- I been a professional photographer since I worked for the US Government documenting Test and Evaluation of Research and Development projects for the US Army and US Navy in the later half of the 1980s. I came home to Maine to finish my Marketing Degree at USM and began to work full time in Market Research and Marketing for many years while documenting weddings and occasional photojournalist and commercial jobs on the weekends. In 2001 I again returned to photography as a full time trade and have never been a happier man. I love working with creative individuals, couples, small businesses and select Non-Profits and can’t imagine working in any other trade. In 1987 I was lucky enough to wed my high school sweetheart and we now live in a cozy little solar powered, recycled bungalow a mile deep in our woods in the Western Hills of Maine with our two brilliant home-schooled teenage daughters and our three cats.
Now, our eldest daughter Nicole shows fantastic talent with all facets of the graphic arts (at 8 years old she is far better with pen and paper than I am and I'm 30 years her senior). On the other hand, while Beth has had the usual interest in colouring as any 7 year old, she hasn't really expressed much interest or aptitude in 'the arts' other than really enjoying dance class. I was elated to see that she had that same sense of thrill from seeing photographs that she made that I have had since getting my first roll of film back from the lab many many years ago. These are two of the 53 photos that Beth made while we were on site...
Granger Pond...Perfectly framed. I brightened the shadows and saturation a bit in PhotoShop, but otherwise this is Beth's vision of the pond.
A photo of me taking a photo of Beth. I was surprised that she filled the frame with me instead of centering my head as every other novice photographer that I work with seems want to do. The first shot she did shoot horizontal, but when I showed her how much better a portrait looks vertical, she chose vertical for the other portraits without any further prompting. We had a very fun afternoon in what I hope is only the first of a lot of future photo shoots.
A few weeks ago, Jim emailed me and asked if they could hire me to make some photographs or their promo use.
I hadn't done band promo shots for quite some time. While I'm no Kyle Cassidy, it sounded like a fun project since I was already friends with Jim and Matt (the troubadour in purple with the voice 'up front') and know them to be quite creative. The shoot yielded 70 photographs or so. These are three of my favourites...
(It is hard to find someplace that looks Urban in Portland, Maine. This is the city sanctioned 'grafitti wall' on the Eastern Prom near the Water Treatment Factility. I didn't even know it existed until this shoot.)
Freakwitch demo tracks in (MP3 Format .OR. OGG Format)
(Nikon D2h, Tokina 12-24/4 and Nikkor 10.5/2.8 heavily stylised in PhotoShop.)
Wild Maine Turkeys pitching woo in the field at the top of our mountain in the early morning light.
Inspired a Haiku...
plumage on display
Wild Turkeys are noble birds
love is in their air
(Nikon D70 with 24-120 VR Nikkor)
It is November in the Maine woods and this means it is hunting season. Especially because it is nearing sunset and hard to see in the woods, they both make sure that they dress with articles of blaze orange so as not to look like a tasty deer to any hunters who may not be so good at following the rules of being sure of their target and beyond. Nicole is very eager to enjoy hunting herself with her dad and her Pepere in just a few seasons so this is fashion clash with her signature pink is a small imposition to enjoy the woods of Maine safely at this favourite time of year.
As they leave the house they notice that the Jack-O-Lanterns that Nicole and her sister Beth very skillfully carved with their Nanna are starting to return to the Earth already in the composte pile among the year's first fallen snow.
Down the road a bit, they stop to admire how deep the pools on the side of the road have gotten after the latest storm. Her dad apprecieates the reflections of the woods beyond.
Further down the road on their walk, the wind has come up as they stop to enjoy how the fading light is pretty on the forest on quickly melting first new snow.
Looking down as they are about to move on, Nicole spots a brightly coloured fungi on a broken branch. Her dad makes a photograph of it so that they can even better remember it and the rest of their walk together.
(Nikon D70, 24-120 VR at very slow speeds hand held)
The wonderous poetry that is a tree cannot be captured easily in a small fraction of a second of light reflected in time/space. I photographed this maple early in the PAW project this year leafless in the cold snow. Since then it has grown a thick covering of green leaves that nurtured it with converted solar energy all summer and has now exploaded into a riotous festival of orange just before they will drop to the floor and cover and eventually feed the roots in a rich blanket of leafmold under the snow. In the spring it will begin all over again.
This is the essence of coolness about trees for me, they are a perfect demonstrative example of the birth, life, death and renewal cycles that all of creation is starting and stopping continuously.
