All Those Maine Photos — Now What?


After three months away I’ve caught up with friends and family.  Of course, I’ve been taking photos while visiting and I finally finished processing them, along with doing all those errands and house chores.

It took several hours just to import, convert RAW to DNG, and double-backup the 2,576 photos–all categorized according to shooting location. This past week I started the process of tagging the photos with key words so I can quickly find what I need.  This is often an ongoing process of revision as I rethink the tagging.  But just to give you an idea, here are my current tags–imported from Adobe Lightroom:

Back Bay, Bates, Belfast, Berries, Birch Point Beach, Birch Point Beach St. Pk., Birds, Boats, Boothbay, Brass Band, Brunswick, Bug Light, Buildings, Buoys, Cairns, Camden, Camden Hills St. Pk., Casco Bay Bridge, CG Fair, Clouds, Cruise Ship, Crystal Spring Farm Land Trust, Down Front, Drydock, Flower, Fog, Foliage, Ft. William Pk, Georges River Land Trust, Landscapes, Lighthouse, Lobster pots, Mackworth Is., Marathon, Mid-coast, Moon, Netherworld, Night, Ovens Mouth Preserve, Owl’s Head, Panoramas, Peaks, Peaks* Fog, Pemaquid, People, Port Clyde, Portland, Pre-dawn, RachelCarson, Rockland, Rocks, Southern Coast, Sunset, Two Lights State Pk, Waterscapes, Waves, Wells Beach, Windjammers, Wolfe’s Neck State Pk.

These might look daunting, but they’re not. Although tagging these photos took several hours, tagging will make it easier to locate particular photos. The real task at hand is determining not only the “best” photos (i.e., technical and aesthetic qualities) to select for the book, but what subset of these will tell the best story about the Maine coast. Once I decide on that subset, those are the photos that I’ll process to enhance their look without overdoing them. The story itself will then emerge from this last set of photos–I hope. My major concern is that once I start this process I’ll discover that I’m lacking the images I really need.

Once all of this is complete, it’s off to copy-editing and graphics design, and then, a book. Can I do this by next summer? We’ll see.

If you have produced a photo book I would be happy to hear about your experience.

A Little Lunar Laud

It seems only fitting to say a little something about the moon photos. The bright full moon against an otherwise dark sky seems to have an impact on us in one way or another. Let me start with the scientific perspective. We know that the inner rocky planets of our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) were formed during the asteroid period. These planets, including the earth, were formed when asteroids collided, forming masses of increasing size held together through the melting of iron, and gravitational force. Later, but still early in earth’s history, a large asteroid hit the earth obliquely, splitting off what became the moon. As we know, the moon’s gravity is the principal driver of the tides, aided to a lesser extent by the sun.

Then there’s the moon’s “sinister” side, giving rise to werewolf and vampire legends, witchcraft, some religious beliefs, and “mental illness” (i.e., lunacy, lunatics). Of course, there is the moon’s romantic side. As I was sitting behind my camera and tripod on those Maine rocks, two cars with young couples parked nearby and went onto the rocks to watch the full moon rise. Somehow, watching the moon relaxes us in such a way that it is easier to express affection. The aesthetics of that giant orange disk rising over the horizon apparently is one of our emotional triggers.

All this encourages people like me to go out and photograph the moon despite the possibility of last minute weather vagaries, bug bites during warmer weather, and frozen fingers during winter.

-From Portland and the mid-coast

Scoping Out the mid-Coast

The past couple of days has seen me traveling up and down the mid-coast, racking up

Approaching the Portland car ferry dock from Peaks Island
Approaching the Portland car ferry dock from Peaks Island

about 400 miles. So far I’ve haven’t seen much except for the usual touristy stuff. What’s that Johnny Cash song? “I’ve been everywhere man,  . . . .” The trip, of course, begins with the ferry crossing (actually, it begins with the walk to the ferry). The photo, above, shows us getting ready to dock in Portland. After that it’s a 15 minute walk to the garage to get my car.

