<![CDATA[april allyson abel - Blog]]>Fri, 04 Mar 2016 06:09:32 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Swans, Sunrises, and Sweet Surprises]]>Wed, 15 Jan 2014 20:04:44 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/swans-sunrises-and-sweet-surprisesPicture
It's been a busy few months. In that time I have been published in Delaware Beach Life Magazine three consecutive months and am looking forward to seeing a story and photos I did for Outdoor Delaware Magazine which will appear in their Winter edition. 

I have photographed the changing seasons, the various migrating birds, the winter landscape as it sleeps its way towards spring. I was lucky enough the other day to see one of the several Snowy Owls that have been frequenting this area.

This morning, I went out into the January fog to see the sunrise and then photograph a colony of swans. The sunrise was shrouded in fog, which gave it a warm rosy-sienna look through the trees. 

I waited on the banks of a lake while the swans came awake, stretching their wings; cooing and nodding to each other. The sound swans make is softer than that of geese or ducks. When they first take flight, their powerful wings sound like applause in a concert hall. It is at once exhilarating and humbling to see them make their way into the sky for the day, and even more exciting when they circle the lake and fly just overhead, wings softly whirring, snow-white against the blue morning sky. 

Mornings and evenings I go out to photograph. In between, I am editing my work and working to get it out into the marketplace. Driving home this morning, I thought to myself, "I gather as much as I can of the beauty I see, bring it home and then share central Delaware with as many people as I can." 
It's what I was meant to do. I know it. 
Happy New Year. 

<![CDATA[Good things take time]]>Fri, 15 Nov 2013 20:38:54 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/good-things-take-timePicture
   Most of you who have visited here before know that I began photographing only a few years ago. Yesterday was a bit of a watershed moment for me. I opened the pages of Delaware Beach Life Magazine to see one of my favorite images printed fully across two pages, illustrating a story about a place very dear to me, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. It's the first time my photographs have been published this way, and I admit the rich colors of the glossy paper made me smile. Mary Ann Benyo's story and my images came together even better than I had hoped... She and I both share a deep love of coastal Delaware and its marshes. 
I have spent many mornings on that marsh, alone in the stillness, or thrilling to the sounds and sights of hundreds of birds. I have seen many beautiful sunrises and stunning wildlife. 
The chance to share my photographs of a place that I have come to know so well has been a dream for some time, but today it's real. 
   This morning I was on Prime Hook again, watching the herons silently stalk their prey. A red-shouldered hawk flew over me, so close I could see every detail on its belly. These are the moments I live for. I've spent the last several years observing and photographing Prime Hook, and now some of that work is being published. 
   I recall the stinging wind on my face that bitter cold morning that I took this photograph. I had hiked out before dawn in 21-degree weather to see the snow geese. My fingers were so numb by the time I was getting the shot I could barely feel the shutter release. And then the sun peeked through. Nearly a quarter million birds rose in a rush of wings and sound. I knew right then that it was a magical shot, one I would remember for a very long time.           Yes. Good things take time. And it was worth the wait. 

<![CDATA[Milford is my home]]>Wed, 19 Jun 2013 00:40:48 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/milford-is-my-home
Last week in response to a request for some photographs of downtown Milford, I took a walk along our Riverwalk in town at dawn. I saw it in a way I hadn't before in the five years I have lived here. The photos I shot that morning became a photo story in our local online news, Milford Review. Here's the link: Local Photography Captures Milford's Beauty
I am blessed and lucky to live in a place that offers such rich opportunity for photography. It gives me such pleasure to share it. The creator of the Riverwalk, Gary Emory, sent me this message:
"April, I am the creator and originator of the Mispillion Riverwalk. It does my heart good to see someone with your talents and sentiment embrace this prestigious landmark for the citizens of Milford. For the past 30 years this project has been a labor of love, thanks for showcasing it in a most remarkable way. My hat is off to you. Gary Emory, Director Milford Parks and Recreation Department."
I'd dare say that was the finest compliment I have gotten in a long time. I'll treasure Gary's words and the memory of that sunrise walk in my hometown. 
<![CDATA[Getting it Right]]>Tue, 21 May 2013 17:46:32 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/getting-it-rightPictureEastern Box Turtle
One of my favorite teachers shared something with me which I am just now living into... "If you don't like the look of your pictures, maybe you are not close enough..." 

