Another year down and another year closer to finishing our masterworks. In hindsight, which is the point of a retrospective after all, I liked 2013. Truth be told there is a touch of the superstitious in me and to that end 13 isn't always my favorite number, but just like the number that tells me how old my life is supposedly getting= it's still only just a number. Although ask Steven King, Maine's favorite author, what he thinks of that declaration and then go see "1408" with John Cusack about the haunted Dolphin Hotel in NYC, yeah... just a number. 2014? Still not rolling off the tongue. A yearly problem that, by the time we're used to it we have to take down last years Ansel Adams calendar and start all over again. Around and around we go. Speaking of Ansel- he has an adage where he says "twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop" (picture him saying that while sitting at his piano with that great big white beard fluttering). I finally had the chance this past weekend to do that critical considering- here's a quick little detail about last weekend: at one point on Friday the wind chill drove the temps down to -48 degrees f! -48 degrees! -48 degrees f! Woah, woah woah now winter, easy does it there! That's just crazy cold. There was some rocking sea smoke and purportedly one of the highest tides in decades here, the pipes froze briefly, my diesel wasn't even about to think about starting, and I took the opportunity to watch the entire first season of 'The Wire', which is awesome!
About the photographs: editing images as the maker of the images is always kind of a challenging endeavor. You have to think critically on these almost as a third party removed from the experience of making them and the satisfaction of that day and therefore the idea you have of them as a result. Time is always a useful tool then to put some distance between making the picture and considering it and the longer you have the better off you'll often be able to view them impartially. Then again the longer you look at it sometimes the more time you have to reinforce our own fantasies about how "good" it is and sometimes the only way to realize that it dearly lacks in substance is to have somebody else clue us in to that. Which reminds me of a pertinent problem among photographers on the social media circles- we don't tell each other that we suck enough. The Flickr fluffer phenomenon is still alive and well, your back patted and maybe you'll pat mine, ack that drives me crazy! Seriously though if you want me to really remember you then critique my images. I especially remember this one fellow this year telling me that one of my horizons was out of plumb to the point of me wanting to pull my or his hair out- it was an island on the distant horizon making an illusion of tilting, but it got me to critically examine my work and that's the point of the whole exercise= take stock of where we are, where we are going, and how to do it all better. Whatever, without too much more adieu, and hopefully with an abundant batch of keepers for me and you all to harvest digitally or analoguely or whatever in 2014- on to the pictures.
~My Top Twelve (and change) photographs of 2013~
"Snow Beach" January 4, 2013. Latty Cove, 'the backside', Mount Desert Island.
"Bass Harbor Marsh Snowfield" February 11, 2013. Bass Harbor Marsh, Acadia National Park, Maine.
"Jordan Pond Reflections and Ice Detail" February 20. Jordan Pond, Acadia.
"Cat Tails Ice and Snow" 3/5/13. Little Round Pond, MDI.
"Seal Cove Pond Ice Fog" 3/13/13. Seal Cove, Maine.
"Clown Smile Rock at Bodice Cove" March 25, 2013. Corea, Maine. (Downeast).
"Low Tide at Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod" March 29, 2013. Truro, Cape Cod, Massachussetts.
"Eagle Lake Driftwood in the Fog" May 12, 2013. Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park.
"Hunter Beach in the Fog" July 11, 2013. Hunter Beach, Acadia.
"Maine Coast Cormorant and Rock Textures" Sept 12, 2013. Midcoast Maine.
"The Tarn in the Fog" September 30, 2013. ANP, MDI.
"Flotsam at Lopaus Point" October 22, 2013. Lopaus Point, Tremont, Mount Desert Island, Maine.
"Thunder Hole Storm Waves" November 18, 2013. Thunder Hole along the Schooner Head Road in Acadia National Park.
"Wonderland Winter Sunrise" December 29, 2013. Out at Wonderland off Mansett, Acadia National Park, Maine.
"Ship Harbor Sunrise" April 12, 2013.
