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.

February 28, 2014

ARCTIC WANDERINGS

... okay, so we didn't exactly reach 90°n, but with a brisk wind and mid-day temperatures well below freezing it sure felt like the north pole ... cindy called, "let's take our cameras for a little wandering" ... i accepted the invitation, but stipulated  hers was the task to "make a plan" ... we met up in brunswick, where we enjoyed coffee and tea and bagels before strolling up to the museum of art on the bowdoin college campus to enjoy the "surrealist photography" exhibit ... i like the museum's entrance, it's a tardis on steroids sort of thing ...


... naturally, once what i affectionally describe as my "visual autism" kicks in everything regardless of scale becomes interesting to me ...


... actual henri cartier-bressen prints, i was in heaven ... some of the works by man ray, however, reminded me of what one of my first photography mentors said, "if it looks like a naked woman, it's pornography, not art, but if it looks like a green pepper, it's erotica, and thus artistic" ... photography wasn't allowed in the photography exhibit, naturally, but there were other displays to enjoy, too ...

... in the olden times they seemed to aways want to bust the noses off sculptures ... (yes, i know, seems like something else always got removed, too, from the sculptures of males, that is ... i believe that was just one of puritanism's particularly peculiar perversions) ...


... i'll confess, when i'm in a museum i'm not much for reading all the little signs ... as i recall, this was a mask from some particularly expressive south pacific culture ...


... after the art museum, we went over to explore the perry macmillan arctic museum ... as always, i was brought to thinking that if i was a bazillionaire i'd have room after room after room in my house devoted to nothing but displaying the art of the cultures of the arctic circle ...


...  i always laugh, thinking how the "impressionists" and the "surrealists" claim it was they who invented these styles of art ...


... such genius, portraying a musk ox as so approachable ...


... while there was a lot of information about his wife and family life, i found no mention of his "special girl friend" in the arctic, teen-ager aleqasina, nor, for that matter, was there any talk of their two children ... i found no giant photographs of matthew henson, either, and there didn't appear to be any discussion of the fact that they probably didn't actually reach the north pole ... (of the latter point, however, i suppose a five-ten mile error was pretty good considering the conditions and the technology he had to work with) ... while cindy explored the exhibits at her own pace, i wandered the rest of the building ... 


... sometimes photography is simply looking up ...


... after the museum we walked back downtown to enjoy a nice lunch of indian food ... oh, the sheer joy of fresh naan bread ... the kitchen helper was amused, i think, at my "sale's pitch" to the owner that he should open a restaurant in the vacant store in robert's building ...


... stomachs full, we wandered down along harpswell neck, where we walked out onto a frozen over bay ... this week last year, wearing a t-shirt, i rode the countryside on my motorcycle ... new england, go figure ...


... sometimes photography is simply looking down ... 


... or across ...


... did i mention looking up ... ??? ...


... we drove over harpswell sound, negotiated the wicked sharp curve to cross the gun point cove bridge onto ore's island, then wandered down the spine of the island, finally crossing the waffle-stone bridge to finish our little journey down bailey island way to dead-end at jaquish gut ... low tide, still water, sun at just the right angle, for the first time in my life i could see the rocks at the bottom of the gut ... the hundreds of millions of years of tilted rock strata were punctuated with patches of ice ...


... cindy has two of a photographer's most important tools, the super-duper-zoom lens and a puffy down-filled jacket ... wait ... yes, there's also a smile the cold just can't figure how to defeat ...


... just arrived by email, me, trying to see ...


... a wonderful day, shared made even more so ...

February 27, 2014

SNAP ... BRRRRRRR ... SNAP ... BRRRRRRR ...

... a week or so ago john and i shared a little winter wanderabout ... he sent the following photographs of me practicing the craft ... i'd worn a head scarf/face mask, but had removed it to be able to use the viewfinder ... of course, after we got in the car i remembered the lcd screen on the camera's back can be used in "live view" mode ... silly me ...




... my toes're still thawing ...

SNOW SQUALLS & BOOKS & OTHER THINGS

... yesterday, just as i was saying to myself, "isn't it nice the days're getting longer," i noticed this line of clouds obscuring the sky to the west ... within five minutes of this picture being snapped a swirling snow squall made the parking lot invisible ...


... robert asked me to cover the store while he ran errands ... despite the "20% off on all books/70% off for 20 books" sale, traffic was what we refer to as "light," so, further practicing with my new camera, i decided to share with you a little stroll around the store ...

... in the case are the special rare, unusual, and very expensive books ...


... paperback general fiction, lots of 'em ...


... romance, classic and classless, we've got it all ...


... was a time we all dreamed of having a set of these, but nowadays my little ipad and wikipedia are so much easier to lug around ...



... there's more than books, a whole lot more, for most of which the price must be negotiated ...


... but, take my word on it, the owner's a friendly sort, and, like all businesspersons, he absolutely loves making a sale ...



... this morning roger and i met up in augusta with eric, our riding buddy, for a nice brunch ... roger, of course, never takes his bike off the road ... eric and i could only cross our fingers hoping spring'll arrive sooner than predicted ... quite literally, i snapped this picture in a second ... i'd put the 50mm f/1.8 lens on the camera, the glass i'd planned on selling but now find myself greatly appreciating for portraiture and closeup photography ...


... in the afternoon sarah and jon took me to a late lunch at the grand central cafe ... there i found that james, a former student, has taken up work in front of the fabulous brick oven ...


