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 27, 2015

5:10am: MURDER BENEATH MY WINDOW

... in the middle of the night i awoke, a normal not-so-young-anymore occurrence, but this was different ... coming to consciousness i was already aware something was different, that a strange new presence had infiltrated my environment ... i arose and made the rounds, checking the stove was off, the toaster unplugged (those of you who know me well understand the particular paranoia i have concerning the dangers lurking in that death device) ... the refrigerator door was closed, faucets were tight, door was locked ... from one end of the apartment to the other, wandering to the darkened living room i found nothing amiss ...

... i was mystified, mostly because the feeling persisted that i wasn't alone in the night ... stepping to the window, i looked out, thinking i might be sensing the homeless man with the shopping cart who even in dead of winter never neglects his nightly round of the garbage cans ...

... 7°f, not even the hint of a breeze, no cars, all was still ...

... i raised the window, knowing—knowing there was something ... in the horror films, looking under the car, opening the door to the basement, entering the strange cabin, all are most foolish acts, but ... but, with a sense such as this, rational judgement flees and intellectual reason is overwhelmed by the desire to know ...

... leaning through the window frame, i took a great breath of the clear, cold air ... and i heard it ... to my left, just a whisper ... i looked ...

... crows ... Corvus brachyrhynchos ... hundreds of them, roosting in the tree outside my window ... one of them opened his eyes, stared at me for a moment, then softly squawked a single hushed "caw" ...

... "shhhhhhhhh ... we're sleeping" ...

... as quietly as possible i began to close my window ... as i did so, looking out to the west across the parking lot, it was then i saw the murder ...

... i thought to share what i'd seen ... as i write this the sky has lightened ... waking to the sunset soon-to-be, the crows are leaving ...

... it is a bit of a mystery, why a gathering of crows is called a "murder" ... equally unknown, to me, at least, is where they are going for the day ... down by the railroad tracks, to roost in the woods above the banks of the kennebec river, or, maybe, over to the little forest behind charlie gaunce's chevrolet dealership ...

... but ... watching them leave ... i have to wonder ... are they planning ... is their rowdy cawing evidence of sinister schemes ...

... should i make this a day to stay inside ... would it be wise to hide ... then again—then again, perhaps they awoke me for a reason ...

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

ROBERT FROST




February 25, 2015

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN


it’s not that he had a plan,
not he,
as he ran along the edge of the land,
“catch me if you can, catch me if you can”
laughing at the sea,
“oh no, not me,
before you wet my feet i flee,”
teased he,
“catch me if you can, catch me if you can”
until from a darkened main her voice, 
“supper, my boy, come home to me,”
made his choice
to turn from the shore, the sea,
“catch me if you can, catch me if you can”
said she,
“catch him if you can”

A.BRADY

February 23, 2015

PORTLAND HEAD, REVISIT

... taken with my sigma 10-20mm zoom at its widest setting,  a rather dramatic 102° field-of-view, i "revisited" this image of the portland head lighthouse with a goal of reducing the original's pronounced curvature-of-field distortion ...

We travel for romance,
we travel for architecture,
and we travel to be lost.
RAY BRADBURY

TRES AMIGOS LA FOTOGRAFIA

... chad drove down from bangor to collect john and i for a little winter wanderabout ... temperatures rising into the high-20s, it was a good day to get outside for a bit of cabin fever curative ... of course, it was nice that chad did the driving since john and i could then have time to examine chad's new sony a7r camera ... at the wire bridge in north new portland we discovered the banks of the river layered with huge blocks of raft ice ... apparently after the freeze the water had risen to a high level, breaking the ice and depositing it along the shore ... this giant chunk is sitting just in front of where alison and i picnic during the summer ... !!! ...

... while chad stood on the bank yelling, "you're a crazy person ... there could be a thin spot hidden beneath the snow ... i see some open water over there ... what if you fall through," i wandered across the frozen surface so i could inspect the car-sized blocks of ice along the far shore ...  imagine the force necessary to move this piece of ice, which i roughly compute as weighing in excess of nine tons ...

... between the bright sun, shadows, and snowfields, it was a scene with a rather high dynamic range ... i wasn't much in the mood for the technical effort necessary to deal with such, so relaxed and found enjoyment in photographing my friends ...

