I recently went out with my Mamiya medium format camera to photograph this lighthouse. It is one of several along the Kennebec River; it is an active light maintained by the Coast Guard. These river lights were designed in the late 1800s to guide commercial traffic through tight turns and treacherous areas along the river.
The late nineteenth century was a transitional time in shipping. Sailing ships were in decline as more and more steam ships powered by coal came into use. Scientists knew as early as the mid-1800s that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas, but the prevailing thought was that the Earth was too large for people to pollute, much less warm the oceans and atmosphere. Besides, fossil fuel power meant profits, and people wanted all the things that it could make widely available. The middle class slowly grew and people saw industrialization as progressive. Fossil fuels were so compelling that most people would not see them as destructive. In fact, we still have some climate deniers, but they have dwindled over the past decade as floods, droughts, and wildfires have ravaged the planet.
People love lighthouses. They are frequently visited, photographed, and appear in many paintings. Many even have gift shops. They are also sustainable. Portland Head Light was commissioned by George Washington in 1791. Many others were built in the early 1800s. While many had to be rebuilt (or moved, due to erosion) one or two times, they are a sustainable means of coastal navigation. Today they are automated, gone is the romantic era of the lighthouse keeper. Will today’s GPS and GLONASS satellite systems (which we all use) stand the test of time?
You will find four more photos of Squirrel Light at my online gallery.
The two most favored environments for most people are mountains and water. It must be all those positive ions in the air.
Waterscapes, whether natural or altered by humans, are some of my favorite environmental scenes. The two most favored environments for most people are mountains and water. It must be all those positive ions in the air. I recently photographed the first six scenes, shown on my online gallery.
We recently had a southeaster with heavy rain and winds of 40 MPH. After checking the charts for high tide I went to Crescent Beach State park in the early afternoon, wearing rain pants and a jacket, along with boots. The rain was blowing horizontally.
I find storm waves fascinating. They show the power of wind and water. We recently had a southeaster with heavy rain and winds of 40 MPH. After checking the charts for high tide I went to Crescent Beach State park in the early afternoon, wearing rain pants and a jacket, along with boots. The rain was blowing horizontally. When I got there I walked along a protected path to the point. Even though my camera and lens are weather sealed I had a full camera cover to minimize it getting hit with salt and sand. Once clear of the protective brush along the trail the wind and rain slammed me. To minimize these I had to figure out where to shoot in order to have a good composition while not having the lens pointed directly into the wind.
Fortunately, I found ledges at various locations enabling me to use them as shields against the wind and rain. Even so, when I brought the camera up to shoot, rain was blown down the sleeve of my right arm. Nevertheless, I persisted shooting for about half an hour before deciding I had what I wanted.
It was all worth it, as you can see in the photograph. You will find more shots of the day with the first six photos at my on-line gallery.
Near infrared, that is. It starts at 720 nanometers on the light spectrum, just beyond visible light.
Near infrared, that is. It starts at 720 nanometers on the light spectrum, just beyond visible light. I talked about this in a prior post. Its dark secrets are many. How do you expose it, how do I focus the image, how do I process it, what kind of filter do I need (checkout YouTube for videos on both digital and film infrared)? And the list goes on. However, once you begin to learn about its idiosyncrasies, you start getting some pretty weird photographs. Which is what it is all about. Take a look, below.
First of all, you need a bright, sunny day because that is where all the infrared light is. It turns foliage white and blues black (look at the sky and water in the background). And it has high contrast. The affects can be surrealistic and or austere. Be prepared to bracket all your exposures and waste a lot of film when you first start shooting infrared.
You will find more of my most recent weird stuff in the first seven photographs, here.
Infrared provides a surrealist view of your subject. With the right compositions it creates what I think is a very artistic image; I wouldn’t suggest it for portraits or weddings, though.
Readers might recall my storm waves shoot at this park back in early April where the winds were gusting up near 60 MPH. This day saw a calmer Reid with partly cloudy skies. Ideal for infrared photography! The following video shows how nice the day was; compare this to my earlier post.
