With the spring equinox around the corner, I wanted to pay tribute to the white winter we’ve been having before the last vestiges of snow leave us. It seems like most people here in Maine either love the snow or hate it. I’m one of those who jumps for joy. Sometimes literally! It’s beautiful for photography, and it allows me to have outdoor winter adventures in remote places. A few snowfalls we had this winter really transformed the landscape. On a couple of occasions the trees looked like they had been assaulted by an overzealous cake decorator. On these mornings, I made it a point to go for walks on wooded trails not far from our house. It was hard not to wander around with mouth agape in awe. And then there were the 31 inches (yes, THIRTY ONE) that fell over the course of two days in early February. That may have been the one time I said “enough already!” Winter adventure highlights included a ski trip with friends into the 100-Mile Wilderness and the awesome Little Lyford Pond Camps, snowshoe hikes up two peaks in the White Mountains, and numerous nordic ski outings in Maine and New Hampshire. Here are a selection of some of the sights I saw in my various travels. And with that, I may almost be ready to bid this most peaceful of seasons good-bye. Almost.
I’ve lived in Maine for nine years this month (not including my college years). I adore this state. The landscape, the extent of outdoor activities at my fingertips, the people and the food are all things that make me appreciate the quality of life here. And yet. You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you? Well, the thing is, this is not my home. Mainers will tell you you’re not a real Mainer unless you were born here, or if they’re being really hard core, if your parents and maybe even your grandparents were also born here. I was born on Long Island (New York, that is), but from the time I was four until I went away to college I lived in Sharon, Conn., a small town of about 3,000 in the northwest corner of the state, near both the New York and Massachusetts borders, an area also known as the Berkshire Hills. This countryside is my home. I can say that with certainty.
My parents still live in the house I grew up in, but between life obligations and a not insignificant drive, we don’t get there very often. More than a year passed between our most recent visits, largely due to our dog’s terminal illness. I feel an almost physical longing for this area when I have been away too long. When I get there, I want to spend as much time as possible outside, as if by being in the forests, fields and mountains and beside the rivers, streams and lakes of my childhood, I can soak up and store the experience until the next time when the batteries can be recharged. It is one of those rare places that has remained largely untouched by big box stores and hideous housing developments. It is still teeming with wildlife and plant life (my parents no longer have a bird feeder out due to the bear population). It is the place that instilled in me a lifelong love of the outdoor world. When people ask me what it’s near I tend to reply “nothing.” And it’s true. I think of it as removed from the rest of the world. I hope it will always be that way.
Below are some mementos from my recent outdoor expeditions in this extraordinarily beautiful place I’m lucky enough to think of as home. (Sorry, I got a little carried away with the long exposure water shots!)
As yesterday was the first day since last winter I’ve worn a hat all day (don’t worry, it’s okay to do crazy stuff like that here in Maine) and the occasional snowflake is gently floating through the air, I thought I’d better get some fall photos posted before the next season is officially upon us. In reviewing some recent food photos and then some snapshots from fall walks in the woods, I was immediately struck by some similarities. I could see many compelling correlations ranging from colors to textures to composition. There are a couple probable reasons for this. I suspect I am drawn to the same hues, surfaces and shapes no matter the subject, but it’s also possible that I draw inspiration from the things I see and photograph in the natural world and then subconsciously mimic those elements in more artificial settings. At least, I sort of hope that’s the case! Either way, I enjoyed the exercise of pairing these photos. And I hope you enjoy viewing them.
It’s a typical spring in Southern Maine, which is to say foggy, wet and chilly. But that’s okay. I’ve learned to concentrate on things I have control over. Or at least I’m trying to be more aware of not focusing on things I don’t have any control over! Plus, I love the eeriness of the fog. And all the moisture makes vegetation gorgeously green and promotes growth, as evidenced by Fishbowl Farm’s bounty at the farmers’ market last weekend.
As spring is a time for growth and renewal, it seems an appropriate season to launch my new website. I’m really excited about the extra large images and the ease of navigation, among other things. I can also update it easily, which will mean new work will be added regularly. Check it out and let me know what you think!
There were numerous reports this fall about foliage being less than spectacular. And it’s true. It was not a colorful year for many reasons, apparently, many of them sad. And yet. Well, I’ll be honest. I find myself a little irritated that leaf peepers expect outstanding beauty to be right in their line of vision as they fly by in their vehicles. With weather getting more and more erratic (an October snowstorm rages outside as I type), those seeking natural beauty may have to try a little harder. You might have to slow down. You may have to get up early. You may actually have to GET OUT OF YOUR CAR and GO FOR A WALK IN THE WOODS. Yes, I’m shouting. I’m sorry but you need to take a closer look. Beauty abounds. Here’s some of what I found while making just a small effort this fall…
Most years (with last year being a notable exception) springtime here in Maine does not mean the same thing as it does to much of the rest of the country. In early April, lakes are usually still partially frozen and typically there is some snow on the ground, if not an all out snowstorm at some point. By the end of the month, crocuses, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths are making a timid start. Lawns start to resume having a bit of green here and there, and trees are beginning to bud. As eager as we are to go outdoors in a single layer instead of six and slather on sunscreen, I still manage to find beauty in this season of damp days and moody skies. For the record, though, I would welcome a bit more brightness in May! Here are a few shots of the Maine landscape from the month of April.
The sun seemed to be wishing 2009 a fond farewell last Thursday. The snow that had been lightly falling throughout the day stopped just in time for the brilliant pinky orange orb in the sky to shine brightly as it descended below the powder-coated trees. In the hopes that the sky would be clear enough to capture the blue moon rising, I dashed from field to shore. A blanket of snow covered the rocky shoreline, but the sky was filled with milky blue clouds. Still, it was a breathtaking scene. By the following morning the blue moon’s high tide had washed much of the sugary topping away. It was a reminder to me to seize more opportunities to make images. Wait a few hours, vowing to capture it later, and the whole scene may be different. So get out there you (yes, I mean you!), and carpe that diem!