... i think he's apprenticing, but, knowing james, if it's in his head to do so he'll very soon master the craft ...


... at the counter i ran into stu, a good friend of robert's and one of our "re-books people" ... i think he was ordering a pizza, but it could've been that he'd come inside to stand in front of the hot oven and take a break from the cold ...


... a table of customers called to me, "mr. groleau, do you remember us" ... names, hardly, that being a specific learning disfunction, but, yes, i did recognize them as former students ... they're all grown up, seem happy, that makes me feel good ...


... today was a good day ...

February 21, 2014

ICE CASTLES

... liz and i drove over to new hampshire to visit with sarah and gordie and share an outing with adrien ... i picked up liz at her cousin's house which is at the end of a dirt road somewhere in the hills along the new hampshire border ... grace and her husband have taken over an old homestead, the house was built over 170 years ago ...


... after visiting sarah and gordie (and rufus, the dog) for awhile we picked up adrien and drove over "the kank" to loon mountain, where we easily found "ice castles" ... first impressions were ambiguous, from the outside it seemed it might be one of those overpriced tourist trap sort of things ... then a man who was leaving offered adrien his untorn entrance bracelet, so our opinions settled towards the "let's give it a shot" side of the equation ...

... walking in beneath the icicle encrusted arch, wondering if at some time one of the frozen stalactites had broken free and impaled an innocent visitor, we made a quick decision that ice castles, was both figuratively and literally a very, very cool place, indeed ...


... right off i decided i needed the girls to pose ... still not quite completely familiar with all my new camera's controls, adrien ended up having to remind me, "we're sitting on ice, dad, and our asses are beginning to freeze" ...


... some of the ... hmmmmm, well, they looked like ice miners ... some of the staff were working to drain away the meltwater that was accumulating at the exit opening of one of the sliding tunnels ...


... every corner we turned in the labyrinth like maze of ice walls brought to us a new show ... liz learned that hundreds of l.e.d. lights are frozen into the structure ... as we watched, the colors changed, slowly fading from one point on the spectrum to glow anew in a new color ...


... scattered throughout were all sorts of weird sculptures and geometric shapes ...


... having been raised properly, the girls very politely* acceded to my constant fatherly requests that they pose for me ... (*hey, a dad can dream, right) ...

 

... of course, adrien sometimes has a different definition of "posing" ...


... there was great mystery in some of the displays ...


... liz and i decided we weren't so adult that we couldn't take a shot at the twisty-turny tunnel through the heart of one of the ice mountains ... adrien did a good job managing a camera even i haven't yet fully mastered ...


... my little girls ...


... ice castles is for everyone, but little children seem to immerse their innocent wonder into the surrealistic crystalline landscape ...


... as we were leaving i met jennifer, in this delightful place an artist in ice ...


... as i hoped would be the result, i so enjoy watching these grownup sisters ...


... we didn't hit a moose or skid off the road, so the ride back up over the kank was a good one ...








February 17, 2014

DOWNEAST WANDERABOUT

... i filled the thermos bottles, one with normal cream and sugar, the other with enough brown sugar to guarantee the last cup would be half-syrup, and then waited downstairs for john ... today he was in charge of the "where" while i enjoyed riding shotgun ...

... our first stop was a field in—well, since my role riding in the shotgun seat was to watch out for bandits and robbers, i can only tell you that this field is somewhere in the thirty-five miles of hills and valleys between waterville and the atlantic ocean ...


... we hiked up to the top of a mountain from which the vista included monhegan island to the south and caddilac mountain to the north ... all the instruction books will tell you, "mid-day is the worst time to take pictures" ... i didn't write any of those books, of course ... more experimentation with my new camera, marveling at its capability to capture a scene which contains a range from bright sunlight reflecting off the snow to the deep shadows beneath the snowdrift's overhang ...


... the lighthouse at port clyde was a study in extremely extreme contrast ... still, with the d7000 i was able to enjoy picture taking ... the temperature in the lee of the buildings wasn't all that bad, the still air was maybe 20-25°f, but along the rocks exposed to the strong wind coming off the sea conditions were brutal ...


... this part of the coastline is a place i tend to avoid during the summer, what with the flatlanders tromping around, and, in recent years, the steadily increasing tour bus traffic, so it was quite exciting to once again climb the stairs to a porch i'd last visited ages ago ... while it may be true that "nothing ever stays the same," it's nice to be reminded that some things change very, very little ...


... john treated me to a great lunch in camden, where nowadays it seems nobody can be heard gossiping about "the movie," then he drove us down to owl's head light for the sunset ...


... i could make excuses, but the simple truth is i didn't get any good shots of the light ... odd, listening to the strong wind howl through the line of tall pines below the ridge to the north of the lighthouse somehow i lost my eyes for a few minutes, as if in that time my ears took over as they tried to make an audio snapshot of the duet land's end and the darkening sky performed for me ...

... on the walk out we met a very nice woman who lived in a house perched on the little cove behind the point ... she told me how the other cove, the one on the south side of the peninsula, was called "deadhorse bay" (or something like that, the cold had made me have to pee so bad that part of my brain wasn't working right) because a long time ago a boat loaded with horses had sunk just offshore and all the animals had drowned ... (i think i'll swim someplace else, thank you very much) ... i saw this tree and discovered that even in the low light i could play with it ...



... couldn't decide which i like best, so i let you decide for yourself ...



... a nice day, seeing ...