One Year In Maine: A Look Back

One year ago, due to a variety of circumstances, I made the decision to pick up and relocate to Freeport, Maine. On September 1, 2016, I became a Maine resident. Living in Maine had long been a dream of mine, and despite the turmoil I endured in getting to where I felt a relocation was necessary and possible, it has been worth it. The Maine landscape long called to me and inspired me in my work as a photographer. What follows below is a retrospective of my first year of exploration of my new home.

Sunrise at Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
September 5, 2016: This was the first morning I was able to get out and photograph after moving in. I was greeted with a spectacular sunrise and watched a cruise ship enter the harbor. It was a morning of fresh starts and was a great way to start my new life in Maine.
Muscongus Bay Sunrise
September 13, 2016: When I was in Maine in August looking for a place to live, a friend told me about Laverna Preserve in Bristol. This preserve, tucked away on the Pemaquid Peninsula, is a beautiful area with breathtaking views of Muscongus Bay. Areas like this are why I love Maine and love getting out and exploring with my camera.
Dawn Over Pemaquid Point
October 16, 2016: Pemaquid Point has long been one of my favorite places to photograph in the midcoast area of Maine. On this morning I went with the intention of photographing something other than the lighthouse there. It was a crisp fall morning with a stiff breeze blowing. There wasn’t a ton of interest in the sky but there were a lot of small pools formed on the rocks that created foreground interest.
Autumn in New England
October 16, 2016: When I first moved here, I was told I should visit Vaughn Woods in Hallowell. The stone arch bridges and rushing waterfalls, combined with the gorgeous autumn colors, made for a peaceful morning photo walk.
The Nubble and the Full Moon
November 14, 2016: The full moon in November was what’s been called a super moon, where the moon appears larger than normal. I positioned myself on Long Sands Beach in York, and used a 600mm lens to compress the perspective and capture both the lighthouse and the moon in a single shot.
Spring Point Ledge Light Station
November 15, 2016: I first photographed Spring Point Ledge Light from almost this exact spot in 1999, on film. While the sky was a bit cloudy, it was perfect for a long exposure. This three minute exposure captured the cloud movement beautifully and made the lighthouse stand out.
Dawn at Marshall Point
November 28, 2016: I’d never been to Marshall Point before, and didn’t realize it wasn’t really that far from me. I finally made it there in November and photographed a gorgeous sunrise.
Holidays Aglow
December 11, 2016: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens hosts a Christmas light show every holiday season, with the gardens aglow with lights. It’s amazing to see, and well worth a visit.
Winter Morning at Cape Neddick
January 8, 2017: Well into January I still had not photographed any snowfall. Knowing we were going to get about six inches overnight, I made plans to get up and photograph sunrise at Cape Neddick lighthouse with the freshly fallen snow. The lighthouse was still lit up for the holidays and it was so cold steam was rising off the water.
Sunrise Over Wells Beach
March 2, 2017: Wells Beach was another location I visited on one of my earliest trips to Maine in 1999. At high tide, the entire sand is covered, but once the tide recedes, tidal pools remain and the sand is covered in ripples left by the water. At sunrise, the low, angular light catches the ripples and creates patterns around the pools. One of my favorite spots to photograph in Maine.
Cape Porpoise
March 29, 2017: I’d stumbled across Cape Porpoise on my 1999 visit but at the time was too much of a landscape photo neophyte to do it justice. On this brisk March afternoon, the sky dazzled as the lobster boats danced on the tide.
Sunrise at Wolfe's Neck Woods
April 18, 2017: Five miles down the road from my home in Freeport is this beautiful state park known as Wolfe’s Neck Woods. I decided to photograph it at sunrise one April morning and spent several hours photographing Googins Island and along the shoreline as the sun rose.
Spring Sunrise at Portland Head
April 23, 2017: A friend was visiting me in April and I wanted her to experience a sunrise at Portland Head. I wanted a different angle than the usual one from the other side of the lighthouse and we were greeted with this view.
Sunrise at Bald Head Cliff
May 8, 2017: I’d never heard of Bald Head Cliff in York, and came across a photo and knew I had to photograph there. This was my second attempt there as my first try was a flat great day.
Spring Morning in Acadia National Park
May 19, 2017: By mid-May, I’d been itching to get to Acadia for some photography. I wasn’t able to get a prolonged period of time, but I headed up for sunrise and spent a peaceful morning in the park before heading to breakfast at Jordan’s in Bar Harbor.
Spring Flow at Smalls Falls
June 6, 2017: I’d always been in love with the Maine coastline, but there is tremendous beauty inland and I’m really enjoying exploring it. Smalls Falls was the first waterfall I visited in Maine and I’m definitely looking forward to finding more.
Sunset at Marshall Point
