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.

August 4, 2018

WANDERABOUTING THE DARK

... last christmas my present to liz was a wanderabout of her choosing ... "dad, i want to go down in a cave" ... easy choice, the longest cave system in the world, mammoth cave in kentucky ... after 850 miles on the road, we stopped for a break at jon's house in columbus ... while there we visited the "field of corn" and enjoyed a nice lunch during a visit to the downtown market ...
   
  
... liz has discovered "roadside america," so we had to stop ...
   
  
... before the mid-day heat and humidity we toured the serpentine mound ... we learned that the archeologists have recently discovered that the ancient people "erased" a fourth loop ... there're all sort of fancy theories explaining this, but we think that it was simply because that loop was too close to the edge of the ravine and erosion caused it to be too difficult to maintain ... then again, the "ancient aliens" explanation might also be true ...
   
  
... we paused in lexington to play a round of "bible mini-golf" ... "old testament miracles" for us ... needless to say, i smote liz ... !!! ...
   
  
... liz has a rather unusual putting stance ...
   
  
... near the translvannia university campus we drove through a neighborhood of cleverly decorated buildings ... (the shots that have a film border were taken and processed using my cell phone camera and snapseed editor) ...
   

  
... very, very strange ...
   
  
  
... at mammoth cave we left the 90°f temps and 90% humidity behind and descended through the original entrance into a bliss inducing 55°f natural air conditioning ...
   
  
... we did three underground tours, but here i'll just sort of run 'em together ... during the two-hour "historical" tour we navigated some extremely confining passages ...
   
  
... many, many years ago it was decided that spending a long period of time living in mammoth cave would be beneficial to those afflicted with tuberculosis (then called "consumption," which is a much more descriptive name) ... in one of the little underground houses the builders put in a window ... ??? ... go figure ...
   
  
... and, as you may have already surmised, living in the damp cold air of the cave was not at all good for those with a lung disease ... this is the slab where they laid out those who weren't cured—eventually every single one of them got to recline on this stone ...
   
  
... we ran into some of the local denizens ... creepy ...
   
  
... in the way olden days, even before the great "cave wars," visitors would use candles or lanterns to smoke their names into the ceiling ... the guides, who were charged with cleaning up the paths, would offer up to their guests, "you know, you could also pile some stones to commemorate your visit" ... here is the monument to kentucky, all other somehow mysteriously kept falling apart ...
   
  
... in one of our tours we descended a staircase crammed into a massive hole such as these ... many of them were 80-100' deep ...
   
  
  
... there are five levels to the cave system, the bottom of which, being currently the active water table, is still in the formation stage ... if you look very close you can see the water at the bottom of this shaft ...
   
  
... liz thoroughly enjoyed the tours, especially since this is a place where not being tall is an advantage—believe me, my head knows ...
   
  
... while chatting about how proud of ourselves we were for having negotiated the subterranean depths we noticed this couple—we stopped our bragging ...
   
  
... our last visit was the "lantern tour" ...
   
  
... our guide was a well-seasoned (read that, "older") man from kentucky ... we were mesmerized by the the stories and tales he related ... and, in all of it, by itself his accent alone was worth the price of admission ... i mean, when someone from kentucky says "air"—well, i'm not sure it's possible to spell it ...
   
  
... "watch your head" on the left, to the right is "i'm melting" ...
   
  
... just watching the children listen to him was as good a part of the tour as anything else ...
   
  
... another of those who live in the cave ... all of the underground pictures, by the way, were taken at i.s.o. 50-some thousand ... f/stop was either f/1.8 or f/1.4, depending on the lens, and the shutter speed was as low as 1/4-second ... again, for those who complain, "oh, dear, at high i.s.o. my digital camera's sensor exhibits just way too much noise," well, duh ... dig out an old nikon or canon or whatever, go buy some "high speed" film, and give this place a try ... !!! ...
   
  
... on the way home we stopped in new york so liz could dig for "herkimer diamonds" ... (is something she loves doing—go figure this, too) ...
   
  
... four and one-half hours later, we'd found several nice stones and my hands felt like i'd been on a louisiana roadside chain gang ...
   
  
... driving along the new york throughway we were chased by a "possible tornadoes" cloud ...
   

... what an absolutely wonderful wanderabout we shared ... merry christmas liz ... and, for me, considering where i was last year this time, happy new year, patrick ...

July 23, 2018

TO APPRECIATE SEEING

... after a trip to bangor to have my car checked (which, as i suspected, found one of the tires slightly out of round), i picked up john for a little wanderabouting ... we made our way up along the kennebec river to the west of the wyman lake impound in moscow ... it was drizzling, so rather than a muddy walk down to houston brook falls we decided to explore the shore of the lake ...
   
  
... for ten-days john's been non-stop taking pictures at the maine international film festival ... this, the day after the end of the festival, i was surprised he managed to stay awake ...
   
  
... so, in the midst of maine's beautiful back country, what do you take pictures of ... right, a teensy-tiny rubber toy dinosaur ... 
   
  
... i was quite proud of myself for getting down so low—as for getting up, well, i think the picture was worth my groans ...
   
  
... since the beginning of photography, i doubt if any photographer has ever managed to never snap pictures such as this ...
   