(Nikon D70, 12-24 Tokina)
Quick Portraits of Nicole and Beth to test out my new Hasselblad 503CX with 80/2.8 Planar using Fuji's new Pro160S film. (Soon to hit the shelves to replace NPS.)
I wan't much using the Leica M4P any longer in favour of my little digital Canon SD300 so I figured if I was going to get excited about film at all any more, I should get that Hasselblad that I've always wanted. I used a 500CM when stationed in Alaska as an Army Photographer and loved the camera. Many pros these days are dumping their Hasselblad gear on the used market in order to buy new expensive high MP rated Digital SLRs.
The V system cameras (such as this new 503CX) will take digital backs as well as a variety of film backs. The digital backs are prohibitively expensive for most folks to just play with and are not all that practical for the type of 'for profit' photography that I do, but they are quite capable in the studio and in a few years the used market for these first and second generation digital backs will be well within 'play equipment' range.
It made sense to me to pick up a nice condition Hasselblad now and to enjoy 120 film with it while I wait for the market to come down on the digital backs so I traded the Leica M4P that I had been ignoring for the Hasselblad. This is the first time I've ever not regretted parting with a Leica (and I still have the ancient 1949 'clockwerk' IIIc and several wonderfully clean Leitz screw mount lenses anyhow.)
Halfway between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice, is Samhain (pronounced Sow-en).
As our Celtic Ancestors did, first as Pagans celebrating Samhain and then as Christians celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls Day, we hold a small ritual feast in order to close out our year and to honour and remember those who have gone on before us.
In one modern tradition of Druidry, from now until Yule as the land settles down for a long winter's nap and the light of day is noticably less present than any other time of the year, we take special attention to thank our Ancestors (of blood and of spirit) for all that they have passed down to us through the long passing of time. We thank them for both the good traits that we can recognise and adopt in our own lives for use and for the bad habits that we can acknowledge and recognise to learn from without adopting. As this is the Celtic 'New Year', many of us take these things we learn from contemplating our Anscestors and use this time to make resolutions for our self growth for the coming year.
The Blood Leaf Moon waning just two days past full.
Not much for spectacular foliage this year. This is one nice tree on the 'heater piece' up on hill but it you look closely you can see the damage that it sustained during the 1998 Ice Storm is still evident. The forest will recover pretty quickly on its own schedule in tree years, but it seems like it is taking quite a while in human years.
(Nikon D70 24-120VR 1/1000 @ f/5, 200ISO.)
"What it means to be from Maine" Poland Spring Water formerly a Maine owned company, is now owned by the Waters division of the multinational conglomerate Nestle. Nestle wants to pump 105 million gallons a year out of our aquifer via Cold Spring in West Denmark via pipeline across 7 private lots to their station in the neighboring town of Fryeburg. (Nestle has obtained written permission from all 7 land owners.)
Denmark doesn't have a 'town water' system. We are a town of just over 1000 residents and not everyone in the town even has running water, but if you do, it means that you have a dug or artisian well or a 'point' driven into the ground that draws from our common aquifer at the very edge of the Sebago Lake Watershed.
The town doesn't currently have anything in its zoning regulation to address a large commercial enterprise coming in and draining everyone's wells and it isn't certain that this will not be what happens. (It may not, but the hydrologists don't know for sure.) So the town called a special town meeting to place a 180 day moratorium on any such actions until the situation can be studied further.
The interesting thing here is that in spite of a full meeting, the whole thing took about 5 minutes and no one wanted to even discuss the question once it came to the floor. The vote was unanimously in favour of the moratorium. I've uploaded audio that I gathered thinking that this was going to be a long meeting. I only got to take about 5 photographs before it was over!
I edited out the minute or so of Moderator Jim Stacy being sworn in as Moderator, but left everything else in tact. It is a ~3mb WMA file that may be downloaded here. I apologise up front...I haven't got anything but a lavalier mic yet, so this is from the built in mic on my recorder that I sat on a desk in the middle of the room. (I was expecting more audience participation.) In the future I will also make a better effort to get the mic up to where the podium is...This multimedia stuff is going to be quite a learning curve!
I think that one of the most wonderful quirks of living in small rural Maine towns all my life is that during a normal town meeting, we can argue for 40 minutes on whether or not to send $100 to the local area agency on aging, but when we are faced with these 'big questions' they tend to get taken care of pretty quickly.
