Posts Tagged ‘maine’

IN THE FIELD: Memories

March 26, 2014 20 comments

lrdhphotosite_101987_25 A few months ago we moved into our new home and have been periodically unpacking the few remaining boxes of stuff we have accumulated over the years. I was storing my countless boxes of slides from long ago and came across several that were tagged Maine photos. Well…I just had to take a quick peek. I found shots of boats, gardens, scenics, and probably my all-time favorite photo from that time in my life. It’s not the best photo I have taken, but it sure brings back a flood of wonderful memories.

Here is the story behind the photo in this post. My wife and I were camping for a few weeks on Mount Desert Island in Maine. We spent most of our time exploring the area on foot and by car.

Backtracking a bit…before we left on our trip I asked my Mom where the lobster pound she and my father had taken our family to for dinner one night when we were just little kids. And from what my Mom could remember, it may have been in Bernard Maine, Southwest Harbor, or maybe even Bass Harbor. Or somewhere in that general vicinity. The lobster pound was a place named “Black’s”.

Now, back to the camping trip. One evening we took a break from cooking over a campfire and went on a quest to find the lobster pound named “Black’s”. Rather than looking in a local phone book for the address like most folks would have done…yes back then there where phone books in roadside phone booths… we aimlessly drove around the countryside looking for this dining establishment named Black’s.

As we came around a bend in the road, we saw the gentleman in the photo standing near one of the many docks in the area. I pulled over and we got out of the car to ask him if he knew where Black’s was located. I mentioned I had been there as a young boy and wanted to take my wife there to experience a fresh out of the water lobster meal.

Well, much to our dismay, the man told us Black’s was closed for the season. Slumped shoulders ensued. Then he said, “if you’re looking for lobsters, mine are coming in on that boat right now. You are welcome to come over to my place and my wife and I will fix you dinner.”

That was an offer we just couldn’t refuse. We followed him over to his restaurant/diner/cafe/one room eating establishment. As he turned up the fire on the big steamer that was outside, we headed inside to place our order. We were greeted by the man’s wife and after some chit-chat she made some recommendations for our meal. We decided on the same meal for each of us. One lobster, along with an ear of fresh steamed corn, one dozen mussels and one dozen clams. Plus two cold beers each. After hiking all day we figured all that should fill us up. The lady then suggested to us to have the best seat in the house. The picnic table out on the front porch. So that’s where we headed.

We sat down at the table and our host brought out a cold beer for each of us. Shortly after that she brought out the feast. After a few minutes of splurging on fresh seafood dipped in warm butter, the man and his wife, along with their cat sat down to join us. We shared many stories, laughed a lot…it’s good for the digestion…and just had a grand time together. We may not have found “Blacks” that day, but we sure did find a gem!


IN THE FIELD: Tranquil Waters

July 25, 2012 32 comments

It’s mid-week, time to slow down the hectic pace, take a deep breath and relax.

The photo is of Blue Hill Bay, Maine, in the morning.

IN THE FIELD: Yup, Got Wet

July 23, 2012 24 comments

I love the movement that is captured when photographing waves. Especially waves crashing against rock outcroppings or jetties. Whenever I am in a place where the surf is especially active, I like to sit down on a good rock and just listen and watch. The sound and movement is mesmerizing. I will then get the camera out and scout for a good location to capture the power of the sea.

Getting close to the action can yield spectacular images. When using a short or wide angle lens versus a telephoto or zoom lens, it’s a good idea to have a spotter nearby to alert you of a rogue wave. While waves tend to follow a pattern, there is always a chance one wave will be larger and more forceful than previous waves in the series. You don’t want to be caught off guard and lose your footing and take a tumble, and have your equipment getting swept out to sea.

Timing is another aspect that needs to be considered. Use a fast shutter speed if you want to stop the action of the waves. In order to capture the perfect moment in time, I set my camera to fire a burst of shots. If you are shooting on a sunny day, and want the water to have a silky appearance, using a neutral density filter or a polarizing filter will restrict the amount of light through the lens, which in turn can help achieve a slower shutter speed.

