Archive for the ‘Maine’ Category

A Better Mousetrap

29 November 2012

A couple of weeks ago I spent four days at a camp at Moosehead Lake. Did a lot of hunting, a little shooting, and realized that if I had to rely on my skills as a hunter to feed myself I’d be hungry a lot.

But I did encounter an excellent and ferocious little hunter while there. We had all been wondering why the camp, while showing signs of mice infestation, had no mice in evidence. The night before we left, we found out that a ruthlessly efficient predator had been keeping the place clean.


stoat

Devourer of mice and turkey morsels


Apparently, one of Stoaty’s relatives had been making the camp a part of his hunting rounds. As a reward for his fruitful efforts, some of the guys put out a plate of leftover turkey morsels for him, which he quickly stowed in whatever stashes he had established.


stoat

“Better make sure the mice aren’t playing cribbage on my watch.”


Our presence didn’t seem to alarm him as he made his rounds of the camp, through the kitchen and woodpile, in the bunk rooms and even under the chairs we were sitting in.

After some Googling I’m pretty confident in identifying this as a stoat (Mustela erminea), which Wikipedia informs me is “also known as the ermine or short-tailed weasel.” And this guy (or maybe girl, I didn’t feel comfortable trying to lift the tail of something with teeth that sharp) was already dressed in his best winter finery.

I got some more pix of him the next morning as he ripped edibles from the partridge carcasses we had discarded.


stoat

“What? You expect me to stop working and pose for you?”


He was moving pretty quickly, so I was using autofocus, which has its limitations. I got some better quality images than this one that don’t make me try to blink away the blurriness, but this was too good a pose to pass up. One of the carcasses, bigger than he was, got caught in the underbrush as he dragged it away. It didn’t seem to discourage him at all. As we left, he was still happily ripping off pieces of partridge flesh and organs to stash in his various hidey-holes.

I just hope it snows soon. Right now his fur makes him easy pickings for hawks, owls and coyotes.

Focus

29 April 2009

I was trying to do too many things at once this past Sunday. As a result, I did none of them well.

Sunday was my every-fourth-week drive to Denmark, Maine, with a friend and his daughter. I’ve been promising her for six months that I’d take her on a little hike one of these times, and the weather was too good to pass up this time. As is usual for me, I grabbed my camera and tripod; because, if I’m gonna be out in the woods, I’m gonna be taking pictures.

Except I hadn’t hiked Douglas Mountain in about twenty-five years and my memory was a little fuzzy on the length of the hike. And when I take pictures I like to take my time.

So we ended up not being able to reach the summit, and I hurried the shots and came away with not much usable, and we were late getting to Denmark.

I need to learn to focus.


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A small waterfall on Douglas Mountain


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A small stream on Douglas Mountain


Is It Safe To Come Out Of The Storm Cellar Yet?

4 April 2009

Another day, another excuse from the guy who has over 1100 of my dollars for a new cap for my new truck. He still hasn’t driven down to Massachusetts to pick it up. The upside is that I now have the time to post some stuff I shot a few days ago.

I think I’ve figured out why I get so depressed in March. That’s when, at the end of a long, hard winter, I figure out that I still can’t afford to retire to Florida and I’ll have to spend next winter here, too. Even with that in mind, this past one was particularly bad. Several injuries have left me limping and depressed. In the midst of it all, the 95-year-old whose property I maintain fell and broke his hip. Between hobbling to the hospital every day with his mail, trying to shovel snow using only one arm, and watching my retirement fund fly out the window for a new truck after the old one died of cancer, I’ve been functioning at a very low level.

The good news is that most of the snow has melted and the temps have gotten high enough that I can put out the garden hoses and start spring cleanup. A few days ago, as I was surveying the damage to the trees out back, I came across a little patch of color in the woods. As I couldn’t decide which shot to post, you get two.


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Crocus, unknown species or cultivar.


These crocuses were poking their heads out of the mess of leaves on the far side of my canoe. The colors remind me of a children’s book I had when I was a kid, “The Color Kittens.”


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Same crocuses, different shot.


I didn’t even notice that I was crawling on my belly in the mud until I brought it into the house with me.

