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.

July 31, 2012

THE MUSICIAN


OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT

... because tomorrow the center of town will be closed off for the annual "taste of waterville" street festival, returning home from dinner we had to park the car in the lot down by the river ... strolling back to the apartment we encountered a young man standing on the corner singing and strumming away on his guitar ... asked why he was "working the sidewalk," he responded, "i live in sidney ... i just ... i just had to get out and play" ... i dropped a ten dollar bill into his instrument case, not that i'm rich or anything, but i do so admire courage ... only a scattering of change and a few dollar bills to show for his efforts, his eyes widened at the sight of the sawbuck, which, as far as i'm concerned, made it an absolutely perfect investment ...


"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with freedom."
ROBERT ALLEN ZIMMERMAN

July 28, 2012

THE PROJECT BEGINS


... when i was a kid pa said to me, "hide away your spare change in a secret spot and save it up for something special" ... a direct result of me taking his advice (a rarity, i admit), in the middle of the summer after graduation i handed the keys to my assistant and jetted off to england, a little wander-about that i figured i deserved before either being drafted or enlisting in the military (little did i know that while i was away my brother and ma would carry out a deviously contrived plot and enroll me in college) ... while i was in london i purchased the little olympus sp ... it was the first camera i ever bought for myself ... with no shame admitting that after scanning the ektachrome 400 slide i hdr processed it in photomatrix pro, here's one of the shots i took in 1970 with the olympus sp ...


... lately, i've been getting a bit frustrated with what ford grant described as the "decision making quotient" incurred by using modern cameras ... in the "olden days," just as a photographer was about to snap a picture the final thought was of "aperture ... shutter speed ... focus ... composition" ... film had already been decided, when the camera was loaded, as had been the choice of the lens ... then came zoom lenses, automatic apertures and shutter speeds, automatic focus ... computers were added to cameras, and we had "program" modes ... soon after were choices as to how the light meter would function ... digital technology was introduced, at first so rudimentary as to be almost a step backwards, but in time came more and more decisions to make ... currently, my nikon d200s have instruction manuals containing nine pages devoted to automatically focussing a lens and only one page for "manual" focus ... it takes a full three pages to simply list all the buttons on the camera ... in all, two hundred pages ... the guide to my 1958 nikon sp contained only ten ...

... so, a little project of sorts ... i looked at the olympus sp and said to myself, "how close can i match it with digital" ... factors involved included:  i wanted the digital sensor in the camera to be larger than most point-and-shoots, closer in size to the d200s (little tiny pocket cameras can take "sharp" photographs, but their small sensors do not do as well in terms of color and tonal gradient) ... i wanted a single focal-length lens, no zoom ... simple aperture-prefered automation and manual control were a must ... no flash, at least, not built-in ... a glass viewfinder, since even the best of digital displays are hard to use in bright sunlight ... similar in size to the olympus–that was a must–big enough to hold comfortably, small enough to slide into a large pocket ... quiet ... unobtrusive design ...

... a lot of research, funding provided by finding new homes for several of my old cameras, you can see the result above ... the "old" olympus had a lens almost full f-stop faster, and the medium base length of its rangefinder made for quick focusing in low light ... the "new" olympus has a much better light meter, especially considering that the histogram function is essential a built-in zone system computer ... all things considered, especially the forty-plus years of technological age difference, i'd say the two cameras were a fair match ...

... now, my "project" ... simply, i'm going to let my other equipment rest for awhile ... one lens, one camera, one eye (okay, i'll bring a spare) ... that's it ... a bit less of my energy directed towards what i'm holding, if i'm lucky it'll all go towards how i'm seeing ... here're three from my first few minutes with my "new" olympus:


... robert, "wheelin' and dealin'" ...


... roger, methinks perhaps a bit too much two-wheelin' ...


... a round gear thingy ... i don't know what happens if it's turned ...

... i will not be posting shooting details for these pictures ... this, too, is a part of my little project ... however, if requested such information will most gladly be provided ...

... mostly, i hope i can entertain/inform/enlighten/intrigue you ... i'll be pleased if you enjoy, even happier to hear your thoughts ...

"Pictures, regardless of how they are created and recreated, are intended to be looked at.  This brings to the forefront not the technology of imaging, which of course is important, but rather what we might call the eyenology (seeing)."
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON

July 17, 2012

CONCOURSE SUNSET


NIKON D200-SIGMA 10-20@10MM-F5.6-(4 EXPOSURE HDR) 1/5-1/200th-ISO 400

... from the rooftop outside my apartment window, after warm night, a morning of light rain and a hot afternoon of threatening clouds and damp blanketing humidity, came a bit of the special summer light that marks in closure another perfect day ...

