Naturally, Maine’s rocky coast and Portland’s piers are always a delight.
Wandering around with the camera and friends last week I found something new and somethings revisited. Maine’s rocky coast (first two photos from this gallery) and Portland’s piers are always a delight. Cruising the beaches, we came upon some wind surfers at Ferry Beach. And who could not like Portland Head Light in color and black & white?
Last night I went to Bug Light Park about a half hour after sunset. It was 29oF with a northwest wind about 16 MPH. Although I was dressed in layers, my fingertips became numb even with gloves and hand warmers. However, the bigger problem was the wind vibrating the camera during long exposures. Fortunately, I was able to control this by not fully extending the tripod and holding it firmly during the exposures.
South Portland recently prevailed in a suit regarding its clear skies ordinance. It also obtained an agreement with the EPA about improved monitoring of emissions from heated storage tanks located by the inner harbor.
You can see where supertankers once unloaded crude from the Middle-East for pipeline shipment to Montreal in the photo, below. However, Montreal stopped receiving that oil as a result of its production of tar sands shale production in Alberta. Instead, Canada wanted to send that dirtier oil through the pipeline to Portland for distribution along the east coast. That, too, has been blocked by Clear Skies.
You can also see the oil off-loading pier, below. These are digital photographs taken with my new Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens (the “pancake” lens). I also took a couple of 35mm star-trail photos of Casco Bay using Kodak’s Ektachrome Professional E200 film. This is considered to be one of the best color, fine-grain films for astrophotography (wow, I haven’t shot my go to film, Ektachrome, in about 45 years!). Film is better for long exposures because it doesn’t developed hot pixels (which look like stars) like long digital exposures. Instead, when using digital you have to take a series of sequential short exposures and then stitch them together in Photoshop to see the star-trails. Of course, you won’t see my film shots for awhile since I have 34 exposures remaining and then the film has to be sent to Kansas or California for processing.
A number of us were out on the Presumpscot watershed this morning to photograph the high water level as part of Portland’s the environmental impact studies. Today’s height was 11.8 feet, compared with 2008’s maximum November height of 11.5 feet–3.6 inches higher in just 12 years. And sea levels are accelerating as the polar ice and snows recede, thus reflecting less of the sun’s heat. As you can see in two of the photos, there are no beach areas left at high tide. I’ll continue taking photos at these spots location during the highest tides of each month.
I went to the duck pond this morning to photograph insects but I couldn’t find any. However, I did find dozens of young adult (teen?) frogs. Like most young species they let me get pretty close. Hmm, I wonder if these guys know anything about the missing insects (they are carnivores, after all). You can see some of them at my online Gallery.
Coastal fog makes for great photographs. Sometimes it covers a large geographical area. Other times it’s very isolated. This was one of those days. Behind me and to my left it was clear with a blue sky. It’s all dependent on temperature and relative humidity. When the two meet at the dew point, fog forms (well, sometimes).
Here, I used a 10 stop neutral density filter with a 50 second exposure @ f/13 using 120 Ilford 100 film.
So far this spring the weather hasn’t met my minimum requirements too often for cycling (wind <25 mph, no rain, and temp 50º F +). However, two days ago I did have an opportunity to begin some hill training. Here’s a shot from the Promenade looking across Casco Bay with Fort Gorgeous; and Little Diamond (left), Peaks (center), and House (right) Islands in the background.
After getting up at 5 AM to get to the 6 AM senior roundup at the market, it was good to actually go out the door for a second time in one day. Wow! It was still a bit on the crisp side at 50°F, but I took the bike into the Old Port area (Once the shelter in place restrictions are lifted I’ll start traveling to the various environmental vistas around Maine.). The streets, of course, are still pretty empty, making cycling safer. I took a photo on one of the piers. Unfortunately, I set the camera’s ISO to automatic. Most of the time this works fine at 1/125 @ f/8, but today I was set at 1/60 and the ISO couldn’t go low enough to compensate. The clouds blew out as a result (looks kind of interesting though).
I still have a long way to go to reach last year’s conditioning. My goal is to enter Casco Bay Cycling Club’s century ride in September. I do intense aerobic work on these city rides, but I need the anaerobic, endurance workouts. But these will have to wait for the club’s group rides to restart.
If you’re a cyclist training for an event, let me know what you’re doing for training.
I’ve been going out to walk more as the weather begins to improve. Like so many people around the world who are staying mostly at home these days I’ve been going a little stir crazy. Today, as the temperature approached 50º F I
was feeling a bit lethargic–should I go out on the bike? Absolutely, so I suited up and rode to the Old Port (downtown Portland) section. You can see the route I took with the screenshot taken from my Ride with GPS account. The sky was blue, the wind slight. Traffic was light along Washington Avenue. However, once I approached the park areas toward the Back Cove, it was like a Sunday afternoon. Navigating my way on the cycle/pedestrian path was challenging so as not to hit anyone.
Aside from couples or families with kids, it looked like everyone was keeping
their six foot distances. This was my first foray into the city with all the emergency protocols in place. My first stop was the state pier and the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal; its service to the islands now cut back.
From there I rode down
Commercial Street and up to the Market/Exchange Street intersection. This is normally a highly congested area with traffic and pedestrians. As you can see, there wasn’t much going on (and holy cow, the Holy Donut Shop was closed!); I pretty much had the streets to myself. From there I rode
up to the next block to Post Office Park on Middle Street. It was pretty empty there, too.
With that I turned around and headed back to the cycle path and, stopping at the Cutter Street Parking lot. There, while eating my power bar, two of Plante’s ferries were offloading and loading construction trucks, from Peaks Island. The entire area was crowded with people, like me, just happy to get out of the house.
After that, a couple of swigs of water and I was off. By the time I got home, I was breathing deeply and my lethargy gone!
On Monday, the United Nations Climate Action Summit gets underway in Madrid, Spain. A just released U.N. report found that we are not making very good progress towards keeping global temperature rise below 1.5⁰ C by 2050.
This is because global warming is not a linear process, but rather an exponential one; the planet is warming at faster rates over time. We are reaching what some social scientists have called a “tipping point.”
This can also be applied to the natural sciences. For example, wild fires put particulate in the air which eventually settle on glaciers. Now, in addition to warmer temperatures causing ice melt, there is a second factor, particulate, which absorbs additional heat. Another example is that warmer air not only melts the tundra’s
permafrost, but as it does, methane, a much stronger greenhouse gas, is released, further warming the planet.
The basic cause of climate change is too many people producing too much GDP with fossil fuels. The only very unfortunate solution is to stop using fossil fuels and transition to renewable energies. Since these cannot provide as much energy as fossil fuels in the foreseeable future, post-industrial societies would have to transition to micro-industrial production. This would entail giving up many of our amenities and creature comforts that we have become so used to over the past 100 years. But you and I are not going to do it. Buying a Prius just won’t cut it. The only way this can be done is by inter-governmental cooperation among the G20 countries. What we can do is pressure our political leaders.
Watch any of the business news and what do you see? All the emphasis is on growth; very little attention is paid to environmental issues unless it’s regarding regulations. As I walk down along Commercial Street in Portland, Maine, the renaissance of the last 15 years continues. High-rise buildings proliferate, some of which have condominiums ranging from about $500k to $2.5m. Though a small city, Portland has diversity, it has restaurants that can compete with those in Boston and New York, it has investment houses, and it has an outstanding art museum. All this takes energy to construct and maintain. Sad to say, this is not sustainable, not here, certainly not in London, New York, or Beijing.