Welcome to the Neighborhood

My new hometown of Scarborough is much more than just a place for spending time on the beach, having some fried seafood  and eating ice cream from one of the many stands located on US Route 1 (I highly recommend the Dairy Corner).  There is much more to this community and this year’s fine fall weather has provided me with the opportunity to get the bike out, grab the camera and photograph my surroundings.   So, let’s go for a ride!

scarborough-05(click on images to view a larger version)

The Marsh

Scarborough Marsh is Maine’s largest contiguous tidal marsh system and I’ve been visiting it for many years.  Its unpleasant aroma at low tide is its trademark and early mornings in the fall are particularly nasty as the fog banks seem to trap the smell and prevent it from dissipating.  The only saving grace is that the mosquitoes have disappeared for the season.  Sadly, so have the Snowy Egrets, one of my favorite birds – second only to the bald eagle.



I especially enjoy watching the Amtrak Downeaster cross the marsh in the evening as the setting sun glistens off its silver cars.  Try as I may, I’ve yet to capture that scene in a manner that does it justice.




Maine Audubon

The Maine Audubon Society maintains the Scarborough Marsh Center located on Pine Point Road.  Here, you can rent canoes and kayaks for guided and self-guided tours of the marsh along the Nonesuch River.  I’ve always wanted to take advantage of their moonlight paddling excursions and now that I live nearby I have no excuse.   Certainly a must-do on next year’s activity list.



The Eastern Trail

The Eastern Trail originates at Bug Light Park in South Portland and cuts through Scarborough on its way to Old Orchard Beach, Saco and beyond.  I find the section just west of Pine Point Road to be the most picturesque.  The trail is road, hybrid and mountain bike friendly and one may occasionally spot one of the new “fat tire” models.   Shouts of “on your left” are about the only sounds that disrupt the tranquility of the Scarborough section of this very popular walking, running and riding path.


Just off the Eastern Trail is Mill Brook Pond – a popular swimming and fishing hole.


Fisherman’s Co-Op

The Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-Op area is a bustling place just before sunrise.  Pick-up trucks arrive in rapid succession, each carrying one or more commercial fishermen ready to set out for another day on the water.  With some donning the traditional yellow rubber coveralls, they haul their equipment and supplies onto their vessels.   The smell of diesel permeates the air as they fire up the engines and chug-chug-chug out to sea.  I sense that it’s a hard life, but an honest one.



Fuller Farm Preserve

Fuller Farm is a 220 acre preserve now maintained by the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust.  It features walking trails that cross hay fields filled with nesting birds and wildflowers and then head into the woods.  The trails are well-marked and fairly easy to navigate.  In fact, this summer my wife and I encountered a group of senior citizens – many of whom had canes and walkers – on a field trip well into the woods and a fair distance from the parking area.  Watching these spirited folks plodding along in the heat served as a good reminder that life is what you make it.




Dogs are welcome at Fuller Farm.  Seldom have I visited when friendly pooches weren’t enjoying this glorious site.

Sewell Woods Preserve  

Not far from my home is the Sewell Woods Preserve on Ash Swamp Road.  This is a 35 acre parcel donated by Albert G. Sewell to the Scarborough Land Trust in 1995. In its heyday, the woods on the property provided the raw materials for Al and his father’s woodwork products business.


The trail is less than a mile long and forms a Figure 8.  My golden retriever, Emmie, just loves it there and runs around like a banshee whenever she visits.


The Beaches

OK, so Scarborough’s main attraction is its beaches and all four of them haul in crowds of tourists on hot summer days.  That’s why I like to visit them before the sun rises or after it sets – there’s usually no one else there!  Beaches take on a magical glow as the first and final light of the day subtly gleams off the sand and water.  The sound of rippling waves and squawking seagulls is music to my ears.




I’m very happy to be living in Scarborough.  I just wish the Dairy Corner didn’t close after Columbus Day and was open year round.

Timber Point


It’s been an entire season since I last blogged.  Much like television shows that take a break during the summer months, I too needed a respite from the camera.  Now that the fall season is in full swing I look forward to sharing new Bicycle with a View episodes with my readers.


This past summer was absolutely gorgeous in Maine and I did a fair amount of bicycling – sans camera.  Having relocated from Falmouth to Scarborough, I took the time to explore new regions of southern Maine and made a list of blog-worthy locations – one of which is Timber Point in Biddeford Pool.


Timber Point is a near 100 acre preserve on a peninsula that borders the Little River Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean.  It has a 1.4 mile walking trail that leads to Timber Island which is accessible only at low tide.  The entire parcel was acquired from the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in 2011 and the trail was completed in the spring of 2012.




My first visit was punctuated by the fact that an ornery bull moose had taken up residence on Timber Island.   Volunteers were stationed at the island’s access point for several days to guard visitors away from this unfriendly inhabitant.  Eventually tired of terrorizing the island’s wildlife, I’m told the moose finally swam away, thus spooking a few people on nearby Goose Rocks Beach as he made landfall.



I planned my next outing for sunrise to take advantage of the warm light and solitude.  I had the place to myself for about 30 minutes before a fisherman arrived followed by the preserve’s caretakers.  Herons were putting on an air show – they fly more like a cargo plane than a Blue Angel fighter jet – but the light was too dim to capture them in motion.  Nevertheless, their performance was very entertaining.



Later, I had a nice conversation with the caretakers who were enjoying spying the local waterfowl  through their telescopic  viewers.   They are the ones that informed me of the moose’s departure and gave me some information regarding future plans for the property and its buildings.


I highly recommend an excursion to Timber Point.  It is easily reached from Route 9 in Biddeford.  Take the Granite Point Road and park at the very end.  The trail begins at the gate where Granite Point Road turns into Timber Point Road.

Farewell to Falmouth

Town Landing PanoClick on images to see a larger version

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!

Town Landing-01

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.

Town Landing-02

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.

Town Landing-03

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.

Stay tuned.

Blending Memories

Mothers BeachMother’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”.

Beach Scene

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.

Santorini-2 copyContrast my photo from the Greek Island of Santorini above to that of Lacordi’s below.
Elia Santorini-1Photo 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.


Life’s a Beach (when you’re not too busy)

Goochs Beach-01-02 MergeA 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.

Pine Point-99Awaiting 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.

Two Lights-99Dyer Point near Two Lights State Park
Pine Point-95High 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.

Higgins Beach-98-99 Merge

Goochs Beach-03-04 Merge

Le Père En Peinture

“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 NightBug 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 LightNubble 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.

Nubble Light BenchHere, a little extra light helps reveal some texture in the foreground
Riverside-MergeHere’s what Riverside Golf Course in Portland might look like to a night time snowshoer wearing a headlamp
Pemaquid-02 copyPemaquid Point Lighthouse several hours before sunrise

Pemaquid-03 copyThe beauty of light painting is that each image is unique because the added light pattern cannot be duplicated.

Pemaquid-05 copy

Since light painting takes place at night, I can still keep my day job.  Look for more such photos from me soon.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It

Ice FloeBeached 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 LighthouseWood 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 ParkHills Beach Park overlooks the Pool

Hills Beach Park Bench

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.

Saco River BoatOverlooking 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.

Bird Feeder

Guess I’ll keep my day job for a little while longer!