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.

December 30, 2013

FLYIN' BY PRESTON ESTERBOOK'S


... i went on a drive with liz down to augusta to get a new battery for her car ... enjoying my hands-free position in the passenger seat, i rolled* down the window and played impressionist with the light coming though the trees alongside the interstate ...

... when first moved to waterville at certain times of year i often found myself screwing up my nose as i cruised the highway between waterville and sydney ... it was explained to me, "that's preston esterbook's farm, he's one for spreading sludge" ...

... "preston esterbrook" ... such a neat name, don't you think ...

... photographers should never forget that despite the comfort found in thinking they're simply "recording," the literal meaning of the word itself, from the greek, is "to paint or draw with light" ...

... *no longer any window cranks, just a little button ... should we find a new word, use the rather mundane "opening/closing," or, as we do when we "turn on" of the lights, just stick with tradition ... ??? ...

December 29, 2013

CLEANING THE LOT

... looks like about 6-8" of heavy snow has fallen since five o'clock, radar shows that we're a little bit past the storm's halfway mark ... plow crews are making a first pass at cleaning the lot, my bet is they're going to have to do another run in a few hours ...


... tomorrow, of course, will come my turn to go down to the lot by the river and dig out my car ...

ADDEMUM - MONDAY AM

... car wasn't all that much trouble ... i helped a river parking "newbie" get his car out, he hadn't realized that he had left his vehicle in one of the lot's little downhill depressions ...


... i used my little underwater olympus to snap this picture ... when i put the flash card in the computer i found an image from last fall which will serve a pleasant reminder that winter isn't going to last forever ...



December 25, 2013

CONCERT BY THE RIVER - REVISIT

... two years ago, at an open concert in the big field down by the two-cent bridge ...


ME, MY "BRUDDER," AND MA - 1951

... in irumagawa, saitama, japan, patrick begins ...

CHRISTMAS DAY STROLL

... i put on my new boots, donned several layers of outwear, pulled my knit cap down around my ears, and headed out to view the results of the ice storm ...

... down by the old hathaway buildings the trees were coated with as much as 1/2-inch of ice ...

... "how come you're takin' pictures, do you work for the newspaper" ... "nah, just enjoying the day, how about you, why aren't you inside staying warm" ... "it's so pretty, i thought i just stand here and watch for awhile" ...

... a gentle breeze strummed the low afternoon sunbeams and together they brought a soft crystal melody from the ice encased branches ...

... a result of the very dry cold air, in the bright sunlight the ice is lasting an unusually long time ...

... frozen in flight, old glory refused to surrender to the storm ...

... i wasn't the only person out for a stroll ...


... behind one of the houses that is perched upon the bluff above the south end, the fire department responded to some sort of emergency ...

... per john meander's musing, at first i was hesitant to enjoy the results of a storm from which there are still thousands of mainers without power ... i reminded myself, however, that the universe has neither positive nor negative valence, it is within our personal interaction with the forces of nature that we assign emotion and esthetic value so as to at least try to understand the incomprehensible and feel comfort knowing we've a place in the infinite ...

WALK BACK FROM THE RIVER LOT

... after house sitting for sarah and gordy, i left new hampshire and drove over to portland to pick up adrien at the jetport ... her flight was delayed, so it was almost eight o'clock by the time we left the city ... due to the ice storm the ride north was slower than usual, but for the most part the roadway was easy to negotiate ... after leaving adrien at her house i drove into town, then parked down by the river because the plowing signs were up ... i took my time walking back up to the apartment ...




December 14, 2013

ANOTHER WINTER IN ANOTHER TIME

... alaska, circa 1960 ... i'd try, of course, but i was too small to be of much help to my brother, whose task was to first find the car, then clean off the snow ... the wire going to the engine was connected either to a block heater, or, perhaps, an electric "battery blanket" ... i believe that this was the winter during which temperatures sometimes dropped below -30°f ...

... prior to this time my recollections were only of living in key west and west palm beach, florida, and my very first memories were of the warm sands of the tropical beach across the road from my gram's house on grand cayman in the british west indies ... imagine young patrick in this weather ...

NOT A DAY FOR MOTORCYCLING

... 10:20am ... according to my friend, john, who while it was still dark went out to take pictures of stars, it was -8°f at 4:00am ... clearly, it is a good thing my motorcycle is resting for awhile out in mount vernon ...
... i'd ask all my dear relatives in the cayman islands, who are probably wearing their winter sweaters, if maybe one of you could go down to boggy sands beach, take off your shoes, stroll for a few minutes in the sea, and think of me ...

WAY OLD POOP

... liz came over for supper and an episode of "orphan black" ... she asked me to snap a picture of the necklace my sister, sue, made for her ...
... the stone is a small piece of cut and polished "coprolite," fossilized dinosaur dung ... the setting is copper and gold ... the earrings are liz's own creation ...

... the smile, of course, as it has been from that magical moment in the delivery room when she first flashed it at me, is both absolute proof that life is beautiful as well clear evidence that i am, indeed, blessed ...


