My photo
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.


PAW 2005 - wk 25 - America's Stonehenge

To celebrate the Summer Solstice this year, my family and my Grove headed down to North Salem, NH to visit "America's Stonehenge!"

Quite probably the oldest neolithic construction in the the US, (oldest found so far at least) this series of field stone chambers, cubbyholes, tables and astrological calendar was built by the humans who lived in these hills of granite 2000 years before Yeshua called Christ walked the Earth. (Yeah, that's over 4000 years ago!)

While a bit touristy now with the requisit (but cool) gift shop that funds the privately owned site's upkeep, the site itself is still amazing if you are at all interested in neolithic construction or the mystery of who the first North Americans were. At the very center of the site on "Mystery Hill," it this huge stone table with what appears to be a drainage groove carved around the edge. I've Photoshopped out all of the fences and people inthe background of this photo to better visualise the remains of the site that once was. Was this an ancient food preparation table or a 'sacrifical' altar? No one alive really knows. We can only make educated guesses.

Another small cubby chamber. Several of the chambers are tunnels, large enough to travel through standing upright. Did they have some ceremonial purpose, some practical purpose or was all of this construction just some group's lifetime hobby?

Here are some of the folks who came to watch the sun set behind the pointed stone in the center/back ground of this photo. My dear friends and family are immediately in the foreground sitting low so as not to obstruct other viewers line of sight. (I'm standing with my back to a tree just to the side of the line of sight for the same reason.) This year, Sol dipped behind low laying clouds on the horizon just before the point that its light would hit the stone, but it was a brilliant sunset anyhow and no one was really disappointed.

(Nikon D70 and my new Tokina ATX 12-24/4...great lens.)

PAW 2005 - wk 24 - Mt. Desert Island

Bar Harbor, on MDI is a quaint tourist town, but it is certainly is AnotherMaine than where I live. I'll break my rule for the PAW this week and show you some typically cliche stuff from our short trip to MDI the weekend of the 18th of June for a wedding.

One of the many tourist destinations in Bar Harbor.

Acadia National Park is the only National Park in the North Eastern US. It is beautiful and mostly unspoiled when you can fight past the crowds of folks there. I had lived my whole life in Maine (aside from my 4 years enlistment as an Army Photographer in the late 80s) and had never even made the 5 hour drive up the coast to see this greatest draw of tourists to my own home state until a few years ago.

Now a few times a year when I am hired to shoot weddings on the island I usually make a weekend of it with my wife and kids and we get to act like tourists in our own home state. Above we are shell hunting at low tide on the "Bar" that gives Bar Harbor its name. Sometimes we get to go out to the Park and experience the rugged mountain wilds on the coast that is quite different from the rugged mountain wilds in which we live every other day of the year. This year, we spent the whole time in the towns on the island.

There are plenty of scenic cliche images to be found on the water front of Bar Harbor.

The Margaret Todd is a schooner that offers cruises in Frenchman's Bay. Very picturesque ship (and of course, typically cliche of Maine imagery) but at $90 round trip for a family of four for 1.5-2hr cruise, it is a bit too costly for most Mainer's whom I know and there's lots of cheaper stuff to do that is pretty fun as well.

This is a stained glass window in Bar Harbor's Acadia National Park Info building. I liked it, so photographed it.

I was laying down on the dock to rest and refresh myself after a long day's shopping and this whale just jumped right over the dock! (Well, ok. In reality this is the tail of a life sized whale model on the dock off West St in Bar Harbor.)

All in all, if you feel that you must visit Maine in the summer time, I highly recommend Mt. Desert Island.
(Our own neck of the woods is far too crowded this time of year as it is!)

(Nikon D70 & 24-120VR Nikkor)


PAW 2005 - Wk23 - Aracos

(Nikon D70, 180/2.8 Nikkor 1/250 @f/2.8, 200ISO Spot metered.)

I shot this through the screened window in our dining room. I would undoubtedly have scared the hawk off had I attempted to go outside to get the shot. Consequently the image was very soft focus so I took the image into PS.CS and added a splatter filter to get this more painterly image. We've got almost as many hawks on our property as we do turkeys and deer now.

I'm not a bird guy, but I do love hawks. In one of their books on Celtic Mythology, John and Caitlin Matthews write about Hawk thusly:

Celtic oral tradition lists the oldest animal as the Hawk of Achill. As with other birds, the hawk is a messenger between the Otherworld and this world. However, it is of greater skill and strength than other birds. It symbolizes clear sightedness and longevity of the memory. If you hear a hawk cry during a journey, be alert to upcoming situations that need boldness and decisiveness to keep from being thrown off balance.

When I first ventured online in the mid 90s, I was paranoid about identity theft so I created an online persona for the various lists that I'm on. I used the nom de geurre "Aracos" which was the proper name of this Hawk of Achill mentioned above who riddled with the Celtic poet Fintan teaching him about the long history of man. In my work I seek clear sightedness and to preserve longevity of memory, so the appelation seemed to fit traits that I respect. The nickname has stuck and though I live pretty openly on the net now I'm as well known as Aracos in many of my social circles as I am Michael. Since taking on the alias, I've noticed hawks are everywhere I go in Maine, where I never saw them as a kid.

John Denver wrote in a tune in the 70s "...I am the Hawk and there's blood on my feathers but time is still turning it soon will be dry...all who see me and all who believe in me share in the freedom I feel when I fly...." Seems that this was true.


PAW 2005 - wk22

A continued break from 'reportage' photography this week.
Here are some of my favourite 'Maine' things in the perfect almost-summer weather (finally)...

My wife Tracey enjoys the scent of just bloomed lilacs.

Though, this dear woman and I have been together as a couple since the beginning of HighSchool, this week marked our 18th wedding anniversary. Through all of the ups and downs, I'd not have missed a moment or have changed any of it and I look forward to happily growing old with her.

This is the mill pond in nearby Bridgton, ME. The dandilions are out.
If you've never had dandelion buds (the yellow flower part) washed in egg, rolled in parmesean cheese and fried, you've not lived...America would be a much healthier nation if we ate our lawns instead of poisoned them with products from Monsanto.

Of all of the wonderful things Trace and I have created and acomplished in the last 23 years, this duo stands out far and above as our crowning achievements. Nicole and Elizabeth are growing into amazing young women. They were homebirthed right here in the woods and Tracey is doing an excellent job in homeschooling them here as well.

So there you go. The weather is great and I've got a small break in my work schedule so I figured I'd share a bit of what makes me the luckiest man on the planet. We'll now return to our regularly scheduled PAW project looking at Maine from our own perspective.

(All of the above were taken with the SD300 in manual mode and exposure modification control. Levels and Curveds adjusted in PS.CS using adjustment layers. I was playing with a new IR action on the second photo and then wanted to leave some colour. Probably should have left it alone. I generally shoot in RAW when I shoot digitally for work, but as the SD300 doesn't allow for RAW, I've been amazed as what you can do with a JPG and just the basic adjustment layers. I've borrowed a Zeiss Ikon 6X9 film camera that I'm considering purchasing for fun. I'll try to use it for some future post.)