Room With a View

It’s been a while, partly due to lack of inspiration; I’ve taken quite a few photos over the last eight months, but none really spoke to me once I pulled them off the camera and looked.  I’ve also been hiking over familiar trails a lot recently, and the lack of novelty was a factor as well.

I was hiking through a conservation area in Brewster, Mass., last weekend when I came across this box on a tree overlooking a pond.  I’ve seen similar boxes before, but the run-down appearance, the view over the pond, and the way the leaves bracketed it all drew my eye,

I’d thought at first that it was a bat box, but a little research showed that it was all wrong for that. Rather, it was a birdhouse (a.k.a., nest box), intended to encourage some kind of bird to nest there.

Exactly what kind of bird isn’t clear.  Without knowing the size or placement of the entry hole (which I couldn’t see from land) there is a wide range of birds it might have been designed for, from bluebirds to small owls,

Whatever it was, it wouldn’t be in use now, with the bottom rotted open. That’s partly due to the flat roof (bird house roofs should be pitched to shed rain and snow). It also appears to lack drain holes in the floor, which would have shortened its life.

A birdhouse replicates a natural cavity between branches or inside a partially-rotted tree, a favored location for protected nest construction. Birds are particular, so depending on how one is constructed it will likely be suitable for one or a few species. They’re a way to compensate for limited habitat, by increasing the number of birds nesting in an area, and the survival rate of young birds.

I like this photo for the way the box fits into the scene: obviously artificial, yet almost natural. The moss growing on it, and the worn character of the wood enhances that feeling.

This image is, as usual, an HDR assembled from a bracket of five photos taken at one EV offsets. In this case the bracket was centered at 1/200th-second, at f/11 and ISO 1,600. I used my 24-105 zoom, all the way out. A circular polarizing filter was used.  In the HDR software, I used the “deep 2” preset, mainly to increase the saturation on the leaves, although it also boosted contrast to bring out the grain of the wood and the tree bark.


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