Postcard from Maine (4)

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4-20-14Pemaquid

Color. It can make or break a photograph, and for those of you who have been following my photographic journey over the past couple of years, you’ll know that I have become more and more intrigued with removing colors and distilling a scene down into the most important of elements… lines, shapes, contrasts, textures and how they all interact compositionally within that little rectangle that is the view finder… in black and white.

All concepts around trying to create a good compositional scene apply, as does my mantra of trying to make any scene your own and not just a mimic of someone else’s photography. As suggestions to help achieve this, I’d recommend experimenting with placing important elements nearer the edges of the frame, using the rule of thirds where appropriate, and if you latch onto something interesting… leverage it… go for it. Really try to accentuate what you find… just look at those incredible textures in the striated rocks of Pemaquid Point, and depending on when you visit, you might just get a chance to shoot some cool reflections.

This is a remarkable location… one that I’d highly recommend spending some serious time exploring. It’s one of those places where someone interested in practicing their craft has ample opportunity to spend time on a variety of compositional choices. I’ve spent a whole day here feeling like a kid in a candy store – there are all sorts of textures and elements that can be used to create a variety of compositions. This place can be shot wide, tight with a telephoto lens, and of course… in unique conditions and with a little imagination it can really shine. In the color version I used a long shutter to help streak the clouds a little and add another element… maybe it helps and maybe it clutters? It’s OK to question.

Color in the first and a more simple black and white composition in the second… I’d be curious if you’ve shot this location, and what you think about the different impact each has. If you have shot Pemaquid, drop a link in the comments and show us what you got!

4-20-14Pemaquid Point

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Reid State Park, Maine

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Much of the downeast coastline of Maine is rocky – spectacular, but rocky – whereas the further south you travel, the more likely you are to come across sandy beaches. Reid State Park on the island of Georgetown is home to not one, but two of those rare Maine sandy beaches – aptly named Mile and Half Mile – and on a recent visit to see Sam at college we had a chance to spend some time exploring there.

Griffith Head, a rocky headland that protects and overlooks Mile Beach offers great views of the lighthouses on Seguin Island and the Cuckolds. You can also see the islands of Damariscove, once a thriving fishing community in colonial times, Outer Head, which is protected as a tern sanctuary, and the picturesque Southport Island. I was entranced by the beautiful cloud formations streaking overhead as we meandered along the beach and couldn’t resist trying to come up with a composition that highlighted them. Photographing in the mid-day sun can sometimes make for unflattering light, but on this particular day nothing could take away from the splendor of the scenery.

Emerging from a long winter, the 55 degree temperatures felt quite summer-like as we wandered along the pristine Mile Beach, and Jack had his socks and shoes off the moment his feet touched the sand. He had a ball discovering what the ocean washed up along the shore, and came away with a handful of tiny, but beautiful shells and rocks.

We walked the length of Mile Beach toward a small rocky headland, and since access by road to the more distant Half Mile Beach was closed due to construction, it was totally deserted when we arrived there. I can remember visiting this beach many years ago when Sam was probably about Jack’s age, but despite those memories, it felt like we were here for the first time again.