Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

August 29, 2016

PUNCTURE

... for the past week or so my rear tire's been losing pressure ... about four-five pounds every few days, after examining the tire and finding no evidence of damage i assumed it was most likely a leaking rim bead ... the mileage left in the tire is worth less than having it remounted, so i figured to live with it for a few thousand miles until it was time to mount new tires ... last night, just to cover my bet, i ordered a replacement set of fancy michelin touring tires ...

... this afternoon, after a nice 100 miles up through the mountains, i stopped for a late lunch at one of maine's true gourmet gathering places, the irving truck stop in farmington ... coming out of the diner my eye was caught by a sharp but very, very tiny glint of reflected light coming from the center of the rear tire ... after driving back to roger's and getting my tool set ready, i pulled this out ...

... used to be any service station would've gladly made the repair, but now is the age of, "oh, insurance doesn't allow us to do that—but, never fear, we'll gladly sell you a new tire" ... no tearing of the belts, dead center, i decided to give the spiffy bmw tire repair kit a go ...

... was easy, nothing to it ... rather sloppy look is purely cosmetic, it'll smooth out after a few miles ... happens again i'll have had the practice to do a neater job of it ...

... and, good news, none of this caused me to fly off into the woods and startle a moose ...

August 27, 2016

CONJUNCTION

... john called ... after a quick drive down to china, maine, and then up to the top of parameter hill, we set up our cameras and his telescopes and waited ... as the sun descended towards the distant horizon i busied myself checking my equipment by snapping a panorama of where i live ...

... finally, after much prompting by john, i spotted low in the western sky what to my unaided eyes appeared to be an unusually bright star ... my ancient 300mm nikkor lens, however, resolved the truth of the scene ...

... the higher of the pair, venus, "the evening star," is currently 143,676,862 miles from earth ... how far is that—well, at 186,000 miles per second the sunlight reflecting off the cloudy upper atmosphere of venus took more then ten minutes to reach the side of the road where i was standing ... below venus in the sky is the planet jupiter, in an unusually close "conjunction" that will not repeat itself for another fifty years ... the nearness of the planets, however, is merely a visual illusion ... in truth, jupiter is currently almost 1,000,000,000 miles from the earth ... 

... how fascinating, that even as i type this, the clever little juno robot, having spent five years traveling through deep space, is successfully skimming along almost within touching distance of jupiter's mysterious clouds ... hopefully n.a.s.a. has one-hour processing, 'cause i'd sure like to see some pictures before i go to bed ...

"It is clear to everyone that astronomy at all events compels the soul to look upwards,
and draws it from the things of this world to the other."
PLATO

August 22, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HENRI

... yesterday roger and i took a little wanderabout up to mt. desert island ... after twisting and turning our way to the top of cadillac mountain, we managed to find a parking spot and added two more to the count of the tourist swarm covering the summit ... instead of being put off by the crowd, i thought how wonderful it was that i had become part of an assemblage of such happy people ... so, instead of "landscape," i thought of henri cartier-bresson, and turned my eye to the wonderful "peoplescape" in front of me ...

... "i'm cold, daddy," and once again a father sacrifices for his child ...

... i live here, so i can find it nice when i'm reminded how lucky i am ...

... we rested in seal harbor, the fog welcomed us ...

... another rest break ... as overpriced as it was, one must admit that the penobscot narrows bridge is also rather dramatic ...

... "if you please, perhaps a cracker to spare for a hungry bird" ... yea, i know, "rats with wings," but i still find them as beautiful as any of their more popular relatives ...

... the fog lifted as we drove west from the coast, and our ride back to waterville was into the glare of the setting sun ...

... how odd, that only a few minutes ago just as i was beginning to work up this journal entry i came across larry shields' reminder that today is the anniversary of henri cartier-bresson's birth ...

"We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory."
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON

August 19, 2016

BRIGHT SKIES & DARK SLIDES

... we took a little early morning wander down to the coast to meet up with timothy, a young friend of john's ... timothy's learning to use a large-format camera, one for which the negatives are 4"x5" in size ... a long, long time go i worked with such, and it was rather pleasing to see that there are still those who find virtue in a technology that has been almost completely displaced by modern digital devices ... i'd a "classic" canon 200mm lens which wouldn't focus to infinity, and i took the opportunity to find out if my repair/modification efforts had been successful ... before i fixed the lens the trees on the horizon would've been blurred ... clearly a couple of sheets of 120 grit carbide abrasive paper, jewelers screwdrivers, and, on my part, a bit of patience, did the trick ...

