Archive for the ‘lake’ Tag

Jordan Pond and The Bubbles, Acadia, Maine   1 comment


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In the relatively small area that is Acadia National Park, beautiful scenes are everywhere. It’s also one of the nation’s most heavily visited parks, so people are everywhere, and most of them have cameras to capture their share of the scenery. And like most parks, there are certain areas where people are ‘funneled’ into one small section that reveals a highlight.

Such is the case with Jordan Pond and “The Bubbles”, those two small peaks across the water. What you don’t see in this picture are the hundreds of other visitors strolling along the carriageways and paths leading along the pond.

The views in this place are archetypal, and have been photographed probably millions of times. As such, it’s difficult to envision a new approach, a new angle or lighting that would present the subject in a unique way. Sometimes I wonder if that’s even possible without creating an abstract rendition.

We take the shot anyway, hoping to capture this particular scene, on this particular day, with those particular clouds. Perhaps get down low to see it from a worm’s eye view. Maybe add on a neutral-density filter to smooth out the water.

In the end, whether or not we come up with an image that is utterly unique or one that’s fairly commonplace, we can appreciate having been there that day, experiencing nature’s beauty as the light changes with the passing clouds, knowing that each of these moments IS a completely new and unique experience.

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Challenging Perspectives   10 comments


Challenging Perspectives

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“Perception is reality,” as the saying goes. I first heard that many years ago in a business environment. The context may be different now, but it’s still something that I ponder frequently.

We assume that the world ‘out there’ is exactly as we perceive it to be, solid and stable, but that is not generally the case. (Just ask Neo, from The Matrix.) Instead, our perceived ‘reality’ has to do with our own internal position, our perspective. There’s a good, digestible article on this from Scientific American Mind, Looks Can Deceive.

Photography can give us an excellent opportunity to challenge our notions about the world around us. While many people think that photography should only capture the world as-it-is, taking an image also presents an excellent opportunity to play around with our most basic assumptions. Some people might look at this image and say things like, “That’s just too weird.” Or, “That’s wrong.”

Is it?

Kids do this all the time. As a child, did you ever hang upside down on the monkey bars? (Are those death-trap monkey bars even still legal?) Did you ever lie on your back in bed and hang your head over the side? Perhaps it’s because the child hasn’t spent decades conditioning their thought processes to match what they perceive with their senses. At any moment children can pretend that they’re a pirate, a Jedi knight, a princess, or anything else that the mind can conjure up, and to their unconditioned minds it seems completely real.

We seem to lose that ability, that playfulness, as we get older.

As I was flipping through the images taken on our recent autumn trip, I ran across this set from Flagstaff Lake, one of my favorite places. I ran it through the usual steps, and when I saw the result, I thought, “Meh. Same as many others I’ve taken there.”

Then, in a fit of playfulness one night, I flipped the image. Bam! Perhaps it was my state of mind at the time, but it completely messed with my well-conditioned perspective of the place I think I know so well. Suddenly the image took on a new dimension and meaning, and I couldn’t neglect to publish it, even though it bears substantial similarity to other images.

Interestingly, I did the same thing on an image of an egret, in Masnavi. I sent that image off to the print lab for a client, and when the print came in, someone at the lab had flipped the image into what they thought was the ‘correct’ orientation! For my purposes, of course, this was a complete “mistake” and I received a re-print from the lab, with the “correct”… no, wait… “incorrect” orientation.

Hell, now I’m confused.

That’s the point.

We’re free to challenge our most basic assumptions. We’re free to play around with the reality that’s presented to us. We can change things by simply altering our perspective a bit.

Why don’t we do that more often?

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Moonrise Over Flagstaff Lake, Maine   3 comments


Moonrise Over Flagstaff Lake, Maine

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“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov

This particular location just keeps cranking out the beauty. Taken from our campsite late on a September evening, 2012.

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A House Underwater   7 comments


A House Underwater
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In northern Maine, far beyond the tourist-laden coast and southern cities, is a place called Grand Lake Stream, renowned for its trout fishing. While it’s fairly remote and not at all built up, people come from all around the world to fish here.

Too bad we don’t fish.

But, we did have a couple of great nights at a local ‘camp’, staying in a waterside cottage. We spent the days wandering around, taking in the local sights. I’ve always loved the concept of boathouses, especially older ones such as these, and they take me back to some of my earliest memories of New England.

Reflections: No Ordinary Moments   24 comments


A serene view of Moosehead Lake, Maine, with mountains in background.

No Ordinary Moments

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In the midst of all that is going on in the world, I zigzag a path between wanting to stay fully informed and yet wanting to step back to a more peaceful time and place. It’s as though the news of the day — whatever it is today — overwhelms the senses. People are unemployed, the economy is tanking, China might acquire the U.S., we’re living in a climate of fear, Trump’s hair moved, governments are falling, Obama greases Osama, Peak Oil has come and gone although we have no shortage if we just scrape it off our shores… The list is endless.

I think it’s a natural, human inclination to retreat from this type of onslaught. The problem is that although we would seek a serene center in our lives, we have a strong desire to know what will happen in the future and yet we pattern our time based on premises from the past. There’s a tendency to either gather information so that we (think we) know what will happen, or to run back to what is known and comfortable, even if it wasn’t perfect.

Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed by ‘current events’, I like to go back through my library of images to find something more calm and serene. (See image above.) One can feel righteous about it when seeking a balance in life. In doing so today, though, it struck me: Even that retreat is an avoidance of what is happening right now.

“There is never nothing going on. There are no ordinary moments.” — Dan Millman

Every moment of experience is all that we really are. Sometimes the experience is placid, at other times chaotic. Either way, it’s our experience, and surely that should not be avoided. While we might cringe at the thought of some possible future event, or reminisce fondly about the perfect campsite on a remote lake, doing so pulls us away from whatever is happening now, and it is only our resistance to what is happening that causes discomfort.

Millman also said, “The world’s a puzzle; no need to make sense of it.”

The key is to stay awake to what is happening, to watch, and to experience it fully. Any resistance to that awareness — any drifting to the future or to the past — creates suffering.

Today, I needed a reminder of that, so I wrote this.  Thank you for reading it.

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Signs Over Moosehead Lake   1 comment


Dramatic clouds and sunset over Moosehead Lake in northern Maine, from Lily Bay State Park.

Click on the image above to see it larger in a new window on my Waterscapes Gallery.

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When on an extended camping trip, one’s next move is usually determined by the weather. In this case in northern Maine, with no internet access or NOAA weather radio reception, we weren’t sure whether or not to stay another day.

The sunset told us to stick around a while… which we did.

This was taken during a superior sunset from Dunn Point at Lily Bay State Park, on Moosehead Lake, northern Maine. During that time, we were visited by ducks, beavers, loons, and one very curious red fox.

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For this image, I combined outputs from two different HDR processing programs, HDR Efex Pro from NIK Software, and Photomatix Pro 4. HDR Efex Pro did some wonderful things for the water and mountains, but Photomatix Pro brought out the drama in the sky.  Using these two outputs, along with the shadowmapping process (see tutorial section), I created a decent composite. A few adjustments were made to desat the sky, smooth out the water a bit, and Topaz Detail and Topaz Adjust were used to bring out some of the finely structured, subtle details here and there.

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