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Bicycle with a View was conceptualized on an early morning bike ride to Falmouth Town Landing in 2012. Arriving just before sunrise I was mesmerized by the view while descending the steep hill that leads to the boat launch and thought “damn, why didn’t I bring my camera?” Since then, I’ve made it a point to do an annual sunrise ride and photo shoot there and so it is with some sadness that I now report that today’s excursion to Town Landing was my last. No, I’m not discontinuing my blog but I am moving 25 miles south to Scarborough. I’d have to leave about 2:00 am from my new home to get to Falmouth in time for sunrise. Not gonna do it!
Today’s ride began early enough at 4:00 am and as I’ve reported in the past, there’s both an entrancing and uncomfortable feeling about being the only cyclist – or person – out on the streets at that time. Over the winter I upgraded my bike lighting system to one that offers more visibility and makes me more noticeable. However, that was little comfort this morning since in the back of my mind was the knowledge that five bicyclists in Michigan were struck and killed by a drunk driver in broad daylight just two days ago. My heart goes out to their families and to those injured and in serious condition.
About two miles into the ride I began to hear a rubbing-grinding sound from my bicycle. Had I been in my car I would have simply turned up the volume on the radio to drown out the noise and hoped that the “check engine” light didn’t come on. This situation, it seemed, appeared to require immediate attention. Ever the problem solver, I went through the typical troubleshooting checklist: does the noise go away when I stop pedaling? (yes); does the noise get louder when I pedal faster? (yes). Sounds like a drive train problem. Do I have my cell phone should I need to call my wife? (I think so). Thankfully, half a mile later the noise went away as mysteriously as it appeared. Must have been something caught in the chain.
My trips to Town Landing have almost always resulted in some bizarre encounter with someone, but this one was uneventful. There was a guy that drove up just a little past 4:30 and set out on his paddle board for a tour of the harbor. That seemed rather early for recreational paddling but he may have seen my bicycle and had similar thoughts about my early morning habits. A couple of people launched their boats and a woman walked her dog along the beach. Nothing newsworthy happening here. That said, I do recall an instance when Town Landing made the Police Log section of the newspaper because a woman called the authorities to report that “two boats were rubbing together and making a terrible noise” while moored in the harbor. Oh the misery of small town seacoast life.
I have very fond memories of the 24 years that I have lived in Falmouth. I have met some wonderful people, made some good friends and celebrated many milestones in my life there. But, life moves on and I am looking forward to relocating to another very scenic part of Maine where I can explore its natural beauty and continue to share my photos and stories with you.
Mother’s Beach Kennebunkport
Recently I stumbled upon a very inspiring landscape photographer named Elia Lacordi. Elia and his wife, Naomi, have been traveling the world since 2012 and no longer have a permanent residence – preferring to be “location independent” and living 100% mobile. They more than survive by licensing Elia’s images, conducting photo destination workshops and doing contract work for various tourism bureaus worldwide. Talk about a dream job.
Elia just completed a series of photography tutorials by teaming up with a couple of videographers and together they explored Iceland and New Zealand. The 12 hour tutorial package is a bit pricey at $399 but I found a 90 minute free online lecture given by Lacordi that was well worth the time spent watching. His best piece of advice: “find your subject and whether it be an iconic location or in your own back yard, apply your style and signature to the image and make it your own”.
Lacordi’s style is to blend multiple images taken at different times into one photograph. Whereas many photographers today take consecutive exposures of a scene, exposing separately for the light and dark areas and combining the images later, Lacordi prefers to take his photos over a one or two hour period from the same spot and let the light change. He calls his technique “blending memories” and likens the resulting photo as more of an “experience” versus simply taking a quick three or five exposure set and moving onto another scene. Visit his website and see for yourself that his method works extremely well.
Contrast my photo from the Greek Island of Santorini above to that of Lacordi’s below.
Photo copyright by Elia Lacordi
As with all new techniques that I learn I like to practice in baby steps and my photo offerings today are my first attempt at blending memories. Both images are a blend of exposures taken roughly 30 minutes apart waiting for the sky to darken or the man-made lights to come on. Hopefully, by the time I get to Iceland, New Zealand or return to Santoini, I’ll have the technique mastered.
A dramatic sky makes the rocky coast of Goochs Beach in Kennebunkport look rather ominous
Lately I’ve been following a UK based photographer named Thomas Heaton on You Tube and have been inspired by his work. He chronicles his photo excursions with the use of a Go-Pro camera and later assembles a nice video that includes still images he captures of sea and mountain scenes around the UK and throughout Northern Europe. He’s the kind of guy that gets up at 3:00 am, drives two hours to his chosen destination then hikes an hour to the perfect vantage point. As far as I know he doesn’t have a day job so I assume he relies on selling his images in order to earn a living. Nice work if you can get it.
Awaiting the sunrise at Higgins Beach in Scarborough
Life has been getting in the way of my photography of late and so I’m looking forward to retirement and spending more time traveling and photographing the world. I’m not quite there yet but I can see it on the horizon. I don’t mind getting up at 3:00 am, driving several hours and hiking a few miles for a good photo opportunity either, but sleeping in on a weekday also has some appeal. I’m sure I’ll work it all out somehow.
