Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chasing a Five Year Old

This is Shannon, my friends Miriam and Dan's granddaughter. She is so adorable, she makes your heart melt.

She's wise far beyond her years. Talking with her is like talking with an adult - her speech is impeccable, and her language skills are amazing. She's quite serious in her discussions. She's definitely not your typical five year old.

Except in one category - she has non-stop energy. This kid never slows down. I chased her around the black berry patch the other day with my camera, hoping to get some good photos. She ran me around that patch four times!

She's so fast, I had a difficult time keeping up with her. She's not particularly good on focusing on a single task, normal for a five year old, so it was a challenge to keep up with her as she picked a berry here, then moved 10 feet to pick "better" berries, then backed up three feet because she had missed two "really big berries!"

So much for camera focus. I changed to Plan B - hope that she's distracted enough by berry picking that she'd stay in one spot for more than 2 seconds. She was very aware of the camera, and kept attempting to pose, which didn't work at all.

Of course, all this continual motion kept me hopping around. I was trying to focus and adjust for lighting, as she just did her normal five year old stuff. It wasn't too long before I realized I was probably only going to get a few good shots - if I was lucky.

And that's exactly how it turned out - I have lots of blurs (she moves SO fast!), and plenty of other unusable shots. Out of more than 50 shots, there might be five that are acceptable.

But we sure had fun picking berries . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Photo of the Day from Dreamstime - August 13, 2008

From my Dreamstime portfolio - garlic, garlic, garlic fresh at the local farmer's market.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Had a Great Time at Acadia National Park, Maine

We spent two days up in Acadia National Park, near Bar Harbor, Maine. Even though the weather wasn't good, we still enjoyed it - instead of a beautiful bright-and-sunny Chamber of Commerce day, we had rain and mist the whole time we were there - and we loved it.

It didn't stop the crowds. People were everywhere, crawling up and down the granite ledges at the shoreline, packing the visitor centers, bicycling up the long winding road to the top of Mt. Cadillac. (Wonder how many of them wished they had never started that bike tour?? It's a really long windy road with a very steep incline; many of the bikers we saw were in their 50s and showing some serious stress.)

We spent a few hours the first day just before dark up on Mt. Cadillac. No pretty sunset for us - just clouds and mist. It didn't matter - we had a great time. We returned the next day to the mountain and then a spin around the park. The photo above is from half-way up Cadillac during the middle of the day, and shows Eagle Lake with a mist in the mountains above. It was beautiful, despite the inclement weather.

That's Tom on the right, with camera and tripod, mugging for me. We spent quite a bit of time shooting, but the results were less than spectacular. In fact, few photos turned out acceptably, but it didn't matter - we still had a wonderful time.

We even did the dumb tourist thing and after dinner spent the evening in Bar Harbor. The town was packed, even though it was after 9 pm. The stores count on tourists for their sales, and all of them were open until 11 pm every night. We skipped most of the kitschy-merchandise shops - Bar Harbor tee shirts, refrigerator magnets and other cutesy stuff was everywhere, typical of a tourist town.

But there were several interesting art galleries open late, and we wandered through a few. One was a photography gallery owned by a woman who was just getting into the business, using her older Pentax film camera as her only camera. Her inventory was primarily local material - scenery, wildlife, etc - which was simply matted. Her prices were quite reasonable, running from $15 for a matted 5x7 to $25 for an 8x10. She also offered larger framed art photos at higher prices.

She sure had to sell a lot of photos to cover her overhead - rent in Bar Harbor is extremely expensive. And then there's insurance, employees, utilities, etc. Unfortunately, there were few customers in her shop, which was down a side street and not easily visible from the main street. She also had serious competition by other photographers' galleries just around the corner. Her business plan definitely needed some tweaking.

We were surprised she hadn't yet moved into digital photography, but she explained that she'd been using her Pentax for a long time and had a lot of investment in her lenses. She was hoping to buy a digital Pentax soon, planning to match it to her lenses.

We didn't last in Bar Harbor long - it was so commercial, and way too crowded. Fun experience for a very short period of time (we stayed the length of time it took to eat an ice cream cone!), but not a place we'd go back to soon. Acadia was the place for us, and we spent the majority of our time wandering both the shoreline and the mountains, sucking in good salt air and enjoying the mist. We even picked wild blueberries on Mt. Cadillac!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Acadia National Park

Today we're running up to Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. This will be the third attempt within the last 6 weeks - the first time the trip I'd planned with a friend didn't happen because I had a stroke, and the second time I'd hoped to go up with Tom when he came up to Maine to take care of me after my stroke, but I just wasn't quite up to it yet.

This time I'm feeling good enough to go, so Tom and I are just going for a short overnight trip. The weather isn't cooperating - it's rainy and cool - but I don't care. Acadia is a beautiful place to be in all kinds of weather, and I'm going with my best friend - what could be better than that??? :) b

Friday, August 01, 2008

Photo of the Day - August 1, 2008

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Maine  #1This is the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, in the little lobster fishing town of New Harbor, Maine.

Standing on a huge granite ledge above the edge of the ocean, the lighthouse is a working light with a more-than-hundred-year-old Fresnell lens that can be seen for miles. Inside the adjoining building is a lobster fishermen's museum, a wonderful place to learn about the life of a working professional lobsterman.

This photo (and other Maine photos) can be purchased from my portfolio on Dreamstime - go ahead and take a look!