(Nikon D70, Tokina 12-24/4, toned in PS.CS.)
It has been raining here like crazy all week and has been very unseasonably warm.
This is a branch from a maple in front of our home which has finally started to turn. I'm sure that I'll post more classic New England colour in the next few weeks as we approach a late peak season.
While fall foliage may seem definitive of a Maine cliche image, it is one of my abosolute favourite things about my state. Everything in this season gives up its last breath of life for the year by going out in a blaze of colour that holds us through the dark and grey times in winter
(Nikon D70, 24-120VR)
We attended the 154th Annual Fryeburg Fair on Woodsman's day this last week. Other than the four years that I was away from Maine while enlisted, I've never missed going to the Fair. (It usually coincides with my birthday.)
A flower auction in one of the Expo buildings.
This guy is a Fryeburg fair staple. He's had a presence at the fair for as long as I can remember. He also used to have 'infomercial' selling his very well made stainless steel cookware on local TV when I was very young.
We stopped to have a bite to eat. Evil food is half of the fun of any fair.
Beth having fun on one of the kid's rides.
Both Nick and Beth as they leave the funhouse.
My friend Joel Tripp is a curious artificer and cunning worker in metals. He gives a demonstration of his considerable skills at the forge every year as his brother does the same in the woodworker's lot just out side of the forge. All in all it was a good fair this year. The weather was a bit too warm for a harvest season fair, but I'm anxious for a killing frost soon to kill out the remainder of the mosquitoes which may be carrying EEE this year.
All of these photos were made on a sample roll of Fuji's new Pro160S in my ancient 1949 Leica IIIc and a Summarit 50/1.5 lens.
I like working this way as I meter a scene with my handheld DigiSix meter and then set the camera up for the next average shot. If the light changes appreciably, then I modify my exposure otherwise, I concentrate on getting a good focus and composition. The IIIc is not a fast use camera so I'm particularly proud that I was able to get the shots of Beth on the fast moving ride in tight focus even after all of these years now of relying on fast auto focus to do the work for me!
A Traffic Tunnel, Boston, MA.
I attended the National Press Photographer's Association "Flying Short Course" on Friday at the Boston University College of Communication.
I had to be there at 7am and as I was shooting a wedding on Saturday, I could only stay for the first of the two day event.
It was an interesting day overall, and I am really excited about trying my hand at 'mixed media' photojournalism soon because of the presentation by Brian Storm of MediaStorm: A Multimedia Production Studio. I've got to get some sound equipment and experience in the new digital AV editors, but look for my first attempts here in the next few months. Basically, I want to produce documentary stories with still photos and voice over narative. I think that photos and words can go well to tell a story and using audio instead of text makes more sense when it is available. (at least here on the web)
The day's presentations were over at 5pm. I live only about 150 miles north of Boston. It took me well over an hour just to get to Danvers (a suburb of Boston) because of the friday afternoon rush hour egress. I like getting stuck in Boston at such times because it reminds me how much nicer the comparitive lack of congestion is here in Maine. (even when it is peak tourist season.)
My lovely bride (evidently bemused that I keep taking her photo at restaraunt tables after nearly 25 years together.)
A Saturday evening out after an early wedding. Kids were at the parents so we caught a movie at the Magic Lantern. Maybe our last movie ever there as the building is sinking and they are going to tear it down and replace it soon. We went to Ricky's Diner for a late breakfast at 11pm afterwards.
What looks to be a Schooner set sail on Portland's Casco Bay.
I know I said that I wanted to show a Maine that is not nautical to the cliche, but I photographed a wedding on Peaks Island in Casco Bay and saw this on the ferry back to Portland. It fits in to the blue and gold theme that seems to be running in my photos this year so here it is.
My weddings will be finished for the year soon and I'll try to put more effort into my own neighborhood for the last quarter of 2005.
We took an excursion trip on the dining car "Chocorua" on the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway NH (just across the state line) the other day. It was a fun way to spend a few hours on a Thursday afternoon.
We'd like to take the Cog Railway train up Mt. Washington sometime, but it is pretty expensive and the top of Washington is already near freezing in the daytime this time of year.
