The Main(e) Thing

•October 7, 2018 • Leave a Comment

(I have been borrowing song titles for the last few posts so, in keeping with that theme, this is attributed to Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music)

 

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One last hodgepodge of Maine impressions that didn’t go with any of the previous posts.

 

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Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park…first spot in the United States to see the sunrise…

I didn’t…..

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Nice little ‘Playhouse’…

 

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…and let’s put it RIGHT there….

 

 

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Loves Me Like a Rock

•October 6, 2018 • Leave a Comment

(Paul Simon)

 

This was on the shore at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport

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I can’t help but think about an old Charles Schultz ‘Peanuts’ comic strip in which Charlie Brown and Linus are standing on the beach and Charlie Brown picks up a rock and throws it in the water.  Linus looks at him and says something along the lines of, “Congratulations, Charlie Brown.  That rock spent 3000 years to make it onto this shore and you just threw it back to start all over again!”

 

I wonder if these are making there way from the sea or to the sea…I didn’t throw any…!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brief Lighthouse Tour

•October 2, 2018 • 1 Comment

 

Bear Island Light

 

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One of my two favorite stories from this ‘outing’ was about the lighthouse keeper who lived year-round on an island with his wife and seven kids.  They would take their boat across the bay to get groceries and supplies…this family were the only inhabitants of the island.  When Zachary Taylor became President, Taylor’s cabinet convinced him that all government workers, including lighthouse keepers should become members of the Whig Party.  This fellow balked, refused and was replaced by another man.   He bought a nearby island with his severance pay of $300.  What they didn’t count on was that when he left, he left behind the wife and seven children to make life miserable for the new keeper.

Bass Harbor Light

(which was somewhat featured in the last post)

 

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Bass Harbor Light

 

 

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Egg Rock

 

 

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Interesting fact about these guys…Seals have such sensitive whiskers that they can fish at night by feeling the change in water movement caused by a fish swimming…

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Winter Harbor Light

 

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And then there was the story about this little island just off Winter Harbor.  It is said that during Prohibition, the Canandian rum-runners would sail down to the other side of this island, pull up the appropriate lobster traps…each lobster ‘farmer’ has always had his buoys painted in his own specific colors…fill the traps with bottles and drop them back in to be harvested later.

 

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Our Red Planet

•October 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

 

This is a follow-up to a mention, two posts ago, about how things don’t always work out as planned.  Vicki and I do pretty extensive research before we take a trip and one of  the  MAIN things…(maybe I should have said, the MAINE things) that I wanted to attempt, over and above, or subsequent to soaking in and experiencing the beauty, was to do some long exposure night-time shots in and  around Acadia National Park.  I had read that it was a ‘light protected area’, meaning that in certain places there are no artificial lights to obstruct, or overpower the stars.

 

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You have probably seen photos of EVERY lighthouse in Maine and it’s quite likely that you have seen Milky Way photos from the Bass Harbor Light…breathtaking…

Viewing the Milky Way inspires my soul as much as the sound of ocean waves…both timeless.

I wanted that experience even if I had forgotten my camera…oops

…but I didn’t.

 

_DSC3183I was hoping to drive there during the day to scout the scene but with other ‘happenings’ I didn’t get the chance to actually find the ‘primo’ spot.  I saw the lay of the land from a boat and decided, yeah, I can get ‘right there’ and have the rocks and the lighthouse and the stars….

 

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Close to midnight… half-moon…(new moon would have been better, but it’s what you do with what you’ve got, right?)… clouds drifting in… Vicki and our fellow travelers, Jon and Laura, had already called it a day so I drove the 30-some minutes to the Bass Harbor Light.

 

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Ya know…?  A ‘light protected area’ gets very dark at night…

 

 

 

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I strapped on the camera backpack and tripod, and had it not been for the flashlight on my phone, would probably not have even ventured out of the deserted parking lot…

No…let me restate that…

I wouldn’t have found my way out of the parking lot…

much less to the wooded path that led to the wooden stairs that led to…

 

 

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Well, I wanted to think that they led to the water but the ‘throw’ of a phone flashlight does not go very far.

When I DID get to the bottom of the stairs, wooden and then stone, I realized that the stones were longer, deeper, and farther apart….not really ‘steps’ at all… AND they didn’t go far enough.  They led in the right direction but stopped about 40 feet from where I thought that I needed to be, and the next 30 feet involved some rather large boulders and no path… I wavered…waffled…okay, chickened out….probably because it was not wise to actually go there in the pitch dark, by myself, with nothing other than a cell phone for illumination.

After a bit of self-deliberation tempered by the ‘wisdom’ of age, (including the thought of how long it would take before anyone would find me)…I opted for stopping where I was and trying to make do with what I had.

First kink in the chain….

Second kink…

I got the camera  all set up and stable, looked around for  things that I might stupidly trip over in the dark and wind up where I had intended to be in the first place, (but maybe upside down with a broken bone or two…), and got my first exposure.

 

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I don’t mind telling you that the hair on the back of my neck stood up… and ran…

I did NOT expect what I saw, and every devilish horror movie remembrance attacked my brain with those sharp little claws that awaken us in a cold sweat after eating the wrong foods too close to bedtime.

I did figure it out, thankfully, after surreptitiously looking over my shoulder a few times.  (There’s no telling what I would have done had I seen some red eyes in the woods, or if the hoot of an owl had echoed across the water!)

 

 

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I had not found in my research that the traditional white light in the lighthouse had been replaced by a pulsing red light…energy efficiency, etc., so in a 30 second exposure, quite a bit of red light was building up on the treetops.  I sat for a while to observe and only faintly could see with the naked eye that the light was lightly (no pun intended) brushing the tops of the trees, but leave the aperture open long enough and…

 

 

 

 

At one point, I turned the camera towards the water and got this.

