Isle Au Haut takes some work and planning to get to. It is an island off the coast of Maine, one of the southernmost parts of Acadia National Park. It is visited by taking a ferry from the town of Stonington, ME. Not everyone will have the time or the resources to visit here in their lifetime, yet it is an unspoiled reminder of what this continent looked like to the first settlers arriving from Europe.
The effort in getting to Isle Au Haut brought to mind a comment my niece Paula Potocki wrote about my published Zion National Park photograph titled “Canyon Spring”:
Breathtaking!!! Thank you for sharing your talent once again, it is an honor. Most people will never get a chance to experience the wonders that are in our world. You are able to capture and share them so that others may explore the possibilities that are all around them. You are opening their eyes with your gift
It is a blessing to me to be able to share this beauty with those who, for whatever reason, cannot or will not get to and experience these places in person. If you know someone whose day would be brighter by viewing these images, or by having something beautiful from nature portrayed on their wall, please pass this along. It is an easy way to help people have hope, take in beauty, and perhaps be inspired to travel to these sights in their imagination, or in their physical future.
Thank you for viewing my work, for helping share this work with others, and for the many kind words of appreciation you have shared back to me.
“Stonington Harbor I” — Sunrise on Stonington Harbor, Maine
What am I doing climbing around between lobster traps and seaweed piles on the edges of Stonington Harbor on the coast of Maine?
This whole photography thing started out as a way to make pictures of my children, to capture their various physical forms in two dimensions as a record of where they (and I) had been as they quickly grew up. Then I began to notice the incredible physical forms on earth — mountains and canyons and waterfalls and vast deserts. Then it became simply a reason to get out alone and enjoy nature, to forget my self while wondering at all the variety of beauty and physical forms we live with.
But it is more than that. A puzzle, a game, a challenge to focus my mind and seeing. To see what can be beautiful in a rectangular frame. To look at it again later in my development studio and see the image shooting its light back at me.
It is also a way to bring joy to others. I know I don’t always hear from he hundreds of people who do enjoy my images. So many are so busy, and so bombarded by the day-to-day digital deluge of sights and sounds.
There is joy in feeding a hungry duck. Sometimes the duck is me — shooting and seeing the images shoot back again on a digital screen. Sometimes the duck is you, my sharing with you, you sharing with me.
As we get older, we need to stay connected to life, or the body will begin to decay and let go of it. I use photography to stay connected to life. And hopefully it helps me stay connected to you. During this season of Gratitude, I am blessed by your Light, my friend, and by the Joy of simply seeing and being a part of Life.
and while I observe, there is no observer, only a beauty almost like love.
For an instant, I am absent, myself and my problems, my anxieties, my troubles,
nothing but the wonder exists.
This poem is a word-painting of how I felt in the dance of capturing this photograph at sunset on Schoodic Point at Maine’s Acadia National Park. It had been a long day of driving, hiking, scouting locations. My daughter Helena and I had been to this spot earlier that day, in harsh, bright light. Then, the pinks in the granite were hidden by the sun’s sharp glare. But we got back for sunset. As the sun was dropping below the horizon, the eastern sky charged up its soft pink glow, blushing these granite rocks, staggering a cracked rugged pathway to heaven before us.
For several minutes as the sun was setting I quickly jumped from spot to spot, setting my tripod, arranging compositions in my camera’s viewfinder. You’d have thought me a mad scientist or a skittish mountain goat. But I knew the light was changing quickly, that each minute brought new shapes and colors into presence for my wondrous black box to record for later viewing and digital development. And in all of this, I was an extension of the camera, or, it was an extension of me? Like a dancer given a wondrous symphony to move to, I was glad I had practiced my steps. I moved from composition to composition, arranging the shapes and lens zoom, adjusting focus and exposure by feel. My fingers had learned where to poke and push, and my ears had learned to listen for the peeps and pops, confirming the camera’s syncopation with my artistic vision.
For that instant, my worries and troubles drop away, replaced by the joy and love before me. My gratitude is unspeakable. My self dissolves at the wonder.
This is the first published image from my recent trip to Utah. This photograph, titled “Canyon Spring”, shows one of the peaks of the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park. The river in the foreground is the Virgin River.
Mesa Arch Starburst (Canyonlands National Park, UT)
I’ll be in three of Utah’s magnificent National Parks next week — Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park — to experience and digitally capture more of this beautiful state’s natural wonders. If you like creating landscape photographs, I hope you will be able to join me next time. If you enjoy seeing landscape photographs of this area, I will be posting my best images from this trip in my Utah Gallery in a month or so.
I’ve replaced my faithful Nikon D60 (on sale now at Amazon) with a Nikon D5100 camera with full 1080p HD video, so expect a few minutes of video too! (although I don’t expect the landscape to be moving too much!)
I was demonstrating what HDR processing can do for an image during a class I was teaching yesterday at Saints Volodymyr & Olha Church in Chicago. I was delighted to see that the HDR development setting on an iPhone 4S camera does actually improve the image in the way High Dynamic Range image processing software is supposed to.
These images were taken inside the church, hand-held, no image enhancements other than the HDR setting on the iPhone. Usually if you expose for the inside of the church, the windows go all white. If you expose for the windows, the church interior goes all black. With the HDR setting, you see detail in both the church interior and the windows.
Here’s the image without HDR. See the white windows?
No HDR – White Windows
Here’s the image with HDR. Ahh! The windows have color and detail again!
With HDR – Colorful Windows
I’ll be posting more insights into the magical iPhone camera soon. Let me know if there’s a particular App or topic you’re curious about!