Posts in Category: ocean

Red-throated Loon

Red-throated Loon: East Point, Biddeford Pool, Maine, USA — While looking for Snowy Owls around Biddeford Pool, I walked the trails and shoreline at East Point Audubon Preserve. As I went back toward the Pool along the estuary there was a small mixed group of water birds feeding in loose formation…one eider, one Red-breasted Merganser (which I will share tomorrow) and this Red-throated Loon. Red-throated Loons can be seen off the Maine coast through the winter. The green water shot was close in to shore and I was looking down on the bird…hence the difference in water color. Though the bird is not in breeding plumage, you can recognize it by its slim elegant profile and its smooth rounded head. It helped that I had already seen one Common Loon, earlier in my wandering that day, and the Common Loon profile was fresh in my memory. This was definitely a different bird. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. bottom shot enlarged in Pixelmator Photo Pro. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th and 1/640th.

Wood Island Light

Wood Island Light guards the entrance to Saco Bay and the Saco River. This shot is from the East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool where I was looking for Snowy Owls just before our Nor-easter. No owls, but a classic winter’s day photograph of the light. Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent. Program mode with auto HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Nominal exposure: ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

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.


Pumpkin Island Light

Pumpkin Island Light. Little Deer Island, Maine

On Friday morning before Emily’s wedding I had no assigned duties, so I took Anna’s boyfriend, visiting from New Mexico, looking for Lighthouses and classic Maine seaside village scenes. Sarah came with us because she likes bridges and wanted to go over the Deer Island bridge…a vintage suspension bridge just about two cars wide and with a significant humpback. I had found a light off Little Deer Island on the map of Maine Lighthouses I had consulted on the internet, but had to go by dead-reckoning once on the Island itself in hopes of finding it, and a photo worthy view. We drove out in the general direction of the light as far as we could go…and there it was…sitting on its little island just off-shore. It is the Pumpkin Island Lighthouse, decommissioned long ago, but still maintained by the same organization that maintains most of the Maine Lighthouses…as a historical monument. It is an odd light, far up into Pennobscot Bay, only visible for 3 miles on a good day (or night), and essentially landlocked. Before decommissioning it was judged to useless…and actually slightly dangerous as it often lead ships into a ice bound passage during winter months. But it sure is pretty!

In-camera HDR at 111mm equivalent field of view. Sony RX10iii. Processed in Lightroom.

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.

Nubble Light. Happy Sunday!

Nubble Light, Cape Neddick, Maine

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

This shot, and others I took last Friday at Nubble Light in Cape Neddick Maine (or York Beach if you prefer), inspired a poem…at least in part about photography. I include it here since it tells at least the first part of the story.

I took a loop south today to photograph
Nubble Light off Cape Neddick, one of
the closer of the iconic Maine Lighthouses
(Goat Island Light in Cape Porpoise is
closer, but nearly as photogenic). Nubble
is a place I take every new camera within
the first month I own it…it is a scene that
forms a baseline in my understanding of
image quality…a reference for comparison…

I know, who cares? I am enough of a geek
to say I do…and geek enough to brave the
Ogunquit traffic on a Friday to get to
the cape and stand on the rocks and shoot
the Light that I have shot, what, 50 times
before…from all angles. Some days the
clouds are great behind the Light (today
was one of them), some days there is drama
in the way the waves drive up the gap
between the cape and island, sending spray
fountaining in the foreground (today the
sea was as flat as I have seen it, and the
water in the gap lapped gently at the foot
of the rocks as though they edged a pond).

But always there is beauty in the way the
old home and the tall light, the picket fence
and the brick pump-house, the cable car
lines draped across the gap, stand up against
the sea, stand fast and sure, stand as an
icon of the struggle to wrest a living from
these northern waters…from this restless sea…

and catching a bit of that beauty, that strength,
is the challenge that keeps me, and a hundred,
(several hundred on a good day like today) other
photographers with every kind of camera coming
back, again and again, to the Lighthouse on the
Nubble, off the tip of Cape Neddick…I admit, most
do not have my interest in image quality, but they
all recognize a quality image when they see it.

