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.

August 29, 2012

MR. FRENCHY

NIKKORMAT FTn-NIKKOR 43-86MM@50MM-F8-1/125th-KODACHROME 64
... here's my ol' pa, "mr. frenchy," living his dream ... these were the years he "retired" to work in grand cayman, something he had hoped to do, i think, from when he first set foot on the island during world war two ... his house is just off the picture to the right of the cistern, so close to the water's edge that the front sliding porch doors had to be kept closed when the wind was pushing the sea onshore ... (it's gone now, completely erased by hurricane ivan) ... he kept his fish trap seventy feet or so out from the shore, wedged against a small outcropping of submerged iron shore ledge ... if it wasn't that he fed half of boddentown from that chickenwire and ironwood contraption, i know as a fact that anyone living on the manse road had only to ask. and, with his great smile included, their supper's main course was provided ...

ELIZABETH JACKSON


NIKKORMAT FTn-NIKKOR 43-86MM@43MM-F5.6-1/125th-KODACHROME 64
... here's my grammy, according to the date on the slide mount this was taken during the summer of 1975 ... i'm not quite sure what it is with the curly cord that she's holding in her hand ... question: can anyone figure out where this was taken ...

August 27, 2012

NEXT: 38!

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... after dropping alison off at logan airport, i decided to make the drive home a bit of an experiment ... since i got my "new" impala i've been able to get 34-36 miles-per-gallon on long-distance trips, and i've always wondered if i could manage to do better ... this afternoon was the test ... "last gas on route 1" in west peabody to the bottom of the exit ramp in waterville ... like me, those of you who drove in the pre-radar olden days are probably thinking of this as a "less than two hours" run ... in these times, however, mature wisdom, economic realities, and, i suppose, even a bit of concern for the environment, all have brought a new challenge to that stretch of highway ...

... as you can see, i "averaged" 61.2 miles-per-hour, which included traffic, construction slow-downs, and four toll stops ... according to my gps unit, other'n during these times the cruise control held the vehicle to exactly 64 miles-per-hour ... radio was blaring, fan spun at mid-speed (ugh, yes, that's a sacrifice on my part), and the air conditioner was set to keep the interior of cab quite comfortable despite outside temperatures which for most of the ride were in the low-80s ... alison surprised me by having the oil changed, so, contrary to my usual demands, the tires were inflated for "comfort" rather'n "less roll resistance" ... half-way back i began to think i might hit 36.7-36.9 mpgs, so when i passed through augusta i was stunned to realize that i was going to do better'n that ... not only did i achieve 37.3 mpgs, but the figure held all the way to when i parked the car downtown ...

... what does this all mean ... well, i'm sure it says something about the efficiency of a 3,764 lb. car powered by a 213 cubic inch 6-cylinder engine exerting its 211 horsepower through a 4-speed automatic transmission ... it might even be a comment about my driving skills, since the government epa figures, which tend to be a bit inflated, give the "official" highway mileage at 29 mpgs ... mostly, however, it's just a reflection of the world in which we're going to be living ... and, perhaps, grounds for another try ... 38 miles-per-gallon, perhaps ... hmmmmmmm, there's a "double-dog dare ya" if i've ever heard one ...


"NEW," TWO YEARS AGO

EAST POND WEDDING


NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@42MM-F4.5-1/40th-ISO100-FILL FLASH   
... melissa and chris, a most delightful couple, invited me to be the "official" photographer for their wedding on east pond ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 17-70@5MM-F8-1/25-ISO100-FILL FLASH   
... it was quite sunny out, so after the ceremony i took the group over to a small glade at the edge of the woods that i had scouted out earlier in the day  ...

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@95MM-F6.3-1/50th-ISO400-FILL FLASH   
... watching them stand in the glaring sun as they waited to make their entrance, for a second i managed to put away my color eyes, reminding myself of how contrast is often hidden beneath hue ...

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@44MM-F8-1/200th-ISO200-FILL FLASH   
... my good friend, chuck, had graciously allowed his skippering services so that melissa and chris could enjoy a sunset cruise on east pond ...

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@112MM-F6.3-1/50th-ISO400-FILL FLASH   
... entering the reception hall, i happened to glance sideways down the length of the porch that encircles the building ... i noticed this little flower girl sitting on a bench ... again, as always, i find myself both perplexed and in awe as to the workings of the photographer's mind ... from that first glance, i walked through another entrance, turned, strolled another thirty feet or so, then raised my camera to eye as i stepped into the mid-building doorway which framed her ... she was looking down–CLICK ... she peeked up at me, head barely lifted–CLICK ... i waited ... i waited ... i waited forever, because, after all, that's what photographers know how to do ... she looked up again, allowing me that i humored her–CLICK ... (the color version of this, and many, others, too, is at the wedding album page of my website, "melissa & chris," i'd be most interested to know which you like better) ...