  
... all sorts of technical problems, but still i really like this image (a good example, by the way, of one of the art's few true "rules") ...
   
  
... john and i shared a nice discussion about this, the so-called "rules of photography" ... he talked of a photographer he knew who had been taught these in his photography school classes ... i said, "well, nothing wrong with all that stuff, as long as one remembers that 'rules' are the antithesis of art" ... john smiled—he knows ...
   
  
... it was brightness of the flowers contrasting against the rock's harsh grey, that's what first caught my eye ...
   
  
... i shot a few pictures for john at the film festival (a very, very few, compared to the many thousands of frames he exposed) ... this is one of my favorites ...
   
  
... and this, which was a most difficult image to capture ...
   
  
... while waiting for one of the movies i somewhat surreptitiously used my new wide-angle lens to snap a picture of another movie goer ...
   
  
... in the hallway i found this composition ... "why," you ask ... truthfully, i've absolutely no idea ... that's how my eyes work ... i like this image ... you may like it, too, or, equally likely, you may not ... that's how your eyes work ...
   
  
... (facebook users: yes, you've seen these—but more'n half the people who follow my journal do not use that social media site) ... i stopped at the house and asked chad if i could borrow the kids for the afternoon (two were off for the weekend with their ma) ... he protested for quite awhile, but finally gave in, "okay, all alone in this big ol' house i guess i can find something to do" ... !!! ... with that we were off to north new portland ... after a quick stop in north anson for vittles, we finished the drive to the wire bridge ... the water was absolutely perfect ... this, as always, is a great place for memory building (and, believe me, i've many volumes of them neatly aligned on my mind's forever shelf) ...
   
  
... brothers ...
   
  
... they used to be so little ... [sigh] ... how fast they grow ...
   
  
... i sat on the shore hand-holding my ancient nikkor 300mm ... this, from the opposite bank of the stream, clearly the image stabilization built in to my sony a7ii works ... !!! ...
   
  
... this is clearly a "danny place" ... i'm pretty sure that each time we visit he inspects every single rock, stone, and pebble in the carrabassett river ... really, everysingleoneofthem ... !!! ...
   
  
... watching the kids one morning while em ran errands, i clearly didn't use a "portrait lens" to take this portait of grant ... instead of an 85-105mm glass i had great fun snapping away with my new rokinar 20mm ...
   

... from a little around town wanderabout ... question: for you, if this picture does evoke meaning, memory, or emotion, what is it ... it makes me feel rather—well, i guess i'd have to squish together two words to express it, "lonelysad" ... (yup, as i thought ... i went to my super-duper thesaurus, couldn't find a word that was any more precise than that ... interesting) ... why does it make me feel thus—no idea ... 
   
  
... just playin' around ...
   
  
... i am, and for this i do know the word, absolutely enchanted by this picture ... it makes me feel happy ... i don't know why, nor do i care ... being happy is good ...
   


Some deem I'm gentle, some I'm kind:
It may be so,--I cannot say.
I know I have a simple mind
And see things in a simple way;
And like a child I love to play.
   
I love to toy with pretty words
And syllable them into rhyme;
To make them sing like sunny birds
In happy droves with silver chime,
In dulcet groves in summer time.
   
I pray, with hair more white than grey,
And second childhood coming on,
That yet with wonderment I may
See life as in its lucent dawn,
And be by beauty so beguiled
I'll sing as sings a child. 
   
 ROBERT W. SERVICE

... those in the know, as well as those of you who are good at reading both the lines as well as the spaces between them, are aware that since december i've been working very, very hard towards—well, towards a goal which before had never required much effort of me, that of learning and growing to become a really cool old guy ... i've had a lot of help, thank you very much ... even more important, i've learned not only to allow others to help me, every day i am getting better at both asking and accepting such ...

... so much to see, so much to learn, so many wonders ahead ...

... what great fun this is ...


July 17, 2018

NEW LENS!!!!

... as you know, since i took up using "mirrorless" cameras i've for the most part used "legacy" (20-30 year-old) lenses ... lack of automatic features, as far as i'm concerned, is greatly outweighed by how compared to modern glass they are relatively inexpensive ...

... for critical work, however, using wide-angle lenses designed for film is a bit of a problem ... without going into the details (right, "ask patrick what time it is and he'll explain how to build a clock"), wide open to their largest apertures (to let in the most light) traditional "retrofocus" wide-angle designs just aren't very sharp in the corners ... soooo ...

... so, thinking especially of milky way photography, i finally made the move to a modern wide-angle designed specifically for digital sensors ... goodbye to my faithful nikkor 20mm f/2.8 ...
  
  
... the money i made selling it on ebay (more'n i paid for it, by the way) enabled me to purchase a brand-new rokinon 20mm f/1.8...
  
COURTESY MARC ALHADEFF

... downside—well, the rokinon is huge compared to the old nikkor ... well worth it, however, since it is clearly much, much sharper, even when wide-open to f/1.8 ...
   
... found inside the hathaway building, my my first image using the rokinon ...
   

... later, from a little wanderabout around town, this is the result of eight images being alignment stacked, focus merged, and then color/contrast corrected ...
   

... finally, a single frame taken in castonguay square...
  


... what great fun ... i'm so looking forward to using this lens ...