Dyer Point near Two Lights State Park
High tide rushes in at Pine Point Beach in Scarborough
In the meantime, there’s still plenty to photograph – weekends or weekdays – within striking distance from my home. I just have to make the time to do it.
More scenes from Higgins and Goochs Beach below.
“Le père en peinture” is something my mother would say when she became annoyed with me. Figuratively speaking, it’s the French equivalent of the saying “like father, like son”. Literally, it translates more like “the painted version of the father”.
Bug Light in South Portland illuminated by Portland’s city lights and a little help from my hand held light
My dad was a house painter and he gave me some very sound advice when I was young. He said that no one ever got rich painting unless they were using tiny brushes (and paint by number sets don’t count). Even today, many aspiring paint artists struggle to make a living. Apparently, it’s not just about the brushes.
Nubble Lighthouse in York illuminated by the light itself and the heavens
Having now painted the interior and exterior of all three houses that I’ve owned – this current house twice – you couldn’t pay me enough to paint another one. But since painting appears to be in my DNA, I’ve adopted a new form of the craft: light painting.
Light painting is a type of photography where a flashlight or spotlight is used to illuminate the scene while the camera shutter remains open. Think of hosing down your subject with light as you walk around it. Since I am a newbie at this art, I’m still in the “wax on/wax off” rudimentary phase of simply adding a bit of light to the foreground to reveal some detail in the darkness. Not all night scenes require additional illumination but when they do, my 300 lumen bicycle headlight does the trick.
Here, a little extra light helps reveal some texture in the foreground
Here’s what Riverside Golf Course in Portland might look like to a night time snowshoer wearing a headlamp
Pemaquid Point Lighthouse several hours before sunrise
The beauty of light painting is that each image is unique because the added light pattern cannot be duplicated.
Since light painting takes place at night, I can still keep my day job. Look for more such photos from me soon.
Beached ice floes dot Hills Beach in Biddeford Pool
Several months ago I saw a CBS news article about a couple from Cape Cod’s Martha’s Vineyard who made an impromptu career change. The story told of how the couple left New York City to live on the island and were able to maintain their jobs in the financial world working from home via computer. They were apparently living the good life until it all came crashing down when their firm downsized and left them without employment.
Wood Island Lighthouse as seen from the East Point Sanctuary
Determined not to move back to Manhattan, they applied for the only work available on the island: delivering newspapers. Up before the crack of dawn, they soon began to marvel at the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard as the first light appeared. Both being photography enthusiasts, they started shooting the early morning scenes and posting their work online. Being rather business savvy, they soon began to profit from their “hobby” and have amassed quite a following of viewers.
Hills Beach Park overlooks the Pool
This morning I went out shooting with a friend who works in the newspaper industry and we roamed around the Biddeford Pool area searching for something, anything to photograph. We set out well before the sun rose and as we talked about our work, our photography and the state of the newspaper business, it occurred to me that maybe I could retire, deliver the Portland Press Herald (hey, I got connections, right?), sell my photographs and live the good life too.
Overlooking the Saco River towards Camp Ellis
But, as the sun rose, it “dawned” on me that despite their photographic success, that Martha’s Vineyard couple is still delivering newspapers.
Guess I’ll keep my day job for a little while longer!
I don’t make it a habit of always bringing my camera with me but I’m often reminded of the words from my favorite photographer, Jay Maisel, to “carry the damn camera. How else you gonna make a picture?”
Tonight I was invited to the opening of the Portland Press Herald’s “Pictures of the Year” exhibit at the Portland Library. It’s a collection of their staff photographers’ best work throughout the past year and the event was well attended.
Of course, if you’re gong to attend a photography exhibit why not bring your camera, right? How else you gonna make a picture?
Heading into downtown Portland I noticed that the post sunset sky was quite colorful, so a quick stop along Baxter Boulevard provided the first photo op. Timing my shot in between the stream of cars whizzing by yielded a keeper.
The exhibit was sponsored by Berlin City Auto and several of the staff photographers were there to offer some behind the scenes information about their work.
The photos covered a broad slice of Maine including several sports moments.
My favorite shot was that of a swimmer competing in the Peaks Island to Portland race. In the shot below, the pom-pom on the hat of the girl viewing the photo appears to be the swimmer’s head, but in reality, only the arm of the swimmer is visible. I’d like to say I shot the hat on purpose, but it’s just one of those serendipitous moments that happen when you “carry the damn camera”.
Several people spoke and light refreshments were served.
My second favorite photograph was that of a police dog being honored for his years of service. The print quality was outstanding and this close up photo of a photo looks almost real.
Carrying your camera also means having it available even when there is little light. I spotted this scene on Congress Street and couldn’t pass it up.
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Only three days into the new year and I’ve already broken my resolution to not photograph a lighthouse in 2016. I can’t help it, it’s an obsession – especially when the light is spectacular.
I wish my blog followers a very happy new year and I look forward to sharing with you photos of lighthouses and other subjects throughout the year.