... while i was packing up to leave melissa and chris thanked me for being their photographer, then they paid me ... can you believe that, they actually gave me money ... kind of like if you spent a day enjoying all the rides at disneyland, then, on your way out, ol' walt himself came up to you, gave you a big hug, and said, "oh, i hope you had a great time ... we're so happy you came, here's some money for your efforts" ... not that i minded, of course, since i'm sure the car's soon to make another odd noise, but ... hmmmm, well, seeing as spending time with such a wonderful couple was both cake and icing, i guess i will have to consider the cash as the take-home box ... !!! ...

"To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart."
HENRI CARTIER-BRESSEN







August 26, 2012

SEADOG SUNSET

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... c.j. and the girls invited me to go to a seadog's game in portland on friday night ... i had a wedding the next day, and my normal behavior mode for an evening before such would've been to worry and fret about all the mistakes i could make, but, unusual for sure, i accepted the offer ... so, after spending most of friday morning checking, rechecking, and rechecking again each and every piece of my equipment, i motored out to the lake to take an afternoon swim before we headed down to portland ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... it was beautiful out, one of those late summer blessings g*d seems to offer us for putting up with the many days of nasty weather with which new england can sometimes seem to be cursed ... baseball in a small stadium on a cool august evening, the aroma of popcorn and peanuts mixing with the smell of fresh cut grass, the coolness of the breeze balanced perfectly by the warmth of the crowd, laughter, applause, and, at the crack of a long drive soaring towards center field, the multitude's muted gasp as the ball rises, rises, rises, in silent soar allowing for a moment the collective belief that newton was wrong, that gravity is but an illusion to be dispelled by the hurculean swing of a magic wand ...

NIKORMAT FT-SIGMA 400MM-F/8-1/500TH-TRI X-ISO400
... i had challenged myself, of course, attending a ball game without bringing a nikon d200 with my beloved sigma 100-300mm zoom ... my first thought, at taking my seat, was that with that lens i could've been snapping closeups of the batters, such as i used to take while perched atop a dugout at fenway park ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... but, reminding myself of the whole point of my little project, i sat very still in my seat and asked myself, "right now, right in front of my eyes, where is there a story being told" ... fans who count such things say that when no runner reaches first base, "27 up, 27 down," it is a "perfect" game ... here, i think, is proof that the play on the field is only a setting for perfection ...

"It was at the ballpark where I first began to understand that my father wasn't just my father."
G.BROWN






FRESH FISH AT THE FIVE ISLANDS


OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... jacqueline and i took a short ride (as in, much shorter than we've been doing) down along the kennebec, under route one across the river from bath, and then south along route 127 over georgetown island until the highway ran into the sea at the five islands lobster shack dock ... while she was fetching our lunch i snapped a picture of the harbour ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... no, she didn't eat all this ... the fish 'n chips was mine, cod so fresh that i swear a chunk was still flippin' around a bit ... around the world i've eaten in some of the finest restaurants (at least, that's how they bill themselves), yet i find it still holds true that there is only one type of place to get perfectly cooked fresh fish ... ditto on the crab cake, according to jacqueline ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... before we drove away i chanced upon a short story being written along the rocky shore ...





August 20, 2012

MT. VERNON TO MOOSEHEAD TO MOXIE

[JUST A REMINDER, IF YOU CLICK ON A PICTURE IT WILL LOAD FULL-SIZED.  YOU MAY THEN USE THE LEFT/RIGHT ARROWS ON YOUR KEYBOARD TO LOOK AT ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE JOURNAL ENTRY]

