Saturday, February 2, 2019

Burnt Cove, Deer Isle, A Decade Ago

When is the last time you took a trip down memory lane? I have embarked on that trip again today. Taking a decade's old journey back in time, I find myself on a remote island off the coast of Down East Maine. On the western edge of Deer Isle I find Burnt Cove. Carved into the landscape surrounded by quaint, clapboard houses and large, granite boulders, this tiny cove is the consummate Maine setting. Heavy clouds hang low in the sky, on this warm Summer's day, giving every element a larger than life feel. I snap images moving my viewfinder a tad left, then a tad right.

After photographing Burnt Cove, I drive the narrow, winding back roads further south on Deer Isle. Using a map, I hug the coastline taking in the scenery. An hour passes and I make my way back to Burnt Cove with anticipation. Just as I had suspected, the low cloud base had lifted giving way to blue skies. Have you ever seen such a beautiful Maine setting as this. Needless to say, the red clapboard house is a priceless find.

The granite boulders that hug the coast, as they do in most Down East shorelines, coupled with the dense Fir trees that grow right up to the water's edge, sets the perfect scene. My love affair with coastal Maine, and an equally passionate love affair with sailboats, brought me to the farthest northeastern state of the U.S. I can only hope if I journeyed to this remote area today that I would find a similar landscape. However, I know there is nowhere, in this our United States, that is safe from urban sprawl. So lucky to have captured these images at a time when coastal Maine was still rugged and unspoiled. Time really can stand still. All you need do is press your shutter release button. Click, and the scene is yours forever.

I have a very lazy weekend ahead with only a few chores. Perhaps the out of doors, which constantly beckons to me, will take over and I'll find myself by the lake shore today. Who knows. ENJOY!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Stonington, Through My Lens

If I could go back to Maine, I would go in a heart beat, but I have other fish to fry. So I scan my image library and sigh. There is no place quite like Maine. It's beautiful. It's rugged. It's unique in so many ways. I drove into Stonington, Maine, on Deer Isle, on a very foggy, Summer's mourn and headed straight for the waterfront. I reached the dock just in time to see this beautiful tall ship making its way across the harbor.

As the fog began to lift, I drove from one side of town to the other, creeping slowly through a busy, tiny town to find the opposite side of the harbor. As I approached the waterfront, camera in hand, this beautiful tall ship was sailing by. I absolutely love the old dock in the foreground with the sea gulls perched on top.

With the fog fully lifted now, I turned and made my way to the car, having driven way out on the main dock. Before I got in the car, I looked up and saw this scene. The quintessential Maine clapboard houses sitting next to the the water's edge, while a wharf side restaurant complete with log stilts jutted out in the harbor itself. What a perfect setting. Stonington is such a quaint, albeit teeny tiny town, situated on the southern most edge of Deer Isle. If you have never visited, you've missed out.

Before getting back in my car, I also noticed these small boats tied up to a smaller dock. The sun was bright and the water was a gorgeous blue. I couldn't not snap a few photos. This tiny town is so remote and isolated, and to think of the harsh Winters, and to see that tourism was, and still is, thriving here was such a comfort. I am amazed to think about the fishermen making a living out on the open ocean working their lobster traps, but that is exactly what they do.

Before leaving Stonington, I stopped at a small shop in town. Curiosity took over as I walked to the back of the shop next to the waterfront. A small sailboat was floating aimlessly through the harbor. At the water's edge lay a tangled mess of rope and bright pink buoys. Oh, how perfect. Throw in a bit of rocky coastline that Maine is so famous for and you have the perfect seaside image.

If I visited Stonington today, I would stay a while and snap more images and immerse myself in this quaint, tiny seaside town. I had dreamed of this trip for years and to live it was absolutely surreal. I'll be back with my next stop at Burnt Cove on Deer Isle. And yes, I've shared this trip before, but I just couldn't not share again. Can you see why. I hope you are staying warm in the throws of this Polar Vortex with negative degree days and even colder nights, not to mention snow squalls in the north every other minute. And before I leave, goodbye January. You seemed so short and sweet. Oh, and least I forget, these beauties (photos) were all taken with slide film on a manual Pentax camera. Take that you DSLRs! ENJOY!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Tracking Sandhill Cranes

Every year as Fall and Winter approaches, I am reminded of one of my favorite bird species flying the friendly skies over the Midwest and South. As they fly over cities and towns and farmlands, you may not always see them at first, but you will definitely hear them coming as they sound off with their unique sqawk.

