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Thuya Garden Lilies

This image of Thuya Garden lilies from here in Northeast Harbor is born of a rainy day. It was indeed a nice sunny afternoon in the garden when this image was taken. However, a rainy day claims responsibility. We both had used time made available to work on black & white processing technique. I also went back over a series of essays on the practical aesthetics of photography. One comment encourages photographers to reverse the expected. So I did. These lilies are white with deep yellow throats really dominant color – nothing at all subtle. The subject of a color version would be the play of strong colors. Reverse one’s approach and a radically different vision appears.

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The Bridge

Somesville is barely a town at the head of one of our favorite harbors, Somes Harbor. It is but a series of  buildings stretched out along a busy road. It does have a nice little historical society museum beside what was once a mill spill way. Some time ago somebody decided to build a bridge. So now the bridge and its accompanying small colonial shed/cobbler’s shop/town office building have become almost iconic, certainly the stuff stock photography loves. Pros photograph it regularly. Tourists stop to take a shot no matter what the light.

The bridge scene has been described as evocative of a scene from Gauguin’s garden at Giverny. If it ever looks like that it is certainly not in the late summer when only pickerelweed is in bloom. The bridge’s size also confounds its exalted status. The small building is visually dwarfed by the bridge rather like Central Park would be if someone decided to build the Eiffel Tower there.

I decided I at least need a shot or two for the record and picked a lovely clear day to do the deed. Brutal light.  The shadows are almost black. No doubt about the strength of the white tones. Relief comes with sort of mucky green water plants and with one stressed out tree showing weak hints of fall color. Color in the image is strong but awful. So let’s subtract all color and play to the structural elements of the scene.

And that’s the story of the bridge beside the road in Somesville.

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A front brought a rain line through last night. May all storms be like this one. Early arriving clouds did kill any chance for a sunset. I did feel the need to get up at 4:30 to make sure that the building winds would cause us no problem. However at 5:30 the winds quit. Not die down – just quit in an instant. The rain let up. Skies brightened as clouds opened up ever so slightly, enough to give us 15 minutes of spectacularly subtle tones and reflections. Now we have an ordinary gray rainy day. That’s OK. We had our light show. It’s why we come to Maine and, in particular, anchor in Pulpit Harbor with a view of Pulpit Rock.

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Waiting for Wind

So this year’s race unfolded as so many do – wait for wind, get frustrated when others boats find it first and then charge around the course working to beat one’s handicap and, thus, other boats. The big boys get to catch up fighting to finish first. That boat  claims line honors, has bragging rights but usually gets knocked down by rating handicaps. So it was a good time on the water and an even more interesting one at the awards dinner onshore last night.

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How does one have an intimate dinner with probably 300 or so of your racing buddies? Set up a tent right on the shore and then bring in blinding fog. Can’t call it white out fog at night. Certainly changes the mood and makes getting back to one’s boat rather interesting.

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Race Day ?

It’s the morning of THE big race of the summer up here. The sky is gray and the water is oil slick smooth. No wind. If the skies clear a good sea breeze usually develops. Come nine o’clock skippers meeting little has changed. Come ten when boats need to head for the start line a couple miles up Eggemoggin Reach, the sky is getting brighter and there is a hint but only a hint of wind. Some boats get towed up the course.

After a 30 minute postponement, the race committee determines there is enough wind – barely enough for boats to clear the start line. After an hour of drifting and hanging laundry (a highly technical sailing term for drooping sails in zero wind), a sea breeze fills in but only up ahead. That wind isn’t going to come to the racers. How frustrating. When the boats finally catch up with today’s sea breeze it’s a grand sail. Good for us too and, we assume, for the professional photographers who came in for the regatta.

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Always Interesting

Maine’s woods are never neat, no competition for the photogenically clear understory of, say, the giant redwoods in California. Winter storms kill trees. Some crack off and lean over on the next tree. Some dry out and remain standing almost forever. Some rot standing. They are always interesting and no more so than on Warren Island if one wants to follow nicely prepared paths. The ranger here takes great pride in her walks, the highlight of which is the root walk section over on the island’s back side. And did you know that, when exposed, roots develop bark?
So, what to photograph? All sorts of stuff. Abstract patterns created by decaying trees. Rocks with lichen & moss (challenging, really challenging). Fungi when conditions are right. Close ups for the most part. Always interesting in the woods.

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Low Tide

Warren Island: one of Maine’s little gems.  It’s a island state park without any regular transportation to and from. So boaters like ourselves pick up a park mooring and dinghy in to a nice dock. Campers often come over with loaded down canoes. Their camp sites come with more than an adequate supply of firewood as staff cleans up fallen trees each spring. We get to enjoy nice woods walks, seas of ferns and rocks with seaweed. After a morning low tide shoot on the rocks, we get to try to identify our seaweeds and find out they have interesting names – rockweed, Knotted Wrack, Irish Moss, Tufted Red Weed.

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Sunday

A day to hang up one’s oils slicks and rest. In the winter the lobster industry runs seven days a week but in the summer, Sunday is a day off. Why? According to the lobster buyer Dee talked with in Rockland too many cruisers are out on the water. When that happens “they will pick up anything.”

Dee didn’t find out what he meant by his explanation. Who are they? What constitutes anything? And what does a Sunday shutdown have to do with it all? Who knows? These waters never get overwhelmed with pleasure craft, speed demons and crazies. We were just grateful Sunday is an off day. You see we are on a mooring right at the entrance to Stonington harbor which has to have a hundred or more lobster boats. A good number of the boats will exit right past us. It wasn’t full blown roll and roll heaven this morning at first light (4:30). However, we do know today is a work day.

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