Sea Blue Lens


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Winter’s Arrived

It felt like winter finally arrived on Friday, when we got almost ten inches of snow.

IMG_8804Snow Day Afternoon

One of the rules at my apartment building is that we must move our vehicles out of the parking lot by 8 a.m. on the day after a snowstorm, so the lot can be plowed. Saturday morning dawned: it was 7 degrees at 7 a.m. I filled my travel mug with hot coffee and headed out at 7:30 to do some shopping while I waited for the all-clear to go back into the lot.

The sky was blue, every twig was white, the air was crystalline. Do I want to spend this glorious morning at Walmart? No, I do not. Change of plan — let’s take the scenic route instead.

First, Laurel Hill. Is it strange that I love hanging out at this cemetery? It is always so beautiful and peaceful there, no matter the season. Yesterday was no exception. The only sounds were a faint hum from distant traffic, and the songs of a few birds who sounded as happy to be out as I was.

IMG_8810Into the Light

IMG_8816Where Daffodils Bloom

You may remember seeing photos of this view in the springtime, when thousands of blooming daffodils tumble down the hill almost to the water’s edge. The snowy hillside and icy river were just as stunning a sight.

IMG_8825Luminous

IMG_8820Etchings

RTFT7905Victorian Lace

CWPC1528

The angel-messenger waved goodbye as I drove on to see what was happening at the beach.

First, to Camp Ellis. Even after fifteen winters in Maine, I’m still enough of a California girl that a snow-covered beach feels like a very unnatural natural phenomenon. But isn’t it pretty?

EOSG7951

IUCD9428

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And on to Ocean Park, my favorite beach for walking. I was not the first, but I did have the beach to myself.

IMG_8849All Mine

ECZW0145Treasure Hunting

GHGC4871Sky Dancing

FCCB3981Up “The Creek”

PATD9302Sea Wall

EGUZ1585Blocked

The pathway to my “secret beach” was inaccessible, so I circled back to my car and that mug of coffee. By that time my fingers and toes were numb and the warmth of a store didn’t sound like such a bad idea. Off to do those errands!

Side note: While I wasn’t paying attention, WordPress has gone and changed everything, and I don’t like it one bit! It looks like they’ve tried to simplify things, but to me it feels more complicated than before. I can’t see half of what I’m doing, categories and tags have moved to the opposite side of the screen, and my sidebar has disappeared completely from the posting window. It’s much harder to format photos the way I want them. I feel like I’m starting from scratch with a completely new blog host. I’ll get used to it, but meanwhile, I’m not happy. And to think, I’ve been telling everyone lately how much I’ve always enjoyed blogging on WordPress…. Okay, rant over. Sorry about that!

 


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Out and About

I don’t like cold weather. I often think about going out, but when the thermometer registers below zero Fahrenheit, it’s really hard to get motivated to get outside and play. Nevertheless, inspired by Sarah’s Wanderlust Wednesdays post yesterday, I bundled up and ventured out to my favorite beach.

Oh, the difference a few months makes! In June, July, and August, the sand is covered with beach umbrellas, blankets, chairs, towels, and (of course) people. Hundreds of them. The only thing on the sand yesterday were shells left behind by the last high tide. I only saw one other person walking on the beach. The little village center was a veritable ghost town.

IMG_6945Dessert, Deserted

IMG_6941Apparition

IMG_6937Closed for the Season

IMG_6836Bright Spot

IMG_6837Summer Dreams

IMG_6866My Rocks

IMG_6859Goosefare Brook, High Tide

IMG_6862Where Waters Meet

When I got to this point, where the brook empties into the Atlantic, instead of turning back and retracing my steps along the beach as I usually do, I followed a path around the little bluff below to circle back along the road to my car.

IMG_6869Windswept

IMG_6870Future Sea Glass?

Beyond Wabi-sabiBeyond Wabi-sabi

Along the way I made a most surprising discovery! I found a short trail that led to a tiny, hidden beach I never knew existed.

IMG_6897Tucked Away

IMG_6899A Secret Place

IMG_6906Tranquility

I sat here in the quiet, feeling thankful for having found this beautiful place, until my hands and feet turned numb with cold.

IMG_6915Frozen

And then I went home . . .

DSC_6393Home Comforts

. . . thankful for this place, too, but so glad I went out. I plan to do it a lot more often.


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Photo-Heart Connection: November 2013

OceanParkHomecoming

 I arrived back in Maine a week into November, and my household goods were delivered by moving van about 10 days later. I spent the next several days trying to bring order out of the chaos that was my immediate universe. The weather was cold, and a nasty storm was predicted. It seemed good to stay indoors.

Then…instead of that expected nasty storm…we got a day of sunshine and a high temperature in the mid-60s. Enough with the unpacking, already. I threw on a light jacket, put my phone in my pocket, and headed out to pay my first visit to “my” beach since my return.

