For New Englanders the sea is paramount and there is no balm to the soul more curative then a pilgrimage to the ocean. Some sail upon it, while others merely gaze. It is as Herman Melville said in his great magnum opus “Moby Dick“:
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
This past week I took a stay-cation and a day’s trip to the Maine coast, in search of both water and lobster, of course, was a necessity. Needless-to-say camera was in hand. Atlantic Ocean achieved! I am still working on my photographs from that trip. But, I thought that I would share a few of them here.
The first Figure 1 is the quintessential Maine coast postcard. It is of Nubble Light House in York, ME. I paused for a while there, setting up my camera on its monopod and carefully framing pictures, before climbing along the rocks for the next location. After loading my gear back in the car, I decided that I would take a shot with my IPhone; so that I could text it to my desk-bound friends. The only problem with the IPhone is that it is very wide angle, necessitating more than a bit of zoom in, which is digital, meaning considerable loss of resolution. When I got home I played with the image that compositionally was most like the IPhone picture and to my surprise the heads of two tourists adorned the lower right and could not be cropped out without a serious loss of balance – so much for careful framing. Figure 1 is the IPhone image, and you can just make out the pixelation as noise in the sky.
We had stopped for lunch at the new “When Pigs Fly Pizzeria” off Route 1 in Kittery, ME. This is a wonderful place to have great food and become separated from your money. Had the nicest waitress, named Nell. In walking around their gardens after lunch, I found some interesting antique granite blocks there and took several pictures, two of which are are Figures 2 and 3. Figure 2 is a study of a white flower that I placed on top of one of the blocks and which I hoped would bring out the white highlights of the granite and would create an ambiguity as to what story was being told. Figure 3 is a study of the patterns of mineral veins along the side of one of the blocks.
These stone pictures were taken under a tree, which provided a lot of shade and softened the contrast. In raw format it also created a strong blue tone. As I always find with black and white images of stone, there is an ambiguity as to what toning works best. Unlike the marble images that I took last May in Dorset Quarry, VT, where I chose cold toning, here I felt that a subtle warm sepia tone worked best for me.
As for the technicalities, both of these images were taken using a monopod with my EF-70-200 f/4L USM Canon lens at ISO 400 with -1 compensation in aperture priority mode. Figure 2 is 1/500 s at f/7.1 at 70 mm. Figure 3 is 1/320 s at f/10.0 at 91 mm.