... john's comfortable, but, his first visit, i've a feeling chad didn't quite appreciate the feel of the wire bridge's deck undulating in the gentle breeze ...


 ... we left the wire bridge in shadow and headed through farmington to cape cod hill in new sharon, where, a result of our absolutely perfect timing, we climbed the six-foot deep snow bank along the road to snap pictures of the sun setting across what i always thought was the merrimack trough, but through a bit of research have now learned is the "central maine basin" ... (actually, this spot is probably pretty close to the border of the two geologic features) ...

... while we watched, in the sky a mystery took place ... any ideas ... ??? ...

... the last picture i took is my favorite ...

Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready
to have somebody click the shutter.
ANSEL ADAMS

February 22, 2015

STREETS OF DENVER, 1973

... another of the "three works of art per day for five days" challenge ... during the winter of 72-73, while stationed in denver for training at the 463 nuclear weapons tech school, during the weekends when i had time free of my classroom and leadership duties i'd wander the streets, ten-dollar weekly allowance in my pocket and trusty nikkormat ftn hanging from my neck ... i snapped the picture of the little boy while riding the colfax street bus ... when i got off downtown i immediately saw the man sitting and realized how well the images would pair ... (odd, i still recall how i noticed the cab in the background and thought to wait until it was just beginning to leave the frame before pressing the shutter button) ... later, years, i think, i combined them in a frame for my brother ...

... upon seeing this, both beth and joy commented, "we thought the boy was you" ...

... interesting, i wonder if the mother of the little boy on the bus had to keep an eye on him, too, when there were railroad tracks around ...

MISTER CHARLIE OLIVER

... part of a facebook "three works of art per day for five days" challenge, it's my thought to share this with the majority of you who do not hang out in social media ...

... in my grandpa's downstairs sitting room (bar), "the chief" (my grandpa), mr. tony paul (in the background), and mr. charlie oliver (with the cigar), would sit drinking and playing cards, all the while speaking french only ... during my childhood i thought, "schnapps, garçon," meant, "please, loving grandchild, more whiskey for all" ... it was years before i learned the literal translation ... this was taken handheld (from the rocking chair, as i recall) with a terribly soft vivitar 135mm wide-open at f/2.8 using ektachrome 160 film ... that's "i.s.o. 160" for all you modern types who whine, "my i.s.o. 32,000 digital images are too noisy" ...

... this was one of my first candid portraits of which i felt great pride i'd captured ...

GASPE REVISIT

... thinking of the picture taking wanderabout john and chad and i are going to make to the gaspe this summer, i decided to revisit some of the snapshots i took last august when jon, eric, and i made a great motorcycle exploration of that dramatic landscape ... 

... taken with my little pocket olympus, the tip of cape rosier, where the view of the lighthouse is sublime and at the nearby hamburger stand are patate frits which're absolutely perfect ...

IT'S NOT THE FIRST TIME

... another reason i try not to get too bent out of shape when the snow piles up really deep ...

... the road to seward, alaska, spring, probably 1959 or 1960 ...

February 18, 2015

HELPING SET UP THE UNIVERSE

... okay, just a catchy way of saying i accompanied john, who is nursing a sore shoulder, to saco to help him set up the planetarium for a couple of showings at the town library ... mostly, i just hauled some of the equipment in from the parking lot, setting the whole thing up is a complex soletary choreography he's perfected through thirty years practice ... once the kids started filing in i went for a little stroll down route one ...

... beautiful, but i saw many older buildings, now multi-unit apartments, that had icicles so bad they posed structural danger ...

... not sure why, perhaps a higher tax base, but saco plows its sidewalks ... this fence fascinated me ...

... shooting with the ancient olympus 50mm f/1.8 manual focus lens on my little x-e1, i spent twenty minutes exploring about forty feet of snow-banked pickets ...

... what can i say, other'n i live in new england ...

... grammy and grampy (or, considering where they are from and my own childhood, "mémé" and "pépé") had brought their grandchildren for the show ... one of the kids asked me, "do you know where diamonds come from" ... i translated an entire geology text chapter into ten-year-old speak, and, by time we were finished, his grandmother had gotten some paper and was making notes so that next summer she could take her grandkids to coo's canyon to do some panning for gold ...

