Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Unrelenting Weather

Wednesday found us traveling south to the St. George’s Peninsula in search of two lighthouses. The thick fog commonly referred to “pea soup” still had not lifted as we approached the Owl’s Head Light, a short squatty tower raised on a grassy knoll above the keeper’s house. It didn't take long to climb the stairs, walk around the base, take a gray photo and then descend the stairs. The keeper’s house was open and had been converted to an information center/ gift shop. The lady inside was very friendly and was glad to hear we were on our way to Marshall Point to visit the second lighthouse. We drove for about another hour along the coast, sometimes seeing bits of the harbors or outlying islands while at other times found ourselves unable to count the boats tied to the village wharfs we drove by. Marshall Point light sets out on a pile of rocks at the confluence of the ocean and the St. George River. You access the light by a narrow walkway leading from the keeper’s house. I’m sure it’s a sight to behold on a blue sky day but not today. The bit of visibility we had revealed a well restored working light surrounded by a small crowd of visitors undeterred by the lack of visibility. In fact, there were 4 or 5 artists working on small canvases spread out on the grounds. I asked one lady if she was painting from memory and she chuckled. Then she remarked how unlike us photographers who depended upon lighting and a view, she could paint what she wanted to be there. She was working on a section of rocks with breaking surf on them. Her surf looked angrier than what was there. We had an ice cream lunch at a Dairy Truck overlooking fields in the process of being hayed and the St. George River. Before we returned to the campground, there remained just one last lighthouse on this part of the coast, the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. From the parking lot to the lighthouse is a mile over huge blocks of granite put in place to protect the harbor from North Atlantic storms. The exercise was great, the photos came out okay and we made it back to the truck just as the thunder rumbled in the distance. The rain settled back in for the night. On Thursday morning, this bright light broke through the camper window and woke me up. We ate a hasty breakfast and headed out towards the communities of Rockport and Camden, both scenic, historic and a Mecca for tourists who want to shop, picnic or just relax. Their relaxation makes for tense driving for Carl and equally tense situations for the person with the camera, me. We had to pass on a couple of spots due to lack of parking but did make it to the Camden Hills State Park and a drive up Mt. Battie where we were treated to a view of the ocean and coastline for miles. And then, like clockwork, the clouds gathered, rain threatened and we headed back to the campground. Carl watched another movie while I did a couple loads of laundry. On the 26th, we’ll leave here and head southeast to South Paris for the Moore Park Art Show.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fog Bound

Our odyssey continued in the state of Maine, moving on Monday to the rugged coast near Rockport. We arrive at the Megunticook Campground well before the check in time of 1:00 but were greeted with a smile and escorted to our site by a young man on what used to be a small riding lawn mower. The mowing deck had been removed and what was left moved along at a pretty good clip considering the potholes and bumps in the road. Our site was well shaded and roomy, providing us with a cozy parking spot for the next four days. We could see glimpses of the ocean through the thick hardwood forest behind us and after setting up the camper, we headed down a well traveled path to a beautiful little picnic area and still further below were Adirondack chairs just waiting for someone to settle into them and gaze out, possibly catching a glimpse of whales or passing ships. Unfortunately the gray sky created a gray ocean and in the distance we caught sight of a low hanging fog bank moving into the area. On nearby Indian Island stands a keeper’s house and a square lighthouse about to be swallowed by the approaching wall of gray. Tuesday found us pretty much camper bound by alternating sprinkles and torrents of rain. We couldn't reach any television signals so the only thing that saved Carl’s sanity was the nearby Wal-Mart and it’s Red Box. In all, we rented 4 movies and bought one of those $5.00 specials, this one containing 8 different Miramax movies. I alternated between reading, editing photos and looking out the window for some sign the weather was changing. That, sadly did not happen.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

There’s No Business Like…

If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it’s never more true than in New England. In the past week there have been heat index busting days and thunderstorms that put some tropical depressions to shame. A case in point would be our first day of the Yarmouth, ME Clam Festival. By 7:30 AM, the temperature was in the mid 80’s. No one felt much like moving about but wait. It got much worse. The heat index hit an all time high, the weather service called for an air quality health alert and the previous Portland, ME record of 94 was broken by 4 degrees. In all of that humidity, we tried to be pleasant and chat people up but let’s face it, even I couldn't ramp up any enthusiasm for my work. The small groups of people that did show up wandered from shady patch to shady patch in search of their next cold drink.  The second day seemed a bit cooler thanks to a very slight breeze and there were a few more people roaming about. I judge the days by how many business cards disappear so appeared to have been pretty good. A line of nasty squalls headed in our direction so everyone baled by 6:15. But, even this weather was a bust. When you talk about differences between night and day, we woke on Sunday to what I can only describe as the Lord having installed a New England wide air conditioner. There was a beautiful cooling breeze with seasonably mild temperatures and big white puffys in an azure sky. So how come we had a lousy day? I've never been able to figure out the Art Show business and how people perceive one piece of art from another. It’s possible the people came, saw and did on the previous two days and having done it all, they didn’t feel the need to return. There’s never been any rhyme or reason to what makes a successful event. Some days, people come to spend and other days they do not. This was a “do not” weekend.