Posts in Category: clouds

Sky over the Kennebunk Plains

Yesterday they promised heavy thunderstorms with big hail in the afternoon, and when it did not materialize I headed out on my ebike to look for sky. In the coastal plain of York County, that means either the beach or the Kennebunk Plains. The Kennebunk Plains, as I have mentioned in the past, is a sand plain…one of the few undeveloped habitats of its kind in New England. It was kept open in the past by wildfire…and is now maintained by controlled burns. The Nature Conservancy owns part of it and the whole of it is managed as a Wildlife Management Area by the state…to protect several endangered birds, reptiles, and flowers. And because it is open, you get to see the sky in all its glory. This is a “sweep panorama” from the Sony a6500 with my ultra wide lens set up. Sweep panorama is a mode that allows you to swing the camera around the horizon and take one long continuous photo…the camera actually takes dozens of individual photos and stitches them together in-camera. This is about 180 degrees of land and sky. I held the camera in portrait mode, vertically, to take in more sky. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos for an HDR effect.

Reflections in a flood tide…

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, Wells Maine.

This week’s Supermoon (the last for this year) caused exceptionally high tides all along the coast here in southern Maine. This is Branch Brook at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells Maine, a good mile inland from the sea. All about color and clouds and reflections.

Sony RX10iii at 24mm equivalent field of view. In-camera HDR. Nominal exposure: 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr on my Android tablet. 

Safe Harbor

Cape Porpoise Harbor, Cape Porpoise Maine

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light.” Jesus

Yesterday was one of those gray fall days in Maine along the coast. Just enough rain falling to dampen, skies heavy overhead, sea agitated…almost angry on the rocky shore. And yet, it was day to enjoy…a day of joy in being alive. In Cape Porpoise the lobster boats were mostly anchored, and the dock was quiet, under the eye of the lighthouse on Goat Island. We ate the excellent clam chowder at the Chowder House, and watched Eiders catching crabs, and Gulls stealing them. The sign on the wall announced the end of the season and begged our patience since all the summer help was gone back to college and school. We were warm on the inside and the outside by the time we left, with a the deep quiet of the end of season day settling in us, still at our centers as the boats floating the harbor…anchored by our faith in a loving creator and wrapped in the light, of the fellowship of Christ. Our safe harbor, our guiding light, no matter what comes in wind and rain, or how the waves beat against the shore…no matter the end of seasons, or even the end of days. We know where our harbor lies…we know the light within and look at the world of weather and change with generous eyes.

Happy Sunday! May you know safe harbor today.


Nubble in the sun with Gulls

Nubble Light, Cape Neddick, Maine

I had to drive to the bus terminal in Portsmouth on Tuesday to pick up a daughter coming in for her sister’s wedding this weekend, and, since it was a nice day, and since she has not spent much time in Maine over the past few years, we took the scenic route home and stopped at Nubble Light. I had been there just the week before, but not in the afternoon when the light is on the face of the buildings and the gulls are soaring around the island. 🙂

Sony RX10iii. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom.

Late light of April

Mouth of the Mousam River, Kennebunk ME

It is amazing how fast the length of the day is progressing now that the clocks have been set ahead. We went out last night after supper to catch the last of the sun on the beach near our home at the mouth of the Mousam River. This is a sweep panorama showing Great Head and the river mouth, but mostly it is about the spreading cloud tree above…and the light.

Sweep panorama. Sony HX90V. Processed for HDR effect in Lightroom. This is as close to the natural look of the scene as I can make it.

He is risen! Happy Easter Sunday.

floating ice skim on one of the ponds along Rt. 9 in Kennebunk Maine

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

Happy Easter! I am not sure why this is my Easter image this year. I admit it is abstract, and visually challenging (what is it?). But it is also full of life…full of mystery…full of grace and wonder. It is also highly unlikely. It is a super thin patch of floating ice on a pond along Route 9 in Kennebunk Maine. It was above 40 and had been for several hours when I found it, and this pond has been open for weeks, so I was not expecting ice at all. And the sweeping feather like patterns are more like rime ice on a car window than anything I have seen on the surface of water. And then there are the straight lines, the pattern of triangles among the feathers, like the leading in a stained glass window. And it is so thin, so fragile, so unlikely. Altogether strange and wonderful. It challenges my understanding of what is physically possible.

Then you add the colors of the reflected sky and clouds and trees and it really comes alive. It becomes not just an image of floating ice, but a image in its own right, containing a beauty of its own. Looking at it is almost meditative…it puts my mind into a state of open wonder and receptivity…and something very like peace. Something very like hope. Something very like joy. And so, after all, it is not so strange a choice for Easter Sunday!

What is more unlikely than the resurrection? More challenging to our sense of what is possible? More full of grace and wonder? What greater source of hope and joy?

He is risen. Against all odds. Against every expectation. He is risen and with him hope and joy. And though 2000 years of Christian history have not always given testimony to his truth, yet his truth lives on, and is there to be received by every generous eye. Unlikely as rime ice on open water. Unlikely as perfect triangles in floating ice. And more beautiful than the reflected colors of sky and cloud and trees. Jesus is risen! He lives. He lives in me.