... each with a lens, a light-tight box, a shutter, and a medium to record light ... actually these two mechanisms are more similar than most would think ...

... it was so much fun to meet a young person who knows what an incident light meter does, and is aware of the double meaning of the term "f64" as well as who turned green peppers into art ...

... bright-bright sunlight, i wasn't much enthused about taking pictures until this sea-weathered section of tree trunk captured my attention ...

... a quick snapshot of the marshall point light ...

... another "stacking" experiment ... this photograph is composed of 15 separate images, each focused at a different point along the trunk ...

... we stopped on the bridge in south thomaston to watch a family enjoying the "reversing falls" being created by the incoming tide ... while his daughters watched their father was shooting beneath the old bridge on the wicked fast current ...

... then it was time for a bit of daring ...

... one of the girls asked me, "why aren't there more people here" ... i thought of my own little girls, learning to swim at the wire bridge, smalls falls, and coos canyon, but even so still i'd no answer to her question ...

... i noticed the bridge's dedication plaque ... oscar a. hix was the only south thomaston native to die in world war one ... although they were most likely completely oblivious to the presence of this bronze tablet, i like to think that oscar would have enjoyed listening to the joyous laughter coming from those who where so enjoying this beautiful spot ...

... before heading back we stopped at a little shore diner, where i decided that since contributing to the local economy is always a good thing it made sense for me to order up "twofers" ... [for those from away, that's two direct-from-the-sea-into-the-kettle one-pound maine lobsters] ... after eating we wandered a bit along the shoreline ...

... very quickly i reverted back to being a six-year old ...
COURTESY JOHN MEADER
... i found myself disappearing into a miniature landscape ...

... this special place, both land and sea, provides definition to "fascinating" ...

... great company, a fabulous lunch, even a few pictures to share— for sure another very successful wanderabout ...

August 16, 2016

EXPLORING A MORNING

... i woke up early, which is another way of saying i stayed up way too late, to find a little e-note from john, "if you're around want to go for a little exploring" ... i did, so, after a quick shower and shave, i was downstairs just as the man-with-the-plan arrived ... we drove down through china until we found the yorktown road ... after a mile or so driving on gravel and dirt we arrived at the trailhead for thurston park ... immediately it was clear that, unlike louisiana, central maine could use some rain ...

... even in the drought-like conditions, however, life springs anew in the forest ...

... there were unwelcome hints of autumn too soon to be ... 

... go ahead, say its name five times fast ... 

... along the trail were the remains of the chamberlain farm ... it's hard to visualize that all the land in this area was once cleared and planted ...

... someone had done a bit of casual archeology ... archeologists hate this, of course, since it's often that in the ground the relationship of objects to one another provides more information than the actual objects themselves ... in this case, i'm sure, it's probably not really a problem, and my bet would be that any loss is more than outweighed by how those who found the objects became excited about history ... 

... "potshards" are an archeologist's dream ... the ceramic will survive almost any environment, and they're relatively easy to date ... there have been times when the discovery of a single potshard has radically altered accepted history ...

... there were many trails diverging from the main path ...

... much of the area is at the edge of a swampy bog, a place where ferns thrive ...

... i'd like to have a '56 chevy in these colors ...

... there isn't really death in the forest, just change ...

... as he walked john talked of the times as a child when he, his father, and his grandfather, would come to these very woods to hunt deer ... as he ever so softly recounted dozens of tales of his childhood my mind slowly filled with the memories of my own father, and the times we would quietly stroll through the dark alaskan wilderness ... growing up we moved every couple of years, so, unlike john, i cannot ever easily connect to the physical locations of my youth ... but, listening to john, in a forest i had never before walked, i began to slowly sense my father's presence ... a gift for which i am most grateful, john, thank you ...

... quiet ...

... a soft bed of moss, as i remember was the tundra in alaska ...

... from ground level i investigated the forest ...

... even before the trunk falls reclamation begins ...

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day."
HENRY DAVID THOREAU

... if a tree is falling in the forest, are we waiting to hear it ... ??? ...