And a couple of nights ago, as I was walking home, I thought the fog rolling in to Memorial Field was pretty neat. But by the time I got my camera and got outside, the fog had completely rolled in and there was no contrast between clear air and fog. Some interesting shots, anyway.


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Deering High Memorial Field at night in fog.


The lacrosse players were taking a break on the left side of the picture. They’re pretty hard to see.


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Deering High Memorial Field at night in fog. This view is from ground level.


Back to working on my attitude…

Update: Well, crap. I just noticed that for the last few posts, Worpdress hasn’t been automatically making each image a link to its full-size self. Now I gotta go in and hand-edit all the images. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Update 2, now with more bookly goodness: Here’s the cover from the book. I found it at Wikipedia.


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The Color Kittens


That takes me back about sixty years. That’s scary. And sad.

Happy New Year!

1 January 2009

Stoaty likes to post “a picture of the last light of the year on New Year’s Eve,” but I’m generally a morning person, so I like to shoot the first light of the new year.

I didn’t get out for a proper shoot this year, because I was geared up for snow removal (from a storm that didn’t materialize). So I cheated. I just stepped outside my door and took some quick snapshots of the high school across the street in silhouette, and then of the snow-bound football field. The brief exposure to the 5-degree temperature numbed my fingers and made ’em hurt like heck when they started to thaw.


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Deering High School at dawn on the first day of 2009


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Deering High School football field, imprisoned behind a chain-link fence on the first day of 2009


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Deering High, a closer look


The other day, I found a link to one of those sites that “rate” your blog for you. This one came out as a “G,” I think, with a note that one post had used the word “shoot” once. I dunno how to talk about photography without using the word “shoot,” nor do I want to. Strange that a normal activity, like shooting (whether with a camera or weapon), could be the cause of concern to some. More PC intrusion in our lives.

Shoot.

The Difference of a Week

12 October 2008

Different weather. Different light. Peak foliage. A tripod.

I wasn’t satisfied with the stuff I got last week on Pleasant Mountain, so I tried it again yesterday. (I’m not satisfied with the stuff I got yesterday, either, but for different reasons.)

There was a dad-gummed hiking tour convened at the top when I got up there. Twenty or so self-congratulatory Sierra Club types who sounded like a flock of starlings. I didn’t realize how loud they were until they left and it got quiet. I don’t understand why anyone would do something like that in a group. I go for the solitude and silence. And the pictures, too, but mostly for that other stuff.

I did manage to keep the crowds out of the images; although I had to edit out a couple of apple cores, left behind by some pig, that I didn’t notice for several frames.

On the way up:


American Beech leaf in Autumn

American Beech (fagus grandifolia)


At the top:


Mount Washington, Kezar Pond from Pleasant Mountain

Looking northwest towards the White Mountains. Kezar (kee’ zer) Pond is at right, Mount Washington is just to the left of center at the top. If you embiggen and look closely, you can see both Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines.


Mount Washington and Kezar Pond from Pleasant Mountain

Another perspective


It took me three hours to get down, because I kept stopping to take pictures.


Moose Pond, Denmark, Maine

Looking southwest, over Moose Pond towards the town of Denmark


Moose Pond, Denmark, Maine

Southwest view, again


Moose Pond, Denmark, Maine

More of the same


Red Maple leaf, backlit by sun

Red maple (acer rubrum) leaf, backlit by the sun


Autumn maples

Some local color


If I’m gonna do any more fall foliage this year, I’ll have to hustle. It’ll all be gone by next weekend. Well, the bright maples and birches and stuff; after that comes the quiet umbers, siennas and ochers of the oaks and other late-fall foliage. But the stuff most people think of as “New England Autumn” will be past.

On the Run

10 October 2008

I hate to post just pictures (I have to explain them, doncha see), but I’m pressed for time right now. Here are a few from last Sunday’s hike up Pleasant Mountain in Denmark. The colors weren’t at peak, but still nice.