The Pemaquid shot, below, is not that artistic, but couldn’t you see yourself sitting on one of those boats with a summer drink?

Pemaquid Harbor
Pemaquid Harbor

Then there’s Belfast, another pretty nice setting. The town has a funky side to it, as shown by some of the interesting business facades._DSF0957 _DSF0958

Belfast harbor at low tide.
Belfast harbor at low tide.

The photo, above, shows its harbor. Unfortunately, I showed up a low tide.

Further down the road was Camden, home of the windjammer cruises. A bit larger and more upscale than Belfast, it is a pretty nice town.

Main St., Camden, ME
Main St., Camden, ME
Sittin' pretty in Camden
Sittin’ pretty in Camden

Well I haven’t been everywhere (man) around here, yet, but it feels that way.  I’m looking more for where people don’t go (which is really the down east part of the coast. Unfortunately, that’s way out of range unless I stay a few nights in a motel. I’m told they get cheaper as you go east. What I have seen so far is Reid State Park for wildlife. Next week I head up to Owls Head which overlooks Rockland and Penobscot Bay. It looks promising for several waterscapes at dusk.

What I see emerging is locating about six good locations within a day’s roundtrip that I can photograph under a range of lighting and weather conditions. These settings will be contextualized with town and people scenes. But don’t hold me to this, my thinking could change tomorrow!

-From Portland and the mid-coast

Around Peaks Island

Well, here I am, pretty much settled on Peaks Island. I repositioned my car off-island at one of Portland’s garages on Labor Day. Although most of the Labor Day week-end involved unpacking and food shopping, I did manage to take a few shots “down front” on the island where "Down front" leading to the ferry.

“Down front” leading to the ferry.

people were coming and going (the first photograph shows the downhill to the ferry dock). Walking along the back shore I saw an interesting composition with waves breaking over the wonderful rocky coast (second photo).

As summer wanes Labor Day eve saw heavy rain and thunderstorms. When my clock radio went off at 5:30 the following morning I checked to see if there was any fog. There was! I threw on some clothes and walked the quarter mile to the island’s east shore. I set up my tripod and camera on a rocky beach and took a few fog shots. I then moved further along the island’s perimeter and took several more. There, I caught a wonderful mix of granite, fog, and island shoreline (third photo). A few photographs from this series will likely end up as black and white prints.

Waves breaking on te back shore
Waves breaking on the back shore
Fog meets granite.
Fog meets granite

Although I was planning to head up the coast on Route 1 today, there was heavy fog this morning also so I decided to stay on the island. Again, I headed for the back shore where I photographed several more scenes. I particularly like the fourth photo showing Great Diamond Island shrouded in fog with one of the Casco Bay ferries off in the distance to the far left, and a somewhat closer unidentified boat to the ferry’s right (i.e, starboard).

The photograph of the cormorants shows what they do after diving for food, they hold their wings out to dry (good luck to them in this fog!). There were several boats moored nearby. They looked so lonely just sitting there in the fog. In any event, here’s my rendition of the G. Purslow in the sixth photo. I should mention that these photographs are unprocessed JPEGS from my cameras, which means they don’t have the cropping and polishing that can only be done on my home desktop using Lightroom.

Beach, fog & boats
Beach, fog & boats
Cormorants in a fog (through the 400mm super-telephoto)
Cormorants in a fog (through the 400mm super-telephoto)
Moored sailboat
Moored sailboat

Tomorrow’s weather “promises” drier air so my plan is to travel up the coast to check out photo sites and camping accommodations.

I have no internet connection in my cottage so I have to rely on public access at the local library—just a 10 minute bike ride away. Given the constraints of limited internet access and island/mainland logistics, I’ll likely post but once a week. I do, however, have email via my smart phone. Speaking of bike rides, the bike is courtesy of island friends, Ralph and Jeanne. Thanks so much guys!

-From Portland and the mid-coast