This first image I had never posted. As I prepared this post, I wanted to share an image I hadn't previously.

The Sandhill Cranes begin their journey farther north in Canada each Fall and slowly travel thousands of miles south along the eastern edges of the Mississippi Migratory Flyway. Many eventually end up in Hiawasee Wildlife Refuge in southeast Tennessee.

In this image, it was a sky blue day and late afternoon sun was highlighting the beautiful tips of the Sandhill's wings.

However, they stop multiple times along the way to rest and feed in plowed cornfields in the Midwest. The Sandhill Cranes are a beautiful majestic bird standing some 5' tall and spanning a width even longer.

Almost devoid of color, the late afternoon sky was pale white as the Sandhill Cranes flew over. Only the slightest hint of warm sun highlighted their wings.

One of the many resting places each year on their annual journey south, finds them in the thousands in Ewing Bottoms, just west of Seymour, Indiana. Here they rest, feed and continue their mating ritual dances in an effort to attain a forever life mate.

One of my favorite images of all the photographs I have captured of the Sandhill Cranes. I love the detail you can see in the feathers and the body of this majestic bird. Best of all when you capture an image and can see their beautiful red eyes clearly. That's the best.

They move around the cornfields in Ewing Bottoms and near the river bed foraging and flying in and out daily. They may rest here for several weeks, but they always move on flying further south to warmer climes. I captured these images and many more over a two year period honing my skills in phohtographing the Cranes in their natural habitat.

Their red foreheads, long, sleek legs, gray feathers, dotted with rusty spots, are all characteristic of their appearance. If you decide to track the Sandhill Crane, know these birds have rights too. I hope you will respect that as you attempt to photograph them. Always keep your distance. You will know if you are too close, as they will slowly walk away from you. Knowing this, you can get some wonderful photographs if you know when to snap.

From mating rituals to foraging to landing and liftoff. I hope you enjoyed this look back. I hope to be able to visit Hiawasee in southeast Tennessee this January before the Sandhill Cranes move back north. We shall see. I'll be back soon.

Photographer's Note: I met with a Wildlife Resources Officer for Tennessee today at Old Hickory Lake. He confirms the Sandhill Cranes are now moving north back to their breeding grounds. A tad early albeit, but case in fact.ENJOY!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

The American White Pelicans are such gorgeous, graceful looking birds. They are spending the Winter months on Old Hickory Lake again this year.

I thought I would begin the New Year with some images of these beautiful birds. There are about 100 or more Pelicans living right off one of the rookeries that sits in the middle of the lake. At any time of the day you will find groups of Pelicans swimming and feeding around the tiny inlets and coves that make up Old Hickory Lake.

It's interesting to watch them as they feed because they synchronize their diving maneuvers. And as one goes down for a catch, the others follow suit.

This particular image is my favorite shot. I would have loved it if the water wasn't rippled, but it's a huge lake right off the Cumberland River and the chances of that ever happening are slim to none.

I have been battling bronchitis for nearly a week, but am starting to get well. I sleep at odd hours as the coughing keeps me up most of the night. I trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year's Eve. I watched the ball drop in New York's Times Square from my living room and then watched the Music Note in Nashville drop from my bedroom. I wish all of you the best wishes for the upcoming year and hope this one proves to be your best. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Best of 2018!

It's that time of year when I share the best of 2018 captures. We visited several botanical gardens, a national wildlife refuge, an artist's village, a state park, and I even spent an afternoon capturing images of Elk and Bison at the prairie at Land Between the Lakes. And least of all, I threw in a few images from around Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tennessee. While I didn't travel far out of state, I still managed to capture some unique images. I hope wherever 2018 took you in your travels you were able to stop and smell the roses and take a few pics to tell your story. Have a wonderful 2019 and here's to lots of new adventures and journeys with your camera in tow. ENJOY!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on your troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope your holiday is filled with Christmas cheer and family and friends and all of the things that make your Christmas the best it can be. MERRY CHRISTMAS!