near Brooklin, ME

Octber 14, 2011

Every year we plan a trip to Maine, and many years we actually get there.  Barb isn't fond of the 12-hour-each-way drive so I'm usually accompanied by one or more of my friends --Jim Pattison being the most frequent flyer.  Sometimes as many as five of us go.  Every trip has been in October, and each one has been a blast.

The Maine attraction is not its gorgeous fall colors or its magnificent photo ops; it's my cousin Stubdude and his wife Juno --at least that's my biggest reason for the journey.  That is, up until this year.  This time my daughter Celeste came along, and it was the best time ever.  Celeste is an artist at heart with a wonderful creative spirit, and she wanted to experience some of the thrill of being around Juno, an artist of many media.  I was looking forward to her experiencing the nature of the place, especially the rolling granite boulders covered in seaweed on the beach.

June Kellogg is a highly respected artist who lives in Brooklin, Maine.  Her studio is right next to their home, which is toward the end of Naskeag Point, a most beautiful setting surrounded by the magical Maine Coast.  Stubdude, aka James K. Straub, is a reporter for a newspaper in Ellsworth, and an especially close first cousin.  His mom and my mom were sisters AND his dad and my dad were brothers.  Pretty cool, huh? 

This, our first full day, we did not have the pleasure of June's company.  Juno teaches others the arts.  Well, I'd say she doesn't teach so much as she brings out the natural creativity that indwells each of her students.  That's the best way to teach.

So this day we took Stubdude to his dentist appointment in Stonington where Juno also has a gallery, although it was closed this late in the season.  Celeste and I ate in a great little spot called Lily's Cafe, while Stub got his deep cleaning, after which he wasn't able to eat.  After a tour of the island, a peek into Juno's gallery, and visits to those galleries still open, we headed back to Brooklin.  In nearly every gallery Celeste and I visited that day we heard someone ask, "Do you have any June Kelloggs?" 

When we got back to the house we quickly grabbed our gear and headed across the street to the beach.  It was close to noon and high tide was all around us.  It comes in so high there that there are places along the coast where we couldn't walk.  So much for the boulder walk.

THE PHOTOS:  Number 2 shows the walk to the beach.  It was a very overcast day, but the excitement was still there.  At least for me there was past experience to draw from, but it seemed Celeste was enthralled with the newness and the possibilities.  In #13 you can see her walking into the fog, a brave girl who loves the Stephen King feel of the moment.  The orchid shots, starting at #26, were taken inside Stub's kitchen, and you can sort of see him in the background of number 31.  35 and 36 show Juno's studio in the background.  The Budda is on the path to her door.

near Brooklin, ME

Octber 15, 2011

This was our day.  Gorgeous sunlight and Juno would be our guide to other galleries and antique shops in Blue Hill, and I knew it was going to end with one of Juno's famous lobsta dinners.  She's a brilliant host and made plans that both accommodated Celeste's desire to experience the galleries and shops and my passion for the photo ops. 

Juno brought her camera to work on projects she was always working out in her mind,  on paper and in the studio.  Celeste was having trouble with her camera and was delighted to borrow my PEN.  We took the scenic route to Blue Hill.  Actually, if you're not blind and travel with your eyes open, every route is scenic, but this one kept us closer to the shore and some strategic pullouts.  We'd all hop out of the car and scurry off in the direction of our muse, often together, often apart, and we'd return to the car with smiles on our faces and treasures on our memory cards. 

THE PHOTOS:  The first 17 photos were taken across the street from our guests' home.  You'll see the Guinness yacht in many of the photos along the coast toward Blue Hill.  It was a very windy day and I tried capturing the wind in a few, like #40 and #49.  Photos 46 through 60 were all taken at Flye Point.  Juno can be seen in the last three.

near Brooklin, ME

Octber 16, 2011

This, our last day, was a Sunday and we had to attend religious services in the house which centered around The Giants game.  Stubdude & I have been Giants fans since our youth largely because of my neighbor Dick Cross (another story).  This day, however, he was betting against them.  Well, he said he was betting on them to win by three.  The spread was 3.5 and he got his win/win with a 27-24 victory over Buffalo. 

THE PHOTOS:  After the celebration, Juno, Celeste and I headed for Naskaeg point, less than a mile down the peninsula.  You can see my phello photogs in several photos.  I included all three alternate takes of 5, 6 & 7, which span 5 seconds of time, to remind me of how cool they look when put in an animated sequence.  When I tripped the shutter on #18 I felt I captured my best shot of the trip.  On #42 I tried using a trick I learned from my talented friend, Mike Thomas, who, by example, showed me how to sometimes use flare to my advantage by placing it on a foreground subject that could use a boost of light.  In this case the near boulder was the target.  Numbers 48 & 49 are both 3-exposure HDRs but they were taken blind.  By that I mean I knew there was a cool photo there but there was a tall row of bushes between us.  I had to guess and hold the tripod in the air while pushing the remote release. 

What a wonderful trip it's been. 

near Falls Village, CT

Octber 24, 2011

Dave Cohen & I planned a trip to visit our friend Richard Neff in Connecticut.  We, of course, brought our camera gear hoping for the best.  Well, the best was visiting with Richard.  He’s the kitchen king at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center.  The weather while we were there was not conducive to good photography, but the time spent with The Saw Man and Dave was priceless.  Dave & I jam every week with a large group of local musicians, and whenever Richard is in the area he’ll join us.  Richard also plays guitar but there are usually enough of those at each jam so he brings his saw.  No kidding, man, you’ve never heard a Grateful Dead jam until you’ve heard one with a saw.  Richard is by far the best sawman I’ve ever heard play. 

THE PHOTOS:   The photos from the day are separated into two galleries, one with photos from in and around the retreat center, and the second one includes photos from Kent Falls State Park.  The Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center is a wonderful place and this was such a perfect time of year to be there, but unfortunately the uncomplimentary light (and probably my lack of craftsmanship and inability to connect with Creativity) led to a poor representation of the beauty.  You gotta love that double-decker bus in #s 3 & 5.  The cat in #5 that seems intent on my presence only looked at me for that three-tenths of a second.  Otherwise he was about his business, and it wasn't all about catching mice; he (or she) genuinely seemed so connected with the nature around him that he carried a sense of respect and awe.  Are cats capable of that?  We don't know.  We can study the physiology of the cat's processes and determine suggestions to the answer, but other creatures' sense of respect and awe may be something of another language, as alien to our studies as the new life form based on arsenic that NASA discovered near Mono Lake this year.  But wait... this is supposed to be about THE PHOTOS. 

Dave got a good portrait of Richard while I was focusing on Dave's hat and camera bag (#41).  Later in the day, after a return to the retreat for a few more photos and for Richard to get caught up on his produce order, we went to  Kent Falls State Park, which for Dave & me was on our way home. Kent Falls  is a great place to just hang out and feel it, but we were in a hurry to get back.  Dave and his wife Melba were getting a new rescue dog that night if we could make it back in time.  It's a sheltie named Shelly and I haven't met her yet.  Dave & Richard can be seen in photos 17 & 23.  Since the sky wasn't into it that day I tried to keep it our of it --out of the photos, that is.  Yet we missed it and would like to return when the light is right.

It was a great trip,  and Dave & I managed to pass the Sobriety Checkpoint test on the way home.  Unfortunately, in talking with Richard, it might be awhile before we get to jam with the Sawman again.   He's a busy man, and he's in love.