Happy Easter!


And the sky above… Happy Sunday!

Back Creek Marsh, Kennebunk Maine

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

I could see from my yard that drama was building in the sky to the west, and would sweep over us in the next rew hours, so I packed my cameras and headed out to catch some of it. We live a forested landscape…so much so that there are few places with a broad horizon…at least to the west. To the east, of course, we have the sea, and as broad a horizon as anyone could want, but weather systems move over us from the west, and the best you can do on the east is catch the storm going away. Still, the beach, and the marshes behind the dunes, do provide enough sky so that is the first place I headed in search of photos of the coming storms.

This is a sweep panorama of the western sky and the marsh from just behind the dunes. The clouds high in the sky are just the harbingers…the real storms are still down on the horizon just above the trees. I drove further inland, to the Kennebunk Plains, to catch those. Still, the sweep of the creek, the line of the road on the right, the trees on the horizon, and the balance of the sky make for a beauty worth seeing…and worth sharing.

I think our love of moving water and stormy skies comes from somewhere very deep within us. I think we see the power of our God, and the beauty, in such a landscape. God speaks presence and present action. “I am here and I am working. See what I make. See my making.”  Or at least that is what the generous eye sees and hears.

It took the storms on the horizon about 90 minutes to reach the coast. Heavy rain, high winds, and thunder. I was out on the Plains when the weather and the drama reached there. Beauty runs ahead of the storm. Beauty runs in the storm, and beauty comes after. God is all in all.

Happy Sunday!

Winter Drama

Back Creek and the Mousam River, Kennebunk Maine

Some people like a sunny, cloudless day. Not me. I like blue sky, but I like a few clouds for little drama…or a lot of clouds for a lot of drama 🙂 To me, the clouds make the landscape. This is the junction of Back Creek and the Mousam River, about 2 miles from our house. It is only 2 PM, but already the light has the slant of late evening. That’s winter in Maine. This is an 180 degree sweep of snowy marsh and winter sky. The little tuffs of marsh grass showing keep the eye busy in the lower half, and the clouds dominate the upper. The light is simply wonderful. The lone figure on the right gives scale.

Sweep Panorama mode. Auto exposure with -1/3EV. Sony HX90V. Processed in Lightroom.

Figures in the foreground

Carol and Anna, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background.

A front was coming through Santa Fe yesterday. We got out in the morning to walk along the lower Santa Fe river along the bike path while the sun was still shining…though it was completely overcast by the time we got back to the car. This is my wife Carol and my daughter Anna, who is in grad-school in Santa Fe. We are on a bridge over the Santa Fe river channel. You can just see the snow caps on the Sangre de Cristos far back under the mountain effect clouds. They are expecting 2-4 inches of snow out of the storm today, so this landscape will look considerably different by tomorrow. 🙂

Sony HX90V in-camera HDR at 24mm equivalent. I really enjoy the subtle HDR effect of the Sony, which makes landscape portraits like this very pleasing. Nominal exposure 1/1600th @ ISO 80 @ f3.5.

Cape Porpoise Chowder House: Happy Sunday!

Cape Porpoise Harbor, Cape Porpoise Maine

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus.

I went out yesterday in search of falling water and fallen leaves. I wanted to photograph the small falls along the Batson River in Emmon’s Preserve with the autumn accumulation of leaves covering the rocks and lining the water channels. I did that, and some of the pics will be featured in today’s Love of landscape (on Facebook and Google+). However, since I was out that way, and the sun was breaking through high clouds in interesting ways, I decided to swing out to Cape Porpoise to see how the harbor looked. I knew it might be chancy getting a parking place on the Cape on a Saturday morning, but slid into the last place in the public parking. The cloud bank off-shore was blocking direct sun on the harbor, but since I was parked I decided to wait it out. I could see sun on the point to the south, and on the water behind the lighthouse, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the clouds slid far enough out to sea for the harbor and the foliage behind it to be in full sun.

When the couple in the corner of the image brought their cups of chowder out on the deck that just about decided it, but then the sun finally broke though and I hustled over to get this shot. Okay! Then I did go into the Chowder House for my bowl, brought it out to the deck, and sat and enjoyed the play of the light over the water, the boats, the village and the autumn colors behind.

While I was eating and watching, a group of three people joined me on the deck. Two were sporting cameras. I overheard the third say, “It is so pretty. Thank you for forcing me to play tourist in my own town today. I never get out here.” I assume she was showing off the sights to weekend visitors in her home. And I thought, there it is. We need to play tourist in our own towns. We need to visit the lighthouse and the harbor at Cape Porpoise often. We need to sit in the autumn sun (or summer, or spring) on the deck of the Chowder House, eating some of the best clam chowder I have ever had, and enjoying the play of light on the harbor and the village. We need to turn a generous eye on the places where we live…as though they were new to us…as though we were just visiting. What wonders we might find.

I have had the privilege these past few years to do just that. To be out as often as I like and really enjoy the place where I live. To play tourist in my own town…and to share much of what I find with a growing group of friends. When you turn a generous eye on the place where you live you find that it is, indeed, full of light…full of wonder…full of joy. What a gift! What a God! Happy Sunday!