Way back in the beginning… back in 2011, I started this blog. It was free. Free is for me! I’m not selling anything. No $ either way, in either direction. Not true, I pay a fee for extra memory (on the site) nowadays. There are ads, a few, not my doing, not mine (ads). Essentially, free. Followers, a lot of commercial WordPress sites these days, fishing for business. Followers, a few, to whom I imparted the blog address. There are few enough followers who have found me from around the world. But indeed, there have been visitors from around the world. Ah, the power of the internet! I do not seek fame. I merely share thoughts and photos. I’m better than average and less than great. I am not the best in my family but better than most. My own kids have produced 5 star pics on their iPhones! It’s not common, so, the body of my work is technically better. But, then art was never about quantity. Quality can show up in a single image. Colleen’s kids – Emma has more photography experience. But, even Jess and Ian have shown that even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while. Even though I take great shots, it’s just not every day. But every day, I take shots.
I Photoshop… because, I can. Don’t you wish you could too? We have fun. It’s always about fun. And we have plenty. This the part of the collection from our Maine trip. It’s not our first time. Humor? Irreverence? Who knows? We laugh a lot. Colleen thinks I’m nuts. She’s not alone. But, she is tolerant. And, so, we laugh some more.
From sea to shining sea, the United States people are as different as the topography of the country. There are delicate balances among ideas that clash. Among the profound beauty there are great divides in ideologies that define our beliefs. I remain hopeful and optimistic. Balanced rock, Arches National Park, will still be here long after I am gone. Someday it will fall. There is a cycle and inevitability to things. I hope we will solve climate change. I will never know. There are those who deny climate change and evolution and this never ceases to bewilder me. I have been blessed to witness much beauty in my lifetime. Would you disagree with that too?
Pemaquid lighthouse. Everyone comes with camera or iPhone to get a photograph of the lighthouse. I sit and watch them scramble all over the rocks up and down, every which way. They take their shots and move on. Only a few will see the reflection in the tidal pool. Virtually no one will point out this shot. One kind Englishman in all the times I have been here actually took the time to point (I already knew) down at the pool for me. And in all the others I have tried on occasion to point out the quintessential image to some passersby. Largely unnoticed is a gem at their feet. Move on, next attraction, , . look mom, see where I’ve been. Look down at your feet.
Here’s the Queen Mary 2 docked in port in Rockland, Maine. It’s a bit overwhelming for the poor little lighthouse beside it. I’ve been there. it’s at the end of a very long rock dock. It’s a long walk – a mile. The light house is several stories tall. Or… that’s one big f’n ship! I saw signs in town welcoming passengers into the shops. You get a few hours in town to souvenir shop and to see what there is to see. No one eats. Food is plentiful and free onboard. I did not know this until I took my one and only cruise. So, restaurants are SOL Maybe someone will sit down to a lobster dinner or a famous lobster roll? Who knows? Meanwhile that big boat is messing with my picture of the lighthouse.
I have been to this lighthouse many times. I remember the first. Bob took me. We were riding in the car to breakfast. We stopped. I was very pleasantly surprised that he was kind enough to take me to this great photo op. I’ve been back myself many a time. each time I try for a different look or view. But a lighthouse is still a lighthouse….It’s not easy to get to. It’s out of the way. Not many people come here. I do. Forest Gump did. You would too if you really wanted to do it. Mostly folks don’t.
A few surprises. The lighthouse is in a traffic circle. It’s a mini not really a true one. Not much traffic this time of year. It’s cold and nasty, too early for beach traffic. I sat in the middle of the circle and took my pictures with nary a car in sight. Nicola? I’ve yet to go. I’ve tried a pizza. Not memorable. And the famous Nico-bo-li? Don’t know and haven’t a clue. The spinners? I’ve got a spot for one on my deck. I should pick one. Yup, it was a surprise three images in a row? Surprise? Three consecutive images – one post.
More fog – sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up. Fog is special. Most folks aren’t out and about in this weather condition. But this is pretty much the reason for lighthouses, eh?
Different perspective changes the mood. I caught the beam of light. Somehow the angle of the beam is not what I wanted. And I wonder that modern GPS navigation must make it a lot easier than to try to see a lighthouse in dense fog.
It’s known as the Portland bug light or the breakwater light. Fog – and it was evening. I got my money’s worth from the spiffy f2.8 lens. My shots were decent. Clarity was not the goal and the overall softness of the image works. The breakwater is a fair hike. And in near darkness over uneven rocks this was a bit of a challenge. The trip back was the more interesting walk.
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.
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.
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.
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….
