Thursday, October 18, 2012

Georgia and Home Again....

The last week of September, I traveled to Douglasville, Georgia to visit family. It had been several years since I spent time with my oldest daughter, and five of my grandchildren. I had never met my 2 year old great grandson. It was a great week. My daughter and I managed to get in some quality father/daughter time, I met my great grandson - Sebastian, and got to know my oldest grandson's wife - Josh and Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was due to deliver a new great grandchild, but here it is 3 weeks later and still no show. I say it will be a girl, and will start life late, just like her grandmother. Lynda was never on time, but we loved her and just accepted that she would always dance to her own drummer. She has always been smart, and created some wonderful grandchildren. Lynda and I traveled a couple hours Northeast, to Helen, Georgia, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River. It is a fascinating Alpine Village. We had a fabulous lunch at Muller's Famous Cafe, owned and operated by a couple from Czechoslovakia. This was some of the best Hungarian Goulash I have had since I lived in Germany, accompanied by Czech Bread Dough Dumplings, and Lynda tried the hand-breaded and grilled Pork Schnitzel. No trip to Helen is complete without stopping at Nora Mill Granary, which was built in 1876 on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. They still grind their own corn for the best grits I have ever eaten. We then drove to the top of Brasstown Bald Mountain, the highest point in that part of Georgia, and in the . On a clear day, you can see four states. Of course, that was not a clear day, and the haze was pronounced because of the humidity. But, as you can see from the photo above, the view is spectacular, with the Smoky Mountains in the background. 

All good things must come to an end, and it was time to return to Maine. Luckily, I was back in time for some peak foliage viewing, and shooting. The photo above was shot from the top of Ira Mountain in Carrabassett Valley. The morning had started off foggy and overcast. As I drove up the small mountain road, I had my doubts about anything worthy to shoot. When I reached the top of the mountain, I was above the clouds and the sun was shining bright. The clouds parted, and the beautiful foliage shown through. What a sight it was. For fifteen minutes the clouds moved in and out, offering different views by the minute. It was now about 8:00 am, and I took a 10 minute break in my car to enjoy a little breakfast. During that 10 minutes, the clouds completely closed in and the view was gone. As they say, timing is everything, and a successful photographer is prepared for whatever nature throws at them. It was a truly beautiful day.

The drive down the mountain was once again, in the clouds.

Stay tuned, the next installation will show some of my shots of the Capital Area Camera Club's photo shoot at the privately owned Ancient Oil and Past Gas County Store Museum in Sumner, Maine. Very interesting Americana collection.

Thank you for reading, and keep shooting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Industrial Photography has its own Challenges

The Capital Area Camera Club had the opportunity to tour and shoot the Otis Paper Mill in Jay, Maine. The owners allowed us to go anywhere we wanted and photograph whatever we fancied. The mill is quite large on several levels. We began in the bowels of the mill where the water from the river would turn the machinery and generate power. Lighting is always an issue, especially when natural light is at a minimum. Flash was almost a necessity, as was shooting with an ISO of 800. The shapes and angles of the old equipment, gears and rubble created some interesting images. It was fascinating to see how 11 people could create such different images of the same place. One thing I would like to mention is processing some of the images in Black and White. The photo above was taken in the lower levels of the mill. It was nice, and I love the atmosphere down in the depths, imagining the folks that used to spend much of their lives here. But, take a look at the same image, in Black and White.

What do you think? A little more atmosphere to it? Does it look more like an older, antique image? Sometimes, it is all about shapes and angles, and Black and White photography seems to bring that out and emphasize it.

Saturday, it seemed like a good day to take in the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine. A great place for looking at the animals and birds that are, or were, indigenous to Maine. The park has had a lot of work done to it, since I was last here about 15 years ago. The exhibits have been developed to more like the natural habitat of the occupants. The resident animals were mostly rescued, and can not be returned to the wild, or were raised by humans, and could not survive in the wild. A couple of these stood out as their pens were more open for photography than others. One of these was the Brown Bear. It was in an area with a smaller Black Bear. They were occupied eating the food that children were purchasing to feed them. 