... on our way out we traversed a very well-defined glacial esker ... although it's difficult to discern in this photograph since my 12mm wasn't wide enough (8mm rokinon, fuji x mount, for christmas, just in case you're already shopping), if you look closely you can see how the trail is atop a very steep sided ridge of sand and gravel ... 

... when the ice sheet covered this land it was so thick that the pressure at its bottom surface caused melting ... the water running through the glacier was like the blood vessels in your body ... when the glacier finally retreated the little under-ice rivers clogged up with sand and gravel, leaving a pattern of generally north-south ridges twisting across the landscape ... the native americans found these most convenient for paths, many of which would later become roads and highways ... during the era of road building in the last century most of the easily accessed eskers were mined, so, in southern maine especially, very few of them remain intact ...
COURTESY MiTEP
... we left just as the day's heat and humidity were descending into the forest ...
COURTESY JOHN MEADER

... from parameter hill ... 90.86 miles distant, right to the very extreme of the theoretical limit, the 6,200 foot summit of mount washington peaks above the southwestern horizon ... if central maine was at sea level only the radio antennas on the top of the mountain would show, but adding parameter's 600 foot height to the trigonometric equation results in the appearance of a good portion of mt. washington's dramatic profile ... 

... a most excellent morning wanderabout ...

COLUMN A OR COLUMN B

... peggy's cove lighthouse, nova scotia ... here's a very slightly saturated colour version ...

... while this is a classic red-filter black & white interpretation ...

... so, my question would be, which do you like best ... ??? ... if you're of the mind you can let me know by using the little comment box on the right side of the page ...

August 13, 2016

WANDERING ABBY'S GARDEN

... after getting permission from the rockefeller family, of course, j-sun invited me to join him on a private tour of the "abby aldrich rockefeller garden" in seal harbor ... early in the morning we drove up to the island, searched until we found the rather obscure driveway, then, map in hand, found the correct path to our destination ... the unusual wooden arch entrance was a clue this was more than your typical backyard garden ...

... true photographers, we immediately separated as each of us began to follow own our eye's lead ... my exploration diverging from his, this was to be the last i saw of j-sun for awhile ...

... the garden was huge, with seemingly hundreds of different varieties of flowers ... you'll see no pictures of its entirety, however, since i surrendered to a familiar compulsion to try to portray individual blossoms in a semi-impressionistic manner ... i'll not try to name any of these beautiful plants, since, as usual, i'm clueless ... someone who knows the names of all things green, my dearest sister-in-law, beth, will most likely spring to my assistance in this manner, and i'll edit in the proper nomenclature if she does ... (if you read this, beth, number 'em in order starting with this one) ...

... when we arrived the morning dew was quite heavy, and the sun had not yet cleared the trees on the east side of the garden ...

... the bees were up early ...

... in all directions little paths led into the forest—well, perhaps "forest" isn't the proper term ... not a bit of downed wood to be seen, fallen pine needles very carefully layered and neatly aligned, each stone and boulder precisely situated as if the last glacier that covered this land had taken lessons in feng shui, i think it's perhaps better to keep using the word "garden" for all the wooded grounds around the flowers ...

... a first hint of the morning sun ...

... beautiful light, although it caused me to wish we'd been allowed in an hour earlier ...

... a squadron of flying flowers ...

... pink ... ??? ... magenta ... ??? ... you decide ...

... knowing that soon direct sunlight would make photography difficult, i began to work fast ...

... bursting through the trees, brilliant sun rays exploded these flowers ...

... hiding in the shade, still not fully awake ...

... "where do i go next" ... or, perhaps, she was a bit overcome by the beauty ...

... flowers, busy ...

... tending a garden that is probably seen by relatively few people were a dozen or more staff members ... noticing an errant blossom floating in a bird bath, i said to j-sun, "i'll bet it doesn't sit here much longer before it's removed and the water cleaned" ... "nah," he responded, "as soon as it begins to get waterlogged someone'll replace it with a fresh one" ... j-sun, it seems, understood this place even better'n me ...

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path.
BUDDHA

... a colorful homage to the f-64 group ...

... scattered along the trails were marvelous sculptures ...
  

... we took a little stroll to the height of the garden ... in the sun it was quickly becoming quite warm, and the humidity was near total saturation, so it was then a quick walk back to the car and a leisurely drive home ...

... thank you abby aldrich rockefeller, for a most remarkable garden ... and, thank you, j-sun, for taking me along on this little wanderabout ...