I planned to travel to Lubec to photograph the environment back in 2020, but the pandemic quashed that. My friend and I finally had the opportunity to make the five-hour journey “up” the coast, then Down East (also, Downeast), earlier this spring. The term Downeast comes from sailors in the 18th century leaving Boston or Portland for the Canadian Maritime provinces. During the warm months, the winds typically blow from the southwest along the New England coast. This facilitated ships sailing downwind to the east since Maine’s coast has a relatively sharp bend to the east. Downeast succinctly describes this.
Many of Lubec’s residents are dependent on fishing which is pretty common all along coastal Maine. But fishing is endangered as fish stocks dwindle due to over-fishing and the warming of Gulf of Maine waters (warming at the fastest rate in the world). Fishermen are also facing revised regulations designed to protect Right whales from getting entangled in fishing gear (mostly lobster pots). These regulations will require break-away lines should a whale swim into them, and place several areas off-limits to fishing, depending on the season.
Ship strikes are also contributing to the Right whales’ population decline. To minimize this, lower speed limits have been implemented. Ocean-going ships are required to have transponders so they can be monitored by satellites; such monitoring includes their speed. There are only about 350 Right whales left with less than 70 females breeding.
Besides becoming warmer, the oceans are becoming more acidic, thus changing the world’s underwater ecosystem. Ocean warming has been known for a long time. Rachel Carson mentioned this in her 1951 book, The Sea Around Us. Some marine animals can migrate, assuming there is the appropriate food for them in the new waters, but much marine flora and fauna cannot adapt due to their immobility or physical constitution. The coral reefs are a good example of marine life not able to move, and vulnerable to increasing temperatures and acidity.
The land and waters in the following photographs took millions of years to evolve into what they are today. Yet, in a blink of an eye, we are destroying this environment. As individuals and governments, we pay lip service to protecting the environment, but when there is a conflict between the environment and maintaining our post-industrial lives, we sacrifice the environment. Click on the following links to find some coastal black-and-white (first 8 photos), and infrared (first 2 photos) scenes around Lubec.
Unfortunately, the infrared photographs are not as dramatic as they might be. High, thin clouds reduced the infrared light. A clear, blue sky would have rendered black in infrared.
Black-and-white photography emphasizes form and texture; however, color often distracts from this emphasis. Sometimes, though, color better tells the story as you can see in these early morning and evening color scenes (first 5 photos).
I look forward to hearing your thoughts about living in or visiting Lubec.