Right then- so that's my official twelve and change photographs for 2013. They are really kind of arbitrary choices- meaning there could have been others that I liked as much in one way or another, these however mostly fit my catalog and the look that I'm trying to represent as a photographic artist for the most part. 2013 was a growing year for me though photographically and the end of the year leaves me in a much different state of mind than the beginning. Where at the start of this year I was rounding off my fog and seascape portfolios and continuing with the long exposure wide angle black and white bit, the end of the year is finding me more restless in my vision and I feel like chasing a new perspective visually. I also started working on studio still lifes with off camera flash trying a new thing that way in the warmth and comfort of my own studio, which is a nice change. 2013 was successful for me in print sales locally and a little bit more through the website, got my mat mounting and printing station standardized for 4 sizes and stocked with lots of materials. It was a great year to get out of town on a couple of short trips to New York City and make two weekends full of street photography and architectural studies. 2013 was a good year for features for me: I got into Outdoor Photographer, a magazine that I used to have a subscription to, for the first and hopefully not last time http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/how-to/shooting/pro-fall-color-hot-spots.html?start=1, a Nathan Wirth's 'Slices of Silence" ezine spotlight: http://nlwirth.com/blog/artist-spotlight-nate-parker (thanks Nathan buddy!), and some other things that I can't quite remember right now but then there's this mostly embarrassing Youtube interview with Tom Migot Photography here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsikYGWKTSI&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PL6BB546CC66A11A2F and if that doesn't crack you up than I don't know what will! Most definitely the biggest change for me for 2013 was my day job- as of May I went to work as a sternman on a lobster boat out of Bass Harbor on the "Never Enough" a 36 foot Jarvis Newman diesel built in 1976 and Captained by a guy almost half my age but who's as much of a go getter as anyone. A real downside to that one was having to get up everyday at 03:00 am and missing the chance to photograph dawn at my most favorite time of day, a real upside to that though was seeing every single beautiful sunrise (minus about 7 or so mornings over the last 7 months due to weather or whatever) so I ended up driving my iPhone camera to the max! And learning how to work around the limitations of the iPhone and learning how to use it as a 'real' camera was a fun and interesting challenge. And now here we are at the bitter and cold end. I have definite objectives to achieve for 2014 and a real sense of direction of how to go about advancing them. I feel confident and optimistic that there is still lots of room for discovery which is a good mix, now to just make some of that happen. How'd you do this year? You also don't have too wait for the very end of the year to do a retrospective, it's always important to check yourself and see where you really are. Let me know in the comments or link me to your retrospective round-up.
As an outro let's vamp on outtakes of other favorite images I've made in 2013- see you on the other side!
(a winter project begun a couple years ago on the character of the local ice fishing shacks)
Ice Shacks 2
Ice Shacks 3
Ice Shacks 4
Ice Shacks 5
Ice Shacks 6
Snow Shapes 2
Snow Shapes 3
Snow Shapes 4
Snow Shapes Diptych
Snow Shapes 5
Fall Color Gesture
Fall Color Gesture 2
~iPhone Abstracts from the deck of the F/V Never Enough~
(made using iPhone 4 then iPhone 5s with any combination of the following apps: Snapseed, Mextures, Slowshutter.)
Dawn to Dusk
Dawn Horizon Shot Through a Fish Scale. (I was wondering why my images were coming back all blurry that morning so I turned the phone around and there was a fish scale nicely adhered to the lens! Ah ha!)
Blood Orange Bay
Bass Harbor, Maine.
Hardshell Maine Lobster.
Carl heading out on the F/V Last Time.
Our third hand- Mr Jason Charles Bulger.
A little fella- not a legal keeper, we throw these back. Anyways, once I made the silly mistake of intentionally letting one of these little guys bite me (had a couple large ones get me this season and that HURTS, gawd!) figured the little fellow would just nip a bit- wrong: this guy's gonna be a killer!
Big Fella. (You definitely don't want one of these guys to pinch you.)
Jason with a good sized lady lobster.
We get these all the time out of our short warps. Woot!
Scalpin. We actually found one of these once with a really hard protruding bump in his belly- so Danny naturally cut it open to see what was inside- (every time I watch him do that there is a weird mix of fascination and revulsion and I usually say something like 'dood- what the hey now are you doing man?!) anyways this one time with the hard lump thing he excises a little 4 inch long whole baby lobster! Only just partially beginning to get soft claws from stomach acid digestion it was definitely one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.
~Animals and Pets~
Grover my doggy!
So serious in the snow
He's really the best dog I've ever known. Grover!
Grover and his brother Andre.
Grover and Gus the cat. What up Gus!
Gus the cat posing in one of my square mats in the window.
~New York City~
(had the opportunity to go back to Manhattan twice this summer for two 3 day weekends, it had been twenty years since I had been there last living with friends, chased out of the Lower East Side by villains long ago I had been looking forward to return. Had myself a blast making street and architectural photography.)
The Chrysler Building.
Glass and Steel, Midtown Manhattan.
Under the Manhattan Bridge (Brooklyn side).
Klinger on Avenue A.
The bird guys-
Then there's This guy! See this is the New York that I remember and that I wanted to go visit again, trouble is: it's mostly all gone! It's now more a sterilized massive mini mall of American Outfitters and Starbucks's (that's where the bathrooms are at least) than the Taxi Driver Robert Deniro hustle streets of days gone by. They say that it's better this way. I say there should always be a balance. Maybe de Blasio will bring back some of the filth and edge of the 70's, they could sell tickets to that stuff- I'm telling' ya!
Midtown Brazil day parade-
Central Park busker.
Awesome 70's hairdo! Midtown. See the detail: gum on the sidewalks, now that's NYC.
The guy in white.
Midtown and Downtown from the 30 Rock observation deck.
Curtis Wells my neighbor.
Linda Perrin of Atlantic Art Glass http://www.atlanticartglass.com
Gene Thurston on Echo Lake.
Mom and Dad waving goodbye after a visit.
Soph and Anna.
Derrick and this guy.
And there you have it! A massive overload of imagery! If I've done my job correctly you'll neither need to or want to see another photograph for at least a few minutes! But don't you fear- I'll be back at it making more images photographing my way through 2014. See you hopefully at least at the end of next year, and good luck at it friends and readers, stay safe and happy out there!