This photo was taken hand-held at the water’s edge of Schoodic Point, Maine. While I was shooting a series of waves crashing on the rocks, I was warned that this incoming wave was larger than the previous four or five waves. I fired off a burst of shots, and quickly got up to get out of the way, but I still got soaked. Luckily the rest of my equipment was several yards behind me, safe and dry next to my spotter.

IN THE FIELD: Sailing School

July 18, 2012 26 comments

Some of our favorite places to visit in Maine are the small quiet harbors away from the tourist areas.

One of our recent stops was a place named Sorrento Harbor. It is a small cove where both working boats and pleasure boats share the same anchorage. We arrived at the waters edge in late afternoon, just as the sun was beginning to cast a golden glow.

I was taking some shots of the boats in the water when a small school bus pulled into the parking lot. A dozen children and two adults got off the bus and walked out to the end of the floating dock which is just out of view in this photo. They paired up and got into several dinghies and rowed out to small sailboats moored throughout the cove. We heard the adults give some instructions to the children and they began to navigate their vessels around the obstacle course of the anchored boats.

Apparently this was the last class of the school day for these kids. How cool is that!


IN THE FIELD: Local Shopping

June 29, 2012 16 comments

When we are on vacation, we like to take some time out and do a bit of shopping for a keepsake to remind us of our visit. Rather than go to the gargantuan malls which are pretty much the same everywhere, we like to visit places where the locals shop.

And that could be an old fashioned hardware store, an artisan’s gift shop, or even the local farmers market. Interesting items made by the folks that live in the area are what attract us. We have come home with pottery, baskets, hand-made toys, foodstuffs, artwork, and countless other objects.

One morning while on vacation in Maine, we were out photographing various harbors way down east. The area is called down east because when you travel up the coast it’s almost due east, even though when viewing a map it appears to be a northerly direction.

Fishing communities dot the coast and are around every bend in the road, so finding something appealing to photograph is not difficult. One of our stops was Bucks Harbor Maine. It is a small fishing and lobstering village with a fish processing plant a few yards from the main dock. The aroma was distinctive. It wasn’t bad, let’s just say it was memorable. We got some shots of the boats in the harbor, old relics pulled up on shore that had seen their days out at sea, the iconic seagull standing on an old piling, and even the local dog who greeted us on one of the docks.

Leaving town in the opposite direction from which we arrived, we came across the shopping district of Bucks Harbor. Unfortunately, the place wouldn’t be open for business for another few hours and we had other harbors to visit. We often wonder what shopping opportunities we missed there.

IN THE FIELD: Forecast…Fog

June 20, 2012 27 comments

Early one morning while vacationing on the coast of Maine, my wife and I went down to the docks to see the boats and ships off for their daily sail. The fog was thick, but for the folks there, it was nothing unusual. There were lobstermen, fishermen, and deckhands bustling about, getting ready for a day out at sea.

We hung around the docks chatting with the fishermen, but kept our conversations short since everyone wanted to leave port before the tide went out. The fishermen gave us inside information on where the locals shopped for fresh seafood. And later in the day we did visit several of those secret places.

This is an older photo I shot on slide film before the digital age. Due to the low light levels, the telephoto lens I was using, and the floating dock I was standing on, the use of a tripod was necessary. Any bit of motion would have been magnified. Luckily the seas were calm. I was able to hand-hold shots when I was using shorter, brighter lenses, which is much easier when on a busy dock.

The ship in the photo is a historic three masted wooden schooner built in 1941. She spent over 40 years fishing offshore, most notably the Grand Banks and George’s Banks in the Atlantic. After her fishing career, she was converted to a passenger vessel for the windjammer trade in Maine. At the time I photographed the ship, she was named the Natalie Todd. She has since sailed to the west coast and been renamed American Pride. Her new home port is in Long Beach California as part of the American Heritage Marine Institute.


