This is a shot I have staged before. The kids taught it to me. Julia did it first in Africa and then lately David did it at Waba Crater in Saudi. David’s refinement is to make it look as though you have nothing beneath you but a sheer drop. I admit I am lazy and don’t want to do much post processing. And then there is the photographer. My travel buddy is not fond of heights. So Colleen was not a candidate to jump. She was nervous (eyes closed, hands shaking) about me close to the edge. But someone had to jump and someone had to press the shutter. The other thing I learned from the kids is to bend your knees. Then, even an old man looks like he can jump.
I recall this photograph. It’s a life lesson. The circumstance – on my way to see the puffins in God only know where, Maine. I had just purchased a brand new spiffy Nikon D200. It was the first event. I had to go from Lewiston to Cutler to pick up the ferry to the puffin island. I calculated a start out time of 3AM to get to the ferry by 6:30AM. It meant zipping up to Bangor on I-95. You can drive fast at that hour. Right off the exit ramp in Bangor I was stopped for speeding. Out of the complete darkness, the flashing patrol car lights caught me. When I told the fireplug short female state trooper I was headed to see the puffins, she ran my plates and then let me go with a warning. A nutcase from NY going to see birds shouldn’t receive a penalty if he’s already nuts. I have now driven to try to see the puffins three times. This time and the next were a complete bust. I saw better pictures in the travel brochure than I got with my new camera. We never got close enough but to see a dot on the water or in the sky.
After Bangor the road is smaller and winds eastward toward the coast. I was tooling along at as fast a pace as the deserted road would allow. Meanwhile I was hyper-attentive in anticipation of the birding. At the early glow of dawn I looked out over a fog covered valley as the sun was beginning to rise. Sunrise is rarely a time I am awake unless I am in an OR with an emergency.
I was running late. But I had to stop for this shot. The digital camera compensated for an impossible lighting scene. This was the shot of my day! It happened before my day ever began and I never knew it till much later. In fact it was a shot of significance. Thinking back and looking over many images I have taken before and since, I can make an observation.
Life happens quickly. I’m not the first to comment on this fact. But sometimes a special moment happens and you don’t know it. Later when you have time to pause and rewind the video – I play back some of the events of my life and finally realize how special this moment was. I knew this was a special shot right from the moment I pressed the shutter. But I was rushing to another event I thought was more important. It turned out that the moment of import was before me as the dawn rose over the fog in the valley. Well I was fortunate to preserve the moment to look back upon. My only regret is that I did not stop to realize it had been one of life’s special moments of which we experience so few in our lifetimes. It is not the first time I have done this nor will it be the last. But if I ever recognize such a moment again I hope I will sit back to savor it.
Orange is my autumn color. Okay red is pretty good. And yellow is also. But orange, that deep even pattern is not so easy to just dial up. Many a tree view is obscured by some man made object. So often you crop out the extraneous to get to the best shot. Like many things when you have done all the things on your checklist the image pretty much takes itself.
The Draper wedding was nearby to this town. Something I read about was pumpkin boat races. What? Well the first year… what do you do with prize winning 500 lb pumpkins. Some folks painted them. Someone got the idea to carve them out and make boats and then race. The first year everyone was in the water. No one had a clue how to make an irregular unbalanced shape race let alone float. So the splashing in cold water images were what I was after. No such luck. By now everyone had a year at the drawing board and no one sank. The event drew a nice crowd and a photo op from Susan Collins, US Senator. Goofy way to re-purpose a 500 lb pumpkin.
Whenever I was in the area, this shack was a photo op. It is set up perfectly. And I’m sure everyone who passed has this image in their collection. Jules loved it. It is framed somewhere. While there are many versions this one is mine.
Maybe I’ll be old one day sitting in the fall sun at the side of a pond. I don’t see it somehow. I think that I shall be ever active and full of vinegar. Can’t sit. Too many photo ops, so little time.
I had ample opportunity to explore fall foliage in Maine. Photo ops were everywhere. I don’t recall any other years so productive. It was magical. All manner of images would be in front of my lens. Reflections, ripples, and an impressionist background: what is more priceless?
I had only one actual moose encounter in three years. It got to be a joke where people would tell me where to go to find moose. But it was always a bust. Finally driving randomly through the park in rural Maine, I stopped where a couple cars were along the roadside. There were four moose, two males, a mama, and a baby. They are large enough to be nonplussed about human contact. Since they weren’t moving too quickly I had ample opportunity to get the shots I wanted. The shot I missed was the one I think about. There were four photographers. Two of us had some experience. The wife of the other photographer couldn’t set up her camera. I was helping her. What was her husband doing? The last guy was strictly amateur and walking downhill on a big male moose with a point and shoot in hand. His big grin was scary. He surely had no back up plan in case the moose decided to charge uphill. That was my shot! Well I have it in mind. It was definitely an encounter that made all the searching worthwhile.