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An Eye for Art: Taneytown's Linda Heine has honed her love for birds into serious artistic hobby

An Eye for Art: Taneytown's Linda Heine has honed her love for birds into serious artistic hobby
Taneytown's Linda Heine is an amateur bird photographer who does yearly calendars among other artistic projects. (Courtesy photo)

Linda Heine is a local amateur bird photographer from Taneytown. Heine began taking photographs with her cell phone in 2015. She began to take photographs of Bald Eagles at Codorus State Park in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The word "bald" comes from the old English "balde" meaning white. But Heine noticed that the large birds only looked like small dots in her cell phone photographs.

As a result, she purchased a 300-mm lens for a digital Canon camera to take better photographs. Shortly thereafter, Heine bought a 600-mm lens, so she could get even closer and take clearer shots of the birds.

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She often stayed for five or six hours in the park and did not see an eagle, so Heine took an interest in the smaller birds, as well. Her next two favorites are hawks of all kinds and the Great Blue Heron. As far as smaller birds are concerned, Heine especially likes chickadees, cardinals, wrens, and warblers.

"I love the birds and have developed a whole new world by watching them," she said. "It is very relaxing to watch and take pictures of the birds. At Codorus, there is Lake Marburg. There is the sky, water, land and me. It is the most relaxing thing you can do."

She has taken friends there who say it is more relaxing than the beach at Ocean City. She has also bonded with a group of people she met at Codorus State Park. They all became friends and over a period of time as they progressed, most bought better lens for their cameras.

Karen Lippy, the woman who first showed Heine the eagles on her telescope, has been a volunteer at the park for 30 years. Heine has learned the most about the birds from her. Depending on the time of year, Heine goes to different parts of the park to see the nest better. Since Lippy often wears a feather in her wide brimmed hat, the group of photographers that follow her have been nicknamed the "tribe."

According to Heine, there are many bird types that have relationships with each other. For instance, the eagles mate for life. On hdontap.com, there is a camera on the eagles' nest 24/7. Everyone can watch the family life of the eagle up close with audio and video. It is a provided by Comcast, HD on TAP and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

People in 129 countries watch the camera, but it goes off in late June when the babies fledge (fly off). The people who are still in the park, called the tribe (or ground crew), who are taking photographs on a regular basis, post photographs of the birds on Facebook Hanover pa eagle cam site, as the birds are seen in other areas of the park. This gives the Hanover Codorus Eagle watchers around the world the chance to still see them. In addition to posting the photographs, the group also posts stories about what they saw that day in Codorus State Park.

The camera goes back on at the beginning of the year when the eagles start adding to their nests.

Heine often sees eagles fly by with bedding grasses or sticks and branches for their nests. The eggs are usually laid in mid-February, then hatch in late March. The camera is on "live" the entire time. The first egg laid for 2018 is on view now.

"To see it on the camera, and then to see these same eagles at the park, gives me chills. Where else can you see a family of eagles and their relationships?" she said.

Heine also goes to Roberts Mill Park in Taneytown for photography opportunities as well as the skating rink park, the Rainbow, just outside Taneytown.

She also likes to go to a friend's private property where there are many opportunities to photograph birds as well as her own back yard.

"If I do not have a lot of time I just sit in my yard to take pictures," she said.

Heine was in the Codorus "Blast" festival wildlife division photography contest and won first place in 2016 for a photograph of a bluebird who had just dropped a berry.

"You can see the berry and he does not look happy that he dropped it, "Heine said.

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She does not sell her photographs.

"It gives me a lot of joy to give them away," Heine said.

She also has three photo albums of 200 photographs each and she is half way through filling the third one. They are placed in the album in the order that they were taken. Heine also puts the name of the bird beside the photograph.

Heine began to take a bird woodcarving class in 2016 from Bernice Culver in Taneytown. The class is small. She did not have any wood carving skills when she started.

"Culver is such a fantastic teacher that I was able to carve and paint a fairly decent chickadee the first time," Heine said. It takes them from fall to spring to finish one bird because the carvings are so detailed. The class is currently working on carving an Atlantic Puffin.

"I love the eagles the most, but I do close-ups best of the little birds," Heine said. "There is nothing like being there to take their photographs."

In 2017, Heine created a calendar with her bird photographs for each month. 150 calendars were sold for benefit of "Caring and Sharing Ministry," a nonprofit organization.

The 2019 calendar will come out in July. Heine can be reached at Linda.Heine@gmail.com or calendars can be purchased at the Taneytown City Office or the Red Door Boutique.



Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmos Art in Westminster. Her column appears on the first and third Thursday of each month.

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