road to a small parking turnout, which has been designated as an official trailhead. The road that ends at Indian Lake has been barricaded by four large boulders spaced across the road at the new trailhead.

     It was 9:45 A.M. when I parked the truck, then Mary and I walked the short distance back to the pond to check it out. Found all three of my set up pins; panorama, stump detail and the dam detail. Some of the old standing dead timber had fallen. Lots os new grass growing on the newly exposed ground. A check of the blackberries revealed a poor crop or maybe no crop t all due to the drought this summer.

     We returned to the truck, Mary for her sketch pad and me for my camera gear. Mary wanted to try sketching some of the rocks and interesting dead standing timber. I had forgotten to get my panoramic set up equipment before leaving home, so I tried shooting a panoramic series without it. Worked O.K.

 

 The Beaver Pond Had Been Drained Again


I discovered a few old moose tracks in the area of the panoramic set up location and decided to shoot some images of the best track. The track was made on dry ground rather than mud so it wasn't as well defined as I would have liked, but not bad.

 Moose Track Along The South Side Of The Abandoned Beaver Pond


The last image of the day was a retake of the stump detail I shot last year just before the beavers moved in and repaired the dam and lodge, flooding the detail set up pin under at least a foot of water. Comparing the original stump detail image with the new image clearly shows the difference in the water level between summer 2011 and summer 2012. The 2012 water level is at least a foot lower than 2011.

 2012 Stump Detail


Beaver Pond Journal 2012 #2

Journal entry for July 29, 2012  Arrived at the end of the road at the new Squaw Lake trailhead at 9:15 A.M.  Mary and I walked back to the abandoned beaver pond to look over the current condition of the pond. There was no noticeable change over the last two weeks.

     The sun was already high in the sky and the light was harsh. Not very pleasing light for photographing. I was hoping that some clouds would cover the sun to tone down the harsh light to provide less contrast. Checked the set up pin cache, it hadn't been disturbed. On the way back to the truck I shot four images of a pair of silver-bordered fritillary butterflies feeding on goldenrod nectar near the dam. Later clouds were building to the west, but they were slow moving so Mary and I ate lunch while I waited for better light.

 

 

 Silver-bordered Fritillay Butterflies

 

     After lunch the light wasn't improving any so I decided to try a few shots from the dam set up pin. Finishing the dam shots I thought it would be a good idea to get the equipment set up for the panorama, when clouds covered the sun I'd be ready.

 

 

 Remains of a Portion of the Dam

 

 Same Shot as Above From a Higher Perspective

 

 A Detail of the Remains Of the Pond

 

      By 1:30 P.M. The light was still harsh, but I decided to shoot a panorama series, then see what I could do with it in Lightroom and/or Photoshop. Waited for better light to shoot a second series. The surrounding clouds continued to avoid the bright sun so I shot a second series in the harsh light as a backup. When I finished the second series I shot three images of my panoramic set up.

 

 

Panorama of the Abandoned Beaver Pond in Harsh Light

 

     At 2:30 P.M. the sun was finally covered by a thick cloud. Better light but still not great. Shot the third panorama series of the day.

 

 

 The Abandoned Beaver Pond In Better Light


     I'm considering a detail of one of the pond's dead standing trees, so I shot a few images for consideration. I'd like to shoot the selected tree until it falls. To do a good documentation of the pond's succession I need to designate more detail locations and shoot them year after year.

 

 

 

 

 Details of Dead Standing Timber


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 


 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 washedout 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 were 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.

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 pinseemed to be missing, or was I looking in the wrong place. After poking around somemore I discovered the pin, it's 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 began assembling the panoramic gear and leveling the rotational base. After attaching my camera, 1D Mark ll N with 50mm f 1.4 lens, 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 series anyway. Just as I thought, no good, some portions of some of the images were overexposed.

Now the waiting game began! It took some patience and some clouds covered the sun, allowing me to shoot two good series of images. The last was the one I choose for the 2013 panorama. This year's panorama was shot with a longer length than normal to show the entire beaver meadow.