And the second part of the story? If you did a count of the number of Christian Churches with Lighthouse in their name, it would, without doubt, amount to thousands…perhaps a hundred thousand or more around the world. It is such an obvious metaphor for the work any church worth its salt (and that is, of course, another reference from the words of Jesus) is supposed to do in this world: to hold up Jesus, the light of world, to turn anyone with eyes to see away from the rocks of this life and bring them safe to shore.

But Lighthouse is also a great metaphor for what each of us is supposed to be in this world. If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light…and that light shines out just as the light of God shines in. Each of us should hold up Jesus in our faces so that those around us know at least that someone cares enough to warn them of the rocks, and stands as a reminder that there is an alternative. Our bodies are lighthouses, or should be. Each one of us who claims the name of Jesus.

So, stand up tall on the line between the sea and shore, and shine brightly today, and every day. Happy Sunday!

Sanderlings in Reflection

Sanderlings. The Beach, Kennebunk ME

My wife and I took an after dinner walk long the local beach. The summer evening light was lovely, the sky was full of interesting clouds, and the waterline was littered with shore birds and gulls. I did not have my long lens with me, just the tiny Sony HX90V, as I was looking mostly at landscapes…but the zoom on the camera reached out far enough for these Sanderlings standing on their reflections. As I said, the light was lovely! I especially like the line of bubbles along the surf. 🙂

Sony HX90V at 720mm equivalent field of view. 1/320th @ ISO 89 @ f6.4. Processed and cropped for scale in Lightroom.

Walker Point

Walker Point, Cape Arundel, Kennebunkport ME

Walker Point is one of the major tourist attractions in Kennebunkport, and has been since the first Bush administration. It is the summer home of the Walker family, including Barbara Walker Bush, and 2 presidents, husband and son, have spent summers there. It has been the site of international meetings of heads of states, and too may Presidential Lobster Boils to count. There is significant security presence at the land end of the point, but the town has built a small parking area, done some landscaping, and installed a plaque in honor of the first President Bush. The thing is, it was already a popular spot, with informal parking along the margin, before George Bush was elected, as it overlooks Blowing Cave…a natural coastal feature that booms and shoots spray high into the air whenever the tide is just right.

This is about as classic a view as you can get, whether you count the Walker/Bush connection or not. The house on the point, the rugged rocks in the foreground, the arching sky with decorative cloud wisps overhead, and the three masted schooner passing the point. Romantic!

Sony HX90V in-camera HDR. Nominal exposure: 1/500th @ ISO 80 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.

Graveyard of the Lobster Traps

Lobster Traps on Timber Island, ME

Saturday mornings growing up we watched those old black and white African adventure films on TV, the ones where they were always looking for the Elephant Graveyard and imagined Ivory wealth. Our walk on Timber Island this week made me think of them…not the black and white part…though the winter palette of grays and blues was pretty basic…but the graveyard part. Timber Island is evidently the place old lobster traps come to die. There are piles of them on the shore. Might be intentional piles…as in someone piled them up to get them out from underfoot…and might be current piles, just as they were deposited by the sea as it churns around the island at high tide. Hard to tell. For sure, there are, as yet, nothing equivalent to Ivory hunters looking to claim the wealth of twisted metal and bright plastic. More’s the pity. I’d be happy to play the part of the native boy and lead them too it…if for nothing else that to get them out from underfoot. 🙂

Sony HX400V at 24mm equivalent. In camera HDR. Processed in Lightroom on my Surface Pro 3 tablet.


Wood Island Light over Bittersweet

Wood Island Light from East Point Sanctuary

I took a leisurely drive up the coast yesterday looking for Snowy Owls. A few were seen last month in likely places, but none yet this month. I did not find any either. The highlight of the trip was the brilliant display of Bittersweet berries at East Point Nature Conservancy Sanctuary. Of course, in December, they are about the only touch of color in the landscape 🙂 This is Wood Island Light off the Point at the mouth of Saco Bay.

Sony HX400V at 24mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Lightrtoom on my Surface Pro 3. There were a number of berry whips which broke the horizon near the center of the frame, so I used Touch Retouch (a brilliant piece of software for the modern Windows interface) to remove them. Simple as painting over them and letting the software do its work!