March 29, 2012

HDR Photography

I've recently been experimenting with my Canon T3 in an attempt to grow as a photographer. Most nature photographers I respect utilize High Dynamic Range photography in their portfolios. Typically at least three photos are taken, using a tripod, at different exposures. One is overexposed (bright), one underexposed (dark) and one taken at normal exposure. Merging the photo series into one image will combine the best attributes of each. What would otherwise result in overexposed skies or an  underexposed ground form into a fascinating and vibrant image.

Note: I'm admittedly not an expert on these techniques, but am learning and enjoy trying something new. Tips? Feel free to e-mail me. I've been tending to gravitate towards photos involving water due to the extra colors produced, but am looking to travel inland now that the sun is beginning to come out. 

Bright blues on calm waters result in a mirrored image.

The oldest lighthouse in Maine reaching towards a clouded ceiling.

Awaiting summer and dipping her hull into blue waters.

Lobster pots at low tide on a Portland, ME fishing pier.

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March 27, 2012

Fresh Powder

I recently returned home after a long weekend in the woods of Northern Maine. Time spent with family makes me wish I still resided closer to my roots. Growing up near the Canadian border meant a few things as a kid. First, at 18 we were able to cross the border to drink legally in Canadian bars. Second, weekends were spent on four-wheelers spinning up soft summer mud and hunting partridge on remote logging roads. Lastly, life was, and still is, more simple in the "top half" of the state. Gardens line backyards, deer and moose are daily sightings, and friends gathering around bonfires is a weekly tradition.

Weather-beaten barns stand in two-foot drifts of snow.

Blending in with the tree line, I nearly missed this camper. I doubled back for a snapshot. Winter camping at it's finest.

We pull over to park and take Casco walking through some of the deeper powder. This is the best exercise for a slightly overweight chocolate lab.

Blockhouse fort which style dates back to 1849. One room school houses and railroad museums can be found in nearly every town. All serve as a reminder of first settlements and wild expanses of backwoods.

Manual conveyor to move hay bails in or out of the old farm barn.

There is pure beauty in a woodsline stricken with fresh snow. This recent snowfall makes for perfect snowball fights. We all need to be kids again, if only from time to time.
A rusted plow truck and a few rows of chopped wood remain from fall.
White birch and the shadows created by an Easternly sun.

A true two-tree treehouse.
Doors for trucks and tractors.

Fresh snow falls upon a winter project build. Good day for a heavy wool jacket, perhaps the Double Mackinaw Cruiser.

Logs headed to the mill, surely to become yet another new barn in the country side.


March 25, 2012

Woolrich Declination Hoodie

The good folks at Woolrich were kind enough to send out their new Declination Hoodie. In return, I was kind enough to put it through a hellish weekend of camping in the rugged mountains of New Hampshire. Verdict: You'll be seeing me wear the Declination Hoodie a lot this year.

The weather outlook showed rain clouds and a high chance of precipitation for Saturday evening. There was an obvious need to stay dry and warm as temperatures would fall slightly below freezing overnight. I decided this would be the perfect test. Ripping the new garment from its sealed plastic wrap, I stuffed it into my duffle bag. 

Impressions: The hoodie looks great. It's surprisingly soft and well built with heritage leather details. This isn't the collegiate hoodie you bought in the bookstore as a freshman. The hood's interior is accented in plaid and the left shoulder contains an extra pocket for essentials - this weekend that would be matches. The kangaroo front pocket is accessible from the left or right, but also opens from the top. It's three pockets in one - very convenient. 

It rained, as expected, Saturday night. As luck would have it, the rain continued until the moment I packed my tent into the car Sunday morning. I stayed completely dry while the water formed into beads and ran off, which is odd as the description doesn't even mention being water-resistant. I suppose this is another case of under-promising and over-delivering.  I even looked presentable enough, after a long weekend of hiking and starting fires, to stop in town for breakfast on our way home. While waiting in line, a late-season skier even asked where I bought it - another new Woolrich fan.

Buy yours here: Declination Hoodie. Order this in the same size you would a button-up shirt, as it's cut to be slightly roomy. Think of this as a great looking "light jacket alternative" by a great American company. As seems to be the case with Woolrich - you'll get your money's worth.

March 22, 2012

Sinking & Melting

Below is a culmination of shots taken over the past few weeks. Temperatures have warmed and snow is an after-thought. Short-sleeves are rather comfortable in the evenings and the ice fishing gear is packed in the back of the closet. My first winter in Southern Maine has been a good one. 

Now folks, it's time to dig out the tent and sleeping bags, hit a country road and find spots to set up camp. It's officially spring and I'm looking forward to spending quality time outdoors. I'll be sure to share my prime adventures.

One of the neatest trees I've seen on my commute, branching out in every direction.

Camp // The sun shines strongly on a leaf. It slowly melts into the ice.

Home of a true American.

Weekend activities include trips to the rifle range and late season fishing trips.

Snow covered car lot taken days before the last of our snow melted.

Fishing warmth.

Last trip to a friend's ice shack for the year.

Reading helps pass any Sunday afternoon // A pink "sinker" used to test water depth on my plaid shirt.

A true "country-man's" dream shack.

Unfortunately, ice begins melting quickly near a spring hole. This gentleman is sinking.

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March 18, 2012

Part 2 of 2: Boat Trip

Waking early Sunday, I step lazily out of bed to begin breakfast. Slowly sauntering about a strange kitchen in a pale morning light I find coffee and an antique percolator. A great cup of coffee is a precursor to every great day. Today will be no different.

I pull the curtain, above the sink, to one side. It’s apparent the island has yet to wake up. The cottage sits opposite a quiet road to the ocean. Everything is as still as a painting with exception of three robins on a birch branch in the front yard. I sip my coffee,entranced by the panoramic view.

Before long the aroma of frying bacon lingers from the cast iron pan to the loft bedrooms and others join in for breakfast. Chatter centers around renting bicycles for an afternoon island tour. With full stomachs, we toss our boots on, let the screen door slam behind us, and set out for our next adventure.

Moored fishing vessel.

Forts on a neighboring island.

An iconic Land Rover 110.

Cottage attire.


Point. Throw ball. Retrieve. Repeat.

Vehicle inspections aren't required and that's evident.

Ball thrower.

All paths lead home.

Another seasonably warm evening of colorful sunsets in what both tourists and residents would call heaven.