This was the first time I was here. I have visited many times since. It was as I recall a foggy day as we traveled to Port Clyde to have breakfast with the Tyler Place friends. Bob drove and stopped here while Kevin and Alex waited. I got my shots. We had a grand breakfast. I remember the first.
Another day another lighthouse, there are so many. You pick. This is a very picturesque light. They didn’t build them for photo-ops for me. So some lights are very difficult to get a good view. Some lighthouses are on the map and can’t be seen from land. I personally think that’s cheap. But, hey! Well there is a reflection.
See, I told you. But there are also some people in the picture. Still, she’s a redhead. I have a soft spot for redheads. Her boyfriend was taking forever to set this shot up. And I wanted the reflection. The breeze was a little too strong and the reflection was shimmering. And then he asked me to take a shot of them both. I mean I’ve been doing selfies all trip long. Really! Well I ended up taking this shot and used it. It’s a good story. And I had given up the hope that they would clear before my travel buddy would cajole me to get moving. Say it ain’t so Colleen.
I think this is becoming a specialty for me. So many of the lighthouses in Maine have water in puddles or pools among the rocks. If the wind cooperates then there is often a perfect reflection. And then I sit and watch. I even saw serious photographers wandering the rocks. I know you are serious if you are lugging your camera attached to an oversized tripod. (Really? I mean really?) But I estimate 99% never notice the reflection. So I wait and pick out some nice person, Colleen couldn’t believe how gracious I was being. But just to make someone’s trip a little more special… I would share the picture at their feet. Not everyone is receptive. Some guys are just there on a mission. I don’t bother them. But for some earnest tourist, it’s a pleasure to share something special. Maybe they will look at the world a little bit differently from now on too.
This is the lighthouse on the hill at the mouth of the harbor. It is not in Rockland where there is a rock jetty everyone walks. This lighthouse is a dedicated car ride to find. I happened to appear on the lighthouse tour day. So I got a shot of the Fresnel lens that can be had once a year.
I first was introduced to this light through the kindness of Bobby Draper. He knew I photographed lighthouses. On our way past he stopped for me to get a photo op. This was taken many trips later. But I remember who showed it to me first. Thanks Bob.
One day a year the lighthouse is open to the public. I just happened to be there on that day. It was completely random for me. I took the tour inside later. And there in the reflection was someone in the lighthouse. You can’t get this shot again till next year. Maybe?
I have a shot this Portland lighthouse from all directions and many angles. What is left? Take a close up. Get the light. Let it be dusk and let the soft blur of sunset suffuse the scene. Hey it works for me.
This is an easy lighthouse to find and to see. Walk around. Change perspective. Get the clouds. Get the foreground. Everyone rushes up to the fence and has eyes only for the lighthouse. Yes there are not too many opportunities like this. And you can get around it from many angles and viewpoints. I standby and watch groups, families and individuals all shoot. Look down! The best shot is in the tidal pool at their feet. It is not always a shot. Sometimes there is a breeze to blur the reflection. Only a few are able to see this shot and get it.
I’m spinning my archive. The good thing about living in Maine for a while is that you got to visit lighthouses in inclement weather. Fog is always a hard subject. The other element is the light itself. Then to blend soft light and focused detail is harder yet. I let the camera figure out the exposure. I just fixed the compositional elements. In that instant I got the shot I wanted. It’s good.
There is a distinct advantage to having a local lighthouse to visit. While I was in Maine I took advantage of the less than sunny days to visit the Portland lighthouse. Fog, snow, and rain became part of the inventory of interesting images. I always saw tourists in a hurry, drive up, photograph the lighthouse, hop in the car, and drive away again. I never even had the chance to point out the best show was at their feet in the reflections of the tidal pools on the rocks below. On the days when the reflection was sharp because the wind was still, you got that signature shot everyone looks to get.
I’m not one to camp out and wait for sunset, or to wait hours upon hours for the clouds to arrange themselves for my image. And I’m not a fan of changing things in Photoshop. I prefer drive by shooting. Hey, it works for me. I can appreciate some images that were made by others who toiled and waited…. just not me.
If you just look down at the tidal pools, there’s a reflection to reward you. On a sunny day a polarizing filter will get you a more distinct image. Either way try to break out of the typical tourist mode and get something different.
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.
We are at the eastern most point on the north fork of Long Island. It’s the terminus for the ferry. This ferry has had a significant part in our lives. It connects Long Island to New London, Connecticut. It is the way to summer camp, friends, skiing, Maine and so many events. It’s not a regular trip but we’ve made it often enough for the scene to be familiar. Like everything else, I take a picture of the lighthouse on each trip. Sometimes you like the shot better than others.