(Nikon D2H, 12-24 f/4 Tokina. TriToned in PS.CS)
We spent much of Sunday in Portsmouth, NH and then wound our way up Rt. 1A through York, Wells and Ogunquit. This is a shot of us in front of one of Tracey's favourite gardening shops. I'm wearing a Utilikilt. This one is my sage green "survival" kilt, but I also own the khaki "mocker" and a black "original" kilt. I don't wear shorts in the summer any more. Utilikilts rock.
No my little SD300 doesn't have a fisheye lens. This was shot in a garden reflection ball and then I played with the perspective with the shareware PTLens filter in photoshop to mostly undistort most of the image. I cropped square because it fit the image better.
(SD300, manual mode, QuadToned, cropped and perspective play in PS.CS.)
On a side note, it amazes me that Jagger may be older than my dad, but he can still run about the stage with more energy than most guys my age could for three solid hours! I honoured my ticket contract and didn't take a camera into the concert. The band ended up 20 feet from us dead center as the stage moved down the field during the concert, so I kind of regretted not being able to even take a snapshot. C'est la vie.
It is fun to be able to play tourist in Massachusetts when we spend so much of our time putting up with Massachusetts tourists in our own state. Here are a few shots of our stay in Boston...
Sam Adams, brewer, patriot...hell raiser... Mr Adams' statue is here front of the "Cradle of Liberty" aka Faneuil Hall where he and his fellow 'rebel insurgent' types planned out much of the mayhem that they caused the occupying British military prior to and during the American Revolution.
This is the other side of Faneuil Hall with some of it's more recent neighbors in the background. Boston is nothing if not a very interesting mix of hundreds of years of old (in American terms) and new buildings. I saw Libertarian Presidential Candidate Harry Browne speak at Faneuil Hall many years ago. The inside of the building made for an impressive backdrop for a speech that wasn't much different from that which one of Mr. Adams' own compatriots may have given.
We didn't see 'Charlie: the man who never returned' of Kingston Trio fame still riding the T...but this platform on the Green Line smelled like he might be still living there!
Just down the street from where Benjamin Franklin was born (on the Milk St. site is a modern building that is undergoing a face lift) sits the very tranquill Post Office Park with this beautiful stone Arbor. Trace stopped to smell the flowers as is her want in life. I took her photograph doing so, as is mine.
(all SD300, manual mode -2/3 stop exp. crop and quadtoning in PS.CS)
(SD300. Manual mode -2/3 stop exp.)
Summer is winding down. It is now possible to go to any of the nearby ponds and it is not full of tourists cramming in the last bit of fun into their all too short vacation time. This is Woods Pond a few miles down the road from us. It is one of my favourite places to photograph because it has so many wildly varying moods.
I purchased a Zeiss Ikon 6X9cm camera this week that takes modern 120 film. I had a little fun with it in Portland's Old Port. This is the US Customs House that was built here on Fore St. between the years of 1867 and 1871. I shot this with a roll of Provia 100F slide film and had it cross processed in C41 chemistry. I've scanned it (on my flatbed as my local lab can only handle up to 6X7 negs) and taken some of the dust out.
The strange colour is from processing it in negative chemistry instead of reversal chemistry.
Sometimes it is fun just to play like this.
I like it.
(Antique Ziess Ikon, 1/100 @ f/11, Provia 100F, cross processed.)
This is a view of two kayakers paddling past Ft. Gorges in Casco Bay with the city of Portland in the background on the way back from a long hot fun day of music. I made this from photos shot in colour and converted this image to infra red in PhotoShop with a new Fred Miranda IR action.
Here is a photo of the grrrls looking at the Fort as we cruised out to the island on the ferry...
I've always been fascinated by the Fort because it is said to be designed exactly like Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor of Civil War fame. I still always confuse Fort Sumter with Fort McHenry, the battle over which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen our National Anthem during the war of 1812. My mind is funny like that.
(Both shots were taken with a Nikon D70. the IR shot was sith a Tokina 12-24 and the shot with the grrrls with the Nikon 24-120VR and a popup flash for fill.)
Along with the stunning sunsets of late July early August brings us sudden storms that dump millions of gallons on us all in a rush and then are gone as quickly as they come up. This is one of our many spiders who works tirelessly under the deep eaves of our screen porch keeping the mosquito and deer fly population down.
(Nikon D70, 24-120 VR)
The hot hot days of late July provide us with some truly stunning sunsets but not much respite from the huge amount of work from the wedding and family portrait season. I will do my best to keep posting something here each week through the remainder of the season.
(Nikon D70 with 24-120VR and popup flash.)