Somehow life got in the way of this blog, and creativity in general.
Work. Relationship. Exploring. Work. And did I mention work?
My life has been much busier in Maine than it ever was on the west coast. Thats probably a good thing, but its gotten in the way of my creative time. I have quite the backlog of Nikon images, which made me want to stop shooting for a while. I even stopped doing much with my iPhone 5s. Honestly, cutting back on the iPhone was more about it being on its last legs. The battery was barely hanging on by a thread. The colder weather here was draining it within minutes 😦
Luckily, there was a great deal that popped up at the right time, and I got myself the iPhone 7, which I never intended to get. What a huge jump in technology it is from the 5s to the 7. I’m loving the camera and the video, along with the processing speed. I feel a renewed sense of wonder with my phone and I can’t wait to see what creative things I do with it 🙂
Here are a couple of images from my first time taking it out to play.
The light was pretty cool. I only wish you could also see the snow falling in the light as the wind knocked it down from the trees.
This is what passes for a trail in Maine…
My girlfriend and I recently spent several days camping in Acadia. This gave me the opportunity to revisit places I shot a few years ago, including Jordan Pond. I also explored some new areas, but this pond might be my favorite spot out there.
I took photos there one afternoon, and then we returned again the next day with our kayaks, for a fun paddle on the water.
This image spoke to me, so I wrote some more meaningful words to go along with it:
Often, we seek reflections on water. We love to see a reflection because it creates a sense of harmony. We see something we love, and find it even more amazing when there is an exact replica.
Sometimes, the water isn’t reflective at all. Beneath the surface lies a different kind of beauty. This beauty takes effort and awareness to recognize.
[I know its a bit harder to tell in the black and white version, but the majority of these rocks are under water]
Shot with a Nikon D7000. Edited in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Topaz Impression 1.
My experience with waterfalls in Maine has been pretty underwhelming so far. I saw one of those onlyinyourstate articles on the best waterfalls in Maine, or something like that. Btw, I’m not a fan of their articles. They use sensational headlines to get you to click and share. Usually, the articles are just a collection of stuff for whatever list they’ve compiled, with no real order or justification for the list. I swear whoever wrote the ones for Oregon waterfalls or trips had never been to Oregon before.
But I digress lol.
What I was getting at was, the list of “best waterfalls” was pretty sad. None of them compared to stuff I’ve shot in the PNW. Luckily, my girlfriend is very outdoorsy and knows of falls that weren’t on the list. Guess what, this waterfall was better than any on that list.
This is just an iphone shot because I forgot to bring my tripod along. I had my hands full of stuff that I had to carry to the car, since we had to go to a family birthday party before our adventure. It’s alright though, because I wouldn’t have been satisfied with my photos in these conditions.
At any rate, this particular waterfall was pretty cool. The one challenge that I’ll have when shooting is the amount of visitors that sunbathe or swim out there. I got lucky that a large group had just left, and I got some shots off before a large group came in.
We saw one other good sized waterfall that was also pretty photogenic. I mean, it wasn’t Oregon, but I found compositions that I know the locals will love. It was also a beautiful walk through a green forest that was filled with bugs. Btw, I’ve never had so many bug bites in my life since moving here. I literally wake myself up at night scratching at my bug bites.
And on that note, I’m going to go apply some hydrocortisone cream and go buy some strong bug spray for today’s adventure.
(shot with the default camera app. Edited with Snapseed, Mextures, and TouchRetouch for one bit of flare.)
I’ve been in a Maine for a week now. I have to say that this place is the opposite of where I grew up in Silicon Valley. I was pretty worried the first couple of days, because of culture shock. I knew this town of 4000 people was going to be small, but it felt even smaller once I actually saw it. It’s definitely going to take some time to slow down and adjust.
I feel like I’m going to be forced to disconnect from the 21st century and get back to nature. Thats not necessarily a bad thing. The few times that I’ve been able to get out, I’ve found Maine to be incredibly peaceful. There are so few people that its very easy to find yourself in a remote area surrounded by nature.
My biggest challenges are not having a car, cell phone service is spotty, and wifi signal is awful in this house. If I go anywhere outside of civilization, my cell phone is useless, so I need to get a physical map and a compass, since I don’t know my way around. And a new challenge that just popped up is my iMac suddenly lost power while typing this up. Yay for old farmhouses.
Thats enough complaining. Trust me, I could go on about several other things, but I’m just going to have to accept that my old way of life isn’t possible here right now.
On the bright side, I already made a new photographer friend here. She is still learning, but is already creating cool surreal composites. She was nice enough to show me around the other day while she searched for the perfect pond with lily pads. There doesn’t seem to be too much talent out here outside of the two of us, and maybe one or two other people. I suppose thats a good thing for me. She already wants to open up an artist space together to display our work and run workshops. I’m still feeling the market out before I commit to that though.
(This was shot with the default camera app on the iPhone and edited with Snapseed.)
About a month ago I had a feeling there was going to be a good chance for a great sunset, so I grabbed my camera and decided to go find a good vantage point of lower table rock. There are 2 of these formations in the Rogue Valley that are remnants of a lava flow. When you hike up to the top, it feels like another planet. Its really cool.
As I waited for sunset to materialize, this cloud started to form above the rock formation. Then the light started to reflect nicely. And the cherry on top was the Canadian Geese flying by in perfect formation.
Several minutes after taking this shot, it looked like the light was done, so I packed it in and started to head home. That was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. The entire sky turned an amazing shade of pink for a good 15 minutes. I was stuck in my car on the freeway, and didn’t get any photos. It was pretty awesome to witness the valley covered in such a vivid pink, but I was kicking myself for not being able to capture it.
Oh well, I’m still pleased with this photo, and it will remind me of the Rogue Valley for the rest of my life 🙂
Bridal Veil Falls is a relatively short and easy hike in the Columbia River Gorge. I ended up going there twice in the span of a week. It’s quite pretty in person, but very difficult to do justice in photos. That may be why there aren’t any iconic shots that come to mind when you hear the name.
I was struggling to do a straightforward edit, so I decided to try Topaz Impressions for the painterly look. I like to reduce the opacity of the effect, so the details still come through.
I’m kind of surprised I forgot to post the iPhone version of this shot, while I was on the road. As good as it turned out, this Nikon version came out even better.
This shot is made of up 3 exposures that were manually blended in PS. It was very challenging to blend because of all the detail throughout the image.
Enough of the technical stuff, this spot was beautiful. I spent a lot of time just soaking in the view. I also took some risks to get to a dangerous vantage point next to the falls. Basically, I was holding onto tree roots to keep from sliding down into the falls. Normally, I’m very cautious, but I wanted to see if there was a unique shot to be had over there. I’m sure I’ll end up editing that shot a few months from now, when I feel like I have nothing good to edit.