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 seventh 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.

May 24, 2012

TWO WHEELIN' CROSS COUNTRY

... 180 miles being the most i've driven in a single day, here's my bike loaded and all ready to go for what i'm hoping will be my first long-distance trip, maine to new hampshire to rhode island and back again ... i've actually a bit of room left in the big bag, and, in case i find something interesting needs collecting, that bag expands to give another 30-40 cubic inches of storage space ... everything is  tied down nicely, although, to be honest, i've never feel things are quite as secure as they were in the service when we used mil-spec tie down straps strong enough to tow a car a out of a ditch ... (no, that's neither hyperbole nor hypothetical) ... since i made a decision that this was to be my first trip set to the motto of the post office letter carriers, allowing neither "... rain nor sleet nor gloom ..." to deter me, and i can see over the western horizon that there a few dark clouds making a bit of a threat, i've my rain gear all ready in the little bag strapped over the headlamp ... wish me luck, new hampshire and rhode island, here i come ...



NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70MM@F9-1/200th-ISO100


... by the way, for those of you who pay attention to such things here's a snap of the new luggage carrier i had custom made for my motorcycle ...


CANON G7-CANON 7-44@10MM@F4-1/1000th-ISO100






May 22, 2012

UP BY THE DEAD RIVER

... today roger and i motorcycled up through the valley of the sandy river ... we took our first break at smalls falls ... this was one of the places that my daughters learned to swim, jump, dive, deal with hypothermia, and master the art of applying first aid tape and gauze pads well enough that they could continue their fun until the "you can swim until you turn blue like the berries" rule had to be enforced ...


NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@38MM-F22-1/20th-ISO100

... above the falls, at the river's source, the upper sandy pond, in the space of about a thousand feet we left the drainage basin of the kennebec river and entered that of the androscoggin ... two cups of water, poured to the ground within sight of one another, one will flow west, then south, then east ... the other cup of water will flow in the opposite direction, then south ... at times over a hundred miles apart in their separate journeys through two different states, they will end up mixing together at merrymeeting bay before entering the sea ...

... we stopped in rangely for lunch, then followed the course of the dead river's south branch until we crossed back into civilization in stratton ... from there we wandered down to north new portland ...


NIKON D200-SIGMA 10-20@10MM-F11-1/125th-ISO100

... as always still echoing the laughter of my little girls, the sandy beach beneath the wire bridge is of my most favorite places in the entire world ...

... when we stopped to take a break in stratton, a man in the general store asked, "where're you from" ... i answered, "waterville" ...

... "oh, well, where're you headed" ...

... "waterville" ...

... he smiled, 'cause it made perfect sense to him, too ...  

May 14, 2012

DANDELION BOUQUET ... STRAWBERRIES, TOO


ARGUS C3-CINTAR 50MM-F/3.5-1/100TH-EKTACHROME-ISO 80

... nunaka valley, alaska, spring of 1959 ... the slide mount was labeled "june," but the bare garden soil seems evidence that pa snapped this picture sometime in late april or early may ... since it was "store processed" it's likely that once he'd shot the last frame he cached the film canister inside the little air-tight tupperware container he kept in the refrigerator's vegetable bin ... when he'd accumulated enough to justify a trip into town the rolls would all be taken in at once, along with a large dressed and foil-wrapped frozen hunk of forest critter, or, as likely, some odd metal engine thingy rare enough to insure it would be prized greatly by any of his kind who built their own cars ... either of these would be the "barter" for the processing of the color slides ...

"How like a prodigal doth nature seem,
When thou, for all they gold, so common art!
Thou teaches me to deem
More sacredly of every human heart,
Since each reflects in joy its scanty gleam
Of heaven, and could some wondrous secret show,
Did we but pay the love we owe,
And with a child's undoubting wisdom look
On all these living pages of God's book."

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

... so this could've been easter, or mother's day, or just a sunday morning we-don't-ever-play-in-these-clothes church service ... whatever the occasion, it was of a time when not having yet been taught that dandelions were weeds, little boys and girls remained innocent enough to find the bright yellow blossoms to be of the most beautiful of the things in their world ...


... and, some may find the following a related thought ...



NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@70MM@F9-1/30th-ISO400

... practicing my skills with photoshop, a never ending process, this evening i worked at mastering a "selective graduated blur" filter, simulating what is commonly called the "shallow depth of field" effect produced by "fast" lenses ... in the olden days of 35mm these were relatively common f/1.4-2.0 lenses,  now in these digital times virtually non-existent for those of us who can only afford to work* with aps-c and smaller format cameras ...

... here, you can see, i've done a fairly good job of blurring the background while keeping the subject and foreground in sharp focus, producing with an aps-c camera and lens set at an aperture of f/9 the same effect that would result with 35mm camera and lens set at approximately f/4 ... in other words ...

... non-technically, other than with horrendously expensive full-frame nikons and canons and the like (some costing as much as a new car), an image like this should be very sharply focussed in the center, and to the eye almost as sharp in the extreme foreground and background ... indeed, that's what the original image look like, the effect you see is "photoshopping" ...

... okay, so what does this all mean ... hmmmmmmm, how to better say this ...

... this was my supper tonight ... so, either i've been single for way too long, i'm way too single, or ...

... or, and this is how i'd like to think it, i'm just an older guy who remembers that his childhood dreams of being an adult were never visions of cell phones, automatic transmissions, flat-screen televisions, or microwave popcorn, rather, it was as a small boy i smiled myself to sleep wondering in a future when i could have whatever i wanted for my supper ...

*hmmmm ... there's a hint to a wealthy benefactor if i've heard one ...





May 6, 2012

SUPERMOON


... luna rising waxing gibbous approximately four hours before being both full and at perigee, its closest approach to earth, the word "supermoon" is actually an astrological term ... humans have explored its dusty plains and valleys, measured its size and density, even brought back to earth for study tiny samples of its surface ... to singers and songwriters it remains a symbol of love, both found, enduring, and lost, poets forever attempt to describe its cold warmth ... somewhere, i'm sure, even in this time there remain a few who in the darkness of night sneak away to secret grottos in the deep woods, paint themselves blue, and dance to ancient rhythms whispered down to them by their pale goddess ...

... i wonder, however, do young children still marvel at the "man in the moon" ... on warm summer nights do they go out to play with it, together to be chased by and chasing fireflies and moonbeams and their own laughter ... in its private illumination do snuggling teenager couples still walk clumsily along tree-lined streets, repeatedly circling blocks of darkened houses until the beginning and end of their stroll merges into the night and they become part of a journey ... long returned from the front, by the light of the moon do old soldiers still see the frightened faces of never-to-be-forgotten comrades ... in the middle of the night, is there somewhere a mother tiredly nursing her baby suddenly to discover that the warm glow of the moon and the delicate luminescence of her child's skin seem both born of the same ethereal light ...

... i wonder, does anyone still go out into the night, stare up at the moon, and dream and dream and dream and dream until the dawn brings end to it all, but that's okay because the moon has once again simply tucked itself away neatly into the promise of the day ...


NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@125MM@F7.1-1/13th-ISO540-2 IMAGE MERGE