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 sixth 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.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

November 30, 2018

CAYMAN ON FILM

   ... last december, knowing that it would be helpful to the healing process i was going through, sarah and jon gave me a trip to cayman as a christmas present ... packing for the flight i decided to take only my wittnauer festival film camera ...
   
  
... in 1958 my dad bought one of these little 35mm cameras for our cross-country drive from florida to seattle via a stop to visit family and for mike and i to finish up the school year in west warwick, rhode island ... he didn't take the camera out until we'd been on the road several days, which leads me to believe that ma knew nothing about his purchase ... i picked up this one on ebay several years ago, and, to my knowledge, it might just be the finest example of the model in the entire world ...

... so, with three rolls of i.s.o 400 print film (in the mid-50s something of which photographers could only dream) and my equally-ancient gossen light meter, i was off to the sunny caribbean ...
    
... my sister, sue, took me on a tour of the "recently discovered" caves on the east end of the island ... actually, the caves have been known about for a long time, but it is only in the last few years that someone decided to invest the millions of dollars necessary in order to make them cayman's newest tourist attraction ...
   
   
... an environmentally friendly infrastructure now allows easy access to these fascinating natural formations ... i am even more fascinated with the thought that while farming one of the tiny fertile spots in the ironshore our great-grampy or another ancestor might've taken to one of these below-ground chambers as a cool respite from the tropical heat ...
   
   
... light from the natural openings filters down, allowing plants to flourish ...
      
   
... sue took me to spotts to share supper with her friend, mark, and his girlfriend (apologies, i've forgotten her name) ... although at times difficult because of the currents, spotts is one of my favorite places to snorkle ...
   
   
   
... i do remember that she's a very nice person ...
   
   
... it's a wonderful view of the island and sea from the gazebo above the beach at mark's vacation home ...
   
   
... even with the i.s.o. 400 film, using the wittnauer in low-light was pushing it well beyond it's functional envelope ... keeping the shutter speed at 1/30th of a second to minimize blur, i knew these frames would be seriously under-exposed ... the fact that i had to send the film in to be developed, and, while the prints are nice, the digital files returned to me are only 2-megapixels, meant that it was a lot of work in photoshop to bring these images to life ... this one, four different layers and an hour's work, i converted to a sort of film/oil hybrid canvas ...
   
   
... i did the same with the image i snapped of mister geoff rutty ...
   
   
... most people go to cayman for such as this, the famous "seven-mile beach" ... it's a beautiful and most pleasant streach of white sand—even if it's actually only 5.1 miles in length ...
   
   
... i'm lucky, i get to go to cayman to visit family and friends ... my sister hates having her picture taken, so, for this trip, at least, i respected her reticence and there're no images of her ... no problem, since i still got to take pictures of my dearest sweet aunt, "miss francine" ... more than anything, to me she is grand cayman ...
   

... the trip was great medicine, thank you sarah and jon, and, equally, thank you, pa, for teaching me how to take pictures with your little wittnauer gem ...

November 10, 2018

WANDERABOUTING TO A FRIEND

... i was making a visit to a friend who has taken up residence in the togus v.a. hospice, so, in addition to all the usual reasons, i asked john if he'd join me ... i didn't need to add, "for emotional support," he knew ...

... we pulled off the china road to snap some pictures of "my" car ... wearing this first snow, it had more tales to tell us ...
       
    
... john took his "super-duper" telephoto off and got up close with his wide-angle lens ...
       
    
... i used my "classic" (antique) nikkor 50mm f/1.4 ...
       
    
... i could've spent hours exploring all the little details ...
       
       
    
... before leaving i made one last snapshot of the car, seeing it as if an old-timer swaying gently in a porch rocking chair, softly content to watch new life passing by as he snuggles deeper into the comfort and warmth of his own life memories ...
       
    
... so much color ...
       
    
... john and "his" tree ...
       
    
... tonight's strong freezing winds will probably bring these to join their friends on the ground, but, in this moment, they held a bit longer to autumn ...
       
    
... according to the mathematics of fractal geometry and chaos theory it's highly unlikely there has ever existed two leaves identical to one another ... another of the uncountable wonders of the universe ...

    
... i was thinking of our friend ...
       
  
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun 
Do take a sober colouring from an eye 
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality; 
Another race hath been, and other palms are won. 
Thanks to the human heart by which we live, 
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears, 
To me the meanest flower that blows can give 
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
  WILLIAM WOODSWORTH

       






October 20, 2018

A LITTLE AROUND TOWN WANDERABOUT

  ... a sign of the season, light from the setting sun making its way through the living room and all the way to the bathroom door ...
  

... i grabbed my camera and quickly descended the stairs ... when i reached the street i realized that affixed to my sony was a nikkor 50mm f/2.8 macro lens, my least favorite piece of glass, but, knowing how fast the light would fade, i headed out anyhow ...

... two doors down from my place a neighbor was concluding his work day with a nap  ...
  
  
... now that they've renovated the building with the boarded up hairdressers, this is one of the last of waterville's maine street window girls ... i've walked by a dozens of times, dozens of times a rather obnoxious "business hours" sign has tested my photographic talents so that dozens of times i've failed miserably in my attempt to capture her aloof charm ... perhaps the shop owner, after so often having to witness my frustrated contortions seeking an angle that would negate the distracting placard, decided to show me a little mercy—or, equally likely, the sign just fell off the window ... either way, this time i think i managed to capture a sense of her seductive allure ... (okay, it's quite late and obviously i should be composing in my novel rather'n here ... i know that, but i'll figure you can cut me some slack since i did, after all, get the picture) ...
  

