Hi Gang: As you read this, I’m on my way back home from our annual family vacation to Kennebunkport, Maine (my wife chose Maine a few years back because we live in the scorching Florida heat, and at this time of year Maine is a place that’s easy to get to where it’s nice and cool every day (we actually had to wear sweaters after dusk). So, we came for the weather, and but then fell in love with the people and the place. Maine is awesome).

I’m off tomorrow for my new two tour dates in Canada (Calgary and Vancouver), so I don’t have a lot of time to blog but I thought I’d at least share a few photos from the trip (Including the HDR photo above, taken in the lobby of a boat house where we went for a two-hour harbor tour on the two-masted Schooner The Eleanor. Perfect weather for sailing and the kids absolutely loved it.

The HDR shot was hand-held in low light (I braced myself on a wall, and had to shoot the 5-shot bracketed image four or five times to get one full set fairly in focus). I processed it using Photomatix Pro and Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3.0).

What I didn’t want to do
I’ve been coming to Kennebunkport for years now, so I’ve shot every lighthouse to death, along with every little quaint harbor with row boats on glassy water at sunset (if you want to see those shots, click my Portfolio link on the top left, then go to my Travel category), so I was determined not to shoot that stuff, but unfortunately that stuff is everywhere here, so I didn’t take any “Non-family vacation shots” until about 8 days into the trip (more on that in a moment). I did a lot of nothing. Sitting by the lake, reading books, playing with the kids, playing golf, shopping, and hanging out with the 13 family members that were here with us (you’re never alone when there’s 13 of you), and one night we had a dinner to celebrate my birthday (hey, you want to do it up right—30 years old—-that’s a big one). ;-)

(Above: Photo by my wife Kalebra using her iPhone)

“Borrowing” photos from my wife
The photo you see above, was actually taken by my wife Kalebra using her trusty iPhone (I’m continually amazed at what she gets out of her phone’s camera). That’s our daughter Kira, sound asleep on the boat, on the way back in to port. My wife loved the colors, and that just a little sliver of her face was showing, so I asked her if I could share it here with you on the blog, because it’s my favorite photo from the entire trip.

(Above: Photo by my wife Kalebra using her iPhone)

While I was “borrowing” her iPhone photos, I asked if I could share this one (above) of hers, too because I just particularly liked the color and composition. It was taken on the schooner (I guess that’s pretty obvious) while we were out at sea.

Shooting with my buddies Scott & Mark
Each year that I’ve come up here, I wind up hanging out with two of my buddies Scott Eccleston and his photography business partner Mark Hensley (both of whom I met on my first trip up there back in July of 2007). Totally great guys, and this time around my son Jordan came along with this, and while I didn’t get dink, we all laughed our way around about 200 miles of Maine Coast line in search of some place for me to shoot long exposure Black and White images. Ideally, you’d have a old dock with just pilings, or a old shipwreck, or a pier, or something extending out into a fast moving lake or ocean so you can leave the shutter open for like three or four minutes, and turn the water into an almost silky look.

Well, we tried and while we didn’t really come up with an ideal spot (I like to blame Scott & Mark, because as a photographer, our sworn tenet is to blame others for shots we missed), we did have a yummy dinner at Federal Jack’s Brew House, so the night wasn’t a total bust.

While I was there, I did tape a video tip for Scott’s “Weekly Photo Tips” blog (link), and during the tip taping I took the long exposure black and white photo you see above. Nothing great for sure, but at least I got to show the technique, which includes using a 10-step Neutral Density filter (so you can keep the shutter open that long during the day), and a bunch of little camera techniques and tips (like keeping the viewfinder covered during the exposure so ambient light doesn’t sneak in and ruin your exposure). As soon as Scott posts the tip, I’ll be sure to link to it here.

I went searching another night for a perfect subject for long exposure black and whites but came up empty handed again (it was a tide problem. Again, notice the subtle assignment of blame, this time on mother nature). However, while I was there, I turned around and saw this grassy area with a great sky above, and snagged this simple image (shown above) which for some reason I just really like. It’ll probably never be seen by anyone again, but I figured I’d share it here just the same.

Now, it’s back to work time
Well, I can’t relax for long, because I’m off to Canada tomorrow (glad I had 10 days with my family first), and I’m looking forward to getting back home after this leg of the tour, hanging out again with my wonderful wife and kids, playing fetch with Maggie the Wonder Dog, and sleeping in my own bed (yay!). Have an awesome Monday everybody (even though I’m fully aware that “awesome Monday” is an oxymoron).