I first knew Les from the Amherst Camera Club back in the ‘60’s. I don’t remember when the Amherst Camera Club folded, but the next time I met Les was at one of the Tuesday Tea meetings at the Quabbin Visitor’s Center somewhere around 2013 or so. I then visited him at Sky Meadow frequently and in May 2014 he kindly set up a small blind near his pond so I could get some photographs of the wood ducks that came to the pond just about every afternoon. I came for days, sitting in that tiny blind, shooting away. I was so grateful to Les for that opportunity as I never would have gotten shots like this one of those skittish wood ducks otherwise.
Wood Duck Pair on Les’s Pond
As the years passed since, after about 50 years, my reconnection with Les, I visited him often. Sometimes just talking photography or catching up on things or, if the Red Sox or Patriots were playing, I would join him in watching the game. Occasionally he would have a hummingbird feeder-set-up outside an open window and he would talk me through getting shots of the beauties as they zipped in to the feeder and out again before I could blink. We had many pleasant times sitting on his porch. Sometimes just sitting and enjoying the place (how he loved Sky Meadow), other times with me trying to photograph the birds coming to his feeders, and Les watching and giving me tips. I still remember his excitement when I was there and the bear came around. He was so anxious for me to get a picture (I did). I will miss these times with Les very much. Les was very welcoming to me as he was to everyone, and I frequently wandered around his land taking pictures of this and that. His garden with irises and peonies was slowly being taken over by various wild things, but the colors were still beautiful and, to me, the uninvited greenery added to the beauty.
Les always liked to see what new photographs I had taken and always made helpful comments about them. I think he also enjoyed seeing, through my camera lens, things he could no longer get out to see. He especially liked seeing the photographs of the eagles I had been photographing in the spring of 2020. Frequently a scene, some flower, or wildlife I manage to capture will make me think of him.
Les on Quabbin former residents boat tour 2015