Ice, Sun dogs and Parhelic Circle

It’s been cold this February in Maine—by local accounts, we’ve had more ice in Portland Harbor than has been seen in decades, and the Coast Guard has been using it’s ice breaking ship to keep the harbor navigable. However, “navigable” is relative; smaller boats have not been able to escape the harbor due to the ice buildup, which has now even reached Peaks Island:

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View looking north along western edge of Peaks Island.

 

The cold weather means that small animals (such as a recently sighted mink) can even make the trek from Peaks Island to neighboring House Island (mink not in this photo):

 

 

View from Peaks Island to House Island at -20 C.

View from Peaks Island to House Island at -20 C.

 

Just the other day (Feb 16, 2015), on a frigid walk around the island with my daughter, we spotted a beautiful sun dog—an optical phenomenon caused by reflection & refraction through ice crystals in the atmosphere. The two opposite rainbow arcs are formed when the light refracts through a minimum deviation of 22 degrees:

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Sundog from back shore of Peaks Island, ME.

Sometimes, but apparently much more rarely, one can see a parhelic circle extending from either sundog part way around the sky. On this morning, the arc extended more than half  way around the sky, and I took this panoramic image before my iphone6+ battery totally tanked in the -18 C temperatures:

Parhelic Circle extending from a sun dog on Feb 16, 2015 on Peaks Island, ME

Parhelic Circle extending from a sun dog on Feb 16, 2015 on Peaks Island, ME

 

Peaks Island, ME

My family is beginning to search for a house on Peaks Island, ME so we can all be in one place, and I will be able to stop the insane amount of “commuting” I have been doing between DownEast Maine and Portland, being away from home for 4 days per week. Here are two snapshots in the evening before taking the ferry back to Portland after looking at a potential house.

In the image below, the posts are illuminated by the dock light (iso 1600, click on the image for a larger version)

Dock Posts, Peaks Island, ME

Dock Posts, Peaks Island, ME

And eventually, the ferry arrives (iso 1600); I just love the late evening and dock light combination in these two images.

Waiting for the Ferry, Peaks Island, ME

Waiting for the Ferry, Peaks Island, ME

As the last house didn’t pan out, the search continues. Meanwhile, I’m concertedly rehabbing some posterior tibial tendonitis and ankle pain that has totally stopped my trail running for 3 weeks now. But, I’m now regaining my normal flexibility, and am able to walk almost normally, so I am hopeful to be up running by the end of the week if things keep progressing along.

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.

 

Snowstorm!

Peter's Cove, Blue Hill, ME

Peter's Cove, Blue Hill, ME

A pretty good snowstorm hit the area today, and I made a quick and risky stop on a barely plowed road to make this image of  Peter’s Cove. There was no time for a tripod due to the poor road conditions, and due to the fact Peter’s Cove is at the bottom of a hill. Hand held for 1/25 sec at f/11, ISO 200 and 24mm focal length . A snow plow coming down the hill beeped at me and I had to abandon further shooting.

Canary Cove, Maine

During my semester break, I have been going through my image library—adding keywords, deleting bad images and picking images that I want to use when I eventually go on to redesign my portfolio at www.paulandrewphoto.com—and I came across this image that I made back in September of 2010. I pass by this little nub of an island many times each week, and for most of the time, it’s not very photogenic. The evening I made this image, a thick fog bank was lifting off of Blue Hill bay, and I managed to be passing by as this scene unfolded.

The fog erased the background from view, which is normally distracting and by doing so, created a simple, beautiful scene which allowed me to create an image that I think is worthy for inclusion in my portfolio.

Brooklin, Maine at 72 MP

My family has recently moved 3 hours north of Portland to a rental in Brooklin, Maine (hence the dearth of images this summer!). Here’s a beautiful point of land in Blue Hill Bay and mere 15 minute hike from our house.
Now, if the 72 megapixel header in the title of this post got your attention, you’re probably wondering what camera sensor I have gotten my hands on…the answer is that it’s not a new sensor, but a true resolution enhanced image created from 5 bracketed tripod-stabilized images fed into PhotoAcute, a great program for the Macintosh that can give (roughly) a doubled resolution image. That’s double in each dimension, or  not quite double, as my 21 MP image
only increased to 72 MP (a true doubling of resolution would create an 84 MP image). If I had the  time to post the 5 bracketed images here as well, you’d see that the program did a great job of exposure blending.
More frequently, if I find myself at a spot and I have some sense that I might have  a good image, I will take multiple exposures (PhotoAcute likes 5 or more) because in the back of my mind, I know that I can improve the image quality and size considerably using PhotoAcute. Also, it does a great job of increasing the dynamic range captured.
The downside is that processing five 21 MP images takes a LOT of time—about 8 minutes on my 3 year old 17″ Macbook Pro. It makes the cooling fans come on and it takes Lightroom3 a good few minutes to export a jpeg out of the 428 MB DNG file that PhotoAcute creates. Yes, it creates a DNG, which you can then touch up (if needed) in Lightroom 3.

Isle Au Haut, Maine #1

Recently, my wife and I spent a day (sans children) hiking on Isle Au Haut, a 10 km ferry ride from Stonington, ME. Isle Au Haut has about 45 year-round residents, and much of the island is part of Acadia National Park. Due to it’s remoteness, it’s the least visited part of Acadia (actually, I don’t have any data on that, but I’d bet you a nickel it’s true). There are only two rangers on the island and part of their job (aside from being incredibly friendly and knowledgeable) is to make sure everyone that entered the park in the morning leaves at the end of the day on the last ferry.

This will be the first of several posts on the trip, and I’ll include a photo or two with each post.

Today’s photos, the ferns (A) and the beach rocks (B), are taken at Duck Harbor (southwestern part of the island), and Squeaker Cove, respectively.

Duck harbor was where I first noticed that Isle Au Haut has some of the largest uninterupted fields (except for large boulders and occasional trees) that I have ever seen. These fields are so densely packed with ferns (I believe in this case, hay-scented ferns) that they seem to have crowded out many other species of plants. The visual effect is amazing, and the soft overcast light made photographing the fields quite pleasingly simple.

After a short hike up and over Duck Harbor Mountain, we arrived at Squeaker Cove. Beautiful smooth granite stones line the beach, which inevitably prompts people to create little cairn scultpures, many of which you can see here.

Incidently, when we arrived at the next beach at Deep Cove, which is populated by similarly smooth granite stones, my wife stepped in such a way that two of the polished stones slid against each other and produced a noise we both spontaneously described as a squeak, hence our theory that this is behind the naming of Squeaker Cove.

I have no idea if this theory has any truth to it, but it’s a good sounding theory. So there.

I hope you enjoy the images. More about hiking on the island in the next post.

Happy Accidents



I was just working on some images making print ready files for sending to my printer (White House Custom Color). I’ve made a template in Lightroom’s Print Module that (when a properly cropped) makes a jpeg file ready to upload and print. However, the below portrait format print image was accidentally used with a landscape template for a 5×7 greeting card, and them I was left with the bottom image, which, after realizing what had happened, I instantly liked. This led to a good 20 minutes or so of making different versions and playing around with the crop. Freeman Patterson has a great exercise where he has you place your tripod in one spot and make a 10-20 images. Its a fantastic exercise in seeing, and not altogether different than my little cropping exercise.




Next time I am at Schoodic Point (the location of these photos) I will return with fresh eyes, inspired by a happy accident.