Monday, December 3, 2012

Flares, Rays, Sparkle and Bokeh

When we first moved to Maine I warned our children that in November and December they will have only three hours of daylight if they sleep until noon. The difference from Connecticut was dramatic and more than a little overwhelming. I can't say I have ever gotten used to our short days, but I am resigned!

I am posting the following images to banish the dark! Here is a collection of flares, rays, sparkle and that curious term, bokeh, of Japanese origin.

Mere Point sunset

Light flare, taken late afternoon at Mere Point, 25 June, 2009.

Blueberries in my Wine 03

A wine glass catches the light as the sun slowly sinks into the horizon over Maquoit Bay in front of our cottage, 29 August, 2011.

One of those moments...

Light rays break through heavy clouds in an image titled One of those Moments, 18 June, 2011.

Just Before Sunset

Just Before Sunset rays streaming over the cottage bank at the water's edge, 18 July, 2010.

sunrise in our woods

Flickr friend, Karen Mallonee, captured the purity of morning light at her beloved Minnetoska in the western Maryland mountains, 27 June, 2009. Image posted with the kind permission of Karma/(Karen) on Flickr.

Shore Birds

Tiny shore birds skitter through eel grass and seaweed on the sparkling shore of a small Maine island, 31 August, 2011.

Storm on the Way 01

Maquoit Bay yields a gift of sparkling silver just before an approaching storm, 12 August, 2012.

Lupine in Low Afternoon Sun 03

And finally bokeh in a macro shot of late spring lupine, 28 May, 2012.

Face to the Sun

A splash of color from hibiscus in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, 31 January, 2012.

The Day After Christmas 05

Winter reveals its subtle beauty in icy bokeh, 26 December, 2011.

Photos are always better if you click on the images to view them in a larger size. There will be more light too!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hello December! Where Did You Come From?

The onset of December means a small window of daylight for the Maine photographer. Soon our skies will flatten out to brilliant blue, or dull gray and the wonderful clouds of summer and autumn will be long gone. The following photos of Aldermere Farm in Rockport, Maine were taken the day after Thanksgiving. The scenes are unadorned by the majestic splash of autumn foliage, they are the last hurrah and all about November's ineffable light.

November Light on Aldermere Farm 01

November Light on Aldermere Farm 02

November Light on Aldermere Farm 03

November Light on Aldermere Farm 04

November Light on Aldermere Farm 05

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Solid Ground ~ Random Memory #29 ~ Maine

My earliest memories of Maine are of my grandparents' house in Falmouth. It was a lovingly restored colonial, white clapboard with black shutters and a newer three season addition we called the breezeway. An old barn served as the garage for their ancient black car. At various times there was a horse, chickens and ducks...and everywhere you looked, my grandmother's glorious gardens. I ran through the asparagus patch with its feathery fronds tickling my face and climbed over rocks taking care not to step on the fleshy green hens and chicks Nana so lovingly cultivated. Concord grapes grew riotously over stone walls, the fruit deepening into dusty purple in autumn. My grandparents also had a parcel of land across the road. My favorite place in that sweet meadow was the sagging chicken coop which was home to dozens of wasp nests. I still remember the insect's persistent hum while I sat on the pitched roof and there were many trips back to my grandmother's kitchen to apply a paste of baking soda for the inevitable stings. Like so many Maine meadows, a path had been mowed through the wildflowers. Beyond the path a cherry orchard yielded mid-day treats, even with stiff competition from hungry birds. A tangle of chokecherries lay behind the trees which I loved to eat just for the pithy puckered feeling they left in my mouth.

It was a place where I could run wild. I discovered Indian Pipes in the dim woods, varieties of ferns and moss covered rocks. My footsteps were silent on the thick carpet of pine needles. The magic lasted until I approached my teens when other interests took priority. By then my grandmother had been a widow for twelve years and eventually the house and land were sold. I never saw it again until Peter and I drove up to Maine shortly after we were married. At first I despaired of finding the house. The old landmarks were gone as was the meadow. A crowded development is now where the chicken coop and orchard used to be and the house is hidden behind a tall stockade style fence. Perhaps, by now, those changes have given way to even newer structures. It's not far, I could go back any time to look again, but I haven't. Sometimes it's better to leave memories undisturbed.