  

2013 Beaver Pond Panorama

Next I turned my attention to reshooting the stump detail plus three more images of the lower end of the beaver meadow showing the piles of dead timber. I need to return to the meadow later this month to shoot a panorama from the far side of the meadow, plus reshoot more of the detail shots.

Stump Detail


The Broken Dam and Dead Timber


More Dead Timber Just Above the Dam


Beaver Pond Journal 2013 #2

Journal Entry for August 25, 2013 Mary and I were up at 4 A.M. and on the road by 4:30 A.M., destination Moose River Plains Wild Forest and the new beaver meadow that has replaced the 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 quiet, 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 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 taken 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 returned by a different route.                                                       

After a short break I positioned my tripod, then assembled the panoramic gear and shot the beaver meadow. The light was very harsh, lots of contrast. This was going to be a difficult shoot. Put in nearly two hours, shooting the five panorama series as the light continually changed, 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 lunch break, 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 set up pin and shot five more images.

Dam Detail



Two More Dam Images



Timber Detail Images


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. Contiued the drive towards the beaver meadow, eating 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 quite.

It was 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 sereies. The first was the best, although not great. Repacked all my gear and 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 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 edge of The Plains, just beyond the spur road to Lost Ponds, we came across a garter snake sunning itself on the road. Stopped and shot some images of the reptile.


Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sintailis)


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 A.M., made coffee and lunch, then paked our gear in the truck. Pulled out of the driveway ay 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 and to photograph 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. Very quiet, a few songbirds,red squirrels and chipmunks were about, but that was it.

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

The contrast was high, not the best conditions, but we were here, might as well haul down my mountain of gear and get set up. Maybe if I'm lucky the contrast will calm down. Shot the first two sequences under changing light, but I didn"t like any of them.  While waiting for better light I shot a stump detail image. The same as with the panoramics, I used set up pins so I would be able to properly locate my tripod from year to year for detail shots as well.

Finally we got some cloud cover allowing me to shoot a sequence under good light. After repacking the truck we ate our lunch, then began the long drive home. A pretty good day.


2014 Panorama


Stump Detail


Decaying Beaver Lodge and Dead Timber


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 midmorning, 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. In the process I began shooting before I should have and blurred most of the images. 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 t the 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. Mary and I noticed how quiet it was. Passed a few occupied campsites along the way as we enjoyed our midday snack, apple fritters.

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

Set up my panorama gear, then proceeded toshoot 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.

As we headed for home trees at the higher elevations were treating us with a riot of beautiful color. A great day!

 Beaver Meadow Panorama
 Overview of the Lodge and the Area Near the Dam Breach

Decaying Beaver Lodge





Detail Images of Dead Timber


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 traveling the road in the same direction as we were. The bear made a U-turn and headed back towards us. Suddenly the bear's poor eyesight must have come into focusgood enough to see we were something he didn't want anything to do with us and dove into the brush. I hoped to get a photograph, but the bear was too far away and I wasn't set up to quickly use the 600 f4 lens.

Finally we reached the beaver meadow near the terminus of Indian Lake Road. I decided not to shoot another panoramic today. The light was quite harsh and the autumn colors were fading. An acient stump covered with lichen made a good subject. A small limb of a bush was somewhat distracting and I considered doing some "gardening", but decided tro leave it alone.

As we packed up the camera gear and headed back towards the truck we nearly stepped on a wood frog. Stopped and shot a couple images of the frog.  As we began the drive back home I thought of the succession of the beaver pond to a meadow and how slow the change occurs. However the signs of the change are easy to see if you look for them.

Lichen Covered Stump


Wood Frog



Hope you enjoyed my Adirondack Beaver Pond Journal.
If you have any questions, suggestions or would just like to correspond about the beaver pond journal, feel free to contact me using the contact link in the menu. I will respond as quickly as possible. Thanks! 
                                       Bunch
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