December 11, 2013

BMW MECHANICS SCHOOL

... i started at about 1:30pm, finished up around 7:30pm ... temperature was 30°f when i began, on the way home the irving station flashing sign said it was 20°f out ... the bike is currently under the awning of the outside storage area behind c.j.'s barn ...

... my "goal" was install a new battery in the motorcycle, add a set of jumper/trickle charge cables, and check the effectiveness of the antifreeze fluid ... before i could do this, of course, i had to first figure out how to take the bike apart ...

... i learned many things ...

... first, the "glass half-empty" stuff ...

... it seems that bmw designed this motorcycle by starting with the battery and then building the bike around it ... in order to remove the battery i had to disassemble the motorcycle's entire upper assembly, including the support frame ... even with that, there was less than a millimeter clearance that required a rather complex three-dimensional rotation of the new battery to get it seated in the support case ...

... there are a multitude of cable and hose routings that were clearly designed by engineers who never do their own maintenance ... i learned all about this in the military, but, still i cursed bavaria a blue streak ...

... i don't see as well by flashlight anymore ...

... if you look at this bike with its fairing removed you can see right through the frame, yet if a bolt is accidently dropped it invariably ends up in a little mechanical cul-de-sac for which retrieval requires the removal of the bike's upper assembly ... these spots are obviously magnetic, because no matter what location the bolt comes from, it always vanishes inside the frame ...

... but, of course, there's also the "glass is half-full" stuff ...

... other my rather rickety old knees, i still work well in the cold ... score one for all the learning experiences in such environments provided me a long time ago by the united states government ...

... bmw uses seriously nice hardware ... every bolt, screw, etc., is clearly similar to aircraft grade ... i'm thinking that this alone probably accounts for 10% of the cost of the machine ...

... you can completely remove the upper assembly of a bmw f650cs using just two of the torex l-stock bits included in the under-seat toolkit ...

... my flashlights have ever-ready batteries, the bunny wasn't lying ...

... here's the machine 1/3-way through the reassembly process, the first of four go-arounds ... turns out that the round black frame doesn't go in before the air box ... after that i was reminded several times that of disassembly and reassembly the former is always the easier of the two ...


... i finished and everything seems in order ... as i said, "school" ... if i started the same task again, even in cold weather, it would take me less than an hour to complete the job ...  the bike wouldn't quite catch and start, but i'm comfortable thinking it was just too cold ... end result:  a brand-new glass-matt sealed battery providing over 165 amps, nice long leads so i can keep said battery cozy during the winter, and, courtesy of dear friends jane and alex, a wonderful homemade pizza supper ...


December 10, 2013

RESTRAINT

... a few weeks ago, while wandering through the cemetery that sits above the messalonskee river where it flows into the the kennebec at the south end of town, i came upon this mound of leaves, one of many such the maintenance workers had formed into long piles along the cemetery lanes ...

... i became almost possessed with the overwhelming urge to run through all of the piles, my heart's most fervent desire to scatter the leaves to and fro until there would be no evidence they had ever been collected ...

... i resisted my impulse, if not out of consideration for the workers, then at least in respect of the spirits who reside amongst the headstones ...

... i was quite proud of myself for having such discipline ...
... i was even prouder of myself, however, that still i fancy such thoughts ...

SLIDE & SENSOR

... the little rectangular chip inside the square black box at the left of the circuit board is the sensor a digital camera uses to capture an image ... the film inside of the cardboard is what was used in the olden days ...
... note:  as relates to photography, other than technical reasons, it really doesn't matter which of these is behind a lens ...

... {this image, by the way, was taken using a forty year-old darkroom enlarging lens attached to a modern digital camera} ....

THE GRILL

... title says it all ...
... and, yes, once again, it seems i will take a picture of just about anything ...

AN HDR REVIST

... “hdr,” or “high dynamic range,” photography is simply the use of technical means to capture an image which has a range of light intensity from black to white that is greater than a film or sensor’s ability to capture it ... the best example would be a picture taken on a sunny day while skiing ... if the snow shows detail in the final image, the deep shadows under the trees will be completely black, or, if you can see details in the shadows, the snow will be “blown out,” pure white with no detail visible ...

... film and digital sensors capture more of the dynamic range than can be printed or displayed on a monitor ... hdr photography is a way of “compressing” the dynamic range ... there are two methods of hdr photography ... one, as old as photography itself, is to simply take several pictures of the same scene, exposing one for the highlights and one for the shadows, then combine them ... this used to be done in the darkroom, now it can be done using software ...

... another method of hdr photography is to take a single image, then using darkroom techniques or software manipulate the dynamic range so that it can expressed in a print or on a monitor ...



... or, if on a rather cold and icy day a couple of weeks before christmas you're working the counter in the bookstore and the weather has kept all the customers away, you can take a "regular" image from your folder marked "revisit" and enter into a little dance with hue and value and contrast ...

... hdr photography seems to stir great debate in the photography world ... some photographers love it, some detest it ... from my perspective, there're the same camps which used to fight over "kodachrome vs. ektachrome," "black & white vs. color," or "small vs. large format negatives" ...

... me, when i'm making a picture my hope is simply that it will be appreciated by someone else ...