Word and Image

Photobackstory

Photography: The story behind the image

Latest

Patch

IMG_5414

It might be Willow. The two cats are brothers and they look alike to me. The point of this picture is that it represents a new change for me in underwater photography. Willow actually likes water. But this is not a series about cats swimming underwater. I bit the bullet and got a dive strobe. This is a considerable expense and a big step up in commitment. It is one more piece of equipment to potentially ruin with salt water. My recent trip home was so busy that I did not experiment for four days. Then I got the thing working in about ten minutes and in about 10 wasted frames. Now I needed a willing subject. Aha! The cats – and off I went. They were pretty tolerant. A bright light flashing is no fun. Nellie, my dog, invariably blinked and I would get closed eyes more than 90% of the time. Go figure.

Okay! I got this whole thing figured out. I was pretty smug. When I got back to Jeddah I experimented again. In all I shot about two hundred images and pretty much knew what to do. It’s like swimming on dry land. You need to be in the water.

The first problem I encountered was the batteries were in wrong. Somehow a pair slipped and were backwards going into the flash head. Dive one – a bust. No flash. Dive two – there was water in my housing. Once the camera is exposed to water (it was not wet) the flash stops working. No flash again. Third dive – a charm – I switched cameras and all went according to plan. Finally! Fourth dive – an orgy – we did four that day – it was a night dive!! And the flash and the camera were in sync and I got some good shots. There were no great subjects. But the thing worked as I had practiced. There is still a steep learning curve to get comfortable. But at least I am getting images now. It’s all good from here.

Famiiy

2286 07 Family copy

This is a typical poor snapshot photograph of the family. The exposure is hardly worthy. But there is a sentimental value in its remembrance. We are gathered for dim sum at a restaurnat in Flushing. Periodically I would organize an outing. It seems we had food in common though my kids did not like the fare. My in laws, my brothers, my aunt and the assorted kids would all come. My aunt would come early to stake out a table – no reservations. We would eat ourselves silly. The restaurant is long gone. And we no longer gather in this grouping. Times change. Nostalgia is a funny thing. The photo is more valuable for the stories that have changed with the years.

Pemaquid

_DSC8833

The lighthouse became a special setting. It sort of represents quintessential Maine. The first thought I have of Maine is the sea and the coast and then of the lighthouses I have visited. So when I traveled there with Colleen we visited all the lighthouses I remembered. Of the ones we saw this was the one she thought called to her. There is a certain point of view that most photographers miss. The reflection of the lighthouse in the pool is the special shot of this location. We spent an afternoon just sitting and smelling the “coffee” (actually the sea). In that time I watched a parade of photographers, some with tripods and serious gear, traipse up and down the rocks never looking at the image waiting patiently before them.

_DSC8738

I set up this shot. No, I did not use a tripod. And yes, I used Photoshop. I more or less estimated the perspective and distance. I kept the focal length the same. Post production put us both in the image. Hey, it worked.

 

Shakers

_DSC6491

I have visited the Shaker villages – Canterbury in NH and Sabbathday Lake ME. I think most folks in the USA are familiar with Shakers and their crafts.

“Tis a gift to be simple. Tis a gift to be free.”

_DSC6490

So much of what I have run across did not really sink into my consciousness. The Shakers are celibate. So their group has dwindled to only three current members. No new Shakers means that this group will soon be gone and so too will a rich history and heritage. There has been a great deal of historical preservation. But soon it appears as though the Shakers will be lost and culturally extinct.

Boothbay Harbor Bridge House

_DSC7344

It’s a fairly famous location. And it has been for sale for a while. It still had a sign when I passed most recently. The house sits in the middle of a footbridge in Boothbay Harbor. It retails for $700k+. I suppose the terms and price are negotiable. You would of course be living in a goldfish bowl. One buyer bemoaned the fact that you could not park and unload your car conveniently. Me? I like walking around in my underwear at home. This would be a real issue here.

_DSC7332

Cape Newagen

_DSC7398

It’s a ride down from Boothbay Harbor. There’s a lighthouse and I have had some nice experiences here in the past. We hit it as sunset was in full swing. The first image is 24mm with my spiffy new 24-70mm lens. And the second was wider 18mm with an older 18-35mm lens. As with any high contrast scene the meter and sensor were limited in capability to capture what the eye sees. There are options. But I prefer to keep it simple. There are times that call for a super wide angle. It’s subtle but definite. Your choice but I’d go with the 18mm image.

_DSC7416

Sunset – Heaven and Earth

_DSC7426

Boothbay Harbor, autumn, and, sunset a great combination I think. Take your pick. I saw the clouds and the sunset. Then I noticed the cove and the reflection. Some days are just magical. The light was fading fast. I got the images. HDR might have been more dramatic. I’m okay without extra manipulation. My roots are slide film. So the inability to meter the entire scene is not a problem for me. I like the natural feel. It’s funny because Jules always could tell film from digital. I wonder how she’d feel about these images.

_DSC7431

Penobscot Bridge

_DSC8933

2120 foot cable stayed bridge. It is like the Boston Bunker Hill Bridge in that it is single cable. It is rather distinctive. There’s a place by the roadside to get a shot. But the graphic I sought was of the cables on the bridge span. It took two tries. Actually the first time was the better.

_DSC8944

The second time through my copilot shot and she was not as good as her first effort. In deference I cannot be sure if I shot the better image. But it’s on my memory card. So in this instance I/we got the shot I sought.

_DSC8129

Why?

_DSC9242

I lived in Maine for several years. I always marveled at the abandoned vehicles in the yards of the natives. Yes, I am ridiculing the habit. Tell me? Why? Are they there for parts, as a monument, some totem of significance or just that the vehicle died and is left to rot. Okay. Sorry. I do not mean to insult. But you folks have some ways that we flatlanders do not understand. Eye sore. Proud?

Canada

_DSC9187

The bridge to Campobello Island is from Maine to Canada. The island is Canadian while the access is via Lubec, Maine. So you need a passport. Yup. They don’t much check going into Canada. But the Americans are a pain. They stop you and ask whether you are a smuggler. Of course the reason you go is to see the Roosevelt house. FDR summered there. And there is a nice lighthouse.

_DSC9225

Now I would not mention smuggling except that my former office manager, no name please, was with me once. We traveled over and stopped by to pick up a six pack of Canadian beer. Coming into the US a very nice border guard asked if we had anything to declare. She quickly answered no. I glanced back at the six pack sticking up from my jacket making a rather obvious bulge from the back seat. As we departed the gate, she turned to me and said, “I’d have drunk that six pack right there rather then pay any duty.” Oh, the life of an amateur smuggler….

_DSC9221

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 591 other followers