July 15, 2017: Decided to revisit Marshall Point for sunset, as I’d never been here for sunset before. I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset.
Camden Harbor from the Summit of Mount Battie
June 22, 2017: Explored the midcoast a bit this day and drove to the top of Mount Battie for this breathtaking view of Camden Harbor.
Stonington Harbor
June 22, 2017: I met a photographer from Tennessee who’d mentioned he was staying up in Stonington. I’d never been there so I decided to head up there to see what it was like. It’s such a cute little town and definitely a place I need to explore some more.
Bailey Island Coastline
July 2, 2017: I’d been told soon after I arrived in Maine, that Giant’s Stairs on Bailey Island was a place I needed to photograph. It took me a while but I finally got there. While the skies were gray and the shoreline was foggy, the high surf created some dramatic images.
Sunset at Spring Point Ledge
July 2, 2017: I’d first visited Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in 1999. I hadn’t discovered this view until this summer when I ran into a photographer from one of the Facebook groups I belong to. The leading lines of the fort out to the breakwater make this image for me.
Celebration in Boothbay Harbor
July 4, 2017: I celebrated my first Independence Day in Maine in New England style. Met up with some friends, had a lobster roll and a beer, and photographed the fireworks over Boothbay Harbor.
Steaming Past the Giant's Stairs
July 7, 2017: My first time shooting at the Giant’s Stairs was a mixed bag- I had dramatic waves crashing on the rocks, but the sky was flat and bland. This time, I had a more dramatic sky, but the waters surounding Bailey Island were much calmer. A beautiful place for a walk along the shore.
Tied Up
July 9, 2017: I caught this image in Tenant’s Harbor after staying up all night and (unsuccessfully, due to clouds) photographing the night sky. Something a little different for me but I enjoy finding these little snippets of Maine.
July Sunrise at Portland Head
July 30, 2017: I had scheduled a session with a model for the park around the lighthouse on this morning, and decided to get up early and catch the sunrise. There’s just something about capturing the start of a day that is both calming and exhilirating. I can’t do it everyday, but those days I get out of bed before the sun rises are well worth it.
Dawn on Old Orchard Beach
August 2, 2017: Old Orchard Beach is a place that takes me back to summers when I was kid at the Jersey Shore. The pier reminds me of the boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach, with the fried food, the games, and other attractions. I knew I wanted to photograph the pier but it took me some time to get around to it. Once I did, I was not disappointed.
Height of Land
August 4, 2017: The Rangeley Lakes Region is an area that I had often been told I needed to go see. The area is breathtaking and I plan to spend a lot more time with my camera there. On this morning, I’d planned to shoot at sunrise at Height of Land, overlooking Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Nature had other ideas and instead I was treated to the drama of a fog bank moving through the valley.
Dusk on Littlejohn Island
August 14 2017: In searching for places a bit more off the beaten path, I came across Littlejohn Island Preserve in Yarmouth. While not as dramatic as places such as Giant’s Stairs, there is a peacefulness here that I think I captured nicely in this sunset image.
High Tide at Portland Head Lighthouse
August 16, 2017: Portland Head Lighthouse is a big draw for photographers, with good reason. I’d been waiting a long time to catch it with a high tide caused by a storm at sea. While the tides this night were bigger than normal, they weren’t the epic tides I hope to see one day here. On this night, I climbed out on the rocks with a friend to capture the sunset.
Rockland Breakwater Light
August 19, 2017: I’ve tried to photograph Rockland Breakwater lighthouse several times since I’ve moved here. I am represented by Gallery 440 in Rockland so I’ve made several trips up and always stop here to at least walk the breakwater. Each time I’ve gone with my camera, however, I’ve been met with gray skies. One day I’ll catch it with some beautifully warm sunlight shining down!
Great Falls Balloon Festival
August 20, 2017: Decided to head to the sunrise launch at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston and Auburn, Maine. It was something different and I’d always wanted to shoot a sunrise balloon launch. The winds didn’t quite cooperate so the shot I’d envisioned never came to pass, but I still managed to capture a few I was happy with.
Coos Canyon
August 22, 2017: While the Maine coast has always been my first love, I am quickly finding that the Rangeley Lakes Region may be my second. The beauty of some of the waterfalls, mountains, lakes, and canyons is simply amazing. While normally I prefer to use vibrant color in my images, black and white felt best for capturing the textures of Coos Canyon.
On Penobscot Bay
August 24, 2017: In late August my son came up for a visit. We took a sunset cruise from Camden Harbor on Penobscot Bay. As we were returning to the harbor, I suddenly heard the sound of a buoy bell. I quickly raised my camera just in time to grab this shot as the sun set behind Camden Hills.

