I’m sorry. I haven’t blogged in a while. I hope I can make up for it with the following update.
One of the best things about being a photographer is the ability to create an image in your head, and then chasing it down with your camera to make it a reality. It may take a few minutes, a few days, or maybe you have to wait months before you have the opportunity to get that picture.
While making plans for 2012, I decided that one of my fields of focus this year would be creating fine art, something I am passionate about. But fine art is so subjective…it can take the form of virtually anything, and as a photographer I have to be careful not to get too overwhelmed with all the possibilities that are before me. Heck, I live in Maine for crying out loud, the opportunities are endless!
Let’s take lighthouses for instance. People love lighthouses, and Maine has more than 60 (count ‘em! 60!!) lighthouses. Where does one begin? The logical place to start would be the beginning ….the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. As it would happen we had a doctors appointment in Portland coming up shortly which meant we would be ‘in the neighborhood’ of this iconic lighthouse. With an air temperature of a whopping 3 degrees above zero, we made the trip to Portland, got the doctors appointment out of the way, then headed down to Cape Elizabeth, about a 20 minute jaunt.
One of the perks of living in Maine during the winter is that all the tourists are gone which means we got the place to ourselves, so arriving at the lighthouse, we found we were mostly alone in the parking lot aside from some seagulls. Stepping outside the van I realized that the excitement of starting my new fine art collection with todays images was going to be challenging. It’s winter time, in Maine, on the coast…it’s 3 degrees and the winds are just howling. To say it was cold was an understatement, but I didn’t come all this way just to sit in the van and watch the seagulls have all the fun. I grabbed my gear, my gloves and forced myself to walk up to the lighthouse.
The first images I took were less than stellar. I was using an extreme wide angle lens and a 10 stop neutral density filter. Each image took about 5 minutes to produce and my proximity to the lighthouse combined with my lens proved to be too much; the distortion the lens caused made the lighthouse look like it was stretched sideways and falling backwards. (see image to the left) Weird. I had to get farther away…much…much farther away. With the winds still blowing in my face, the cold air was literally taking my breath away, I had to resort to breathing the air that was in between my jacket and my body by burying my face in my jacket. Even with gloves on my fingers were starting to tingle with cold. I needed to keep moving.
I managed to walk north on the public pathway and found some better views of the lighthouse, and after about 20 minutes I had some nice pictures, but I still wasn’t ready to quit for the day. More views and photo opportunities were here….somewhere….I just had to keep looking. Then I looked noticed the weather worn rocks below, and before my my brain could talk my feet out of it, I started to climb down the side of the cliff to get down to the ocean itself. In all the pictures of the Portland Head Light that I’ve seen, I’ve never seen one from the water’s edge. I just had to get down there. With numb fingers and tingling toes, I carefully took each step with extreme caution until I had finally arrived at the rocks below.
Setting up my tripod, I managed to find a view of the lighthouse that I felt was a unique one. With each exposure running close to 5 minutes each, I had time to hide my head in my jacket in between shots. At this point I could hardly feel my fingers and my toes were a lost cause, but it was all in the name of fine art, so I kept telling myself that it was all worth it. I would be warm again someday soon….as long as I didn’t freeze to death in the meantime.
With my pictures safely stored on my memory card, I made my way back to the van. Oh sweet warmth how I crave thee. With watery eyes and fingers and toes that I was pretty sure I still had, I climbed in the van, started it up and cranked the heat.
Whew! Now that was fun!
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This and many other samples of my artwork are available at Fine Art America.