Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 18, 2014

The Maine Thing – part 3

Thursday, day 56 of summer, dawned sunny and windy after the storm the day before. The high tide in the wee hours of Thursday morning came up extremely high.
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It washed all the way up to the beach grass. You can see in this shot two of three kayaks that washed up along the beach. They didn’t get too far from their owners, but they were filled with mud. Our beach stuff was too.

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I’m surprised that tube didn’t float away somewhere. The blue plastic is a sun tent that we collapsed over our beach chairs. It did a decent job of keeping the chairs fairly dry, but the mud holding it all down was very heavy.

In addition to kayaks, I found other things washed in with the storm, like this jellyfish.
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There were spectacular waves for this area as well. The tides at this little inlet beach are usually extremely mild. Even at high tide the waves are normally just very gentle rolls. When I walked near Basket Island at low tide, I was shocked to find loud, crashing waves.
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Here’s a little video I took.

While I wasn’t able to get any close pictures of the resident blue heron, I was happy to once again find a snowy egret.
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Thursday was a good day for finds!

Friday, day 57 of summer, and our last full day in Maine, was “iffy” weather-wise. It was cloudy and cool as I took my last morning walk.
Cloudy cool morning

I normally like to spend my last vacation day basking on the beach all day, but the weather wasn’t cooperating, so I suggested to my family that we take another short jaunt out for a while, in hopes that maybe the clouds would clear and allow us some late afternoon beach time. We headed up to Scarborough. We scoured for treasures at the large Christmas Tree Shops and had lunch at the Sebago Brewing Company. I really enjoyed my seafood chowder and lobster BLT!
Sebago Brewing Company lunch

No visit to Scarborough is complete without a visit here
Famous Maine place
to buy candy and see Lenny the life-sized chocolate moose!
Lenny the life sized chocolate moose
Lenny is made from 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate!

At the end of the day, the girls and I carried out the end-of-vacation tradition: feeding the seagulls any leftover food we didn’t plan to take home.
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The birds gathered in large number quickly.
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Meghan had to check and make sure we weren’t giving away perfectly good potato chips!
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Quite the commotion was caused when a handful of chips was tossed out.
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And Meghan even got one brave soul to take food from her hand.
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Even though the weather was less than perfect, I cherished this time on vacation with my family. I know my years of having my whole family together for this week in the future are running low, so each passing year’s vacation becomes more precious.

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August 17, 2014

The Maine Thing – part 2

Or… Bean & Smitty

On Tuesday, day 54 of summer, the fog came on little cat feet.
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The little islands off the shore of the beach completely disappeared in the fog bank.

I still went out for my morning walk, but it was with a bit of a chill as I made my way through the mist.
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And I dreamed about “if only…” as I walked.
I want it!

Deciding it wasn’t going to be beach-sitting weather that day, I suggested a trip to Freeport to the family, home of the famous L.L. Bean flagship store.
Big boot at LL Bean
Size 410 boot!

Clashing moose display
“The Final Charge” – two male moose reconstructed from the remains of a set of locked antlers.

I have no idea why this exists, but it does, and I of course took a picture.
Also from LL Bean

We enjoyed lunch and souvenir shopping and ice cream eating while in Freeport.

On Wednesday, day 55 of summer, most of New England, and I think other parts of the Northeast as well, were deluged by a huge rain storm. The rain started in the morning, not really letting up much throughout the day.
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That made Wednesday our day to enjoy some time at Smitty’s Cinema – a place we discovered a few years ago and have enjoyed going to ever since.

At Smitty’s you can enjoy pub style food, served by a waitress to your table in the theater, where you sit in comfortable high backed chairs.
Annual visit to Smitty's

My family’s choice of movie was “Guardians of the Galaxy”. I’m not a follower of Marvel but this was a fun movie and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

The rain continued and the wind howled and thunder rumbled well into the night. I will show you the results of the storm in my next blog post.

The Maine Thing – part 1

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer,Travel — Karma @ 3:32 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Days 51, 52 and 53 of summer were the beginning of my one week vacation to Hills Beach in Biddeford Maine. This was our 5th year returning to the little cottage on the beach known as “The Dollhouse”.
Path to cottage

After leaving the house bright and early Saturday morning, and successfully avoiding the worst of the highway traffic on our route north, we made our stops for supplies along the way. I’ve told you before about Yummies – this year was no exception for stopping at our favorite candy store. I also grabbed a pint of (expensive! $7!) wild Maine blueberries at a roadside stand.
Wild Maine blueberries
(didn’t think to take a picture until after helping myself to a few handfuls!)

