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New Brunswick, Canada

My best friend lives a few states away so we don’t see each other very often. Once every year, she plans a trip to see me and we usually take off somewhere for at least a day trip but sometimes a longer jaunt. In addition to putzing (I love using that word) around my beloved Mount Desert Island, this time we explored Boston and Salem, MA and then took a trip to New Brunswick, Canada. We were specifically heading for the Hopewell Rocks but I’ll write about that later.

Amy officially has a travel document now. While I was living in Vermont, she came for one of her vacation visits. I took her to Island Pond and we went to Moose Alley in New Hampshire for our “moose safari”. On the way back from there, the road meandered very closely to the borders not only of Vermont and New Hampshire, but also Canada. At that time Bestie did not have a passport. I did happen to have mine with me. We went right up to the border crossing at Beecher Falls and she starting snapping photos of the crossing station and the Canada signs and flags. Little did we know that those photos are prohibited. A border patrol officer came out to us and wanted to know exactly what we were doing. Amy was required to delete some of her images. I explained that she was visiting and had never been to Canada. I offered my passport for inspection. Being adventurous as well as an opportunistic photographer, I asked if my friend might take a few steps over the border so I could snap some shots of her under the sign and with the flag and border monument. He agreed. Then it occurred to me that without a passport, coming back into the states was potentially a problem. So my next question, which has become a joke with us, was, “But can I get her back?” He chuckled and nodded. For a few moments, Amy was an undocumented visitor to Canada.  This time she had a passport and we were off on a Canadian holiday. The two of us are both intelligent capable women on our own. Put us together and anything can happen. We took one trip where we started out thinking of ourselves as Thelma and Louise but ended up Lucy and Ethel. The nicknames stuck. I swear it’s our fate to get lost and wind up in the goofiest situations. On this journey the plan was to first go to Campobello (I’ll write about this later) and then on to Hopewell Cape. Please understand that while I love spontaneity, I am usually a planner when it comes to trips like this. I don’t know what I was thinking. I really didn’t plan anything other than our lodging reservations.  It escaped me that Campobello is actually out of the way for the trek to Hopewell Rocks. We crossed into Canada, legally this time, at Lubec, Maine.   One thing we forgot about was a difference in time zone.  We just assumed we were still on Eastern time.  Nope.  New Brunswick is in the Atlantic Time Zone which is an hour ahead of Eastern.  If it’s noon in Maine, it will be 1:00 p.m. in New Brunswick.  We explored Mulholland Point, which is just over the bridge.  It has a great view across the narrows to Lubec.  There is also a lighthouse there.  For more information about that, check here:  http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=1020  We were fortunate enough to witness three harbor seals fishing in the swift tidal currents of the narrows.  It always fascinates me just how fast a fog can roll in from seemingly nowhere.  I took a photo of the Franklin D. Memorial Bridge and minutes later there was fog.  After our tour of Campobello, we thought we were headed in the right direction but the GPS took us right to a ferry crossing. What? Wait. Huh? After some debate and pulling out maps, we realized that unless we wanted to take a ferry, we would need to cross back into Maine and take Route 1 up to Calais where we would cross over to St. Stephen. We muttered a few things about Lucy and Ethel striking again but finally made it to another border crossing station. The patrol officers usually ask random questions while checking the passports. This one asked our occupations. Naturally, I answered photographer and Amy answered Exterminator. The guard grinned slyly at which point Amy and I said, in unison, “BUGS! not people.” I was waving my hands wildly to make the point of no people. He chuckled and sent us on our way.  Along our route, we kept seeing things we thought we’d like to explore on the way back.  Time always runs out for those excursions.  We should know better by now.  As we got closer to our destination, we came upon an overlook.  Normally, it must be a great view of Fundy Bay but on that day, the scene was sun on the overlook deck and mass of trees below with some gorgeous clouds streaked and rolled across the sky before us.  We could just make out the far shoreline of the bay in the distance.  Then on to our home for the next few days.  While in New Brunswick, we explored Cape Enrage http://www.capeenrage.ca/en/  There is a lighthouse, a gallery, and a zip line, but the real reason to visit that spot is the Cape House Restaurant.  This place is a hidden gem.  It’s small.  There are very few tables but the cuisine is five star.  Our server was very informative.  She was attentive but did not hover.  Amy discovered fiddleheads during one of her spring time visits and loves them.  Typically, however, she comes too late in the season for them.  I freeze some just for her.  The season obviously lasts longer in New Brunswick because fiddleheads were offered as an appetizer and with certain entrees.  Nevertheless, Amy felt like having steak that evening.  When her plate arrived she was delighted to find her steak on a large bed of fiddleheads.  As is her nature, she shared with me.  I ordered the PEI scallops and honey gnocchi in a garlic glaze with fresh greens and a local dairy’s gouda shaved on top.  https://www.facebook.com/ArmadaleFarmDairyProducts  I normally don’t like fruit wines because they are too sweet for my taste but there was an offering of dry blueberry wine from a local winery.  http://www.watersidewinery.ca/about.php  The word dry made me ponder for a moment.  Sure, what the heck.  It was so good that I vowed we would find the winery and the dairy the next day.  I wanted some of that yumminess to take home.  Let me warn you that the dairy only takes cash and only Canadian cash.  Take lots of it because you will want to load up on their wonderful cheese.  On our journey to find the winery, we happened upon a cemetery with an unusual name.  Legend has it that First Nation people took the name from the call of the loons.  The name Ha Ha was also applied to a creek and a lake.  Naturally, the uneducated first see the arch and just burst out laughing.  It was raining off and on the day we discovered the cemetery.  Between that and the desire to visit the winery, I did not ford the puddles which were more like ponds, in order to get the best shot.  It is what it is.  You get the idea.  Somewhere else along the backroads (I wish I could pinpoint it but I just don’t remember.  Sorry), we ran across a tree with sneakers hanging from all the dead branches.  As we got closer, we were able to read the sign on the tree.  Seems the tree is a symbol for the fight against Ovarian Cancer in Canada.  To me this is more than a symbol, it’s art.  It evokes emotion.  It also changes with exposure to the elements and the addition of more walking shoes.  I love art which is fleeting, which allows interaction, and which inspires action.  What a beautiful expression of humanity on a quiet backroad.  We reached Alma as the tide was nearly all the way out.  It always seems strange to me to see boats sitting on the bottom after the tide has gone.  They seem lost, stranded, even ghostly at times.  I know the tide will come back and will lift them again but for a time they sit leaning on their sides, the way a top does when it finally halts.

