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.

July 23, 2018

TO APPRECIATE SEEING

... after a trip to bangor to have my car checked (which, as i suspected, found one of the tires slightly out of round), i picked up john for a little wanderabouting ... we made our way up along the kennebec river to the west of the wyman lake impound in moscow ... it was drizzling, so rather than a muddy walk down to houston brook falls we decided to explore the shore of the lake ...
   
  
... for ten-days john's been non-stop taking pictures at the maine international film festival ... this, the day after the end of the festival, i was surprised he managed to stay awake ...
   
  
... so, in the midst of maine's beautiful back country, what do you take pictures of ... right, a teensy-tiny rubber toy dinosaur ... 
   
  
... i was quite proud of myself for getting down so low—as for getting up, well, i think the picture was worth my groans ...
   
  
... since the beginning of photography, i doubt if any photographer has ever managed to never snap pictures such as this ...
   
  
... all sorts of technical problems, but still i really like this image (a good example, by the way, of one of the art's few true "rules") ...
   
  
... john and i shared a nice discussion about this, the so-called "rules of photography" ... he talked of a photographer he knew who had been taught these in his photography school classes ... i said, "well, nothing wrong with all that stuff, as long as one remembers that 'rules' are the antithesis of art" ... john smiled—he knows ...
   
  
... it was brightness of the flowers contrasting against the rock's harsh grey, that's what first caught my eye ...
   
  
... i shot a few pictures for john at the film festival (a very, very few, compared to the many thousands of frames he exposed) ... this is one of my favorites ...
   
  
... and this, which was a most difficult image to capture ...
   
  
... while waiting for one of the movies i somewhat surreptitiously used my new wide-angle lens to snap a picture of another movie goer ...
   
  
... in the hallway i found this composition ... "why," you ask ... truthfully, i've absolutely no idea ... that's how my eyes work ... i like this image ... you may like it, too, or, equally likely, you may not ... that's how your eyes work ...
   
  
... (facebook users: yes, you've seen these—but more'n half the people who follow my journal do not use that social media site) ... i stopped at the house and asked chad if i could borrow the kids for the afternoon (two were off for the weekend with their ma) ... he protested for quite awhile, but finally gave in, "okay, all alone in this big ol' house i guess i can find something to do" ... !!! ... with that we were off to north new portland ... after a quick stop in north anson for vittles, we finished the drive to the wire bridge ... the water was absolutely perfect ... this, as always, is a great place for memory building (and, believe me, i've many volumes of them neatly aligned on my mind's forever shelf) ...
   
  
... brothers ...
   
  
... they used to be so little ... [sigh] ... how fast they grow ...
   
  
... i sat on the shore hand-holding my ancient nikkor 300mm ... this, from the opposite bank of the stream, clearly the image stabilization built in to my sony a7ii works ... !!! ...
   
  
... this is clearly a "danny place" ... i'm pretty sure that each time we visit he inspects every single rock, stone, and pebble in the carrabassett river ... really, everysingleoneofthem ... !!! ...
   
  
... watching the kids one morning while em ran errands, i clearly didn't use a "portrait lens" to take this portait of grant ... instead of an 85-105mm glass i had great fun snapping away with my new rokinar 20mm ...
   

... from a little around town wanderabout ... question: for you, if this picture does evoke meaning, memory, or emotion, what is it ... it makes me feel rather—well, i guess i'd have to squish together two words to express it, "lonelysad" ... (yup, as i thought ... i went to my super-duper thesaurus, couldn't find a word that was any more precise than that ... interesting) ... why does it make me feel thus—no idea ... 
   
  
... just playin' around ...
   
  
... i am, and for this i do know the word, absolutely enchanted by this picture ... it makes me feel happy ... i don't know why, nor do i care ... being happy is good ...
   


Some deem I'm gentle, some I'm kind:
It may be so,--I cannot say.
I know I have a simple mind
And see things in a simple way;
And like a child I love to play.
   
I love to toy with pretty words
And syllable them into rhyme;
To make them sing like sunny birds
In happy droves with silver chime,
In dulcet groves in summer time.
   
I pray, with hair more white than grey,
And second childhood coming on,
That yet with wonderment I may
See life as in its lucent dawn,
And be by beauty so beguiled
I'll sing as sings a child. 
   
 ROBERT W. SERVICE

... those in the know, as well as those of you who are good at reading both the lines as well as the spaces between them, are aware that since december i've been working very, very hard towards—well, towards a goal which before had never required much effort of me, that of learning and growing to become a really cool old guy ... i've had a lot of help, thank you very much ... even more important, i've learned not only to allow others to help me, every day i am getting better at both asking and accepting such ...