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Exploring Maine

Dusk on Littlejohn Island
Littlejohn Island Preserve in Yarmouth, Maine is a small preserve on Casco Bay. I discovered this spot while looking for a new place to photograph. The rocky shoreline and quiet woodland path leading to it were perfect for the afternoon I spent photographing there.

When I first discovered Maine for myself in 1998, I fell in love with many of the things most people think of when they think of Maine: lighthouses, the rugged coastal landscape, lobster boats, lobster rolls, and the New England charm that permeates the various towns dotting the coastline. And while the coastline is still what draws me, there’s so much more to this gorgeous state than lighthouses and lobster (lobstah?) rolls. There are little hidden preserves, that  once found, envelop you in the calm of the bay and the shade of evergreens growing right up next to the rocky shoreline. Drive a little north, and there are waterfalls tucked away in the hills, waiting for someone to come take a swim.  There are mountain vistas with views that stretch for miles. And yes, head up the coast and there are quaint fishing villages and harbors around every bend.

Sunset at Spring Point Ledge
I’d been to Spring Point Ledge Light in South Portland a few times since I moved to Maine, but never had I seen this vantage point, with the wall of the fort leading to the breakwater.

My point is, after nearly a year here, I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of places to photograph and explore. And it’s a small scratch at that. I think nothing of getting up at 3am to catch a sunrise somewhere 2 hours away, as I did with the photo below of Height of Land. There are new ways to see places I’ve been before, such as I did with the image of Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse by climbing the hill overlooking the lighthouse. And less than 20 minutes from my home is Littlejohn Island Preserve, a small preserve as peaceful and quiet as it gets, with a short easy hiking trails and beautiful views of Casco Bay.

Height of Land
Height of Land, on top of Spruce Mountain in Rangely, is one of those lesser known spots that is well worth the visit. I arrived for sunrise to find a thick fog moving through the valley, obscuring Mooselookmeguntic Lake. So now I need to go back so I can get a shot of the lake from here.

Still so many places I need to see: Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, West Quoddy Head, Machias, more of the lakes region, and the mountains. I feel like it might take me the next 20 years to see it all. So stay tuned. There will be pictures.

Smalls Falls
Smalls Falls is a waterfall in western Maine, formed by a series of cascades on the Sandy River in Township E, West Central Franklin.

 

Favorite Places: Montauk Point

Sunrise Over The East End
Sunrise Over The East End

Much as I’ve made my disdain for most areas of Long Island well known, I always enjoyed photographing at Montauk Point. The combination of rocky shoreline, the lighthouse standing high atop the bluff, looking out at the sea, and the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the rocks, always makes for some beautiful images.

The series of shots shown in this post were taken on a December morning in 2015. It was a warmer morning and I only needed a sweatshirt.  A friend of mine was up visiting from Florida, and had never been to Montauk before so I told him I’d take him. The catch was, he had to be awake at 4am so we’d be there for sunrise.

Light and Dark at Montauk Point
Light and Dark at Montauk Point

The weather report called for “partly cloudy” but when we arrived, we were greeted with a very heavy cloud cover. But looking at the horizon, I could see a faint glow, indicating a break in the cloud cover. If that break held, I knew we might get a few moments of magic.

We walked down to the beach and scoped out a spot and I began taking some pictures.  The first few were a bit gray and dreary from the cloud cover, but all of a sudden, the sun got to the horizon and there was an explosion of color there.  The clouds stayed dark and gray above, making for an interesting combination of dark and stormy and bright and hopeful. The effect lasted about 5 minutes before the clouds moved in again.

Montauk Storm Clouds
Montauk Storm Clouds

I tried a variety of approaches that morning. First, I just wanted to capture the water rushing over the rocks, so I simply used a graduated neutral density filter to help darken the sky a bit, and then a moderately long shutter speed to capture the movement of the water. After a while I decided to try a few really long exposures and came up with one that’s a bit more haunting, with the rocks appearing to disappear into the mist.

I think one of the reasons I love photographing at Montauk is that it’s the one place on Long Island that’s very similar to Maine, which I’ve loved since my first visit and finally moved to last year.  The rocky shoreline and boulders on the beach are similar to some of my favorite spots here. One of these days I’ll visit again.

Montauk Point and the Milky Way
Montauk Point and the Milky Way
Late Autumn Storm at Montauk Point
Late Autumn Storm at Montauk Point

More Montauk Point images here.

My Best of 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, I wanted to gather a few of my favorite images that I made over the course of the year and share them in a single place. In what was a trying year for me personally, I was able to get to some beautiful locations and capture some of the natural beauty I found. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the images I captured.

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