... there was just a hint of light remaining as we headed back to portland, so john routed us over to the portland head light ... no tripod, shivering in the cold, damp sea spray, nevertheless we took a few minutes to live to our motto—"if we're truly crazy, we might as well take some pictures to prove it" ...

... i'm rather photographically proud of this image ... hand-held at 1/5 second, my simple intent was to share this with you ... i'm crossing my fingers i accomplished that ...

... a perfect way to end a great day ... fresh fish for john ... for me, enticed as i was by the fried haddock, hearing a faint echo, "patrick ... do you eat french fries with everything," i opted for a most excellent—yes, i hear your chorus, "turkey club on toasted rye, hold the mayo, please" ...

... in the dark of his air bubble dome john teaches, "all you need do is open your eyes and look, the universe'll take care of the awe and wonder rest of it" ...

... he's so right ...

February 15, 2015

THREE SNAPS

... last fall, outside the community market ...

... from our visit to the greenhouse ...

... my "back yard," after the plowing was done ...

MY FAVORITE GANG

... saturday chad and emmie and their children came over for supper ... while emmie and chad were cleaning up and doing the dishes (habit, i guess, when you have five kids—for me, a great treat), danny asked, "what're the umbrellas for, mr. groleau" ... a seriously good question, one much easier to demonstrate than try to explain, so i positioned the light stands above the little tape marks i keep on the floor, fired up the three ancient sunpak 611 strobe units, and turned on my illegal-according-to-the-fcc (because they're for use in korea, not the united states) wireless receivers ...

... here's the entire gang ... as much a "snapshot" as a posed grouping, and, of course, the orange lips are evidence they liked my spaghetti sauce ... 

... walker's got a smile that makes the day better ...

... emily, walker, and megan ... for this shot one of the strobes didn't recycle ... i think it's time for me to replace the battery ... the quantum power unit is over thirty years old, but, considering the $400 cost for a new one, it's much easier to order a $36 lithium cell and install it myself ...

... emily and megan ... pretty contest, i think it's a draw ...

... walker's a great prop ... !!! ... hmmmmm, maybe there's a career in the making ... somehow i neglected to get a nice shot of tom by himself, so i guess we're going to have to schedule another supper ...

... walker and dan ...

Son of my mother 
time of fear a friend 
time of adversity a brother 
time of laughter, a comrade 
time of tears a comforter 
you are a brother of mine 
from Alpha to Omega. 

Son of my Father 
Strong arm, gentle word 
Loves momentary glance 
Reveals our brotherhood 
I am my brother’s keeper 
And he is mine 
One root, One Father.

ADRIAN WAIT


... with my homemade lighting outfit in the high-ceiling space i call my "big room," i don't even begin to pretend that i'm studio photographer ... i do, however, have a great deal of fun ...

... yes, indeed, absolutely great fun ...

February 13, 2015

FOR ALL, BUT ESPECIALLY THOSE AWAITING THE STORM

... 8°f out, john and i made a little wanderabout down to manchester ... we stopped for breakfast, then visited longfellow's greenhouse so he could get a pretty plant for his sweetheart ... listening to the radio weatherperson once again predicting "up to two feet of snow and blizzard conditions," i'd special thoughts for all my nearby family and friends:

I am a kind word uttered and repeated 
By the voice of Nature; 

I am a star fallen from the 
Blue tent upon the green carpet.

I am the daughter of the elements 
With whom Winter conceived;  
To whom Spring gave birth;

I was 
Reared in the lap of Summer and I 
Slept in the bed of Autumn. 

At dawn I unite with the breeze 
To announce the coming of light; 

At eventide I join the birds 
In bidding the light farewell. 

The plains are decorated with 
My beautiful colors, and the air 
Is scented with my fragrance. 

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of 
Night watch over me, and as I 
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is 
The only eye of the day. 

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to 
The voices of the birds, and dance 
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass. 

I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath; 
I am the memory of a moment of happiness; 
I am the last gift of the living to the dead; 
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow. 

But I look up high to see only the light, 
And never look down to see my shadow. 
This is wisdom which man must learn.

SONG OF THE FLOWER XXIII
Khalil Gibran



... on the ride home john and i talked of the wanderabout to the gaspe we're planning for this summer, and, for the most part, avoided picture taking because, to be honest, we're just a tiny bit tired of this winter ...