Fall Past Prime

Fall in the woods

Everyone loves the fall colors. But things turn at different rates, as is the case with most things. I was in our urban woods last week to photograph the end-cycle, so to speak. I used fill-in flash with all the photographs in this shoot, then I added a little post-processing so some photos would take on a bit of a fine art look. Don’t think of things as dead, think of them as preparing the way for the next generation.

You can see more of these photos at my gallery.

The Mt. Cutler Hike and Climb

Topographical Map via Google Earth

After nearly a year in Maine I finally made it into the mountains. Slowed by the pandemic, I joined the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club (MOAC) last week. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve done any rugged hiking. This was a short trip, only 4.9 miles but it took us about 31/2 hours, including several stops. We started at the green marker on the map, above, and hiked the trails counter clock, looping back to the trailhead. See that diagonal dark stretch? It’s steep and you need all fours to cross portions of it going up (you can learn about contour lines here); sometimes we had to walk along a ledge with a 10 to 15 foot drop. Walking poles came in really handy. Well, it was a bit more than I was planning for on my first hike, but I made it!

We had some steady rain the day before, but today the weather was beautiful and the scenes grand. As you might know, Maine has come off one of its hottest summers and most of the state has been in moderate to extreme drought. Unfortunately (for all of us), there are lots of changes in store for both flora and fauna here in Maine and elsewhere as the sixth extinction continues.

I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors. It’s not only good for keeping me physically fit, but mentally fit as well. It’s even more important now that we’re in the middle of this pandemic.

Let me know what being outdoors does for you.

A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough’s just published book (see my sidebar) bears witness to the loss of wild places within his own lifetime that threatens much of life on this planet. He makes the case for the loss of plant and animal diversity, even as so many of us remain oblivious, or think that it’s really not that bad, or something that we can worry about sometime in the distant future.

Traveling the globe with his video crew, he recounts and shows how places he once visited have changed within his own lifetime, how coral reefs have died. He concludes with what we can do to regenerate wild places before it’s too late.

A companion Netflix documentary provides all the dramatic video, narrated by and starring, Sir David.

You can also find more detailed statistics about climate change and its implications for humanity here.

Saturday On the Lake

This past weekend I went to Sebago Lake State Park. Being retired I normally avoid public use areas on weekends to avoid crowds. However, the weather was exceptionally nice and I had nothing else to do. So off I went, getting to the park around 2:30. This would give me time to

Sebago Lake State Park

walk around to find some of the best scenes. I also anticipated that people would start leaving by late afternoon.

Sebago Lake is Maine’s second largest and deepest lake. It’s the primary water source for Portland’s water district and supplies twenty percent of Maine’s population. Maine is currently in a moderate to severe drought, depending on geographical location. Looking around the shoreline I could see that the lake level was down. The lake’s level varies with the seasons, but right now the level is a foot lower than at this time last year, due to the lack of rain.

I was somewhat surprised to find that the parking lots were only about half full, though the boat launch parking lot was full. You could see boats sailing and powering (mostly the latter) all around the lake. Some boaters were playing loud music (ugh). Perhaps they didn’t know that there is little attenuation of sound over water.

In any event, I found what I thought were a few good scenes. I photographed with my 35 mm camera on a tripod using a circular polarizing filter and Ilford’s FP4 125 film. After some initial photo processing I toned the photos with a bluish cast.

As we come into fall I’ll have to start shooting in color and save B+W for winter.

More photos here

Casco Bay Seen from Mackworth Island

Macworth Island Shore

I’ve been giving my medium format camera a workout, lately. Last week I drove along the causeway to the island and took some long exposures. You can see that I’ve added some toning to this otherwise monochrome photo. Shores are interesting boundaries of land and water, containing detritus from both worlds. You never know what you might find.

You will find more of these photos at my gallery.

I would be interested to learn of your novel finds at the shore.

Falmouth Town Landing in Infrared

Falmouth Town Landing

It’s tough getting to the water right now because everyone is looking to get out of their houses. The parking lots are filled! However, I did manage to get onto Falmouth Landing on Sunday morning where I took several infrared shots. You can find more at my on-line gallery.

It’s challenging to get infrared exposures right since light-meters measure visible light. Instead, you have to experiment and bracket each exposure. If the scene contains a lot of red light, such as during twilight, the film will be more sensitive. It’s also more sensitive in bright sunlight. In any event, if you’re shooting with film you might have fun trying infrared. You’ll need one of the red filters, depending on which type of film you use. One caution, if you use far infrared, you will have to load and unload your camera in total darkness. You can learn more by Googling “using  infrared film.”

Twice the Size of Manhattan, Greenland’s Ice Shelves Are Breaking Off

As reported by CNN, satellite images show a recent breakup of two shelves. Although these breakups contribute little to sea-level rise because most of their ice lays atop the water’s surface, they hold back the advance of the glaciers to the sea. The latter will significantly contribute to sea-level rise and reduce sea salinity levels.

Methane Bursting From Sinkholes

Note: Post originally published on Sept. 2, 2020

According to recent research conducted by the Scripps Institute at UCSD, these bursts do not significantly add to the greenhouse effect. However, the large volumes of methane released from petroleum wells do.

As the planet warms, we’ll see more methane (CH4) emissions from the ground and oceans. CH4 has up to 80 times the greenhouse effects as CO2.


Spear Farm Estuary Preserve

Spear Farm Estuary Preserve

Taken with my 135mm lens, there were two groups of what appeared to be young Egrets on this fresh water pond.  Wetlands and their estuaries are as important to our biosphere as the rain forests, both of which are disappearing.  You can read more about this preserve here. You can also see more of my photos from this preserve at my on-line gallery.