Sunday, December 06, 2020

The crows return to Middletown

 Every winter thousands of crows return to Middletown, N.Y. And every winter I try to find and photograph them. In the past, the crows would roost in downtown Middletown. The city would play recordings of crows in distress and shine green lasers at the birds to get them to leave.

That seems to have worked. For the past few years, the crows have been roosting in the Town of Wallkill. After feeding in the countryside all day, they return to the the Middletown/Town of Wallkill area late each afternoon.

The first place I spotted the birds was Randall Airport. They gather here in a staging area before heading to the roosting site.

The birds roost off Route 211 near some of the shopping areas. The theory is that the crows like to roost in lighted areas so they can see any predators, like owls. The birds were perched on a store before heading to the trees to roost.

The crows then gathered in the trees along Route 211.

That's Saturn and Jupiter shining in the background, below.

You can see these and many more crow photos on my website.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Storm chasing

So I tried to do a little storm chasing on Saturday afternoon. The forecast was ominous, the sky was dark and I could hear thunder in the distance.
I headed toward the storm. My goal was to get dramatic photos before the rain started. The Black Dirt area is very flat and wide open, so I thought I'd try there first. This photo was taken on Onion Avenue as the rain started to fall. The storm was moving from right to left across the frame.

I drove away from this location to get away from the rain. Looking west, the view was thunder clouds in the distance.

The rain seemed to be moving away, so I returned to the first wide-open location. Here's a wide-angle shot of farm fields with rain in the distance. The sky was brightening, as you can see on the right side of the image.

Hoping for a break of sun that would produce a rainbow, I headed for higher ground. The sun appeared, but no rainbow. Here are two photos looking toward the Pine Island area.

I drove toward Warwick in search of a rainbow, but found nothing. Driving back to Middletown, I noticed more storm clouds to the west. Maybe I'd get a second chance.

Dark clouds moved across the sky, but there was no rain and I didn't see any lightning. The photo above and the photo below were taken by Randall Airport.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Saturday night flights

Warmer weather brought me to Randall Airport recently. While raking leftover leaves in front of my house, I could see planes towing gliders into the sky and decided to make the short drive to the airport.

I did not have to wait long to get pictures of  a plane and glider taking off.


Glider at Randall Airport in Middletown, N.Y.

This pilot flew low over the airport before coming in for a landing.

Single-engine airplane over Randall Airport

I saw this ultralight flying from by house. But when I got to the airport the pilot was finished flying and just lifted a few feet off the runway once or twice.

Ultralight aircraft at Randall Airport
A hot air balloon crew had started to set up on the side of the airport. But they waited a while, I think for the winds to die down, before inflating the balloon.

The photograph I really wanted to get was the balloon and the moon, which was in the eastern sky.
The problem was that I was so close to the balloon that I had to use a wide angle lens. A telephoto lens would have made the moon larger in the frame.The first photo below is with a wide angle. The second and third photos are with a longer zoom lens.

Here's a slideshow of more photos from the airport that evening:

Saturday night flights - Images by Tom Bushey

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wallkill River Ice

Like almost everyone else in the northeast, I'm getting  a little tired of all the extreme cold weather this winter. But I also decided to take advantage of the cold and get some photographs of ice on the Wallkill River at Benedict Farm in Montgomery, N.Y.

A couple of  weeks ago I stopped there on one of the few relatively warm days we've had in January. Although ice still covered the river, the park was covered in fog.
Last week the scene was completely different. Instead of dealing with light rain and clouds, I was facing bright sunshine and temperatures in the single digits. Blocks of ice were piled up on the river banks in some areas. And the smooth surface of  ice was interrupted in places with jagged pieces.

Here's an overall look at ice on the shore with the river in the background. I used a wide angle lens to take this picture.

After shooting many photos from right next to the blocks with my wide angle, I backed up a bit and switched to a telephoto lens.

Here's another shot with the longer lens.

 For the next photo I moved behind the blocks of ice for a detail shot.

 All of the photographs so far were taken fairly close to where I parked my car. Next I decide to take a walk along the river toward the back of the park, an area I had never checked out. Walking helped me stay warm, but I did not find that many spots along the river to take photos. I was, however, rewarded with the photo of the bald eagle at right. I heard the cries of hawks, and I had seen hawks at Benedict Farm before. But this was my first time seeing an eagle there.
On my way back to the parking area the sun was lower in the sky. The shards of ice were now more backlit, which made for more interesting pictures.

Here's a slideshow with these images and more:

Wallkill River Ice - Images by Tom Bushey

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Friday night flights

Friday night flights of gliders, hang gliders and ultralights at Randall Airport had been on my list of things to photograph for the Times Herald-Record for a long time. Friday is my day to work late, starting at 1 p.m., but I usually have assignments to shoot that evening.

A few weeks ago I was finished with my other assignments by 6 p.m. and headed to the airport to see if any balloons were preparing to take off. I saw no balloons but I did notice one ultralight coming in for a landing.

 Luckily for me, the ultralight was preparing to tow another tandem hang glider into the sky. He actually towed the hang glider four times, which allowed me to figure out how to get the pictures  I wanted.

My later photos were also helped by a beautiful sunset. I really like the scale of the ultralight in this picture:

Finally, here a picture of the hang glider approaching the airport.

The images above and others were published in a photo gallery at The Times Herald-Record also published four of  the photos on Aug., 28, 2013.

 In case you're interested in taking a flight, the tandem hang glider rides at Randall Airport are offered by Hangar 3.

Friday, November 16, 2012


These lyrics by Carole King from "Up on the Roof"  describe how I feel about climbing Schunnemunk Mountain.
When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space

Lately I've been hiking the Trestle Trail by the Moodna Viaduct in Salisbury Mills. The area is part of Schunnemunk Mountain State Park. The summit of Schunnemunk, at 1,664 feet, is the highest spot in Orange County, so you could call Schunnemunk Mountain the roof of Orange County.

The trail is steep, especially once you climb past the train trestle, but the views are beautiful. Last Sunday was warm for November, and the afternoon light made for nice photographs.
 Here's a are a few views from the climb:

On the way back down the mountain I stopped at another spot with a great view and a wooden bench. The bench has a plaque: "In memory of Sharon Guilfoyle". There were roses on the bench, probably placed their on  Oct. 22, the anniversary of her death.

The bench has been at the spot just off the trail for years. But I discovered another memorial nearby for the first time. What I first thought was just a pile of wood was a remembrance for deceased pets. A small plaque on a tree read::" DEDICATED TO: The Animals Who Share The Trail & Life With Us."

Here's a slideshow of these and other photos from my hike:

2012 November Schunnemunk Mountain Hike - Images by Tom Bushey