IN THE FIELD: West Quoddy Head Light

January 23, 2012 37 comments

In my previous post, I described our quest to be the first people in the country to see the sunrise at Quoddy Head State Park, which is the eastern most point in the United States.

While the sunrise that morning was short lived due to dense fog, we returned a few hours before sunset to visit the West Quoddy Head Light.

The 49 foot tall lighthouse and keepers house were built in 1858 and stand guard over the Quoddy Narrows, which is a strait between Canada and the United States. Known to be a very foggy area, the beacon, fog horns and bells warn mariners of the dangerous ledges, cliffs, and the infamous Sail Rock, which is a large outcropping several hundred yards out to sea.

The lighthouse is now automated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. While closed to visitors, tours can be taken of the light keepers house. As we explored the site on our own, we wondered what life was like for the person or family who’s task it was to maintain the lighthouse. How did they entertain themselves? Was it a lonely experience or did they embrace the privacy? Were they allowed to leave the site to go into town once in a while?

Fortunately, we ran into a volunteer who was preparing to give the last tour of the day. How lucky was that? We learned about the lifestyle of the light keepers and their families, how they maintained the station and what they did for amusement. This lighthouse is not as remote as others in the state, so the families often had visitors. The children walked to school for several miles to the town of Lubec. Supplies for the keeper’s families were procured there as well.

At the end of our tour, I was able to capture this image of the station, bathed in lavender light from the sunset. Grand Manan Island which is part of New Brunswick, Canada, is visible at the horizon, about five miles out to sea.


IN THE FIELD: West Quoddy Head

January 20, 2012 28 comments

A few years ago, my wife and I were vacationing along the coast of Maine, exploring the many small towns along the way to our final destination to the eastern most point of the United States. Upon reaching our last stop-over, the plan was to be the first people in the country to see the sunrise the next morning.

To accomplish our goal, we needed to travel to the West Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec Maine. There is a lighthouse in the park, built in 1858, and it stands guard over the Quoddy Narrows. Quoddy Narrows is a strait between Canada and the United States.

We stayed at a bed and breakfast, and on the morning of our quest, hit the road around 4:00 am…long before anyone else began to stir. It was a short drive and we arrived at the park about 45 minutes before sunrise.

Daybreak was still a good half hour away, so we had plenty of time to make our way down the trail that follows the cliffs alongside the ocean. Flashlights helped in finding a good vantage point since it was still dark and we were in the middle of an evergreen forest. The smell of the trees was wondrous at that hour of the morning.

We were able to get a few shots of the lighthouse and its beacon as dawn was approaching. Unfortunately, a glorious sunrise wasn’t meant to be that morning. The sun rose above the horizon for a few minutes and then it was obscured by fog. At least we were the first ones to see sun-up.

Thinking to make the best of the situation, we looked over the edge of the cliff at the rocks below and saw a great photographic opportunity. I grabbed my gear and climbed down the 40 foot cliff to the ocean’s edge. It was then I realized the tripod was up on top of the cliff with my wife. I had two choices on what to do. Climb back up and meet my wife halfway so she could hand me the tripod…or make do with the situation at hand.

I decided it was time to make do before my feet got wet. The tides there are extreme, averaging around 15 feet, and it was coming in…fast.

I was using slide film, it was still early dawn and foggy, so there wasn’t a lot of light available. The fastest shutter speed I could muster up was 1/15th of a second.

Turning myself into a tripod, I squatted down, tucked my elbows in between my legs, held my breath and fired off about 6 shots. When the slides came back from the lab, I was surprised to see that they were sharp, and I had managed to capture some movement in the water.

I don’t recommend this technique when a tripod and cable release can be used, but occasionally you can get lucky. Very lucky.

I used a section of the rocks as the feature image in my masthead for this blog.