Peaks Island has a wonderful reserve of conserved land. After a harsh arctic blast, we had several days well above freezing in January 2018, and a ground hugging fog made for a nice even lighting.:
It’s been cold this February in Maine—by local accounts, we’ve had more ice in Portland Harbor than has been seen in decades, and the Coast Guard has been using it’s ice breaking ship to keep the harbor navigable. However, “navigable” is relative; smaller boats have not been able to escape the harbor due to the ice buildup, which has now even reached Peaks Island:
The cold weather means that small animals (such as a recently sighted mink) can even make the trek from Peaks Island to neighboring House Island (mink not in this photo):
Just the other day (Feb 16, 2015), on a frigid walk around the island with my daughter, we spotted a beautiful sun dog—an optical phenomenon caused by reflection & refraction through ice crystals in the atmosphere. The two opposite rainbow arcs are formed when the light refracts through a minimum deviation of 22 degrees:
Sometimes, but apparently much more rarely, one can see a parhelic circle extending from either sundog part way around the sky. On this morning, the arc extended more than half ?way around the sky, and I took this panoramic image before my iphone6+ battery totally tanked in the -18 C temperatures:
This past Saturday (19 October) was the 18th celebration of the “Sacred and Profane”, and art festival that takes place just down the road from my house on Peaks Island. It takes place at Battery Steele (See the USM Free Press article. Although I lived on Peaks Island 11 years ago, yesterday’s event was my first time attending. The weather was wonderful, and the venue at Battery Steele (and old WWII concrete bunker) was totally transformed and an enormous amount of effort went into cleaning up Battery Steele, and creating all the art installations.
Of course, Battery Steele is dark as hell (imagine a 200 meter long massive tunnel with 1 meter thick reinforced concrete walls and multiple side rooms and you get the picture), so almost all the photos inside were handheld at iso 3200. All images were taken with a 50mm f/1.4 lens.
To darkly-hooded keyboard musicians:
and, my favorite performance piece that really needed to be experienced, reduced here to merely a photograph:
There were also wonderful sculptures that utilized the darkness and engineered lighting to wonderful effect:
All in all, a celebration not to be missed. I can hardly wait till next year.
(In the meantime, I have more images made into a video that I would be happy to send you a link to if you are interested. )
For the last year, I’ve been meaining to run the 4 local mountains close to my rental house in DownEast Maine. I’ve run up and over Schoodic Mtn many times,
and today, after being dropped off by my wife at the base of Catherine Mountain, I ran all 4 peaks. Here’s the gps track:
and here’s the elevation profile (absolute height should be lowered by 100 meters since I fogot to calibrate my watch at beginning.):
After a week of rain and cold, today was finally a nice sunny day. Got a late 8 am start, ran over Catherine Mt, and then to Caribou Mtn where one has this
view of Black Mountain (with 2 (or 3 depending on your criteria) peaks):
From Caribou Mountain, it’s down the cliffs then down to the valley, and then up to the west summit of Black Mtn (in the woods) and then down to the col and up
to the bare east summit, which affords a nice view back toward Catherine and Caribou Mtns:
From here, we can also turn around and see the forested west peak of Black, and the bare summit of Schoodic Mountain (and in the distance, the Mountains of Acadia National Park):
I was thinking I could run all the mountains in 3 hours, so I brought no water but did bring about a half dozen prunes and a few pecans to keep me from bonking.
Alas, I took 3 hours to get to the base of Schoodic Mountain, and by this time, the temperature was rising, and I was pretty much running out of steam. Managed to push to the summit and run slowly the rest of the 5km home from the summit. Legs were pretty beat today.
I’m glad I did this “run” but don’t think I’ll do it again, as it’s not really very runnable. The trail is pretty technical (rocks, roots) but too brushy to confidently see your footing ahead. Consequently, I could not really get into a running rythm. On the other hand, there’s over 1000 m of vertical in this 19km
section, so no matter what, your legs get a pretty good workout.
For trail runnning in DownEast Maine, it’s really hard to beat Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. Lots of vertical and nicely runnable trails.
At the top of the dead-end road is a blueberry field owned by my neighbor. The field is rented out to some (presumably) local blueberry farmer. I run by this field almost every day on my trail run up Schoodic Mountain. This morning I took our dog out for a few full-on sprints up to the top of the field, and was treated to a simply wonderful crisp, clear, vibrant spring morning.
As I walked along the top of the field, I just basked in the gorgeous views and of next thing I new I was composing photographs and thinking visually about the compositions I was mentally composing. So, I ran back home grabbed my camera, 40mm pancacke and a 70-200mm and spend some time making photographs.
Went on a nice 13 km trail run with my sister-in-law Charlotte Clews (proprietor of Wild Open Heart Yoga). Ran up and over Schoodic Mountain and back to Franklin, ME. Finally the snow is gone most of the DownEast peaks, and normal crampon-free trail running can resume.
Charlotte’s photo was taken with her iPhone5.
If things work out, my family will be living on Peaks Island, ME this fall, in which case I’m really going to miss being able to run from my doorstep over five different mountain peaks. On the other hand, we’ll all be living together in one house, the White Mountains of New Hampshire won’t be more than 2 hours away (yeah), and the convenience of walking or running to work will be pretty sweet.
Next day, took my kids for a quick hike up Tunk Mountain on a gorgeous blue-sky day. Still chilly on top, but from the vantage point below, you can see Catherine, Caribou, Black and Schoodic Mountain. Click on either image for a larger version.
This house, just down the hill from me in Franklin, Maine, is slowly being reclaimed. The roof has been breached, plaster is falling off the lathe inside, and the granite slabs making up the foundation have fallen in on one side. A good reminder of our own impermanence.
A blustery March day just before the March 19 Snowstorm. Just as I was getting psyched to see the mountains open up to running, winter returns. Now another week of wet slush and mud to follow.
(1/100 Sec, 40mm f/11, ISO 100)