So, this week I have been pursuing close-in, tack-sharp images to build my skills. Not always easy with skittish wildlife, but some of the creatures of the marsh have patiently waited for clumsy me, and rewarded me with some decent images. 

Yesterday I managed to click the shutter just as a Great Blue Heron was about to toss back the fish that was in its mouth. Part skill, mostly luck. What it teaches me is that not every day will be a good day, and some of them will be stinko. But most of them will surprise me with something beautiful if I just wait long enough. 

The Italian word for patience is "Pazienza." Ponder it. 

<![CDATA[Discovering Peace (and Wildlife) on the Marsh at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge]]>Wed, 08 May 2013 23:26:01 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/may-08th-2013Picture
Double Snowy Egrets, Prime Hook NWR
I’m out photographing on Prime Hook Road almost every morning, and many evenings in spring and summer. It’s a journey that began in earnest about a year ago. I had made a commitment to myself to practice my photography daily in an effort to build my image library and my skills.

What I didn’t know at the time was the profound effect the marsh would have on me, the solace it would bring. It became a spiritual discipline of sorts; even more so after observing a full year of changing seasons and conditions. The marsh can teach a lot about life: Patience, renewal, harsh conditions, and quiet reflection.

Being there nearly every day. Seeing the sunrises that transform Prime Hook from the inky, blue-black pre-dawn sky to a banded vermilion sunrise. The hush of the minutes just before dawn when even the birds are not yet awake. The deep silence of fog that shrouds the water and the herons in silvery blue light. All of these have been deeply moving and inspiring to me both as an artist and as a woman.

Now as then, I see and photograph colors that don’t seem possible. Reflections of orange sky on the water leave me mesmerized and moved. The full moon rising over the marsh, and setting softly the next morning, perfectly reflected in the glassy surface of the water.

The quiet and beauty are just what I need. I have also been on Prime Hook when the wind blows so ferociously that the sand stings like tiny needles.

I’ve watched exhausted waterfowl look shell-shocked the day after storms. I have seen the road flood out, and I have witnessed the battalions of heavy equipment and people from DelDot restore it to passable conditions. An expensive miracle of hard work and engineering that I am grateful for with every visit.

When the inevitable storms come, I’ve worried about the residents of Prime Hook: avian, animal and human. Last spring I saw an osprey whose nest had been destroyed the day before in a fierce windstorm, sitting in the tree where its nest used to be. The osprey was calling out pitifully. It was one of the most mournful and haunting things I have ever heard.

The day before Hurricane Sandy, I drove down to photograph Prime Hook, aware that the storm would batter it pretty hard. I was blinking back tears as I left the marsh and headed home to Milford. But in spite of the hurricane, the marsh survives.

Just yesterday, I photographed an osprey standing on the Prime Hook Road, enjoying its fresh fish breakfast with greedy gusto. The bird was happily distracted and I was treated to a rare close-up view and a photograph.

Today, I saw all kinds of wading shorebirds, and saw that the black skimmers were back for the first time this season. Every time I go to Prime Hook, I see something different, and I am changed just a bit for the better. 