We arrived at the cottage after doing our grocery shopping and unpacked the car. Low tide greeted us at the beach.
Low tide at Hills Beach

I was happy to spend the last hours of the day in a beach chair reading after the work for the day was done.
Ending of a long day

I found myself awake shortly after sunrise on Sunday morning with beautiful light streaming in my window.
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After starting to read a most appropriate book with my breakfast,
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I was off on my morning walk – my preferred way of starting each day on vacation.

The afternoon brought beach time with my family.
Enjoying my girls' company on the beach

On Monday morning’s walk, I brought the Canon along with me.
I found
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ducks enjoying the beach

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the closest (unfortunately) view I would have for the week of my friend the blue heron

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and that strange marker with fortune-telling graffiti on it once again. The last time I took a picture of this marker it said, “Life is a gift” – a message I definitely needed to hear at the time. I found it pretty cool that it seems to say “Everything adventurous” now at a time in my life when I am trying to find the next big adventure!

More to come in the Maine editions of the 66 Days of Summer.

August 31, 2012

Ends of the Earth Photo Hunt

Today is the due date for this month’s photo hunt with the theme “Ends of the Earth”.  I just finished my own photo-taking yesterday, so here I am creating my post on the due date.  It was back-to-school week here, so it has been busy, but I have just started taking peeks at the photo hunts that have been submitted so far.  If I haven’t been over to see yours yet, don’t fret – I will definitely be coming around to see them this weekend, and I hope to have a wrap-up  post completed before the long weekend is over.

You may remember back when I first announced this photo hunt that I mentioned that Provincetown, Massachusetts is the place that I’ve always considered to be “the end of the earth”.  If you are unfamiliar with P-town, it is the town at the very tip of Cape Cod, sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean:

I haven’t been back to Provincetown since I bought my Rebel, but I found a few shots that can help give you that end of the earth feeling in my archives.  A spit of land like this ( did you know this was actually the first landing place of the Pilgrims in 1620, not Plymouth, Ma, as many think of it to be?) needs lighthouses and Provincetown has a couple.

Long Point Lighthouse

Long Point Lighthouse

Race Point Lighthouse

Race Point Lighthouse

I remember wondering once if I could travel east along a line of latitude from Provincetown, what country would be the next land that I would encounter.  In my mind’s eye, I thought England or France.  I was very surprised to find out it would actually be Spain.  Hence the title of this photo looking east across the huge sand dunes of Provincetown:

Next Stop to the East? Spain!
“Next stop, Spain!”

Since this was a photo hunt, I was not content to hunt only in my archives.  While I was on vacation in Maine, I took some photos on a cloudy day of another place that could be an end of the earth.  The beach that we visit has a set of breakwaters that contain deep water for entry into a small harbor.

Breakwater1

I’ve climbed these rocks since I was a child, and there is a certain feeling of isolation and end of the earth here.
Breakwater2

I didn’t want to leave out the other possibility I mentioned for photo hunting in the original post – extremes.  The place that I live in doesn’t have much in the way of extremes, but I’ve always thought the top of our little mountain here in town was a very pretty place.  Our highest elevation is only 910 feet, but it made for pretty pictures as the sun began to go down.

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These shots were taken on Peak Road here in town – apropos, no?

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I hope you had fun with this month’s photo hunt.  I’m looking forward to coming around and seeing your posts this weekend.  I hope you get to enjoy the 3-day Labor Day weekend.

August 20, 2012

Mainely, the details

Back before I left for my vacation, I did a post about remembering to enjoy the details.  I noticed when I went through my vacation photos, that those are what I’d most like to share with you.  This was our 6th year returning to Hills Beach in Maine as a family (I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve been there when I was the child rather than the parent of the family), and our 3rd year renting the same cottage.  Perhaps because of this, my photo total from the week is fewer than normal.  I didn’t feel the need to take a lot of the same scenery photos that I’ve taken many times over.  I would’ve liked more pictures featuring my family, but as anyone who is the parent of teenagers will tell you, that’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite details that caught my eye this year.