Pleasant Mountain, looking towards White Mountains

View from the summit looking northwest towards the White Mountains


View towards Mount Washington

That’s Kezar Pond at middle right, and Mount Washington at the upper left


Striped maple (acer pensylvanicum)

Striped Maple (acer pensylvanicum)


Red Maple (acer rubrum)

Oo! The colors! (acer rubrum)


Gotta run.

Hurricane!

28 September 2008

Or what passes for one in these parts: mostly a big bag o’ wet. Kyle passed offshore this afternoon, throwing a bunch of rain to all sides.

Looking at the boiling water at the base of the light, it’s not difficult to imagine how the bark Annie C. Maguire got smashed against that big chunk of ledge at the right, on the night of Christmas Eve, 1886 (as usual, click the pix to embiggen):


Portland Head Light, hurricane Kyle

Portland Head Light, Hurricane Kyle: quite a difference from five days ago


From this angle, I couldn’t keep the lens dry, no matter how much I wiped it. It was better from the east, with the wind behind me:


Portland Head Light, Hurricane Kyle

With the wind at my back


I gave up after a while, fearing for the electronics in the camera, and decided to go for a short hike. By the time I got home, my Gore-Tex lined boots were holding the water in, and I was soaked to my skin. It was lots of fun. Even at my age, I enjoy being outdoors in adverse conditions.

One Afternoon at the Shore

25 September 2008

I don’t usually shoot late in the day; dawn is more my style. But lately I’ve been sleeping till seven o’clock or so, and missing the morning light. These were taken a couple of days ago at Portland Head in Cape Elizabeth, late in the afternoon.

Portland Head Light and Ram Island Ledge Light

Portland Head Light and Ram Island Ledge Light

Portland Head Light, up close and personal

Portland Head Light, up close and personal

Portland Head Light, from the East

Portland Head Light, from the East

One of the things I don’t like about shooting later in the day is that it’s hard to keep people out of the frame. They lead the eye right to themselves and distract from the other elements of the picture. Early mornings are much less crowded.

I guess I gotta get off my lazy rear end and start getting up at a decent hour again.

If I Keep Going Back to the Well…

12 August 2008

I may eventually get water. Spring Point Light in South Portland is one of my old standbys. Last Saturday, I drove out there again, to see what I could capture at sunset. Someday I may get an image that I like; in the meantime, I’ll just keep posting what I’ve got.

I present, for your viewing enjoyment, the Horribly Clichéd Shot of the Gaff-Rigged Cutter Through the Gun Port at Fort Preble:

Sort-of-warmish-colored sails in the sunset

Sort-of-warmish-colored sails in the sunset

A while back, I wrote a tutorial on batch resizing of digital images with Irfanview. It was a thing of beauty: very long, with screencaps and everything. Luckily, the medium prevented me from drawing circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one. To my surprise, it has become my most popular post by an extremely large margin.

I’ve cursed the lack of a program like Irfanview for Linux; I’ve been doing resizes of individual images only, using either the GIMP or GThumb. I must be slower than most. The other day I went back to Imagemagick and actually read some of the documentation. Some of you know from a previous post that Imagemagick is a command-line only tool. That means no fancy GUI, no mouse, no point-n-click. Just text commands.

One thing about the Irfanview tutorial that gave me pause was that it was a pretty complicated procedure, with many opportunities for the unwary to make mistakes. Here’s how I resize multiple images simultaneously with Imagemagick:

mkdir 1024×0768
mogrify -path 1024×0768 -resize 1024×0768 *.jpg

Hee.

This Is What’s Been Happening

14 March 2008

Winter. In all its ugly, homicidal dreariness. It’s been a long, snowy one here, and every year my ability to cope with it diminishes.

Across the street, for the last two weeks, they’ve been working at clearing the snow off the new plastic athletic field. The huge price tag on it was justified by the claim that it would be used almost non-stop by various groups; now the crews are out desperately trying to make the field live up to the hype.


snow blowing memorial field

Snow removal on Memorial Field


Less than half the field cleared in almost 2 weeks. If we luck into some really warm weather, it might be ready for use sometime in April.


snow removal from ground level

Snow removal as seen from ground level


Thanx for asking, Joan. You may see me next month as I roll by on my way to the Gulf. I need to thaw out before next winter strikes, around the middle of August.