The other was this magnificent Mountain Lion. The shot of this cat turned out better than I had hoped. It was shot through a thick glass, that was less than clean.

I hope you enjoyed the photos. The best advice I can give is to get out and shoot. In this age of digital, shoot often, and shoot a lot, the price of film does not limit us. Only by using that camera will you become familiar with what it will do, and how to use it to your best advantage.

It's off the Georgia in a few days, and a chance to see my daughter, grandchildren, great grandson. Needless to say, there will be a lot of family photos in the next week. Have fun, keep shooting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kayaking, hiking and Industrial Ph0tography

It was a perfect day for Kayaking on Runaround Pond in Durham, Maine Thursday. The Lake was like glass, and all you could hear was the sounds of nature. Birds calling and Frogs croaking. Turtles are a challenge to photograph. The hardest part is to get close enough to click the shutter without them slipping quickly into the water. There were five turtles on this log, and I just let the kayak slowly glide through the water. I must have posed no immediate threat as a couple of them even looked at me and appeared to smile. At least smile as much as a Painted Turtle can smile. Just as I focused on the turtle on the end of the log, another one crawled out of the water, as if to say, "me too, me too".  As I glided away, they were still sunning themselves and soaking up the heat. The second difficulty with photographing turtles is balancing the light between their dark shells and the lighter log, as well as looking out for the sun reflecting off their shells. That can cause quite a glare and blow out the highlights. That day was another gift of nature. Little did I know that when I got home, I would have another little "gift of nature" waiting for me.

As for that other gift, sitting in the driveway when I arrived home was this Monarch Butterfly. One of two conditions occurred to me, it was either at the end of its life span, or just beginning. The wings looked so fresh and whole, I believed it had just emerged from its cocoon and was trying to dry its wings before being able to fly. Not wanting it to be run over, I put my hand down and it clung to me. I then put it on these Black-eyed Susan's and watched. It sat there for about an hour before showing its complete wing span, and flew off. It posed nicely for some photos and then began its new life in earnest, probably the beginning of its migration to Mexico. Patience is a virtue, especially dealing with insects and Macro Photography.

A photo shoot had been arranged for members of the Capital Area Camera Club on Saturday. We began by hiking to White Granite Quarry in Jay, Maine. It was a nice mile hike through an Apple Orchard, with antique farm equipment at the side of the trail, then through a nice woods with trail signs, and on to the Gazebo that looks over the Quarry. The morning began with heavy rain at times, and settled into fog. Though challenging, fog can add some very nice looks to your photos. Too much light shining through will be highly reflective, and care must be taken to constantly check your histogram to prevent burning out the highlights and getting a photo of nothing but fog. All in all, an interesting start to a Saturday morning. I will elaborate on the the afternoon portion of the CACC shoot next week. We left the Quarry and headed to the Mill Cafe in Jay, for a well deserved break and food, good food. More next week, and keep shooting.....

 More photos of the Industrial Shoot, of the Quarry, Farm Equipment, and the Otis Paper Mill in Jay can be seen on my web site:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A trip to Vinalhaven Island was last weeks highlight.
It has been a busy week. It takes a lot of time to process all the photos taken at a wedding, and I am now working on the album. I took a day off from the wedding photos to drive to Rockland and take the Ferry to Vinalhaven Island. The trip is about 1 and 1/4 hours each way, and we stayed on the island for a couple of hours. Just walking and taking photos, and before you know it, the return Ferry is boarding. Island communities abound in photo ops. I really like this photo of lobstering from a dory. I was amazed at how many Lobster Traps were on board, and they were still pulling more.

Take notice of the Left Time and Right Time at the Gawkers Market in Vinalhaven. A very unique market and cafe. The menu was surprisingly extensive, and the ice cream sundae delicious. 

The trip also afforded nice ocean views of Owls Head Lighthouse and the Rockland Breakwater Light. The day was slightly overcast, but you can not always depend on blue skies and clear weather. The sea was calm, but horizons still have to be straightened in PhotoShop. This was my first attempt to make the sky a little more interesting than nature provided.

