You always remember the things that were hard to accomplish. This was a tough event for me. I had seen a poster or post card many years ago when we visited Maine on a bicycle trip. But I had never had an opportunity to see the birds. And it turns out that it is not easy. I read about a couple of places you could go to see puffins. On one boat trip you never got close enough to see more than a dot in your telephoto lens. That was no good at all. Then there was a boat trip out of Machias. It is way the hell up near the Canadian border and you really really have to want to be there. The boat goes out early in the morning and it doesn’t guarantee a landing on the island in bad weather. Twice!! Twice I made the six hour drive from my location in southern Maine. And twice I was unable to get any shots. The seas were too rough. I learned that as long as the boat was headed out and moving straight it was no problem for motion sickness. As soon as the boat stops, it begins to rock and roll with the waves, and then shortly afterward I feed the fish. It happened twice. And I paid good money to lose my breakfast. Third time is a charm, right? Yes! We got on the island. You have to go into a blind, which is setup to minimally impact on disturbing the birds. And of course I had neglected to bring my big telephoto along. Sometimes you just can’t win. But with what I had along, I filled up a memory card. I stayed until they pulled me out of the blind. Everyone was long done. I had just waited so long to get this opportunity it seemed a shame to not savor the moment. The action was in the birds flying. It’s not hard to get lots of images of puffins standing around looking cute. I got them flying around thanks to Manny who showed me the technique of applying actions sports photography to flying puffins. There’s always a shot you don’t get. That would be an image of a puffin holding fish in its mouth. No, there will not be a fourth trip.
I haven’t seen snow in a while. With any luck I won’t see any for a while more. I won’t forget what it looks or feels like. But there was a very good photographic day back in 2008 in Maine. There weren’t too many images but they remind me of the quiet and peace of falling snow. Sound is muted. The winds blow and the ice crystals gently tap against the window. There is a freshness over everything like a new coat of paint.
There are thousands of costumes with countless masks. After a while you realize that masks hide the person. Makeup leaves you knowing the person without much hope of recognition in the morning. Make sense? Well, I gravitate to the strange and avoid too many masked persons. Confused? I just shoot the picture. I don’t really try for an in depth interview on how he decided to dress up. The picture says enough. And no, even by NY standard this is more than a standard deviation from normal.
It was on the same trip and I was leaving Camden and headed back across to Central Maine. It was getting toward evening and it was cloudy overcast and threatening to rain. Sometimes you see a pattern of color that is so soothing. I traveled without family so there was no one to complain about my frequent sudden stops. There are some images in my head that I regret not stopping to take. But on this particular evening, this image was not one of those regrets.
I was up in Camden and passing through Rockport where there was a craft show and a photography school. I had parked the car and turned toward the school where the craft show was being held. I had a black and white moment in front of me without any help from Photoshop. Julia had me enlarge this and she framed it for her room. I continue to marvel at being so lucky to be in the right place at times like these.
Whenever I think about fall color it’s red and orange for me. But I tend to lose sight of the tree among the landscape. I would like more detail but when you get up close … Well, I guess you could say that the house and the fence are distracting. I like the color and the intermediate detail, not too close, not too far. It’s hard for me to not want to include the whole tree.
Julia commented on how much she liked this image. You spend your time chasing the fall colors. When you get right down to it, I think that what makes you stop is in the details. I had been shooting across the water and capturing the reflections of the trees in the water. And just as I turned to leave, I saw this single leaf. Yes sometimes it’s all about paying attention to detail.
I had a magical autumn in Maine in 2008. For me most of my fall images came from Bear Mountain New York. I crisscrossed the back roads and put a lot of mile on the old wagon. When I look back in retrospect it was a time never to be repeated. I had fog, clouds, sun, water, reflections and just about anything and everything I could imagine. I’d say that I have not had a better experience and I wistfully think how fortunate I was to be there to take these images.
Runaround Pond was my go-to spot. It was peaceful and it was a great place to put up your feet and read. In autumn I was rewarded with fog and reflections. Fog is so hard to conjure and it is an ephemeral moment like sunset never to be duplicated. There may be many days like it but never the same as the one I shot.
I’ve been on a dive binge. It’s my chief hobby right now. For those of you in colder climes in the Northern Hemisphere, I have almost forgotten that it’s halfway to Christmas. The weather is colder and the frost is on the pumpkin. I lived in Maine for a time. All the while I was hoping to shoot a moose. I gave a medical talk and mentioned that I had finally shot a moose and one son of a gun actually asked me how it was to shoot it (with a gun). That got me to thinking that I should refrain from literal language (or stop talking to NRA Republicans).
