Water Closet for November 24, 2017

  [pullquote] “The results of such persistence over the years have provided us with many fine pictures of hard-to-capture wildlife”[/pullquote]    Last week photographs from around the watershed were exhibited at the Ipswich River Watershed Association’s (IRWA) lovely headquarters, “Riverbend.” This eyrie on a pine covered bluff above where the Miles River up from the south joins the Ipswich was a perfect place for an exhibit by a dozen of photographers showing some of their  best photos from the watershed.  Judy Schneider, Pam Hartman, Elaine Gauthier, and Donna Bambury, four photographers from the Middleton Stream Team, whose photos have graced our Water Closet columns and MST bulletin board in the Middleton Post Office for years, participated. So did the locally famous salt marsh photographer Dorothy Monnelly whose large entry was in her trademark black and white. She has been dubbed by some as the Ansel Adams of our salt marshes. Adams dramatized the already huge and majestic.   Monnelly raises the low profiles of estuaries to new heights. Suzanne Sullivan, upriver champion from Reading, exhibited a striking sunset which glowed on metal impregnated paper.

Valley off Middleton Pond the morning after a wet snow storm. – Pam Hartman photo, IRWA show

      Hartman, a world traveler and prize-winning photographer, showed many of her snowy photos of winter scenes around Middleton Pond taken this past decade. We fans of snow and ice hope for more after storms and cold weather this winter.

Close up of shimmering water reflecting light filtered through pine boughs above. – Elaine Gauthier photo, IRWA show

Gauthier recognizes and captures lights we can’t begin to describe.   She surprises as in one photo of shimmering water reflecting light filtered down through the pines above Middleton Pond. No one we know had seen such an abstract photo of water before. The old Closeteer now proudly hangs it on his wall.  Last winter after a wet snowstorm a spectacular sunset had everything glowing pink.  Gauthier rushed from her house to the wide floodplain at Farnsworth landing and captured many views.  Asked about doctoring the colors she said “no” which we who remembered the storm and evening can confirm. We too had admired the unusual scenes but hadn’t the sense of timing and gumption to capture and share. 

Fall mosaic by Mother Nature on water canvas. – Judy Schneider photo, IRWA show

        Schneider, a director on the IRWA board and vice president of the Stream Team, has been taking wondrous shots of her river, its tributaries and wetlands for a decade.  Water Closet readers have seen scores of her photographs here.  Hers are often very artistic in subject matter, composition and color. She had a couple beauties at the Riverbend show.

First light on Ipswich River, day of 2017 summer solstice. The sun evaporates the early morning mist. – Donna Bambury photo, IRWA show

         Bambury, owner and trainer of sheep dogs, likes other animals too.  With a good camera and better eyes she stalks insects, amphibians, birds and mammals. If she fails to get a good shot she returns repeatedly to the spot where sighted.

Spider webs catching early morning light grace the Ipswich River. – Donna Bambury photo, IRWA show

The results of such persistence over the years have provided us with many fine pictures of hard-to-capture wildlife.  Audubon used to shoot his subjects and wire them in poses. Donna’s camera is much easier on its subjects. With digital images our Stream Teamers leave no loud noises or lead ridden trees behind. 

Middleton Pond after a snow storm greets the morning sun. – Pam Hartman photo, IRWA show

      Schneider, Bambury, Hartman, and Gauthier have become the team’s “Four Phototeers.” In the last couple years they’ve taken classes and gone on numerous field trips together. Their quests have produced pictures that make Stream Teamers and Watershedders proud and in some cases inspired.  We hope someday to see a Four Phototeers’ album on coffee tables and libraries throughout the watershed and beyond.

A stick rising from the fast flowing Ipswich River plays whimsically with water and light. – Elaine Gauthier photo, IRWA show

     While you are waiting for such a gift visit the foyer at the Middleton Post Office and Santander Bank to see the Stream Team’s exhibits in its large display cabinet.  After January it will feature the winning 2017 entries to the team’s annual photo contest.

Note: Past years’ Water Closet columns and photo contest entries are available at this team’s website: Middletonstream.org




  Precipitation Data* for Month of:  Aug Sept Oct Nov
  30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches 3.37 3.37 4.44 4.55
   2017 Central Watershed Actual  1.22 2.44 4.03 1.2

 Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):

 For Nov 17, 2017  Normal . . . 43 CFS              Current Rate  . . .23.1 CFS


 *Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru Sept.

** Middleton Stream Team is the source of actual precipitation data for Oct and Nov.

Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.

 THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or          <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com>