Sunday, January 29, 2017

Portland Head Light

We bravely booked a mid-winter - definitely off-season - visit to Portland, Maine, foodie capital of the country it seems. They have over 300 restaurants, which is more restaurants per capita than any other US city, or so we were told. The food did not disappoint us. As an example, beyond the fresh seafood ubiquitously available, we had duck fat poutine fries for lunch at the fabulous Duck Fat restaurant. Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the food, so none to share here.

The weather was downright awful the first day, with sleet and freezing rain all day. We trudged around downtown Portland attempting to visit several art galleries, only to find that art galleries like to close during bad weather. All except the tattoo parlor/gallery, for which I also have no blog worthy photos. The following day, the weather was infinitely better. Actual sunshine, and no precipitation, after the morning drizzle subsided. This is the day a local resident dining beside us at Duck Fat suggested we visit Portland Head Light. Thank you, thank you, for that excellent suggestion! Here I found some worthwhile photo fodder. Portland Head Light / Fort Williams Park is in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Neither Deb nor I had ever been there. We were told it may the most photographed lighthouse in the country. Set on rocky cliffs, it is a classic Maine coastal setting. We experienced breathtaking views, with strong powerful waves, since the prior day's storm was still affecting the surf.

Enjoy my captures below!

We start with a somewhat hazy coastal view looking southerly from the light house.

Late Day Surf

While the lighthouse attached house/building was very clean and attractive looking, we actually expected something more run down and old-looking, which we mistakenly thought was more common among picturesque lighthouses. There's a museum inside, but this wasn't open when we were there. It seems a substantial abode compared to what most lighthouses have to offer.

Portland Head Light

To give some perspective, here's a wide angle view looking straight out to the ocean. Along with the disappearing ocean liner (which was quite huge, when it passed near us a few minutes before this shot), you'll see another lighthouse towards the left side of the horizon, quite some distance out. A bit of Google searching tells me this is the Ram Island Ledge Light Station. Using the Google Maps measure distance tool, one can calculate that the light house is 1.18 miles away from Portland Head Light.

Looking Slightly North of East

Here's a closer look at Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse, taken with the Oly 300mm (600mm eq.) zoom at 300mm, focused on infinity. I'm pleased with the quality of this given that the lighthouse is 1.2 miles away. The ocean looks rather menacing(?) to me, and I'm glad I wasn't out there clinging to this thing trying not to drown. Many ships have sunk due to hitting the ledge rock in this part of Casco Bay.
Ram Island Ledge Light

Here I'm experimenting with a slower shutter speed to see some spray/splash in a different way. I didn't have a neutral density filter with me, so I wasn't able to hold the exposure for longer than 1/10 second (at f/22) without capturing too much light, but the effect is still there.

Smooth Spray


Spray higher than a lighthouse?
Crash Boom Bah

Golden Rock

A short distance north along the walk from Portland Head Light lies a small cove and beach. Deb loved the late sunlight shining through the surf, along with a water streaking effect on the back side of each wave, as did I.

Translucent Surf

Wet Beach Rocks

Wave Level View

The next two photos show beach rocks taken within full shade and with late afternoon high contrast sun, respectively.

Beach Rocks Pose For a Shot

Late Sun Beach Rocks

Sunset Textures

Here Deb did not know she was posing for my shot.

Deb Surveys the Ocean

The Fresnel lens in Portland Head Light was dutifully rotating to show ships the shoreline. I took a burst of high speed shots to pick out the one I present here, naturally the shot with the light facing directly towards me. If I had an official poster shot of Portland Head Light, this might be it.

Maine Beacon

Symphony in Silhouette

Sunset Silhouette

Sunset Light

Fence and Light at Sunset

All photos © 2017, all rights reserved.  Contact me for licensing or to order prints.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Powdered Sugar

We woke up this morning to a delightful dusting of snow outside. I decided it looked like powdered sugar had coated everything. What do you think?

All photos taken with the Oly 75-300mm, handheld.

This rock sculpture is classic Deb.

Woman With Child
1/100 sec at f6.4, ISO 1600, 234mm

Garden Path
1/320 sec at f5.6, ISO 1250, 150mm

Backyard Buddha
1/100 at f4.8, ISO 1600, 75mm

Here's a shot of the Buddha from another angle. Check out that ear!

Not Dandruff
1/100 at f5.0, ISO 1600, 75mm

All photos © 2017, all rights reserved.  Contact me for licensing or to order prints.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Backyard Raptor

On a recent morning, staring out a back window, Deb discovered a raptor perched on a nearby tree consuming "breakfast", consisting of a small bird. While I didn't take any photos of the "eating" event itself, the raptor did decide to perch for a while afterwards. During this time, I snapped some photos through the glass of a closed window. Through-the-window pictures are often a bit hazy, but I tried to salvage them as best I could with a bit of post-processing. We didn't want to open the window, because we were sure that would scare the bird away. To make matters more challenging, at least from a photographer's perspective, the bird was essentially in deep shade except for some mild sunlight that finally decided to present itself for a few of the photos. We've since identified the subject as a Cooper's Hawk. (Please comment if you feel that identification is incorrect.) While one photo is probably all that is needed here, I thought I'd present a few different shots, with different compositions and camera settings.

All photos are taken handheld, with the Olympus 75-300mm telephoto lens.

Cooper's Hawk
1/800 at f10, ISO 1600, 300 mm (600 mm equiv.)

On Heightened Alert
1/60 at f10, ISO 200, 228 mm

Tail Feathers
1/2500 at f10, ISO 4000, 258 mm

Looking Left
1/800 at f11, ISO 1600, 300 mm

Landscape View
1/800 at f11, ISO 1600, 300 mm

All photos © 2017, all rights reserved.  Contact me for licensing or to order prints.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Cold Weather Color

Here's a new kind of post.
(Scroll within the post to see its content.)

To see a full screen version of this post, head over to

All photos © 2016, all rights reserved.  Contact me for licensing or to order prints.