watersparkle
Morning sparkle on the water

rosa ragusa
Yellow beetle in a rosa rugosa

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Dandelion-like weeds appearing to grow from rocks

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Cottages reflecting on Biddeford Pool

toile shadow
The shadow of the lacey toile curtains in the dining area of our cottage

spotted from the porch
The glimpse of a rainbow, spotted from the porch when I looked up from my book…

beach rainbow

beach rainbow
…of which I of course ran outside in the still sprinkling rain to get a better shot!

afternoon warmth
The warmth of the sun reflected in the colors of the beach

happy feet
My toes in one of their favorite places on earth

Graffiti is something I would normally never photograph, but in this case I felt like the graffiti was giving me a message or a reminder:
interesting graffiti
I’m fairly sure this message was not even written by just one person, but when I first glimpsed it I read: “Life is a Gift”. “Life” is clear in black at the front then around the side in green, the lower letters looked like “a gift”. That’s probably not what was meant by those who scribbled the graffiti, but sometimes those reminders find us anyway.

P.S. I did take an awful lot of photos of the shorebirds that I encountered this year! I’m still comparing my photos to photos on my bird identification site trying to figure out the pipers from the plovers and the terns from the little gulls. When I get them as sorted as I feel that I can, there will be a post and update for the birding project.

August 24, 2011

Mainebows!

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 2:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

On Monday of our vacation week , we got stuck with some pretty heavy-duty rain.  The day was bleak enough that we tried to go to a movie and couldn’t because it was sold out!  We ended up renting one (the re-make of “Arthur” – meh, it was just aw-ight).  Monday night the rain hammered unbelievably loudly, and Tuesday dawned drizzly and overcast.  However, by late Tuesday afternoon we were treated to:
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Can you see it?  Just the faintest hint of rainbow?  I discovered this at the far end of the beach where I take my morning walks.

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I saturated the color in PSE, but this still wasn’t as vivid as I’d hoped – my polarizing filter was back at the cottage and I imagine that would’ve helped bring out the color.

After I had walked back to the cottage, I spied another delightful sight!
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Out by the little island with the puzzling monument on it (I can’t seem to discover the purpose or reason for that structure – it was there when I was child, and I have no idea who built it or why).  I took this shot from the sand dune in front of the cottage.  I also liked the way the sun was starting to shine on the boats in the distance.
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(Remember how I mentioned how the tide goes waaaaayyyy out here? )

Rainbow with mysterious monument:

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I liked how the rainbow reflected in the small tide pools left behind on the clam flats.
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Speaking of rainbows, don’t forget your rainbow of summer is due this Sunday the 28th!  I’ve received links from Nye, Gerry and Scott so far – remember to add yours to the comments section of that post.

ETA: How short my memory is!  Becky discovered the mystery of the monument last year, and I even commented on her blog post that contained this link to an explanation!

August 22, 2011

Sun and Moon

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 8:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hi everyone!  I’m back from Maine.  I took lots of pictures and have lots to say, and was having a hard time deciding where to begin.  So,  I decided to start at the beginning!  There’s an original thought, huh?  I’m still sorting through the 468 shots I took this past week, deciding what I’d like to share, but these are from my first evening at the cottage.  August 13th also happened to be the night of the full moon this month, so I wanted to be sure not to miss it this time around.  I checked the time for moon rise, and headed out about 20 minutes before that to get ready.  Luckily it was low tide, which made for plenty of room for setting up the tripod.  At Hills Beach in Biddeford, Maine, the tide goes way out:
sunset at Hills Beach

While the sunset isn’t quite over the water, it comes really close at this beach.

I waited patiently for the moon to rise while I set up my tripod and played around with different shutter and aperture settings.  Lots of folks were out walking, enjoying the warm temperatures and low tide.  One gentlemen stopped and asked me what it was that photographers are interested in in this area (he owns a house on this beach, lucky guy!)  I told him I didn’t know but I was waiting for the full moon.  He jokingly offered to “pose” for a full moon!  We ended up having a nice chat about the area – he’s owned his place for about 20 years, I’ve been vacationing there since my parents first took me as a child- and what a wonderful place it is for families.  His daughter and her children were there visiting him that day, and she showed me her lovely sunrise photos.  They were temptingly beautiful, but I am sooo not an up-before-the-sun kind of person.  I’d love sunrise shots but wasn’t sure I could drag myself up that early on vacation.

