Word and Image

Archive for September 15, 2011

Dawn in the valley, Maine

This is paired with my puffin tales. This was my first failed trip from Lewiston to Machias. I left at the calculated time to arrive at the boat dock before departure. That would be 3AM. Arriving in Bangor and exiting the highway, I was blasted by a the glare of flashing state police lights. A stocky female office in bulletproof vest inquired where I was headed in such haste. She dubiously checked me as I explained my desire to get to the boat on time. Furthermore, I was thinking who else would be out in the middle of nowhere at this hour. At that very moment from out of nowhere, a couple passed us on the roadside, walking casually as though it were midday. The officer let me go with a warning. Well, after the exit there are empty roads across to the coast. At about 4:30AM, moving along at about 55 mph, I glanced to the side and saw the light in the valley with the hint of dawn. Fog lay in the lower parts. This picture just presented itself. I stopped to get this shot. No tripod. I didn’t have one with me. Once again I let the camera do its magic. I used program mode and let the ISO run: setting 1/6 sec, f3.5, ISO 1600. This shot turned out to be the shot of the day. I never got to see the puffins well on this trip. But, I still came away with a good shot. And, I regret that I took the boat ride. I was seasick in the swells and chummed before the trip was complete. Gosh, I hate throwing up.

Haystack, Runaround Pond

Ok. Another driving tale… It’s a summer evening just before dark – around 8:30PM. I’m on the road home near Runaround Pond in Durham, Maine. The pond was a favorite meditative spot for me. Julia’s been there. And no, I don’t meditate much. But, I did like to pull up my camp chair and read when work was slow. I love haystacks. And the evening light with the fog just settling, everything  was perfect. I knew I would have a keeper of a picture here. Mostly, driving around on the back roads, I would just roll down the car window, poke the camera out, and fire off my shots. This evening, I got out of the car. The camera was amazing and compensated for the low light and white balance. Unfortunately, without a tripod the focus was soft. But I think it works for this image with fog. It seems a bit more ethereal. The back story here is about the mosquitoes. Evening, humid, warm, and with the right conditions, the mosquitoes were out in force. They surrounded me like a cloud in seconds. I quickly retreated to the car but they got in as I opened the door. All the way home I swatted at real and imaginary bugs. I hate mosquito bites.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Lisa and I were stopped over on a cruise. Wandering the streets of San Juan, we passed this street of colorful pastels. The light at the end of the street emphasized the depth. And then magically, this man walked into the scene to complete the final element. Classic.

World Trade Center 9/11

Everyone can remember where they were on 9/11. It was my wedding anniversary. It was just after 9AM and I saw smoke from the kitchen window. There’s so much smoke that I figured there was a big fire in midtown. From my rooftop, the photos were unbelievable. Vicki, my wife’s cousin, called to tell me a jet had struck the tower. With my back turned to speak to her, I missed the first tower fall. And, incredibly, I missed the second one fall. In fact when the second tower was struck, I saw the flames shoot out as though the fire had jumped/spread from one building to the other. Of course, I soon realized that the towers are separated by considerable distance and that this was improbable. After both buildings collapsed, there was thick gray and white smoke that lingered. My mind couldn’t grasp that the buildings of that size and bulk had fallen to the ground. I had seen NYFD in action and they put out fires quickly and efficiently. Surely when the smoke cleared, I expected to see the buildings once again. I just knew that the news reporters couldn’t see the building for the smoke. All day, I peered and waited for the smoke to clear. Sadly, I was wrong. Emotionally, this scene still gets to me. David was in school at Collegiate. Lisa was in school at Columbia Grammar. Parents of the students worked at the WTC. Fortunately no one was lost. And Julia was upstate with her class and they didn’t bring her home that evening. Surreal.

Tribute in Light 9/11

The first anniversary of 9/11 saw a tribute in lights installed in one of the empty lots downtown across from the site. It was made by a series of spotlights aimed to the heavens. A few years later, Bob and Kathy were with Lisa and myself. We drove past the WTC site and looking upward saw this picture. The white dots were moving. Dust, bats, or insects, what was moving in the light? Birds. As best I can estimate, it was birds – gulls, probably not pigeons, but certainly big enough and attracted to the lights. They circled and from my vantage looked to have an upward spiral pattern. It made me think of the lost souls from that fateful day ascending to heaven. So solemn and symbolic…

Wedding Dress

My shyness will forever keep this image a mystery. I’m driving. Again! Anyway, I’m headed on the road over to Rockland, Maine to visit some friends. There on the side of the road over a field is a barn set back on a hill. In the doorway is this still life. Well, I missed it the first time and didn’t get the shot. The next couple times I drove by and didn’t see this scene again. Finally, after another county fair, I drove back along the road. I don’t like to go too slowly. It’s the old exhortation of Lisa urging me not to dawdle. There it was, the dress. Lit by incandescent bulbs from above, in the middle of nowhere, showing in a barn door, no sign of a business, or a store, or a parking lot, this was just so incongruous to me. Maybe it’s not a wedding dress? Right after I snapped the image and was driving off, a farmer in coveralls and with a broom in hand appeared in the doorway, gazing over to me with a quizzical look. I guess we were both puzzled. I should have stopped to find out what this still life was about. But, the mystery is delicious.

Gas Pump

Gas pump, somewhere on the backroads of Maine. I believe this shot was taken near to the Sunday River ski area. I was just driving along and noticed the strong graphic and colors. It helps that the lighting was also right. It’s an example of thinking in color. Here’s where the colors play off nicely and where a black and white image might not be so graphic. It’s been a while since I thought in BxW, but I keep meaning to try again.

Door, Maine

This door shot is a strong graphic in color and form. From the edge of the frame it is a storefront somewhere in Maine. Portland maybe. Something about the contrast in strong color and the weathered door appealed to me. In an earlier time I would have taken a picture of the storefront. But here the focus is on the detail and that’s what made this a strong image. Even though the whole store is not seen, it’s the door that makes the shot. Showing the whole store, this would have been just another snapshot.

Axe, Woodsman’s Day County Fair

This shot is one of a series taken in Maine at the local county fairs. There are scheduled events like this during the fair that usually runs for a week in different locations throughout the summer. This day was woodsman day. It provided an opportunity to show off lumber skills. Groups like Chicks with Axes showed up. While many women had tattoos, this particular group was fit and attractive. Well, for axe throwers anyway, they were ok. Yes, some of the gals threw axes at a beer can set in the bulls eye of a target log. Just stay out of the way. This photo was admired by Lisa because of its detail and storytelling without the whole picture of the axe man. The idea is to chop the beam in half. The marks are to guide the cutting to minimize time and maximize efficiency. And, yes some folks wear steel toe boots and shin guards. The brave will hazard an ugly injury.