Storm Cloud and Snow, Brooklin, ME

A gorgeous landscape in Brooklin, MaineOne of the great things about the ocean in Maine is that in the thick of winter, no matter how many meters of snow might be on the ground, you can walk at low tide along a beach as if it were summer (provided you can ignore the obvious temperature difference). A walk along the beach in Brooklin, Maine brought a view of this amazing house situated with a sweeping view of the ocean. The house, outbuildings and their careful placement in the landscape left me with the definite impression that I had left Maine and been transported to Norway or Sweden. A gorgeous spot with pretty nice lighting.

Single exposure 24mm f/13 at 1/80 sec; processed in Lightroom 3.3 and Silver Efex Pro 2.0.


White Balance in Architectural Photography

I just finished editing a set of architectural photographs for Steve Prescott of Fiddlehead Designs in Brunswick, Maine. This is a total kitchen redesign he recently finished for a client. Steve did all of the cherry cabinetry for this job, and he had custom glass created locally for the cabinet doors. It’s an impressive job, and anyone who has had any experience with woodworking will immediately notice the attention to detail from the matching of wood grain, to the extremely uniform reveals and excellent joinery.

Photographically, the job required an extremely stable tripod, as I wanted to show the kitchen in the lighting conditions actually present in the kitchen. I used the available light to photograph everything, and this meant at ISO 100, exposures of around 2 seconds at f/11.  The most challenging aspect (that threatened to take even more post processing time than I  wanted to spend) was the very blue (and very bright!) outdoor light streaming in through  the windows, while the indoor color temperature was due to the “warmer” tungsten lights (It drives the physicist part of my brain absolutely nuts to call blue light “cool” and red light “warm”—who came up with this?). The best way to have dealt with this would have been to have to drop the window shade, but that would have made my exposure times either very long or required me to go to higher ISOs than I like. So I used Photoshop CS5 to select the window area (and a few “cool” patches in the image) and applied a warming filter. Not perfect, but it made a marked improvement. Perhaps lowering the window shades would have been better? What would you do?

Lightroom 3, with its ability to correct for lens distortion and make manual adjustments made my 17-40 f4L lens into a pretty close approximation of a tilt-shift lens, and I could perform all these corrections on the raw images non-destructively. This is a completely fantastic feature, although it really seems to slow down processing of the images when this is enabled.

More images of this kitchen can be seen at this site.

Abandoned Farmhouse, Durham, ME

Garry Winogrand is famous for saying that pictures DO NOT tell stories, but I wonder what his thinking was behind that stance. Look at this image—isn’t there a story here? We of course don’t know exactly what the story is unless we met the current or former owner and asked them, but in true “Sherlockian” (is that a word?) fashion, we can make some pretty good guesses from what we see here. I see a house in serious disrepair (not seen in this image is the fact that the foreground floor is totally rotted out), but also with modern insulation indicating that someone was thinking of doing some work on the house, and also modern cleaning products as if someone was set to clean the house. The fact that this room is not really functional, means that there’s probably other sections of the house that are in better condition—maybe those are the rooms the cleaning products were meant for. Perhaps this room was used as storage? What to make of all the keys on the wall? Somone went to the trouble of bracing the door too, which tells me they cared to get into this room relatively often. So I see a house that has likely been lived in recently, and that someone set out to repair, but for some reason has not done so. Why?

The photo brings up more questions than it answers, but there clearly is a story here, and my desire to understand the story behind abandoned houses like this is what makes these rural stuctures so intriguing to me.

This picture was about 1 second, handheld at f/11, made possible because the lens shade on my 50 mm f/1.4 lens allowed me to brace it up to the window which served to steady the camera and remove unwanted reflections on a bright sunny day.