The Nor-easter Barrels In

Although the storm peaked the night after my Prelude post, it was still going the following day (wind was between 25 & 30 MPH) when these photos were taken. Still, southern Maine wasn’t hit as hard as Boston and New York that saw wind speeds up to 60 MPH. Each shot was taken 0.1 seconds apart. You can view all of my selected wave shots at my on-line gallery.

Please LIKE this if you think it’s cool!

Prelude To a Nor-easter

The definition goes like this: An eastern North American storm that usually develops between the Georgia and New Jersey latitudes, progressing northeastward and typified by potentially violent northeast winds: most frequent and intense from September through April; nor’easters can develop within a hundred miles of the east coast and commonly bring heavy rain or snow and coastal damage. We’re looking at 30 – 40 MPH winds and maybe two inches of rain, tomorrow. This storm was fed by the jet stream that brought the remnants from that big Pacific storm that dumped up to a foot of rain in some parts of California.

Since winds today were already about 25 MPH off Cape Elizabeth I decided to go to Crescent Beach and photograph the waves during the incoming tide. Wave heights today were about 4 -5 feet. The water temperature was about 57 F. If that seems too cold for swimming just wait awhile. The Gulf of Maine is heating at 5 times the rate of the oceans due to changes in currents, precipitated by climate change. As a result, sharks are moving in and lobsters are moving out.

Tomorrow I plan to venture out around noon when wave heights are expected to be around 11 feet. In the meantime here are a few shots from today.

Macro Photography As Fine Art

Dead wood when carefully composed and shot renders some great studies in form and texture. Take, for example, the photo on the left. As wood decomposes it returns nutrients and carbon to the soil thus providing for new life. However, in the meantime it provides for some interesting views, in this case several of those pleasing triangles outlined with the detail of their wood frames.

I call the photo on the right Quantum Blossums because it reminds me of those subatomic particles popping into existence from nothing, then within a fraction of a nano-second diappearing back into nothing. These transient particles are what comprise atoms. Particle physicists have demonstrated this time and again when they smash atoms in high energy particle accelerators.

This means that all observable matter (we don’t yet know about dark matter), including us, are composed of constantly appearing and disappearing matter! No divine intervention necessary. If this blows your mind, don’t feel too bad. It blows the minds of particle physicists also. The quantum world is a probalistic world, one without cause and effect that creates the macro universe in which we live where cause and effect are mathematically, experimentally, and visually observed.

Have you heard this one? A guy goes into a quantum cafe and orders a dry martini (shaken, not stirred). The bartender says, “Well, maybe.” The guy ends up with a Bloody Mary.

You can find more of my macro fine art shots here.

I hope to hear of any of your quantum adventures.

Nubble Light

Nubble Light sits on a giant rock, about 200 feet offshore. I’m not sure what it is about lighthouses but people flock to them, me included. Perhaps it’s because they look so majestic against the sea or one of the Great Lakes. They were certainly part of a green system of transportation. With just a compass, sextant, ship’s clock, and lighthouses to mark the coasts mariners were able to sail (that is, with only wind-power) all around the world. Global trade is roughly 600 years old. How time flies.

I discovered this lighthouse recently on one of my club cycling rides. About a dozen of us stopped by on a beautiful Sunday. The place was packed! Then, the tour bus arrived–super packed! Of course, everyone had their ever-present cell phone cameras out, taking pictures. I wasn’t among them doing this. However, I thought this lighthouse would make an excellent subject. Now, typically, the best light is during the morning or evening golden hours when the shadows are long. But this is of somewhat less importance when shooting in black and white, particularly if you have something other than a clear blue sky. So I returned a few days later under a threatening forecast with my 35mm film camera. Although the overcast lacked clear cloud definition, with a bit of post-processing I was able to get an austere sky, shot using Kodak T-Max 100 film.

Nubble Light

As many of you now know, sometimes during this time of Covid-19 our perceptions of reality can become a little distorted, one might say, even wonky.

I’m open to receiving any of your own wonky observations.

Can Renewables Save Us?

Originally Published July 10, 2021

Updates: The New York Times recently reported how the race for lithium to power batteries for electric vehicles will further degrade the environment. The Times again raises the question of what percentage of power to recharge those batteries will come from renewable energy. Neither are bio-fuels the answer to a carbon free environment as they raise food prices, displace forests, and emit carbon dioxide in their development, as reported in the New York Times. While it is critical to transition away from fossil fuels, renewables cannot fully replace fossil fuel energy, at least in the foreseeable future. This means, humanity will be producing a lot less, with all those implications no one is talking about.

According to an article in The New York Times, electric vehicles, while green, are not without greenhouse gas and other environmental problems. Many power-plants still burn coal or natural gas, and mining the metals poses health threats and environmental degradation.

See: http://www.carboncounter.com to calculate vehicle emissions under different situations.

Insectorama: Season 3

I went out recently to Mill Brook Preserve looking for insects to photograph. Unfortunately, aside from biting bugs and other pests, insects are getting harder to find. I only found two, shown below. This is due in major part to climate change, though habitat loss and pesticide use are secondary factors. The sixth extinction includes the insect apocalypse. You don’t believe me? Read more here.

However, given that southern Maine has set a new record for the rainiest July, mushrooms abounded. You can find some cool photos at Mushroomarama.

Insects, you gotta love’em, kinda.

A Hike Up the Wilderness Trail

A friend of mine and I recently hiked up this trail located off the Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It’s trailhead is the largest along this highway. The highway is a great drive with steep climbs and descents and a switchback towards the east end. The fall leaf peepers love it. The speed limits are reduced to minimize collisions with moose (neither of you are going to do well in a collision).

I found many cyclists along this highway, some with panniers. Climbing those grades, some miles long, requires superb fitness. I’m still wrestling with short 12% climbs. Miles of 5% grade are far more difficult.

We started our hike with the hordes but they fell off after a couple of miles. We finally made our way up to Franconia Falls where we met a few people enjoying the water rushing through the glacier-strewn boulders. We also watched as some teenage boys leapt from the rocks into the deeper pools.

We took in all that nature had to offer: the views, the sound of rushing water, and the absence of the noise of modern life. I go into the back country not only for the exercise and views, but to clear my head. The wilderness is a great stress reliever (well, as long as you are adequately prepared). Of course, as many of you know, I also go in to document our natural environment.

At the start of our return we lunched on a log and later found pizza for dinner before returning to our homes. Doing this with a friend made it all the more enjoyable!


Post-industrialization to Micro-industrialization

Originally published December 16, 2016

Update: It turns out that sails for ocean-going ships will be coming back, though far different than those of those fast clipper ships. See the New York Times.


Looking at my shoot of Boston’s tall ships in 1980 (I took these with a Yashica TL-Electro SLR, which I still have, using Kodak reversal film) got me to thinking about ways of cutting back on petroleum. As I have

Boston, Tall Ships The Juan Sebastian Elcano, 1980 Boston, Tall Ships
The Juan Sebastian Elcano, 1980

discussed in earlier posts, climate change is not the only reason for cutting back on petroleum. Although we have plenty of oil now, scientists have noted that petroleum and other natural reserves will be in shorter supply and increasingly expensive over the coming decade, forward.

One solution for ocean ships would be new designs using both solar and wind power (with solar panels embedded in their sails). Although these ships would need larger crews, and could not be as large as current ocean-going ships, they could be larger than their 19th century clipper counterparts. Though this is not economically viable now, it will be as oil depletes, leading us to what I call neo-industrialization (a period of scaled back production using mostly/only-renewable resources).

I will talk more about this in a later post. In the meantime, perhaps you would share your own ideas on this topic.