<![CDATA[Signs of Life ]]>Sun, 10 Feb 2013 18:20:43 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/signs-of-lifePicture
Red-Winged Blackbird, near Fowler Beach, DE
Today, I rose early to drive the twenty minutes from home to one of my favorite places, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The early morning sun lit the marsh with rosy gold, and there were many birds actively feeding. Several kinds of ducks, dabbling for breakfast. Herring gulls trying to snatch a fish or crab from the semi-frozen marsh. Willets scuttling along, looking for a meal. I spent a few hours observing and photographing, moving from Prime Hook to Fowler Beach. 
The Red-Winged Blackbird seen at left serenaded me for several minutes, showing off his scarlet and yellow epaulets,  fanning out his wings. I've missed their songs over this winter. The bustle of activity, and the slight reddish cast to the river birch twigs tell me that spring is coming, in spite of the mid-twenties on the marsh this morning. I left the marsh with lots of images and a deep sense of peace and gratitude for this place I call home. The beauty of central Delaware and the wildlife here inspire me and bring me out, even in the cold and wind to see the first glimpses of spring to come. 

<![CDATA[Home again...]]>Sat, 13 Oct 2012 17:58:08 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/home-againPicture
   Albuquerque was everything I hoped for and more. Incredible sights at the Balloon Fiesta...clear, pure desert light, endless vistas. The second morning I was there, we arrived at the field at five in the morning. Blue light of dawn gave way to sunrise as hundreds of balloons began their ascent. My heart went with them. 
   There are few words to describe the feeling of watching these giants come to life and lift off, floating peacefully in the sky. The glow against the dawn is perhaps most awe-inspiring. 
   Later in my week, I visited Acoma Sky City, and found a warm welcome there among the Acoma people. The views as we descended a centuries-old "staircase" were breathtaking. 
   Then it was on to Santa Fe to tour world-class galleries, with a side trip to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. Marvelous memories and a wish to go back very soon....

Lydia Lawson, my friend and NM host, encourages me down the steep staircase descending from Acoma Sky City.
<![CDATA[The Autumn Leaves...]]>Fri, 05 Oct 2012 01:24:57 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/the-autumn-leavesSummer's gone. Tomorrow I head for Albuquerque, New Mexico to shoot the International Balloon Fiesta. A good friend will be my host and tour guide. In the past few weeks I have watched as the sun rises later and sets sooner. The prolific population of birds on the marsh has dwindled as autumn bores into its place. 

This week I found out that I won first place for photography and a nice cash prize for  "Mispillion Sunrise," a lovely piece I shot earlier this summer. It has been a summer that turned out exactly as I had hoped... full of early morning light and glowing sunsets, with some exciting wildlife and  botanicals in between. My goal was to shoot as much and as often as I could, and I came away with a few thousand images that I will polish over the winter months. The Prime Hook  and Bombay Hook photo contests are ahead, and I will also be part of a pop-up show in November with four other artists on display in Anne Jenkins' Gallery in Milford. Be sure to look me up. I will be looking for you! 

<![CDATA[Where has the time gone?¬†]]>Tue, 21 Aug 2012 00:21:48 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/where-has-the-time-goneIn May, I set out to work intensively on my image library and my techniques. It has been an incredible summer, full of learning and seeing in new ways. Sunrises, birds, perfect beauty of nature. I feel blessed and lucky to have been able to take the time to capture some of it. In coming days and weeks, I will be adding new images to this site and would welcome requests for prints. Please contact me at aprilabel7@comcast.net for further information and ordering details. 
Vermilion Sunrise, Prime Hook NWR, 8.19.12
<![CDATA[Memorial Day Sunrise]]>Mon, 28 May 2012 15:07:54 GMThttp://www.aprilallysonabel.com/blog/memorial-day-sunrisePicture
Sunrise 5:40 a.m. near Mispillion Inlet, Milford DE
The true beauty of central Delaware's salt marshes and beaches is never more evident than right now, with birds actively nesting and busily feeding. I took some time this morning at a beach near home to enjoy the sunrise and photograph some shorebirds. Wonderful way to spend a warm early summer morning. This week has yielded some new bird images for me: Black Skimmers, Black-Necked Stilt, Black-Bellied Plovers. I am a novice birder, grateful for kind souls who help me learn the names of these beautiful birds. I'll be posting some of the birds later this week. Please come back and visit!