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).

Casco Bay Fog

Spring Point Ledge & Lighthouse

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.

You can view some of my other work at my on-line gallery.

Silky Fluid Meets Rigid Rocks

Peaks Island, ME (Google Earth photo)

The waves beat against the unyielding rocks. Yet, given enough time, the water wins.

Maine’s coastal rocks are the result of plate tectonics and glaciation. They formed from layers of underground silt subjected to heat and pressure. When the North Atlantic plate rammed the North American plate these rocks were pushed to the surface. Glaciers then added their finishing touches.

Long Island, from Wharf Cove, Peaks Island

Bug Light Park at Portland Harbor

I went to South Portland yesterday with my medium format film camera to

ND 10X Filter
ND 10X filter: blurred people figures on left

photograph with my 10X neutral density filter, allowing only  1/10th of the light through. This enables long exposures giving you that smooth water and sky effect, when conditions are right. People can walk right across your view and they don’t register on the film. Cool!

Here are a couple of my shots. You can see more of my waterscapes at my online gallery.

 

Cycling Up the Eastern Promenade


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.

Portland Today

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.

Battling the Ice

Yesterday we had 35+ MPH winds so I went to Webster Park on Lake Ontario to photograph more ice. Everything from the parking lot down to the shore

Under Ice

was iced, due to freezing rain and refreezing. So I strapped on my gear, including my micro-cleets, and boldly walked down to the pier. I had  to use my foot to punch through the snow to set up my tripod. The gusts were so strong at times I made sure I always held on to the tripod to avoid having it blown over, and to

Webster Pier

dampen vibration during shooting. I selected locations where I was at least partly shielded from wind with a good view of the pier. I took a total of 12 shots from three angles.

The first photo shows the pier completely under ice (taken slightly to the left of the pier). The second photo (taken slightly from the right) shows the same pier during a nor’easter last fall. Fresh water freezes far more readily than salt water so it doesn’t take much cold to enable the waves to build high ice walls on the lake’s leeward shore lines. The trick is to wait for that split second when a large wave breaks. Had I been using my digital camera that can shoot 10 frames per second this would have been much easier.

To get the third photo I walked a short way along the shore to the right of the pier looking for an opening free of branches. Resetting the tripod and camera while wearing gloves is always a challenge. This day I was wearing gloves with openings for the forefinger and thumb (and hand warmers in my pockets to rewarm them).

I had to climb up the hill to get into place for the fourth photo. The wind was horrific. Fortunately, I was able to find a large tree close to where I needed to be to partially shield me and the camera.

I took all these photos with my 35mm camera with a circular polarizing filter on a 135mm lens. Since I was shooting Tri-X 400 film, the filter enabled me to shoot at slower shutter speeds to get a little blur on the breaking waves.

Unlike shallow Lake Erie, Ontario is deep so it only freezes around the edges. While this works for surfers (yup, winter is the best time since that’s when the waves are the highest) we get lake effect (snow) all winter long when the wind is blowing on shore (i.e., off the lake). Those areas most exposed to on shore wind get the most snow. Watertown, at the east end of the lake gets the most, about 300+ inches per year!

 

 

 

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Icescapes

A friend and I went to Taughannock Falls and Watkins Glen State Parks yesterday. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and somewhat brisk at eight degrees Farenheit. These parks are known for their deep gorges carved out by water, along with their waterfalls.

 

These gorges are paralleled with paths cut into the stone ledge, most of which were closed, due to ice. The first photo shows one of these falls where you can see the dramatic build-up of ice (followed by a summer view), including an ice dome at the base.

We walked along a path overlooking the gorge where we found a relatively clear view of the gorge, showing the stream emptying into the southern end of Cayuga Lake, shown in the photo, below. The photo on the right shows chunks of ice, covered with snow, illustrating that this shoot was all about ice.

 

Since we could not get to most places in this park, we drove twenty miles to Watkins Glen to see if we would have any opportunities to walk along the gorge. Unfortunately, most were closed. However, the Gorge Trail was open where there were some overlooks and paths that were relatively safe (as I write this the following day, NY Parks closed this trail, due to poor conditions). Although there was bright sun, it was low in the sky so most of the gorge was shaded in the afternoon. I took the two following photos from one of the bridges crossing the gorge. I took the first with my lens set to 15mm and the second of the same scene set at 38mm. However, I changed how I processed the second photo to show a more abstract version.

Intense cold and slippery surfaces make this type of photography a bit dangerous. Proper layered clothing and extreme caution near edges and ledges are critical for personal safety. I will place a few more ice photos from this shoot in my on-line gallery in the near future.

Scenes Around the Finger Lakes Before the Polar Vortex


The weather around the finger lakes has been pretty mild so far, with temperatures mostly in the thirties and some forties with little precipitation. However, this might change with the anticipated coming of the polar vortex. One struck last year and produced three consecutive nor’easters along the east coast.

I traveled around the finger lakes in December where there were light patches of snow scattered about the countryside. Here are some of my highlight photos.

 

Fall Nor’easter on Lake Ontario

Webster Pier

Here on the north coast the weather can get pretty rough. Remember the Edmund Fitzgerald (it sank on Lake Superior)?  Well, Ontario is a pretty rough place when the wind blows from the northeast. Last week a nor’easter swept up the east coast and we were on its northwestern side. Even so, we had winds up to 35 MPH with about an inch of rain.

So I decided to suit-up in my rain gear and go out for a shoot at the Webster Pier in the park of the same name. With my 35mm camera loaded with Ilford 3200 B&W film under a camera hood I ventured out, keeping the lens pointed down, then shooting mostly downwind to keep the lens dry (I still had droplets on the lens). That day the water was churning but the waves were only about 3 or 4 feet high. With the more powerful winter storms waves can be from 6 to 9 feet (great for winter surfing)!

Webster Pier

When I arrived the wind was “only” blowing at about 25 MPH; there were several die-hard fisherman trying their luck, with one pair out on the pier. However, after about an hour the winds strengthened to around 35 MPH and they left; I was really being buffeted during this period, making it difficult to compose my shots and keep my lens dry.

People love living near the water, but during storms things can get really dicey. Many had their properties at least partially flooded last year. You can see how close some homes are to the shore in the last photo.

If you have any storm shots from the Great Lakes, we would all love to see them!