I used my medium format camera loaded with Ilford SFX 200 film along with an infrared filter (092 IR 695 20-40x). I made my best exposures using an exposure index of 3 on my light meter at 1/15 second @ f/16. However, Ilford states that the film should be developed at ISO 200.
Infrared provides a surrealist view of your subject. With the right compositions it creates what I think is a very artistic image; I wouldn’t suggest it for portraits or weddings, though. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Take for instance Bob Dylan in color infrared–you can order a print for just $1200.
I shot 400 frames this day at 1/30 seconds or slower so as to get a bit of a blur in the waves to convey a sense of motion.
The sea has mitigated climate change thus far by absorbing most of the heat from the greenhouse effect. However, it has come at a great cost; as the sea warms it becomes more acidic thus changing the balance of life. The coral reefs, upon which so many aquatic species depend, are dying. Here in Maine the lobsters are moving towards Atlantic Canada and the sharks are moving in. Reid State Park Beach now has shark alert flags that are raised during a spotting, along with a warning horn.
As you can see, it was quite the day. The surfing site, Magic Seaweed, reported wave heights at 9-13 feet. It was raining heavily on the drive up, but according to the radar it was supposed to let up about the time I arrived. By the time I got there it was only misting. Only?! The mist was like a fog. Although I brought a hooded rain jacket and all my clothing was synthetic, quick-dry including a waterproof camera cover (my camera and lens are supposedly weather-sealed), I was concerned that the driving wind would force salty air into my equipment. Fortunately, all my equipment only needed an exterior cleaning after I returned home.
So, here I was walking around on wet, mossy rocks carrying my camera on its tripod looking for places to shoot, protected from the wind. When on wet rocks it is best to plant your foot and see if it grips before taking the next step. It takes more time but saves broken bones or worse.
I shot 400 frames this day at 1/30 seconds or slower so as to get a bit of a blur in the waves to convey a sense of motion. I shot all my previous wave scenes at high-speed to freeze the action, giving the waves a sharp look. Both techniques provide impressive results, it just depends on what the photographer wants to convey.
After several hours of post-processing and culling photos, I reduced those worth showing to 12.
There were only three other vehicles that showed up at different times during my four hour stay. The only exception was a woman driving a four-door pick-up truck who came about two hours after me. Her truck was still there when I left. I captured a shot of her from afar standing on the rock ledge looking out at the surf.
You will find my wave photos of the day (the first twelve) at my on-line gallery.
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?
Hefting my six-pound camera/lens setup, and tripod, I moved around the beach to get the best shots.
New Smyrna Beach is miles long with several vehicle access points. RVs and other vehicles can easily drive along the designated lanes’ hard-packed sands and park for the day. There, one also finds walkers, cyclists, and surfers, the latter wearing wet-suits. Still, it was too cold at 50o F for most swimmers. Among the “snow birds” and local residents were a host of shorebirds that seemed to be relatively comfortable around their much larger counterparts. These shorebirds were the Gulls, Skimmers, Pelicans, and others.
This day the sky was overcast and the winds light–quite perfect for photography. Hefting my six-pound camera/lens setup, and tripod, I moved around the beach to get the best shots. The birds on the ground generally let me approach within 75 feet, enabling me to get a few pretty good compositions.
. . . the current cold snap here in Maine is resurrecting the ice disk . . . .
Reported internationally, the current cold snap here in Maine is resurrecting the ice disk on the Presumpscot River in downtown Westbrook. Apparently, the river creates a vortex along with a sinking column of cold water that freezes at a slower rate than the surrounding waters, thus creating the disk. A passer-by told me that in some years with the right combination of freezing and thawing the disk breaks free and begins rotating. Another person told me he previously watched a “sitting duck” do a complete circuit on the disk in about an hour without moving. Here are three views I took from different angles.
I’m slipping on about a 15 degree decline because I failed to bring my cleats!
The day before Christmas I hiked this trail in Harpswell. These photos were taken at the look-out where the drop to the water’s edge was 150 feet. Meanwhile, I’m slipping on about a 15 degree decline because I failed to bring my cleats! Fortunately, I’m here today to write about it. You can find additional film photos here, and digital photos, taken about a week later (while wearing cleats), here.