Here in the present, Flickr friend, Karen Mallonee and her family have established strong roots in a wooded wonderland in the western Maryland mountains. Karen's love for this unspoiled country began when she and her twin sister spent happy summers in the green woods that used to be Camp Minnetoska.

Minnetoska - star light, star bright

In time, the camp closed as so many often do, and the land was divided into parcels. Karen and her family quickly purchased six and a half acres. Karen writes:

No house, just woods (including 1/2 acre hemlock grove), ferns, rocks and streams. We have a nice area set up for camping. It's our little "State Park".

Minnetoska - our piece of paradise

our pretty little stream

Minnetoska ~ lay of the land


Karen has a busy rewarding career, but she and her family make time to return to Minnetoska whenever they can. The beauty and serenity of the land provide inspiration for her photography long after summer has ended and the laughter around the campfire is hushed; and the only sounds are the rustle of wildlife, wind through the trees and the melodic burble of water on stone.

All five photos above are the work and property of Karen Mallonee, Karma/(Karen)'s on Flickr, who has kindly given permission to use the images in this post.

Our ties to Mere Point are similar to the pull of Karen's Minnetoska. It was there that I visited my aunt and uncle, often making the trip from Falmouth with my grandmother in the aforementioned old black car. Much later, we bought a nearby cottage on the western side of the point. We had two small children whose world had been rocked by the revolution in Iran. Friendships with Mere Point cottagers and the changeable beauty of the bay and surroundings helped us all to stand on solid ground again.

Nancy Drew and a fairy wand

The Perfect Day


Maquoit Bay Light 06

Decades of summers have come and gone. My children are grown and a new generation has embraced the little cottage by the shore. it is firmly lodged in their hearts just as my grandparents' meadow is for me. Although I can't go back to that vanished meadow, it is still very real in my memories. There is no sadness, I know full well these places are only temporarily in our care. A line from Dolores Keane's haunting song, Solid Ground, comes to mind...

You cannot own the land, the land owns you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pine Tree State

We have an abundance of pine trees in Maine. They cover miles of our unorganized territories, line our highways and country roads and soften our gardens. The tall pines add color to the landscape throughout our long winter and pine cones decorate our Christmas mantels. Pine cones make excellent fire starters on a frigid winter's night and the fragrant boughs are made into wreaths that grace homes all over the country every Holiday season. They are so numerous that we often don't see the trees for the forest!

The pines are particularly beautiful in June with their contrasting bright green new growth. My challenge to myself was to capture the color and light in as many ways as possible. Below are some of the photos from my project.

Pine Tree State 04

Pine Tree State 03

Pine Tree State 02

Pine Tree State 01






Happy Thanksgiving from the Pine Tree State!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Boat shoes on a Maine rock

This is an old photo of boat shoes drying out on a rock at my dear Mary's cottage. It was taken with my first cell phone camera. The image, no more than 2 megapixels, still evokes the essence of cottage life in Maine and the many happy summer afternoons I shared with my friend. There will be one pair of shoes missing next year, Mary slipped away from us in October, she was 91.

My grief is deep and profound and I have had Mary in my thoughts as we enter this Thanksgiving week. Above all I am thankful our lives were linked...and will continue to be with her wonderful family.

Mary was my mentor and she showed me how to see and appreciate Mere Point's unique beauty, particularly small things. A collection of delicately colored shells, a fragile seedling revealed in spring's damp earth, September's crackling black lupine pods, wildflowers and the arrival of Monarch butterflies were all close to her heart. I always think of Mary whenever, or wherever I picked up my camera. There is no manual or piece of equipment as valuable as seeing my world through her eyes.

The following photos are the seasons of Mary's Mere Point.

Autumn Walk

October Birch

The frozen shore

Afternoon light


The Borrower's Gold Coins

Mary's Dock

Daisies by the Shore ~ Mary's Cottage

Storm on the Way 02


View of Sister's & Williams Islands

Just Resting


Farewell Lupine! 02

September Night

For Mary, with gratitude and love.

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