Citizen Science on the Presumpscot

While on a recent hike one person suggested I consider volunteering to take photos in the Presumpscot River Watershed which flows into Casco Bay. Although this area is scientifically monitored for water quality, the Friends of Casco Bay are also interested in knowing about problematic areas that people might come upon. Key areas of interest are: erosion, sea-level rise seen at high tide, wildlife (dead or alive), algae blooms, trash, eel grass, and pollution. Volunteers document what they see with photographs which they can upload to their accounts on Water Reporter (similar to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird citizen science program). Once the data are analyzed, plans for addressing the problems are discussed with the appropriate authorities to come up with viable solutions.

As you can see, trash was the easiest category for me to document today. My plan is to revisit the same areas (I’ll add a couple more) so I can document these over time. The next full moon high tides will occur on November 14-18 so I’ll be photographing some shore areas during that period. If you recall my recent Falmouth Town Landing post, photos on Water Reporter show portions of that parking lot under water at high tide.

Just to mention, aside from minor adjustments such as exposure, I don’t process these photographs in order to preserve the look of the actual scene. Photographing times are determined by times of high and low tides, instead of best light. Today’s shoot took place during the hour prior to low tide. I set my camera to geo tag images, including elevation and camera direction.

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.

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.

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.

https://weather.com/science/environment/video/giant-crater-in-siberia-result-of-global-warming?pl=pl-the-latest

An Ice Shelf the Size of Manhattan

Google Earth photo

About 80 square kilometers of the Milne Ice Shelf broke away from the northern coast of Ellesmere Island on July 30 and 31, as shown in satellite images.  Ellesmere Island is located off the northwest coast of Greenland and is part of Canada’s Nunavut Territory. Although the calving of ice shelves contribute little to sea-level rise because they are in the water before they break apart, they act as dams by preventing glacial ice from advancing to the sea.  Consequently, their break-ups will contribute to future sea-levl rise. In the meantime, the fresh water they release reduces ocean salinity, thus affecting marine life. Floating ice shelves further break-up and pose a risk to maritime shipping.

Life in a Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery: Google Earth photo

A couple of days ago I was getting some exercise walking through Portland’s Evergreen Cemetery. There, I found this interesting group of ponds featuring everything from dragonflies and frogs to an Egret.  I showed up the next day with my medium format, film camera and a tripod and photographed.

I shot two rolls of fine grain film using  f/16 @ 1/8 – 1/30″. I must say, the Egret and the ducks were pretty cooperative and very comfortable around people. Although there were several people there, no one was feeding them. Here’s one shot of the Egret which I titled, Egret.

Evergreen Cemetery duck pond

You can see more of these photos at my online gallery (I show only 5 of what I see as the best photographs).

What We Eat Affects Our Planet

As the world has become more affluent, more people eat evermore meat. This is not only bad for our cardio-vascular health and cruel to animals raised in factory farms (that produce more greenhouses gases than all forms of fossil fuel-driven transportation combined), it increases the likelihood of producing new strains of bacteria and viruses, some of which result in epidemics and pandemics.

Zoonotic https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/17/magazine/animal-disease-covid.html?referringSource=articleShare