Up until this particular day I was, shall we say sadly and completely unsuccessful. I had loads of advice from locals about how and where to go. Perhaps they were just playing around with a city guy? Up in the wilderness of Maine, way up past Millinoket, and near to Mt Katahdin my travels brought me on a journey and a last ditch search.
Yes! I passed three photographers idly chatting, tripods deployed, and telephoto lenses pointed off toward a far point on the lake. Their wives were with them. They pointed to a brown dot on the horizon hidden in the trees and told me it was a moose. They had to tell me because we were too far to identify anything except that it was animal not plant. Yeah!? This was a non starter.
Pretty much resigned to defeat I continued through the park on this cloudy day. Two cars were parked on the side of the road and I sensed there might be action. Walking into the woods I saw my first moose no more than 30 feet away calmly munching on whatever it is that moose munch. The first photographer was decked out in hunter clothes and appeared to be a real photographer. The other was an idiot approaching the moose from uphill. He had a maniacal grin and was edging down with a simple point and shoot camera. I felt sure this dude would soon be killed when he disturbed Mr Bullwinkle. Moose don’t see well and when startled they can make an awful mess in a hurry. It helps to stand behind a tree since it might help that the tree will slow down an angered moose. (Let it be a big tree.) I turned to the first photographer to ask about an exit strategy and he replied the moose in front is not the problem. It’s the three behind us that I might want to take care to watch. I regret not taking the picture of that idiot photographer on the uphill side. But then again he never did get hurt either.
The other bull moose and mama with baby were more interesting. None of them cared that I approached but I did so cautiously and kept to staying behind the trees. The first photographer and his wife came up to stand with me. He stayed behind and began to make his city version of moose calls. Meanwhile his wife stood next to me sharing my tree. This couple had driven to Maine that day to participate in a moose photography class. The just happened to be wandering the woods. Meanwhile they didn’t realize that they had hit the photographic jackpot. My exit strategy quickly formed. If the fool behind me wanted to make moose calls, it would be his wife I would push out from behind the tree in the event the any of the moose made a charge. It pays to think ahead. My presumption was that he didn’t like his wife too much since I had only just met the couple. Oh, and she didn’t know how to use her camera and asked me to shoot some images for her. My reason to photograph anything is to know that I shot the image myself. Otherwise who needs another picture of a moose. And remember when I say shoot, its photograph not gun.
Sometimes you never know how things will come out. I was pleasantly surprised to get the lighthouse detail of this shot in the early morning fog. We were in Lubec, Maine and I’m shooting to the Canadian side lighthouse. It has that little red crest that they like in Canada. The shot is too centered. My bad, I’m still an amateur at that time. It’s film not digital, so there’s no way to know whether the shot is good until much later. I look at the old shots and am pretty amazed to have such nice slides. I really trusted to luck back then. There was some skill, I suppose. To me it was like conducting a photo experiment. The results would come back months later. You needed a lot of patience. In those days I was already developing my own slides. So I would shoot enough to make it worthwhile to mix up a batch of solution – usually about 60 rolls. That could take about half a year. As I said I was patient… and careful. You have to hold the water temperature to 100 degrees plus or minus a tenth of a degree. Yes, I did it… nerve wracking but I did it.
Secretly I disagree with everyone who says that the best shots of fall foliage are on cloudy days. There is supposedly more saturation of the colors. I like a bright sunny blue sky day. And if need be, give me a good polarizing filter. I also like white picket fences. So with the brilliant fall colors, I tried to get the fence and leaves but had to compromise with civilization. As I conclude this fall series, I look back and remember that 2008 was a magical fall season for me.
Wandering around the area I have some memories. The town was first on my radar when some dear friends’ daughter was married closeby some autumns ago. Second, the road past town leads to a lighthouse, that I like to visit. And third, this particular year was the second annual pumpkin boat festival. Don’t ask. But they take the championship prize winning 500 pound pumpkins that no one knows what to do with, they hollow them, and then race them around in the bay. The first year everyone fell into the water. The pumpkins were too unsteady. The second year, everyone caught on and stabilized their rigs. I’d have liked to have seen the sinkings. I would have to say that this vehicle is serviceable unlike many that I pass on the backroads. It’s just quintessential fall for this Maine scene.