 

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By now I was not exactly sure where in the universe I was….and the hair from the back of my neck was still running to the car, lost in the woods, whimpering…

 

 

 

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So that’s how it turned out without adequate research and planning, but THEN…oh, there’s more…

Two days later, on Old Orchard Beach, I wandered down to get closer to the roar of eternity and I felt as if I had walked into an Egyptian plague from the time of Moses.

 

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The seas were red, too.  Now I felt totally disoriented before realizing that it was a ‘red tide’…red algae that occasionally washes to shore.

 

 

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Who needs Mars?

Wooden Ships On the Water, Very Free…

•September 26, 2018 • 2 Comments

(Title thanks to David Crosby…)

 

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Let me set the record straight for a second…not as an excuse, but simply a clarification.

These photos from Maine, and the ones from a year ago in Italy, (5 or 6 posts starting here),

rkpowers.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/mtk/

are ‘vacation’ photos.  I feel fortunate when 1 out of 25 or so is something that I want to keep. (Actually, I feel fortunate when I get 1 out of however many, that I love to look at over and over.)

 

 

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Being in ‘awesome’ places doesn’t necessarily translate into ‘awesome’ photos.

Some of these I like as photos and some I like merely as mementos of a wonderful trip, to rekindle the feeling I had at that moment.

 

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Were I shooting sailboats as an assignment, I would expect the luxury, the necessity, of being able to radio the captain with instructions to… ”tack to starboard 20 degrees”. Or, “…excellent…  Make another pass exactly like the last one and the light should be perfect by then…”, or even, “put on the yellow slicker and…toss the nets….not yet…not yet…NOW!”

 

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In other words, I would ‘work it’.

Having said that, my ‘assignment’ was to capture what I saw, as much as possible, with the conditions that were.   (Oh…and to eat as much lobster, scallops, clams, haddock, and wild blueberries as I could.)

 

And sometimes, even ‘working it’ brings results other than those planned, which will be shown in an upcoming post.  (Tentatively titled “Red Planet”)

As someone who has lived most of my life in a land-locked area, sailboats have always held a certain fascination for me.  I mean, you’re out there with seemingly endless water and you have to possess the knowledge and experience to catch and harness the wind to create motion, or to strike the sails before you’re blown off course by a squall that you can see approaching from miles away, and then have the skills to get back to port again.

Schooner Margaret Todd

And then there is the peace in knowing that you can do it all again and tomorrow has endless possibilities.

 

Abels Lobster Pound

Next up….a lighthouse or two.

 

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“Well I Never Been to…Maine…”

•September 24, 2018 • 3 Comments


 

 

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We just got back from a week in Maine…mtk…

 

(Apologies to Hoyt Axton and Three Dog Night for borrowing the title!)

Don’t Even Go There…!

•December 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

 This will be the last of the Tuscany posts…for this trip, anyway…other than a few that I keep finding that I evidently overlooked in the initial edit…

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After a week in Tuscany, we made our way back to Milan via Forte dei Marmi on the Mediterranean coast.

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Vicki had stayed here several years ago and wanted to see it again and share it.  What we didn’t really expect was that we would be guided to a jaw-dropping, seemingly untouched village 10 minutes away in the Apuan Alps.

 

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So, here’s what went down.  Vicki was trying to remember where she had visited a small, hillside ‘art colony’ of sorts, so we went in search of it.  Not seeming to be getting any closer to finding it, we stopped in a small ‘commune’ called Seravezza…not Cerveza…that’s another language and another story…  After trying to figure it out with the ‘tourist info’ people, we just decided to stop somewhere for lunch.  We found Ristorante Giardino Dei Medici, a very unassuming place, (and surprisingly open for business on a Monday)…what we would call a ‘Mom and Pop’ establishment here in Tennessee.  We soon got the impression that it was, wonderfully, NOT a regular tourist stop.  (Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were the first Americans who had eaten there in quite some time.)

Ristorante Giardino dei Medici

It, of course, was great!   ‘Pop’…(‘Mom’ was the waitress) came over to see how we were doing…”Come stai?”, and between my broken Italian and his limited English we established what we were looking for, although he didn’t know what it exactly was that we were looking for…well, we didn’t either, to be perfectly fair.  Then, and here’s where it became so endearing, he disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a map and a pencil.  He suggested that we drive about 10 minutes up into the mountains and visit a place called Pruno.

That’s what the post title is about.  I started to not even tell the name because I wanted to jealously guard it as ‘our’ little treasure…but, y’know…I like to share…BUT…if you buy a place there, we get first ‘dibs’ on visiting you!!!

 

Monte Forato with Cardoso

 

There are 4 little villages peeking out of these pictures; Cardosa, Orzale, Volegna, and Pruno.  (This makes me imagine how many other wonderful places there are in the world.)

 

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They all are situated under the Monte Forato (Holed Mountain), in the Alpi Apuane.  (The arch is there between the two peaks.) At the summer solstice the sun passes through the arch…well, it doesn’t pass through the arch… that would be a stretch…it is visible through the arch as it rises.

 

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Though it will be a bit unclear, I have ‘blown up’ the arch from the last picture to show a hiker inside it.

 

Monte Forato Hiker

 

As we were on the circuitous approach to Pruno, cautiously navigating the switchbacks, we passed the village of Volegno.  Several people had parked at the lower end of the village and it appeared that they were approaching the Sante Maria della Grazie for a wedding.  Nice destination!!!

 

 

Secret place

 

 

View of Volegno from Pruno

 

Volegno from Pruno

Ok, a few more…

 

Volegno

 

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The ‘halls’ of Pruno….

 

 

 

Not enough time to spend in this timeless place… though we WILL return…!!!