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... today, a bit of a miscalculation on my part ... by the time i'd driven to mt. vernon where jacqueline joined me, followed back roads to bingham, scooted up to greenville and rockwood on moosehead lake, crossed through the woods to jackman, motored up the hill to park and hike in to see moxie falls, negotiated route 201 south back to waterville to take the dogs for a walk, escorted jacqueline on her first night-drive back to mt. vernon, and finally, after a great home-cooked supper drove back to waterville, i'd covered 301 miles ... just a tiny bit more than the 200 or so i'd thought we were going to cover ... !!! ... three cheers for jacqueline, her motoring and exploring instincts didn't fail her until she sat down to dinner, at which time she finally crashed ... (cheers for me, too, i guess, since i'm pretty sure this is the most i've ever motorcycled in a single day) ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... consistent with what i've observed this summer on other streams in the mountains, moxie fall's flow is the highest i've ever seen at this time of year ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... varying sources list the vertical drop of the falls as anywhere from 60 to 100 feet ... my estimate is that when the water is at its highest flow in the spring–much more than seen here–the falls are about 90 feet high ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... along the trail i continued to explore the capabilities of my little olympus camera ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... heading back to waterville on route 201, we stopped at the overlook above attean pond ... the ridge of mountains on the horizon is canada, out of the picture to the left is the morass that benedict arnold and his troops desperately wandered on their ill-fated march to quebec ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... as the sun set, from just north of the 45th parallel it was a comfortably cool to almost-cold ride back to waterville ...






August 18, 2012

A WALK AROUND TOWN

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... returning home from a nice swim in east pond, i decided to take the long way around through winslow, crossing the kennebec on the carter bridge south of town ... above is a merged panorama of the scene ... in the distance you can barely discern fort halifax park, up until the mid-1700s a location that marked the frontier edge of the english empire ... in the lower right of the photograph is the shadow of the bridge, but not visible is the bald eagle i enjoyed watching for almost a half-hour ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... i walked around town in the evening, playing with light ... i'll spot an ice cream sandwich for the first person to figure what this is ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... alison invited me out for supper, treating me because i know how to open up a computer and swap out the hard drive ... i like this picture, it seems almost one of those 1960s touristy scenes snapped on a street in some musically named french town ... using the fixed lens on my little olympus, this photograph is the result of a "tracking follow shot," meaning as we were walking i kept the distance between us constant while i framed the picture ... that this was taken in a situation so dark out that i could barely see her face is further proof of the excellent low-light capability of the camera ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... we encountered a former student, who commented, "you were my favorite teacher, mr. g." ... i know the kid, so i sensed what was coming next, "but, miss veilleux, i just hated you" ... he was immediately apologetic, "i'm sorry, i was a real jerk back then" ... alison was absolutely gracious, "don't worry about it," but, later while we were eating supper, i could see that it had hurt her ... i tried, but it was difficult for me to explain to her that she was, and remains, a great teacher, that the reason he'd felt as he did had little to do with her, other than that she had stood her ground, and had been mostly a function of the fact that he had been a kid ever so desperately trying to figure his place in a place that not-so-subtily was trying to redefine him ... i hope she understands that his apology was the proof that deep down he respects her ...

... to continue teaching and also to continue caring, what great courage that takes ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... soooo ... so, alison topped off the evening by taking me for a treat ... it would appear that a summer ride with the windows down, two little dogs hanging out enjoying the breeze, and a gifford's ice cream, all somehow magically combine to erase the sting of even the worst of boo-boos ...








August 15, 2012

BLASTIN' AWAY AT AGE 120


... since this isn't clear enough to easily read, here's the text of the warning:

EPILEPSY WARNING
A very small percentage of individuals may experience epileptic seizures when exposed to certain light patterns or flashing lights. Exposure to certain patterns or backgrounds on a computer screen, or while playing video games, may induce an epileptic seizure in these individuals. Certain conditions may induce previously undetected epileptic symptoms even in persons who have no history
of prior seizures or epilepsy. If you, or anyone in your family, have an epileptic condition, consult your physician prior to playing. If you experience any of the following symptoms while playing a video or computer game -- dizziness, altered vision, eye or muscle twitches, loss of awareness, disorientation, any involuntary movement, or convulsions - IMMEDIATELY discontinue use and consult your physician before resuming play.

... in and of itself, this probably wouldn't have drawn my attention ... on the same page, however, as part of the registration process, was a "verify your age" pull-down menu section, you know, one of those things that makes you feel all yummy secure inside knowing that corporate america is so concerned about protecting the precious innocence of our young children from the violent and gory mayhem of on-line "shooter" games  ... (i am a bit concerned, i admit, that apparently the average thirteen-year-old american child's math computational skills are so poor that they cannot figure simply adding five to their birth year will allow them to take part in these "R" rated bloodfests, but that's a problem for another day) ...