For the lack of better identification, I shall call this heather. I left Camden and headed west toward home. The car pretty much ran into this field. It’s more or less classical – horizontal rows of pastel colors fading to the horizon. I wonder why I didn’t see it when I was driving west to east. You can miss a lot of things looking in only one direction.
There’s Rockland, which has lighthouse, and Rockport, which has a photo school. They are not far from one another. As I wandered the Camden area, I traveled through both. I parked the car to visit a craft show. And at my feet was this farmhouse tableau waiting for me. There was just enough color to avoid being black and white. It was faded enough that I didn’t have to think of using Photoshop to make it so. Julia thought enough of the image to make me enlarge it for her to frame and hang.
On a lot of levels this is a thoughtful emotional shot. I’ve got a bunch of shots in cemeteries at this time of year. It’s a gut thing that struck me when I took this shot. I have often said that there is a fine line between taste and tasteless. For me this was never more true here.
Yes I know he doesn’t have a pole. It’s why the title says ‘gone.’ The grandkids were racing around with poles. No one was catching anything. I sat to the right and was trying to read. The glare degraded the image. The kids are missing. The pipes in the background intrude. For me it’s still an image of serenity during a lazy fall afternoon at the pond with a book in hand. It’s a bright memory recalled in an instant by looking back at this picture.
Fall leaves are so quintessential autumn. Fall colors are so easy to recognize. So why do we need to focus up on the leaves to convey the message. I would say that this was probably Runaround Pond again. I liked to sit around and read a book on a warm autumn afternoon. With camera close by, I got this shot as the duck glided by. He scarcely noticed me as I just picked up the camera and got the image. Remember, I have that soft spot for water and reflection.
So I just got done a few posts ago and said that one color images tend to be boring. And to break my own rule, I keep coming back to this shot. I did it by the roadside while I was shooting something else. Looking down I noticed the fern. And I still keep coming back to this image whenever I edit. So here it is.
When you see an image, you shoot. Many times I don’t know what I have captured until I edit. But there are times when you click and know it’s a good shot right then and there. I mostly don’t peek at the LCD screen. It’s especially gratifying to get to Lightroom and see the image you shot look the way you had imagined when you pressed the shutter. I’ve been disappointed sometimes, but not on this occasion. This is another favorite shot Julia mentioned when she first saw this.
There are different ways to get the message across. I’m still seeking that vast panoramic view of brilliant fall colors stretching side to side and foreground to background. Meanwhile, it’s not that easy to find a good detail shot either. It can’t all be one color. That would get boring. Well, I follow the idea that I’ll know it when I see it. I got this in a parking lot behind a store at the roadside.
I’ve a soft spot for haystacks. Nowadays it’s all done mechanically. So the stacks are neat and tidy. But add a little fall color and I think it works alright. I don’t quite know the difference. Some stacks are feed and some are bedding. It all looks the same on my images.
There’s a crazy farm I pass on the road to and from my travels. I was going to call this ‘farmer from Hell’ but thought better of it. Things just aren’t quite right. I have never stopped nor have I really seen the owners. It’s just that as you take a glance things aren’t quite normal. I have seen wild turkeys here. The fence is an oddity. It looks slapped together. Even with poor carpentry skill, it seems to me that you could put together a better looking thing. It works. There are no cows on the road. For the purposes of a fall shot, the fence is a keeper.
You barely notice this place on a good map if you look hard. It’s in the middle of nowhere and I was not headed there but I was coming back from somewhere else. Ahh! Fog! Reflection! Water! Fall! All the elements were in place. The light was quickly fading to evening. There were a few other photographers lurking already. Don’t blow the shot! This is one in which there are so many ways in which to shoot a bad image. Clicking away as everyone cleared from the scene, I got a bunch of good images. You have to pick one… just one.
Carol made a request to leave the fishes and do autumn. After all it is that time of year. Ok, for a couple weeks, fall color. I fall back on a good year (2008) in which I shot a number of splendid images. I would wander with the car and go back and forth through Maine that year. I’m pretty sure it was some place around Portland where I passed this tree. It’s been an effort for me to zoom in on details. Too much and it’s micro and to little and there’s clutter in the image. And then the leaves need to be colorful without being past prime. Sunny day or rainy day for better color…hmmm, I’ve read all the theories. In the end, point the camera and shoot the picture. How do you know? You just do.