Maine is home to the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport. I was there last week keeping my brother, Art, company while he was attended one of their video sessions. During free time, before and after classes, we would go out exploring. He would use his video camera and reinforce the things he’d learned about its features in class. I would just have fun with stills, although I did shoot some B-roll video when the spirit moved me. Thankfully, these new cameras have this still-to-video switching built in and mirror-less makes it all a breeze.
It’s pretty easy to take photos of boats and harbors in Maine. There are a lots of them along the craggy coast. Surrounding Rockport are the towns of Camden and Rockland. Each has it’s own charms. I managed to hit Belfast further north and Bath to the south. On the way home, we stopped in Portsmouth, NH. OK, so technically that’s not Maine. I’m not holding it against them.
I found myself processing images on my laptop at night and, for reasons I don’t always understand, some images just needed to be rendered in black and white. I think monochrome lets the shadows and shapes tell the story. With color, the hues can get in the way of an image’s message. So, here’s my collection of black and whites.
Before we arrived, my memory of Rockport Harbor was that it was mostly sailboats. I didn’t remember the fishing boats there at all from previous visits. I told Art that I was sure we’d find more fishing boats in Camden. I was wrong on both counts. So much for my memory…
…because for two mornings, we went to Rockport and there was fishing to be done. Specifically, the fishing boats would come in and load up with bait. I’m assuming this was for lobsters, but what do I know.
The man in this photo may or may not be the harbor master. He did go out to the end of the dock and check out one of the sailboats. Maybe it was his.
Plenty Of Access To Rockport Harbor
I had found an additional park in Rockport Harbor on its southern edge, Walker Park. I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t been poring over the area with Google Maps. It appears to be more of a neighborhood park, although there were no signs restricting access. It offered different views of the harbor. Art and I went early to catch the morning sun. He had been studying this park ride but decided against it. I didn’t and I think I caught him in the perfect position for the image.
Rockland is about 10 miles to the south and is a much larger community. The harbor is larger, too, with lots of commercial operations going on. The town, itself, is a tourist attraction and cruise ships often come into the harbor and stay for a day or two. Shuttles move people back and forth from the ships to the town and folks shop and eat at the various stores there.
I was sure that this was the place to eat in Rockland when I first saw this sign from a distance. Of course, it’s an art exhibit kind of thing with it being on top of a museum. There are a lot of excellent small restaurants in Rockland, so EAT EAT EAT on a museum building isn’t too much of a misdirection. I did like the fact that I managed to get a big bellied man kind of walking out past the building…like he’d had his fill of EAT’s.
I came across a path that was supposed to take you on a walking tour of the harbor. I’m not sure how useful it is because, I think, the more interesting views were nowhere near this path. I did turn around and notice the nice mural, though. You can find this by looking for Glovers Passage in Rockland.
Main Street through town is just old and nice and well maintained. It’s a pleasure to take a stroll. Of course, for a photographer, it’s a pleasure to watch the strollers. During the height of tourist season, there are cars, cars, cars and way-too-many-people. If we wanted no cars at all, we’d probably have to get here with sunrise.
Shops and restaurants keep their windows updated with all the goings on in town. It’s easy to find out what’s coming up. If you’re planning a visit (or taking a cruise), you’re probably better off doing an Internet search for this information. I hate it when I find out something really awesome is going down next week…like, if I knew, I would change my travel plans.
I was standing at the crosswalk framing a shot. I was disappointed that there weren’t more people to make the shot interesting. Then, something whizzed past my left shoulder. A woman was running with her dog and I instinctively made my shot. By pure coincidence, the very next day in Boothbay Harbor, I had a similar experience…
…and here it is. This time, not running but riding. I, once again, was lining up a shot. I guess I like these painted crosswalks. There were very dark shadows ahead; I usually hate shooting on sunny days, especially mid-day with the harsh shadows. But, I took what I could, and this time, lightning struck a second time. The white top and white dog offset the darkness in the store fronts.
(I don’t fancy myself as an accomplished street photographer, but my recent acquisition of a mirror-less camera has moved me more and more in that direction.)
I actually visited Boothbay Harbor twice. The first time I got my lucky shot with the woman on her bike. The 2nd time was on our way home. Art and I had been here over 20 years ago and there was snow on the ground. I thought he’d get a kick out of seeing it again.
Art had his video camera and wanted to stake out this spot on the footbridge that crosses the narrow part of the bay. He’s seen some kids jumping into the water and thought he could test out some slow motion video work on them. By the time we got to the spot, the swimmers were gone. What we did find were these two boys. They were fishing for bait fish. Later, they went out on a boat with an older man (probably their dad). The fish they’d caught here were in white buckets and, hopefully, would bring in a better catch for the day.
People could rent kayaks and we could photograph them. Simple. That’s what happened here. I saw these two coming from the rental spot and shot some B-roll with my Lumix GX8. When they crossed underneath the footbridge, I switched to stills.
