Labor Day signals the end to summer in Maine and there are lots of things I shoulda, woulda and coulda accomplished in the past three months, but I didn’t. It seems that summers are just too short around these parts.
I logged a fair amount of bicycle miles but I shoulda ridden more (ice and snow aren’t that far away). I woulda used my camera and blogged more but life got in the way. I spent some good times with family and friends but I wish those times coulda lasted longer. In a nutshell, I could use another summer to complete my to-do list of warm weather activities.
The good news is that experts are predicting a spectacular fall foliage season here in the Northeast and that’s always a photographer’s delight. In fact, if you look carefully, signs of what’s to come are now showing up in many places.
As I anticipate the coming of autumn, I can already hear the crunching sound of fallen leaves beneath my bicycle tires as I ride Southern Maine’s Eastern Trail system in search of the projected kaleidoscope of color. If indeed Mother Nature cranks up the hue saturation knob, we’ll all be in for a treat.
Reviewing my to-do list, I had plans to do more nighttime photography but that didn’t happen. These days, I can hardly stay awake through a nine inning baseball game let alone be out past midnight in search of the Milky Way.
The best I could muster up was a pre-dawn shoot at Old Orchard Beach before the tourists swarmed the place. In the process, I discovered that OOB takes on a whole different persona when you’re the only one on the beach before the sun rises.
I also wanted to do an early hour hike to a mountain summit and photograph the sunrise illuminating New Hampshire’s White Mountains. As it turned out, I settled for mid-day family hikes up Middle Mountain in North Conway and Maiden’s Cliff in Camden. The light at noon is not well suited for mountain-scapes and it’s hardly worth schlepping a camera up the trail. Therefore, whether hiking up a mountain or just walking along in the great outdoors, I also try to pay attention to the details rather than simply focus on the grand vista.
My checklist also included taking in many of the free outdoor evening concerts in Southern Maine but I only made it to three.
LL Bean hosted several big name artists for their “Summer in the Park” concert series and I really enjoyed the season’s finale featuring Bruce Hornsby.
I first saw Hornsby when he performed at Portland City Hall on a bone-chilling January night in the late 1980’s. He was at the height of his career having just won a Grammy Award as the year’s best new artist and he rocked the house. He later became friends with Jerry Garcia and toured with the Grateful Dead until Garcia’s death.
He is a very talented musician as evidenced by the multiple instruments he plays. You know there is fun in the making when someone pulls out an accordion!
I set a goal to do more bird photography but that also fell through the cracks. I can’t count the times I drove past Scarborough Marsh on my bike or in my car and spotted the perfect egret or heron shot only to lament the fact that I didn’t have my camera with me.
Even my backyard feeder saw reduced activity this summer. Maybe the neighborhood birds were displeased with my lack of participation and found somewhere else to strut their stuff.
As much as I could use a summer do-over, all was not lost. On more than one occasion I ignored the temptation to hit the snooze button and dragged my butt out of bed to catch the sunrise and the corresponding golden light of early morning.
If there’s one downside to summer it’s that sunrise occurs pretty early – hence the reason my daybreak excursions were few and far between. However, the times that I did get out before dawn, I was well rewarded.
Looking back on it all now, it was actually a pretty good summer. I can’t wait for the next one!