Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mandevilla and liriope in bloom

Soaked by rain, the wild liriope went crazy with purple flowers. Thanks to a post by an anonymous commenter, I now know a bit of the relationship, in Greek mythology, between Liriope and Narcissus. Narkissos was her son, and was transformed into the eponymous flower after his short, self-adoring life.

A neighbor does a beautiful job of cultivating flowers, like this Mandevilla. A nice perk for all who live nearby!


The birds, the bees, and Japanese beetles

While hoofing it around Seal Harbor, Maine, I happened upon a compact scene that definitely called for a macro lens. Unfortunately, all I had with me was my 24-105 zoom, so I got as close as I could and cropped later.

At first it was just a pair of Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) mating, but then things got a little more interesting.


Tides, thistles, and whale clouds

On our final full day in Maine, I decided to return to the Thunder Hole section of the coastline and do some more "playing" with the rocks and surf.

 Sometimes it's fun to just pick a spot for awhile and watch the hydraulic developments.

As we moved down the coast just a bit, the topography offered nice little surprises. The diversity of plant life in this tide pool was remarkable. The first photo places it in context, but I also rather like the abstract isolation of the second one.

I love the curved coastline, the red rocks, green trees, blue water, and textured sky. Sadly, I can't live right at that location, but I think it will live in me for quite a while.

After the raw power of the ocean against the cliffs, I found a nice soft contrast in a thistle, a dead tree, and sparse clouds.

Later in the day, I revisited a pier in Bar Harbor, where low tide allowed me to clamber around the slippery rocks that collect seaweed, barnacles, and other colorful stuff. I used my old friend the tilt/shift lens (17mm) to get the perspective I wanted.

For a little while, the clouds mimicked a whale with impressive flukes.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hiking Gorham Mountain

Gorham Mountain, in Acadia National Park, is a nice morning's hike that can be accessed from a trailhead off the Park Loop Road, just south of Thunder Hole. It is not nearly as high as Cadillac Mountain, but the peak is close to the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Otter Cove to the south, making possible some impressive views.

Because we approached on foot from further up the shore, I first spent some time photographing red rocks and blue-green surf.

Even though there were lots of people in the area (a National Park on a beautiful day in August), in certain spots, at times, one could really feel a pleasant sense of solitude, a connection to the land, yet a bit of removal from almost everything.

A tree along the shore path had an impressive collection of boles, and did not seem to be suffering ill health from them. One near the base reminded me of a rabbit.

The solitude of the lonely gull.  No, definitely not "lonelygull15", and not fake.

The solitude of the boulder.

As we started up the trail on Gorham Mountain, the way was mostly tightly enclosed by trees and rocks. Then this temple-like formation appeared, like a scene early in an Indiana Jones film. Is that a plaque?

It is indeed.

Waldron Bates was one of the pioneer pathmakers in Acadia.

There were some "false summits" along the way, that offered nice views, but we had been warned not to mistake them for the top.

It was fun to be able to look down to where we had been earlier.  I lighthouse tour boat seemed to be playing at making circles.

Here is a very wide view from the second "almost peak" along the way.

Still some climbing to go, but it's an easy grade at this point.

And here it is, the summit of Gorham Mountain. Only 525 feet, but more exhilarating than that suggests.

Retreating toward sea level, I wanted to capture the character of some of the path. This was not far above the base.

And here's a final peekaboo from the shore path.

(I kept my camera kit simpler than usual to ease the load when doing the Gorham climb. All of these photos were shot with a Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS on a 5D MkIII.)


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How Bar Harbor got its name

First full day in "Bah Hahbah"... some drizzle, fog and mist - yum!

One goal for the day was to cross to Bar Island.  This island is actually connected to Bar Harbor during low tide periods.  A sand bar is exposed for up to two hours before and after minimum tide.  Four hours is ample time to cross, hike to the peak of Bar Island, and return to the mainland without fear of being stranded for ten hours.

Shells abound on the bar.  I watched a gull come in for a landing and wondered what it had spotted.

Here's the answer to that question:

At the edge of Bar Island, a lot of people were poking around, exploring, and occasionally adding to the rock cairns.

This pair was impressive.

Next came the hike to the peak.  It was very enjoyable, but not particularly photogenic.  At the top, though, I found lovely scenes of the harbor and distant islets.

Here's a "secret" spy's eye view of Bar Harbor, with Cadillac Mountain in the background.

Returning to sea level, I made a panorama of the area to show you how the bar connects things, about an hour before it gets covered by the rising tide.

On the return crossing, I focused more on the evanescent landscape of the sand bar.

Walking back to lodgings on the other side of town, I felt a sense of wonder that quite a bit of wild, unspoiled, fascinating nature can be reached on foot from a place as citified as Bar Harbor.

Easing my emotional return to civilization, I looked for odd things to possibly photograph.  I found a candidate in a building apparently slated for demolition.  To circle back to the cemetery door from two days earlier, here is a door on that building.