The moon finally rose above a small bank of clouds.  I took a few dozen shots at different settings and compositions.  This was my favorite of the batch:

Aug. 13 full moon over Biddeford Pool

After taking my moon shots, I turned my lens around for a few more shots of the beautiful colors left by the sun:
evening light

I had a couple more interesting “run-in’s” with the moon during the week.  On Wednesday of last week, the moon came up a bit later, but during the course of the evening the brightness was casting a gorgeous glow on the sand below.  I dragged the tripod out to the little sand dune in front of the cottage and again played with settings.  The brightness of the moon made it difficult for me to focus on, but I thought these two shots came out pretty well:

shiny moon

(10 sec., f10) The dots of light below are lights on the masts of sailboats.  I changed the settings to get a brighter shot here (30 sec., f5.0):

glowing moon

The next night, while we were down on the beach having a campfire and enjoying the distant fireworks of Old Orchard Beach, the moon rose in a bloody red color.  My family urged me, “take a picture, take a picture!!”  I knew I didn’t have the skill to capture that gorgeous color with so little light available, so I hemmed and hawed.  Finally, as we were heading back up to the cottage, it was higher in the sky, still glowing orange, so I gave it a try:
orange moon

This is but a whisper of its earlier color, and of course now I can’t help but wonder if I could’ve gotten an acceptable shot of the low, red moon.

So did I get up for a sunrise picture after all?  All week long,  I awakened around 5:30 am and took a gander out my bedroom window.  I could see the beautiful color, but I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed.  I considered taking the shot through the window, but I knew the screen in the way just wouldn’t do it justice.  On Friday when I awakened pre-dawn, I told myself it was one of my last chances, so get yourself down there.  I had no idea exactly what time sunrise was, but I walked down to my beach chair and plopped myself there and waited.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed the pre-dawn quiet – only the sea birds and gentle lapping waves making any sound.  I think for the first time in my life I actually saw the full orb of the sun creep above the horizon.  Here it is as it first peeked up:
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and again as the whole orb was first visible:

sunrise, Hills Beach

Of course I played around with the settings again, not really knowing what I was doing.  I changed white balance around too, but none of the settings really gave the true view which I find curious.  The actual view surrounding the sun was more blue, and the bright color more limited to the area right in front of the sun, but nothing I tried presented that image.  I’d love to hear from anyone with sunrise-shooting experience about what settings and such worked for you, or about any thoughts you may have about why this picture didn’t show up true to my view.

I’ve got so much more to share with you over the coming days.  The start of school looms in about a week, so I hope to sort through my thoughts and images to present some more blog posts very soon!  Hope you don’t get sick of hearing about Maine!

September 2, 2010

Critters of Hills Beach

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I’m still not done with Maine posts!  I hope you aren’t tired of them yet!

On my morning walks, I encountered a lot of interesting creatures that I don’t often get to photograph at home.  My older daughter has shown some interest in marine biology; perhaps a bit of it is genetic as I always find myself poking at shellfish and crustaceans when I am at the shore.

small snail with trail

Just a common little snail here, but I liked how the antennae were visible as well as the trail it had made behind it.

big snail

I disturbed this larger snail when I saw it nestled in the mud; I wanted to know if it was another live snail or just an empty shell.  As you can see it turned out to be live, and it worked to pull itself back into its shell.  I was afraid I had unearthed a treat for the near-by sea gulls, but something happened to disturb the birds from the meal they were most definitely eyeballing…

goldendoodle

I learned from Rebecca that this happy goldendoodle’s name is Sam.  He seemed to smile as he romped and chased the birds my husband oh-so-affectionately refers to as “dump chickens.”

big live clam

Here is another jumbo-sized shelled critter that I stumbled upon.  I’m so used to finding only empty shells on the beach, these big, live squishy-bodied creatures took me by surprise.  I picked this one up so you could have a better idea about its size.

hermit crab

The hermit crabs, though numerous, refused to poke out of their scavenged shells unless they were in the water; hence this not-as-clear shot taken in the water.

Mad chipmunk

While a chipmunk is certainly a photo that I could have taken at home, this guy ( or gal, I don’t know!) seemed to be having a very heated discussion with an unseen adversary.  It continued to “buck buck buck chit chit chit” as I took its picture.  It is resting upon a stone wall along the sea, bordering Hills Beach Road.  Maybe it was chattering at this guy…
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