Oh, my friends, it was glorious! The water was a deep blue-green, the breeze was gentle, and the sun so warm I took my jacket off and tied it around my waist. There were only a few people out — it was midafternoon on a weekday, after all — most of them accompanied by their dogs. It was the kind of day when strangers greet each other in passing with joyful grins and lighthearted comments, exulting in sharing such an unexpected blessing.

One woman, walking a bouncy small dog on a long leash, asked, “Did I sleep through winter?” Then, before I could respond, she said exactly what I was thinking:

         “What a gift!”

Welcome home to the sea, Sea Blue Lens.

That’s my Photo-Heart Connection for November. Come check out the linkup at Kat Eye Studio.


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About the Equipment

Columbus Day Weekend, Ocean Park, Maine

In my last post, I said, “Sometimes it is about the equipment.” One of the direct outcomes of the Find Your Eye classes I’ve been taking is that I have just purchased my first digital SLR.

Just to cut to the chase, I’d like to say…Whoo hoo!!!

A little history

My first SLR was a hand-me-down Nikkormat. In the mid-70’s I bought a Pentax ME, which I adored for its compact size that fit my hands and my style perfectly. By the end of the 80’s, some vision changes meant that I was missing a lot of shots because I couldn’t focus properly, so I bought a Nikon N8008 autofocus SLR. It was an awesome camera, and I still have it, though I haven’t used it in at least ten years.

In the late 90’s, I discovered the compact, autofocus point-and-shoot. The sweet little Minolta I got was small enough to slip into my purse, and took brilliant photos. The bag full of heavy Nikon equipment slipped to the back of the closet, while the little Minolta went to England with me three times. (I’ll be happy to show you my picture of Her Majesty!)

In 2003, I discovered the delights of digital with a tiny Canon Digital Elph. What an amazing camera! It took great photos in almost any light, and it had an actual viewfinder along with its little LCD screen. I wore it out — one sad day it simply would no longer record images.

Next came a Canon Powershot S2 IS. I loved the 10X optical zoom and other features, and it, too, had a viewfinder as well as a swiveling LCD screen. But it was too bulky and heavy to slip into a purse. To fulfill that need, last January I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7. Wow! Leica lens, 25mm wide angle, 12X zoom…all in a camera about the size of a pack of cigarettes (not that I’ve ever carried around packs of cigarettes, but you know what I mean).

The Panasonic is the camera I’ve been using for the photo assignments for these Find Your Eye classes. I love the size and capabilities of that camera. But there were times when I became very frustrated because I simply couldn’t make it do what I wanted it to. I couldn’t control depth of field because the apertures are so limited. Many photos were very contrasty, with bright areas blowing out even if I deliberately underexposed the image.

Worst of all, in common with the latest generation of compact digital cameras, it has no viewfinder, only an LCD screen. The LCD is large and very bright and works just great in low light situations. But since I do most of my photography outdoors in bright sunlight, I was often literally working blind, having to just guess if my subject was where I wanted it in the frame, and if the camera was focused on the right target.

The happy ending to this long story

I did some research and, to make a long story short, decided on a Nikon D5100 with 18-55mm zoom lens. I got it just before my vacation, and if you can believe it, decided NOT to take it with me. I was traveling light. This past weekend, we had a glorious burst of Indian Summer, and I finally got into the field with my new baby. I am in love! I’d forgotten how wonderful it is to use a truly fine camera. Unfortunately, I’ve also forgotten much that I used to know about the technical side of photography with an SLR! So far I’m still on Auto, but we’re slowly getting acquainted.

Sunday, I took the Nikon and the Panasonic to the beach and took some identical shots with both, just to see how the images would differ. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I am more than pleased with the results. The Nikon images are richer in color, with more subtle gradations in tone, and much smoother and finer in detail. Did I mention that I’m in love with my new camera?

I was trying to explain the difference to my sister, who is not a photographer, telling her that I didn’t know what I had been missing. I knew she “got it” when she likened it to a person with poor eyesight getting their first pair of glasses, something we both know well. Yes! That’s exactly it. The world looks a lot different through my new lens.

Here’s a little sample, SOOC (except for a little cropping in the side-by-side):

Left: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7. Right: Nikon D5100

Taken with Lumix DMC-ZS7

Taken with Nikon D5100

The fine print

I want to emphasize that nowhere in her wonderful blog or her classes does Kat encourage her students to run out and invest in expensive cameras or any other equipment. In fact, she emphasizes that it’s not about your camera, and that whatever camera you have right now will work just fine. As we’ve all heard many times before, it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer who makes the image. Just like it’s not the paint, but the painter who produces the masterpiece.

I’ve learned a lot using the camera I had, and I’ll continue to use that camera. But one of the things I’ve gotten from this class is a desire, and a commitment to myself, to do more with my photography — not in the sense of going pro or any such thing, but simply for my own pleasure and satisfaction. For me, it reached the point where it really was about the equipment.

I am so ready for this.