This lovely lady, with the sunny disposition, was a sale item I spotted in a driveway. We had been walking down one of the roads leading out of town and Art got into a conversation with a man who was washing his truck. I think Art’s huge video camera and tripod caught his attention. He offered to let us onto his property to shoot from the porch and deck on the side of his house. He said there were some really nice views of the harbor there.
As we were leaving, I managed to time this boat I spotted speeding across the bay and shot it as it was framed by the deck’s woodwork.
Camden is only a few miles to the north of Rockland, so we did go there often. There are some nice things to see there, too. Mt. Battie gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in town and in the bay and the outlying islands. Unfortunately, we didn’t go there this time, but if ever you go, yourself, it’s worth the trek.
In the harbor, I managed to photograph the front of this boat, the Whistler…
…what I didn’t realize was, this was the same boat I had photographed just eight months ago. It appears to be a working fishing boat. Maybe this is why I thought Camden would be more of a fishing harbor. In reflection, I think I saw a lot of pleasure and tourism boats.
Here are a mother and daughter who have finished their recreational activities for the day. While watching them, I noted that Mom had a safety vest on and, possibly, explaining something about it to the daughter as she took it off. On the other hand, the way the young girl handled herself on the dock, it’s pretty clear this wasn’t her first time on the water.
This young man was just sitting and enjoying the setting sun. We had come here after Art’s class was done for the day and he’d eaten supper with is classmates. We did have a couple of them with us and they each shot video or stills. I spotted a skateboard on the pier and we wondered what it was doing there, apparently abandoned. It turned out to be this young man’s. He just left it parked, trusting no one would take it. After he’d had enough time enjoying the moment, he left, grabbed the skateboard, and rolled away.
We had the pleasure of spotting a harbor seal in the water. He came up, swam, and then dove a few times. I guess for some who may be used to it, it’s not interesting or exciting. I think here, though, that’s not the case.
Belfast And Bath, North And South
About 25 miles northeast of Rockport is Belfast and about 40 miles southwest is Bath. Both are places you can clearly see from the bridges that cross the bays in each town. In all my travles in Maine, they are never destinations but places to look at and wonder about as you pass by on your way to Acadia (or Rockport). But, as I had time to kill and full days in which to do it, I chose each direction for a day and explored.
The cannon is at Fort Knox, which is about 10 miles past Belfast in Prospect, ME. It’s a historic fort that was named after the same general, Henry Knox, for whom the US Gold Repository in Kentucky is named. The fort was designed and built by him, but had never come under attack. It’s in excellent condition and there are many interesting things to see there.
The fort is part of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory park. The observatory is a 480 foot tower that has amazing views of the river valley.
I liked the green awnings in the building in this shot. I didn’t see the old car right away and, finally did as I was framing my awning shot. I waited for it to come into position and, as luck would have it, the car stopped for a red light. It’s too bad that the line of modern cars is in the shot.
I spotted this sign painter as I was walking around Belfast. I had stopped into the visitor center there and chatted for a while with the person on duty. I learned a few things about the town. It’s very picturesque and I’m glad I had a chance to visit, instead of just passing by on my way north.
Some of the streets have storefronts that are reminiscent of Rockland, or Camden, or so many other town in Maine. I managed to spot this street floral arrangement. It’s an old sink on some plastic crates. The faucet isn’t connected, but sure does help with the composition.
The next day, Bath. For some reason, I made more color photos in Bath. Here are a few, though, that seemed best as black and whites.
So, it’s a harbor town, it’s on the way to and from Maine, and it’s really nice there.
There were two reasons for going to Portsmouth, NH on our way home. The first was that we were very hungry and there are some really nice restaurants on the water. The second is the USS Albacore. It’s a WWII submarine on display. I had seen it a few times as we’d pass through, but there was never a good time for a visit. Today, there was.
I think I’m turning into a street photographer, so it’s fitting that the last shot in this series of black and white photos is a real street scene. We came across a charity fund raiser in Porsmouth’s center. One of the events was a foot race where the runners had to race in high heel shoes and, possibly, dress the part. (Maybe that last part they just did because, why not?)
About This Black And White Project
There’s an effect that is part of ON1’s Photo 10 software. It’s called Paparazzi. It emulates the harsh conditions that Kodak’s T-Max 3200 film would produce. Back in the day, this film was considered super fast and you had to take the good with the bad. The good was the speed. The bad was contrast and grain. In today’s world of amazing digital cameras, where 3200 is no big deal, it’s nice to have something that gives you that gritty look. So, while in Maine, I was inspired to test it out with many of my photos. I liked how it handled these images.
My process included first going through Corel Aftershot Pro 3, then to On1 Photo 10, and maybe some final tweaking with Faststone Image Viewer. My camera of choice was a Lumix GX8 with a variety of lenses.