... so much to see, so much to learn, so many wonders ahead ...

... what great fun this is ...


July 17, 2018

NEW LENS!!!!

... as you know, since i took up using "mirrorless" cameras i've for the most part used "legacy" (20-30 year-old) lenses ... lack of automatic features, as far as i'm concerned, is greatly outweighed by how compared to modern glass they are relatively inexpensive ...

... for critical work, however, using wide-angle lenses designed for film is a bit of a problem ... without going into the details (right, "ask patrick what time it is and he'll explain how to build a clock"), wide open to their largest apertures (to let in the most light) traditional "retrofocus" wide-angle designs just aren't very sharp in the corners ... soooo ...

... so, thinking especially of milky way photography, i finally made the move to a modern wide-angle designed specifically for digital sensors ... goodbye to my faithful nikkor 20mm f/2.8 ...
  
  
... the money i made selling it on ebay (more'n i paid for it, by the way) enabled me to purchase a brand-new rokinon 20mm f/1.8...
  
COURTESY MARC ALHADEFF

... downside—well, the rokinon is huge compared to the old nikkor ... well worth it, however, since it is clearly much, much sharper, even when wide-open to f/1.8 ...
   
... found inside the hathaway building, my my first image using the rokinon ...
   

... later, from a little wanderabout around town, this is the result of eight images being alignment stacked, focus merged, and then color/contrast corrected ...
   

... finally, a single frame taken in castonguay square...
  


... what great fun ... i'm so looking forward to using this lens ...

WANDERABOUT TO LOOK THROUGH THE LARGEST TELESCOPE

... early this spring john made arrangements to look through the world's largest refractor (glass lenses as opposed to mirrors) telescope at the yerkes observatory ... in mid-june wayne and i joined him for the drive west ... we stopped in columbus to visit with my nephew, jon, and on our rest day we made a little visit to the air force museum in dayton ...
   

... the next day in williams bay, wisconsin, we made our way to the observatory ...
   

... we took a guided tour of the facility ... the decorative figures were fascinating, and we were told many intriguing "back stories" concerning their hidden meanings ...
   

... the best tale was about the wasp that was removed from john d. rockefeller's nose ...
   

... considering the heat and humidity, just in time we were taken into the great dome ... with an objective lens 40" in diameter this is the largest refracting telescope ever put to actual use for astronomical observation (the "great paris exhibition telescope of 1900" was never put to scientific use) ... since reflector telescopes (using mirrors) are more efficient, this telescope is now longer a primary instrument ...
... its custodian, the university of chicago, has plans to sell the entire facility ... even as you read this the issue is in doubt as to whether or not this magnificent tool will survive ...
   

... i met this very nice couple ... i'd memorized their names, but, alas, since i took so long to complete this journal entry—well, i'll take credit for at least remembering that they were nice ...
   

... john asked many questions of our guide ... ...
   
... more of the wonderful faces ...
   

... there wasn't a sign saying i shouldn't, so i sat in this chair ... as i rested in its comfortable leather clad embrace i couldn't help but think that my butt was quite possibly occupying the same spot as had the posteriors of edwin hubble, george hale, carl sagan, and albert einstein ... and, yes, when i arose to rejoin the group i felt a teensy tiny bit smarter ...
   

... the eyepiece part of a telescope ... nowadays it is rather rare that scientists actually look through the devices ...
   

... a clock ... einstein said it would slow down when i got close to it, but i couldn't detect any change ...
   

... a famous person ... right, another "i forgot" ... i'll go out on a limb and say that this is george ellory hale, who founded the observatory—if i'm wrong i'm sure john'll most politely correct me ...
   

... 63' long ... the telescope itself weighs 6 tons, the mount and gears it contains to move the scope weigh 20 tons ... for those who wonder about such, this is a f/19 lens with one very tiny crack ...
   

... edwin hubble provided the observational proof of georges lamaitre's concepts, that the universe was expanding ... hubble also showed that our milky way galaxy was only an infinitesimal part of an incomprehensibly larger universe ...
   

... a hazy overcast inland, clouds over the observatory, our long-scheduled visit to look through the telescope was cancelled ... no matter, john and wayne and i found a field in which to set up our tripods and observe the heavens ...
   

... i'm thinking that someone with lots of money will provide the funds to keep yerkes open, and that next year we'll make another wanderabout with our fingers crossed hoping for clear skies ...
   


Like buried treasures, the outposts of the universe have beckoned to the adventurous from immemorial times. Princes and potentates, political or industrial, equally with men of science, have felt the lure of the uncharted seas of space, and through their provision of instrumental means the sphere of exploration has made new discoveries and brought back permanent additions to our knowledge of the heavens.

GEORGE ELLERY HALE