Spent some time in Rockland before the Ferry trip, and in Camden after the excursion to Vinalhaven Island. There is always time to sample some of the local eating establishments. Had a great Clam Chowder at Clan MacLaren's in Rockland and some great Mexican Food in Camden.

This evening is the first meeting of the Capital Area Camera Club for the new club year. We meet in Augusta, Maine on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of every month, from September to May. The club tries to plan photo shoots and day trips, throughout the year. CACC will have a show at the Lyceum Gallery in Lewiston, Maine in January of 2013.
Check out our web site at:

My photos can be seen at: 

Hope you all have a great week.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Saturday's wedding was a gift. The weather was perfect, the seas were calm, and a slight breeze was blowing to keep things just cool enough. The Captain was not only able to marry the couple, but he is the future husband of this brides daughter. Funny how some things work out. As can be seen in the photo above, the flowers looked great, and the bridesmaids dresses matched the orange flowers. I know this sounds like a Bridal magazine run down, but these things all effect the photos that are taken during the wedding. Weddings present their own set of challenges, but shooting on a Schooner puts a few extra wrinkles in the equation.

Shooting a straight horizon is next to impossible on a moving boat. Thank goodness for PhotoShop Elements. I use the Free Rotate and crop to make it right. Lighting is also an issue on a moving boat. As the clouds move overhead, and the ship slips through the water, the light will change from moment to moment. Keep a close eye on your histogram and adjust your settings accordingly. I found that boosting my ISO to 400 or even 800, helped me in shooting with a faster shutter speed. It certainly helped that the bride and groom both wore white. 

Moving about on a Schooner is also an issue, especially when you are loaded down with at least two cameras. I use my 28-300mm zoom on my primary Canon 60D, which enables me to reach most areas of the boat without significant moving around. My Canon 30D is fitted with my 18-55mm wide angle lens. It may seem obvious to most, but you don't want to be changing lenses with the possibility of salt water spray in the air.

Then it was back to the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn, Maine for the Reception, and another 3 hours of shooting. I usually figure that about 1/3 of the photos taken during a wedding will make the final cut for the DVD I provide the newlyweds. This wedding was no exception. I took about 668 photos during the ceremony and reception, and 225 have been uploaded to the wedding album on my web site. Anyone wishing to view the photos can go to  (this with permission of the couple that was married).

Thanks for reading, and I hope you visit my blog again.....

Friday, August 24, 2012

Welcome to my new blog. This is my first attempt to be entertaining, amusing and I hope, educational. I have been a photographer for most of my adult life. (Longer than I would like to admit.) I purchased my first 35mm camera in 1967 during my first overseas assignment with the U.S. Army in Korea. My career in the Army took me to 22 countries and 44 states, allowing me to photograph many beautiful and exotic places. When I semi-retired from my civilian career as a Network Engineer, I became more serious about photography. I started taking more photographs of birds, and nature.

About 10 years ago, I entered the world of Fine Art photography and started showing my work in Art Shows and Galleries. I have since branched out with photographs of the Maine Coast, as well as the occasional Wedding and Special Event.

Travel photography is still near and dear to my heart, and a camera is never too far from my reach. For those interested, my prime camera is a Canon 60D, with a Canon 30D as a backup. My main workhorse lens is a Tamron 28-300mm VC for general photography, and a Sigma 150-500mm OS for birds and nature. I also use a Canon 100mm Macro lens for insects and flowers, and a Canon 18-55mm lens for wide angle shots.

I will attempt to keep this blog updated with my latest and greatest, and hopefully some tips and tricks to eak out that award winning photo.

Tomorrow finds me shooting a wedding on the Schooner Wendameen, on Casco Bay, out of the harbor in Portland, Maine. I am very excited about this shoot, and will share some of the photos and special considerations when shooting on a somewhat less than stable platform. It should be fun, and the weather looks like it will be perfect.