Trip to Maine, Part 1: Portland Head Lighthouse

My sister and I headed to Maine a week and a half ago and we had a blast. We made the most of the 7 hour or so journey there, stopping along the way to take in some of the sights. I'd been to Maine many times, but there were still a few places off the highway that I hadn't seen yet. One of them was this lighthouse.

This is the gorgeous Portland Head Light, located just south of Portland, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We stopped here after about 3 hours or so to rest and get some photos. I tried to be a little creative with the above. Below is the classic scene. You can see it on just about every postcard of Portland. Sure, it's been done...but you can see why!

It kind of looks like a postcard, but this is actually how it looked. The red and white lighthouse is really striking against the rocky coastline and the sky was that perfect shade of blue.

And it's the same scene on the welcoming sign when you enter this charming town, too.

Frank's hotdogs give visitors to the light an excuse to picnic on the lawn, overlooking the ocean. The man in the red suspenders was so cute.

We could see another lighthouse off in the distance, which I learned is called Ram Island lighthouse.

Here you can see that the Portland lighthouse looks out to the Ram Island light. There were quite a few people there, considering it was a Thursday afternoon. You can tour the lighthouse and there is a little museum inside, but it was beginning to look a bit stormy and we decided to get back on the road and on the remaining 4 hour journey we had ahead.

I would really love to make a summer trip to Portland and explore the city itself. If anyone has been there or has any tips I would like to know! I'm thinking of staying in the Old Port section of the city, the travel guides claim it has the best shops and restaurants. It's only about 3 hours from me, so it would be a great weekend adventure.
My sister and I decided on taking the Coastal Route, route 1, on the way up to Bar Harbor, so the rest of our journey was very scenic. More to come...

Lessons from Ladies who Lunch

Once we visited this beautiful place in Sarasota called the Marie Selby botanical garden. While there, I noticed people with their briefcases and laptops having their work lunches in this gorgeous place, and I thought, "If I could, I would have lunch here everyday....I would escape from my desk, sneak away, and get some peace." I tried as often as I could to step outside during my breaks and sometimes even go for drives to nowhere, enjoying the fresh air, and then returning to work.

It's even better if you bring your lunch goodies with you and/or have a bench nearby.  I loved this little garden area (above) because it was super private and because it had this lovely pink foxglove bloom right in front of it. Bees love foxglove, they huddle inside the bell shaped blooms gathering pollen and you don't even notice until they pull themselves out.

These lovely "Ladies who Lunch", as I call them, all had colorful floppy hats on and were having drinks and lunch on the lawn at a hotel in Newport last week.  I stood there in my flip-flops and bun and though, Why don't I ever wear a hat or dress up for lunch? How come I don't grant myself a mid afternoon drink with a view like this? What am I waiting for, really?  They may not work or maybe they took a girls' day off. All I know is, they were making the most of their time together, all dressed up, matching hats, and drinks in hand. They claimed some adirondack chairs down by the water for their lunch.

Sure, we don't all have hours every day to go outside, or we don't live in a gorgeous seaside town like Newport. (neither do I.) I have learned, though, from the last few years spent learning photography that we can make time for things that are beautiful. Take the scenic route to work and the long, unknown way home. Take time to sit by the ocean instead of by the highway. Pick or purchase real flowers instead of fake ones for your dining room table. If you have dinner at a restaurant in the summer, enjoy it alfresco.

Wear your floppy, colorful hat whenever possible. Remember the most unassuming things, like dappled sun through the trees, a lonely garden bench, and ladies who lunch, make the best subjects for your photos. Take time for yourself and nature...just the two of you. There doesn't need to be another person present to enjoy it. Your job, and your life, will still be waiting when you're done. :)

USA's First Sunrise: Cadillac Mountain

After visiting Acadia National Park for the last three summers, I finally was able to see the first sunrise in the country atop Cadillac Mountain. (The mountain is the highest elevation within 25 miles of the coastline from Maine to Mexico. Although during certain times of the year, the easternmost point in the US, Lubec Maine, sees the sun first.) All it involved was being there at 4 in the morning, a tripod from Walmart, and a lot of patience! Here are some images from the day...

So here you can see the first colors starting to appear, and the people at bottom right (above) and below.The first pic above is a little blurry...I was trying to get the exposure down pat. I needed to keep the shutter open for a few seconds to capture the earliest morning light, and then I changed it as the sun came up.

Above, the rocks are turning pinkish purple. The rocks on top of Cadillac are actually made of pink granite, and are naturally light speckled pink and gray.
The colors got more and more vibrant, especially the pink, and the water began to change from blue to pink right before our eyes..

There it is peeking over the horizon...we are the first to see it...all these people on the mountain started cheering. Partiers who had been up all night, little children with their grandparents, hikers, photographers....everyone was excited. There must have been 40 people there.

Above, you can see some of them gathered against the water (toward the left of the photo.) The islands you see here are called the Porcupine Islands, located in Frenchman's Bay, on the Maine coast.

And as the day began I was able to snap another for my "hearts" collection... see it? 

We spent a few days in this area of Maine and I have lots more to share, too. :) Hope you enjoyed the sunrise!

8 New Free Textures!

I've been having a lot of fun making these and I'm happy to share them! To download, you can click on each texture below you want, and it will open in a new window. Click the + sign on the image to get the highest resolution size, then right click and save on your computer. You can then layer and play around with them in Photoshop.Another option is to visit my Flickr texture page...there are lots more textures there, too. Enjoy!

Sunny Lavender field
Underwater Bokeh
Speckled Sky
Wet Rocks

Coffee Milk bokeh

Grungy Sky
Maine Beach bokeh

Candy Buoys

My perfect day in Newport.....

I would start my day by drinking my Iced Coffee in one of these chairs and browsing through the latest issue of Somerset Life...

Then I would walk over to the Cliff Walk, which would be in my front yard, of course..

then..I'd head over to the beach and do some tidepooling and swimming..

Next...a little peaceful kayaking...

Watching the colorful boats make their way out to sea...

And ending the day in yet another Adirondack chair with a friend as the sun goes down. :)

I may be adding some of these as prints to my shop when I re-open...I've been soooo busy!! I hope to come back and get it up and running any day now! Maybe the first day we have that is not beautiful and sunny?  Hope your summers are going as wonderful as mine.. :)
Oh and P.S. I have created my own little blog button (see the right sidebar!) and if you grab it for your site or blog, please let me know so I can link back to you or advertise your button, too! :)))

Long Exposure Fireworks...and American Flag Cake!

I'm still learning the best way to photograph fireworks, but I took these using between a one and five second exposure and a small tripod. I think they came out very was a really great show, we head down to this location every year and I'm never disappointed. (I also included some of the delish cake that was at my Aunt's party this past weekend...slrrp..)

And the cake!