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.

A new website for Paul Andrew Photography.

My main portfolio site is hosted at paulandrewphoto.com, and has been constructed and maintained with Apple’s iWeb since 2003 (if memory serves me correctly). However, I’ve never been completely happy with the lack of customizability inherent in iWeb, and I’ve tried to find some simple web design software (short of Dreamweaver) that I can use to create a more elegant and simple web site.

Finally, I found a nice solution—Freeway Pro 5.5 by Softpress. I spent all day yesterday figuring out how to work the software, and once I made some serious progress, I became rather obsessed, and finished a working mock-up of the site, and didn’t go to sleep till about 3 am. (The down side of this was not so pleasant, as I had to get up at 6:30 to make breakfast for my kids and drive them to school this morning.) After dropping my kids off at school, I completely removed my old iWeb site and replaced it with the new improved version.

There are a few more pages to add, but the main work was going through my Lightroom library and culling through 1000+ images and choosing which images to include. I settled on about 7 black and white images, and 20 color images that I felt were a good representation of my work.

The interesting (perhaps somewhat demoralizing!) aspect of this process was how much more critical I have become of my own images. The more photographs I make, the more my older photographs seem to become flawed in some way.  The image above is an exception to this general trend—I still find this to be a well-composed and pleasing image. But that’s a subject for another post—after I have a good sleep.

Do you find the same dissatisfaction with your older images in general?

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.

Upper Falls, Cathance River, ME

I’m busy delving into the newly released Lightroom 3, organizing my library and doing some much needed keywording. In the course of doing so, I came across this photograph taken last fall at the Upper Falls, Cathance River, ME Thought it would make a nice blog post.

I must say that I am completely delighted at the image quality improvements in Lightroom 3. The new Lens Corrections are fantastic and I now have no reason to maintain my license for DxO Optics Pro, which is a time and money savings.

Only 1800 images left to sort through! My mid year resolution is to finish this task and never to fall behind on keywording and organizing again.