... here, my question is, "why does the pull-down menu for 'birth year' go all the way to 1892?" ...  has any thought been given to what might happen at the retirement villa if someone who was already in the first-grade when the spanish-american began becomes addicted to employing everything from shotguns to mini-rockets to blast aliens and nazis into bloody smithereens  ... imagine the poor physician, making his rounds, having to explain to someone who may have voted for william howard taft why they're experiencing "dizziness, altered vision, eye or muscle twitches, and loss of awareness" ...... i can only hope–HOPE–that at the age of 120 i will be blessed with the opportunity to have to worry that my health will suffer if i spend too long playing an online video game ...

... jeezum ...

... the truth, of course, is that i have to scroll down THREE full boxes to get to my own birth year ...

... that's just not right ...

... NOT RIGHT ...

August 14, 2012

10,000!!!

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... i took jacqueline on her second long-distance outing today, 200 miles up over the height of the land at grafton notch, a pleasant winding run along a newly paved route 16 that cuts through the umbagog lake region to oquossoc, then, after a brief pause at the wonderful new rest area above mooselookmeguntic lake, a descent in light rain along the banks of the swift river until we connected with route 2 in mexico and headed home ... since april of last year that's 10,000 miles for me and my little machine, which still purrs like a kitten and consistently averages 74-80 miles per gallon ... (okay, single-cylinder 250cc 4-stroke, so i guess it's more accurate to say she sounds like a tin lion with laryngitis and a mouth full of gravel) ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... stopping to celebrate the occasion, this was also a good spot to think about whether or not "dry but a bit too warm" was preferable to "damp and nicely cool" ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... before starting up again i explored the woods alongside the road ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... while in bethel i noticed a crowd of sunflowers waiting for the show to begin ...






JACQUELINE'S 1ST 100

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... it was only a few days ago that i carefully guided her on her first real road outing, today i joined jacqueline for her first 100-mile motorcycle ride ... we drove back roads to farmington, including a nice run across the top of the chesterfield esker, then followed route 27 up to kingfield, with a stop at the wire bridge in north new portland ... after a tea and chips snack, it was route 142 south along the flank of mighty mount abram and a curvy descent through the mount blue valley down to route 2 ... a short run on that state sponsored race track and it was back roads again to mt. vernon ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... we stopped often for sightseeing, both at the indian trading post/museum in north new portland and several scenic vistas along road ... i practiced using my little olympus e-pl1, increasing my understanding of the functioning of what i am rapidly finding to be a marvelous tool ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... i am amazed at the capabilities of the camera, especially its performance in low light situations ... approaching this set of leaves, only inches from the guard rail on the side of the highway, my initial thought was, "oh, i wish i had my nikon with the 70mm macro lens" ... then, reminding myself of the point of my "project," i put the thought away and concentrated on using the equipment i was holding in my hand ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... here, a small fungus growing on one of the wire bridge's guard rail posts glows in the light of the late afternoon sun ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... i had told jane that i would do a family picture before she headed back to ohio, only to find out that she's leaving wednesday ... "okay, i'll bring out my nikon tomorrow" ... then, after a moment reflecting on my project "goals," i corrected myself, "never mind, we'll take the picture this evening with my little olympus" ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... "waterskiing and tubin', oh, i should have my super telephoto and – " ... again, i reminded myself that the idea is to take pictures ... no complications, no complexities, just take pictures ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT

... so i finished with what is already a "favorite shot" ... favorite because it's perfectly precious, but also because i saw it happening and didn't stop to think about the camera i wasn't holding, nor, as a matter of fact, did i pay much attention to the one that was in my hands ...

To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality.  It's at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.
Henri-Cartier Bressen

August 11, 2012

A WALK AROUND TOWN

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... in the art gallery across the street, the inside of the door to what was once a jewelry vault ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... the fire escape at the rear of the old waterville savings bank building ...

OLYMPUS E-PL1 PROJECT
... the girls at the cancun restaurant ...







August 8, 2012

AT HOME ON EAST POND

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
“I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this," murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.
L.M. Montgomery–Anne of the Island



OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
Home. When it rains, you can smell the leaves in the forest and the sand. It's all so small and mild, the landscape surrounding the lake, so manageable. The leaves and the sand are so close, it's as if you might, if you wanted, pull them on over your head. And the lake always laps at the shore so gently, licking the hand you dip into it like a young dog, and the water is soft and shallow.
Jenny Erpenbeck–Visitation

OLYMPUS E-P1 PROJECT
And the sunset itself on such waves of ether
That I just can't comprehend
Whether it is the end of the day, the end of the world,
Or the mystery of mysteries in me again.
Anna Akhmatova–The Complete Poems