... each and every leaf is autumn in full ...
  
  
... a tiny tree, i wonder if this is its first fall ...
  
  
... the sun reflecting off the kennebec river highlights the season ...
  
  
... the lot where the fancy hotel is to be built ... i became fascinated with the sunlight dancing with the wall the bank once shared with the now-demolished levines department store ...
  
  
... silver street tavern ...
  

... i made a nice pause in the center of the memorial bridge ...
  
  
... ticonic falls, where benedict arnold and his troops were forced to make the first portage on the ill-fated quebec expedition ...
  

... wanderabouting, the perfect way to end a beautiful autumn day ...

October 16, 2018

RECORDING THE MUSIC WITH LIGHT

... last week the framemakers held a reception for artists ... free snacks, good company, and, of course, it's right at the bottom of my stairs—i couldn't resist ...

... most of all, i was quite impressed with the trio providing the backup music, especially the singer ... accompanied by the skilled guitarist's clear notes and measured rhythm of the percussionist's bongo, she seemed as if from another era, one of smoke-filled night clubs, martinis, and women wearing white gloves ... no, not a "better" time, for sure i can spend all afternoon listening to adele and norah jones, just—well, just different, something that brought to me memories of ma ...
  

... her artistic intensity captivated me ...
     

... back upstairs i decided to approach the images "interpretation" first ...
  

... i wanted to share the "feeling" of the music ...
  

... which is another way of saying that i may not know much about music, but have learned a thing or two when it comes to "developing & printing" (right—but, since i don't much care for that obnoxious three-letter word, you can instead use "classic" since that actually pleases me) ...
  

... sixteen frames, taken as i pre-visualized this final image ...
  

... i put little effort into photography, thus i didn't take the time to wait for the percussionist to express with his face as well as his hands, but with the singer and guitarist it was easy to capture dancing across their faces joyful celebration of the music ...
  
 
... i snapped a couple of dozen pictures, then put aside my camera and inspected the various hors d'oeuvres as i enjoyed the music ...
  
  
... over an hour working it, but i'm quite please with the result ...
  

... the music brought me to a smile ... that it did so, and that i can, is an elemental reason to be happy ...

... i am ...

October 8, 2018

WANDERABOUTING WITH AN OLD SALT

... i picked up my friend, john—not the john who currently is hiking along hadrian's wall, the other one who is of the world's greatest workers in wood—and we began our little wanderabout ... "which way do you want to head," i asked ...

... an hour or so later we arrived at the penobscot marine museum ... john's quite familiar with it, but, rather odd, even after living in maine for near forty-five years it's a place i'd never visited ...
   

... the ships models were fascinating, of course, by even more enjoyable was watching this master woodworker's face light up as he examined the construction details of the many boats on exhibit ...
   
  
... the grounds were splashed beautifully with the vibrant colors of various late fall blossoms ...
   
  
... i walked by, perhaps thinking to myself, "jee'zum, if i was making a kitchen table i'd have found a knot-free plank to work with" ... on the way back through the room john explained to me how the three knots were not imperfections, but rather were deliberately chosen by the carpenter as a sort of "signature" ... without bending down to look john said, "go ahead, take a peek at the underside of the other table leaf" ... sure enough three different knots were visible  ... simply, way cool ...
   
  
... the docent enlivened us with a great story of how each ship captain wanted a "selfie" of his ship in every port visited, and that consequently a business arose in which right alongside the docks of the ports were studios which pre-painted numerous copies of the harbor, making sure to emphasize the unique features by which those knowledgeable of the shipping industry could easily identify the location ... when a captain came ashore and requested, "i'd like a painting of my ship entering the harbor," all they had to do was say, "come back in a few hours and it'll be ready," then insert the image of the particular ship into the preprepared canvas ... right, "photoshopping a selfie" in the 1800's ...
   
  
... this detail brought to mind memories of my grammy ...
   
  
... she was from the west indies, where to this day sunday-after-church tea is a most pleasurable ritual ...
   
  
... hmmmm, near as i can figure in the olden days they kept little basins by their beds so they could wash their feet before going to sleep ... such charming customs like this, yup, those really were the times when america was great ...
   
  
... the life of many a fisher has been saved by one of these suits ...
   
  
... well, look on their faces i'm not sure they thought america was great ... maybe they were scowling at their ship captain patriarch, "all the other families've got 'em, when are you going to bring us some of those way cool foot-washing basins" ...
   
  
... many beautiful paintings of ships—and, of course, now i know why so many of them seem almost identical ...
   
  
... of late i knew john had been—well, i suppose "depressed" is as good a word as any—by the national news ... [by the way, is a point of pride to me that to one degree of another pretty much all of my friends're feeling so] ... another thing about wanderabouts, they're perfect medicine for aliments of the heart and soul ...

Cheer up, Jack, bright smiles await you
From the fairest of the fair.
There are loving hearts to greet you
With kind welcomes everywhere.
And we'll sing in joyful chorus
In the watches of the night,
And we'll sight our land before us
When the grey dawn brings the light.
TRADITIONAL SEA SHANTY
   
    
... from our little journey, a final portrait of which i am most unusually proud of both seeing, revealing, and portraying ...
   

... a great day, thank you, john, soon we'll share another wonderful wanderabout ... ...