Island Grazing: Neoteny, Goats, and Spring on Martha’s Vineyard

Surely there is no cuter harbinger of spring than a baby goat. Despite the coating of snow and ice still covering all surfaces, the possibility of spring took shape yesterday morning when I had the chance to visit Island Grazing‘s goats to photograph their new kids.

The trouble with goats is that they’re goats – up for adventure.

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Neoteny is a complex phenomenon that explains why a baby goat can both stand within the hour of its birth and also be so ridiculously cute that I want to smuggle one home and keep it a kid forever. Those big eyes! Those little noses! Those soft and fuzzy faces! That gamboling curiosity!

martha's vineyard wedding photographer, baby goats

martha's vineyard photography, springtime goats

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martha's vineyard wedding photographer, goat photographer

I had no idea when I arrived that I would be in for a surprise appearance, but this doe went in to labor while I was there (here she is at the start of it).

martha's vineyard photography, rebecca brown consulting goat

And for the duration – what seemed to me to be no more than twenty minutes total of restrained huffing from the first poke of a tiny goat hoof to the emergence of the slick, bleating quiver that was a new goat.

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Here she is, all cleaned up!

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Instinct at work, she finds food at last.

martha's vineyard family pictures, island grazing goats

When I finally pulled myself away from the magical morning, this goat was about to start labor too:

martha's vineyard wedding photographer, newborn goat

I never anticipated that my first birth shoot would be for a goat, but the experience was profound to this not-quite-city-girl, never watched a birth except my own (soundless video thereof – a surreal experience itself, for other reasons) girl. I didn’t smuggle a kid home after all, but only just.


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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Still Frozen

Some collected scenes from February’s deep freeze month.

After the storm, light through ice left behind. I love this photo, if not the frozen fingers it took to get.

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Off-season on Martha’s Vineyard still holds beauty in its bleakness. And no permit needed for private beaches.

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Morning at Edgartown Harbor: gulls wheeling over the ice.

martha's vineyard photography, edgartown harbor

I’ve never seen the outer harbor frozen like this. I wouldn’t cross it, but it did cross the harbor.

family pictures martha's vineyard, edgartown lighthouse

When I saw my shadow in the snow, I had to take a second shadow self-portrait…

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…to compare to my original shadow self-portrait – this one in a New Mexico river from a warm summer day. If it looks familiar, it’s because this photo became my logo.

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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Thawing Sunday

After the rain and a temperature jump, scenes of fog and thaw amongst still present ice. The impossible seam of sea and sky before the bright band of sunset.

Ocean Park, upside down.

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Ice breaker boat.

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Sea wall balancing for ice bergs still balancing.

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The SSA Martha’s Vineyard floats in to the fog.

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Darkness falling.

vineyard photography

Sunset between the Chops.

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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Calm Harbor Edgartown

Whenever the question is whether to stay cozy in my warm bed on the first day of school vacation or to go out before sunrise in the 2 degree weather, the answer is always: put your flannel-lined jeans on over your pajamas, grab your camera, and go.

Still chilly, but a perfectly calm morning down at Memorial Wharf.

edgartown lighthouse sunrise, fine art prints martha's vineyard

edgartown lighthouse sunrise, fine art prints martha's vineyard

edgartown lighthouse sunrise, fine art prints martha's vineyard

edgartown lighthouse sunrise, fine art prints martha's vineyard

edgartown lighthouse sunrise, fine art prints martha's vineyard


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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Post-blizzard, post-Valentine’s, Martha’s Vineyard

Early morning, in a lull in the storm, high tide at the Edgartown Lighthouse.

martha's vineyard family pictures

After a day cooped up inside, we shoveled ourselves out and took a drive.  The snow had stopped, the sun was out, but the wind was still blowing.

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Sun, going down. Beach, clear.

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martha's vineyard sunset


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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Sub-zero bubble fun

I’ve been watching the weather forecast for a few weeks now, waiting for conditions to be just right: no work, no wind, and icy temps.  This morning fit the bill and these are my first attempt at photographing frozen bubbles.  With patience and icicles for fingers, I was eventually rewarded.

martha's vineyard family pictures

martha's vineyard family pictures

martha's vineyard family pictures

martha's vineyard family pictures

martha's vineyard family pictures


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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Blizzard

When I ventured out today in the still-blowing, still-falling snow for some cell phone pictures, I found mostly drifts of all shapes and sizes:
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This has always been my favorite house on the block…
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Main Street, Edgartown:
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My mother:
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Last view before turning home.
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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.

Heron

I scared up a great blue heron on a recent walk with the dogs and so, determined to return without dogs and with camera, I walked back to the same spot this afternoon. I very nearly missed this guy (or girl) until I was just ten feet away.

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 Harassed to flight by the shutter.

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 A better hiding spot:

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I tried to track the heron to the far shore, but no luck finding great blue again.  So, I headed out to South Beach for the sunset because old tricks are new to me and I need to try them for myself. New toy #2.

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Vineyard Photographer, AKA Maria, Writing with Light, AKA Maria Thibodeau is a family and portrait photographer on Martha’s Vineyard.