ON EAST POND


OLYMPUS STYLUS 1030SW-OLYMPUS 5-18@5MM-F3.5-1.6th-ISO 80

... east pond, where with the help of my good friend, chuck, i worked so very hard at learning how to let go ... many a late night, motor on idle and the stars twirling around o'head, we both practiced discerning from living's cluttering details that which is truly important in our lives ... on a porch post he and ann graciously allow me a nail upon which to hang my bathing suit ... to me, as much as anything, it is a tiny spot of home ...



... of course, after snapping this picture and examining the results, i'm forced to ask myself, "exactly when did it happen that my head became covered with my grampy's pépé hair" ...

July 8, 2012

RIVER OF NO RETURN

WITTNAUER FESTIVAL-STEINER 45MM-EKTACHROME-ISO 80

... august of 1958, for sure, since the slide mount is dated ... having arrived in anchorage sometime in early summer, perhaps a week or so before the congress passed the statehood act on june 30th, by august my father was obviously well into the process of exploring every road, path, and ancient native trail he could somehow manage to negotiate with our little car ... of course, this meant that even at the tender age of seven i'd already been assigned the responsibility of "holding the lug nuts" while he and my brother changed out a tire slashed open by a knife-like chunk of rocky road debris ... no real clue as to where this was taken, but i wouldn't be surprised to learn that it was somewhere on the kenai peninsula ... two facts i do remember:  first, something you may find difficult to believe, at this point in my life i had not yet learned to properly swim, and, second, as i very, very clearly recall, no matter where it was pa wanted to pose us to snap a picture, my brother always stood between me and the current or edge of the precipice ... here, he's relaxed because he was without fear, while i'm smiling because i know i'm safe ...

July 6, 2012

ONWARD, TO THE POLE

... forecast was for hot and humid, which meant–you'll understand this if you know anything about waterville–that the downtown was going to be sweltering ... so, atypical for me, i went to bed before midnight and planned for an early start to the day (which is to say, of course, that i'm not really phobic concerning the am's) ... having decided to go to where it was sure to be cool at noon, i skipped my usual bowl of bran flakes, packed what i figured to be the extra necessities (mostly, that would be a bottle of water, towel, and my bathing suit), and pointed my trusty little machine north, towards the arctic circle ...


NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@130MM@F9-1/640th-ISO400

... okay, so i only made it half-way ... actually, a bit better'n that since after i took this picture i continued on to the forks ... met some river rafting flatlanders and stopped and watched the road crew winch a big truck out of a ditch ... during that little interlude i chatted with an "ol' codger" who grew up in a house that had been relocated when the wyman dam impound flooded, which was quite interesting because the little house we owned on oak street had been disassembled and then flatbed trucked to waterville for the same reason ... after a truckstop break to enjoy some tender chesterfried chicken with "fresh hand cut" french fries, i meandered route 16 to north anson, then negotiated the river road to the wire bridge in north new portland ...


NIKON D200-SIGMA 10-20@14mm-F9-1/125th-ISO100

... for this time of year the water was both high and fast, and, as you can see from the picture, unusual for a weekday there was an actual "crowd" on the beach ... those of you who follow my journal know that this is of my favorite places on earth, and, during the couple of hours i was kicking back and relaxing in the cool, clear waters of the carrabassett river, i wished that i could've been sharing the beach with each of you ...

... a nice ride home, supper and an episode of "sherlock" with liz, then robert called for me to join him at railroad square cinema to watch "moonlight kingdom" (highly recommended) ... now, it's decision time, "comfy bed with the fans set at turbo, or, the not-quite-as comfortable futon couch in my den where the air conditioner's dial is currently set to 'risk of serious frostbite'" ... hmmmmm, what a dilemma ... but, now that i think of it, i did begin the day with a mad dash for the north pole ...

July 5, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY


NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@48MM@F5.6-1/18th-ISO800

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world."
EMERSON-1836

... i still like to believe that more than just pyrotechnic noise the sound of fireworks remains an echo of the gunfire from lexington green and the old north bridge at the outskirts of concord village, and that the crowd's celebratory cheering drifting from fort halifax across the mighty kennebec river and up to my rooftop vantage is at least in some part a chorus to what john adams hoped would be "a great anniversary festival" ... happy birthday to us, america, happy birthday to us ... if as good as we celebrate we manage to work together, we should have many, many more ...