Monday, July 20, 2009

Puffins. Machias Seal Island.

If you want to see lots of Puffins in the Northeast, then there is only one place to go....Machias Seal Island. If you want to land on the island and spend an hour or so in a blind, watching or photographing them, then the company you want to use is Norton of Jonesport, the Puffin People.
Run by a mother daughter team of Whitney Norton and Holly Davis, Norton's has the permits to land daily from early June to Mid August on the island sanctuary.
Machias Seal Island is about 10 miles off the coast of Maine. Sovereignty of the island is disputed between the US and Canada, and Canada has a manned lighthouse on the island. I was fortunate to have made 2 trips to the island last week. Fortunate because the weather is often rough enough to cancel landings, in fact the Nortons said the have had only 7 good days out of the last 21 so far this year. Reservations are necessary for most trips are fully booked. If you are planning on making a trip then book consecutive mornings so that if the first one is cancelled then you get a second chance on the next day. Puffins are not the only seabirds nesting on the island, you will find Razorbills and Murres and perhaps a few Arctic Terns.
You will thoroughly enjoy the company of Holly and Whitney and their crew of Captain Stephen Brown and bird spotter Jake Kunkler. They are friendly and informative and will make your trip very enjoyable on board their boat the CHIEF.
For photographers, you won't need your long lenses, under 300mm is adequate even with a full sensor camera. You will be shooting through a small opening in a blind, barely able to fit the hood of your 300, so you will not need a tripod. There is also the option not to go to the blind but instead stay on the reception platform and try for flight shots. If that is your choice then a longer lens may be appropriate.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jonesport, ME

I have just returned from 3 days in Jonesport, ME. A friend and I traveled north to photograph Puffins on Machias Seal Island and Jonesport is where the boat sails from for that trip.
Although our objective was the puffins, Jonesport offered us an opportunity to take advantage of the charm of the Maine coast and get some landscape images for our portfolios.Our lodging for the two evenings would have been reason enough to make the trip for it was in a barge cottage that was situated above the harbour with a view to the Southeast that was a feast for our eyes.
The cottage is completely self sufficient with a kitchen, two bedrooms, a living room, and a porch that was tough to leave. The proprietor, Dorothy Rose Higgins is as Maine friendly as they come. Dorothy Rose owns Cranberry Cottages, and if you come this way be sure to call and find out if one of her cottages is available, you wont be disappointed. The particular cottage that we stayed in was her mothers home until just few months ago. Dorothy Rose's mother Ruth, is an author and the oldest person in Jonesport at 100 years of age.
The photo opportunities around the area are fantastic and if you are as lucky as we were to have them lit by the sweetest light of the east, you will leave here with a number of family jewels.

As for the puffins, they were as friendly as a Maine native. Tell you about them later.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Granby Land Trust.

I have had the pleasure this week of renewing my acquaintance with my old home town of Granby, CT. It was a soul warming experience courtesy of the Granby Land Trust. Quoting from its web site, "....the Land Trust works to preserve Granby's Natural Heritage through the conservation of its scenic vistas, open space corridors, wildlife habitat, ecologically sensitive areas, and agricultural land."

What a wonderful job they have done. I walked three of the Trusts properties over the last few days and they were all beautiful pieces of land with pristine streams running through them. Properties which would have been prime fodder for developers, but thanks to caring landowners and the hardworking group of volunteers that make up the Land Trust, have been preserved for the ages.
Thank you GLT for giving me hope that my grandchildren and their grandchildren might yet see what a beautiful part of the world that their forefathers lived in.

Information on the properties under the stewardship of the Land Trust can be found at

This particular image was taken on the property of a GLT Board member. More to follow on this piece of heaven.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

T is for Tannin

The weather has held and the last two days have been great for photography in the woods of Enders. In fact at one point on Monday I was having such a great time that I wandered so far down stream that I had to climb a rather steep hill to the highway and walk the mile or so back to my car on Rt 219.
It was all quite worth it, for this stream is full of tannins that add a beautiful glow to the water when the light is just right.
I have hiked up and down this stream for over 40 years now, but it is just since I have put my eye behind my camera that I have started to see its full beauty. My only regret is that I did not do it sooner.
So that those of you that don't know Connecticut don't think that all we have here is water, I've posted a couple of shots of a lovely old colonial home that is close by Enders. This area has been timbered and farmed for centuries and has many old homes and roads that have survived the ages.
Thank you all for your kind comments and encouragement. I will as suggested, post more of these Enders shots in a new Gallery on my website.Click link Below.
Enders Forest Waterfalls