Bridge old and newFDR Bridge FogMulholland PointThe NarrowsMulholland Lobster BoatoverlookOutgoing Tiderivertide is outHa Ha CemeteryWalk for Hope

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Seneca Falls

I’m back finally, after recovering from shoulder surgery.  It feels so good to get out in the world with my gear again.  For a while now I have been making trips from Maine to Ohio on a regular basis.  My route takes me right past Seneca Falls, NY.  Every time, I see signs marking the location of the National Women’s History Museum.  My most recent trip marked possibly the last time I would travel this way so I decided to stop.  Once I did, I was so overwhelmed by the history of the village and region that I spent the night in order to explore further the next day.

Several years ago I watched a movie entitled Iron Jawed Angels with Hillary Swank playing the role of Alice Paul.  At the time, I wondered why I was so unaware of such history.  I like the movie so much that I bought it for my home library.  About that time, there was a major election coming up.  Several of my women co-workers talked about not voting because they were too busy or this reason or that reason.  I marveled at the fact that so few of us knew anything about the hardships endured by our foremothers in the fight for the right to vote.  I lent my movie to several women and after viewing it, they were determined to vote.

Now, here I was in the village where the Women’s Rights movement, in this country, first took hold.  I visited museums and the important landmarks.  Suddenly this all became a living history for me.  The names of Alice Paul and Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, along with others, all had a face.  But in addition, the lives of countless others became almost tangible.  Seeing all the nearby textile mills and factories, the plight of women of that time touched me profoundly.

The construction of the Erie Canal along with adjunct canals, in the region, transformed rural communities into bustling centers of manufacturing and commerce.  Often when there was no work for the man of the family, the women and girls could procure employment in factories because of such strong gender roles and division of labor.  The women were paid a pittance in comparison to what a man would make doing the same job. That is if a man were to ever take on such “womanly” work.  If a woman chose not to marry, was a widow, or had a drunkard for a husband, she could still support herself and any children by working in a factory.

Many factors came together, in Seneca Falls, to create a ‘perfect storm’.  Social reform became a focused and determined movement bent on molding and shaping our young country.  The Temperance movement sprang up in response to the fact that drunken husbands could not hold down jobs and would abuse their wives and children.  Religious reform produced women leaders of many new sects who balked at the oppression of women as is written in the bible.  Slavery became a divisive issue with many Seneca Falls residents supporting the Underground Railroad and the fight for an end to slavery.

One might argue that Seneca Falls, NY is steeped in such a rich history so as to rival other landmark cities such as Boston and Philadelphia.  It is even touted to be the inspiration of Frank Capra’s holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart.  If you are interested in Sociology, Anthropology, Women’s Studies, or History in general, you really must place Seneca Falls, NY high on your list of places to visit.  I can tell you that I bought my young grandchildren several books from the Women’s Rights National History Park.  In about 8 or 10 years, I plan to take them on a tour of Seneca Falls and the surrounding area.  I want history to come alive for them.

“If we want our girls to benefit from the courage and wisdom of the women before them, we have to share the stories.” - Shireen Dodson

Water Tower

Water Tower

Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church- Proposal of Equal Rights Amendment

Gate

Gate leading to Promenade and Canal Harbor Park

Rally Corner

Wesleyan Church-First Women’s Rights Convention

Canal Bridge and Tie Off

View of one of the Canal bridges and boat or barge tie off

Bell

Old foundry bell

Convex Mirror

Reflection of the Cady Stanton house from a Convex Mirror on the corner

Mausoleum

Mausoleum

Canal Front

Homes along the Cayuga-Seneca canal

Disrepair

Remains of old factories

Lock at Oak Island

Gate at lock on Oak Island

Textile Mill

Old Mill with tree shadow

Oak Island Geese

Oak Island Geese

Old Mill

Another abandoned factory

Promenade

Canal Promenade

Seneca Knitting Mills

Seneca Knitting Mills

Trinity from the Bridge

Trinity Church from bridge

Trinity from Gazebo

View of Trinity Church and Historical Park from Gazebo

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Chance Encounters

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
― Anaïs Nin

Just a while before sunset today, I raced (which is to say crawled with great anticipation) up the winding road of Cadillac Mountain in hopes of capturing a sunset shot from the summit. Even as the gears shifted, fog was beginning to shroud the mountain before me.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with weather in Maine, let me tell you it can be fickle.  Double goes for this mountain.  Pay no attention to the conditions elsewhere on the island.  The top of Cadillac can be the stuff of dreams OR nightmares.   As I drove, I passed one clear overlook which was inundated with cars and tourists with cameras. I continued my ascent in hopes of spotting a break in the mist. At the top, I saw only one other car, barely visible in the pea soup. I walked around a bit looking for my window of opportunity. None came. Full of disappointment, I sulked back toward my vehicle, when suddenly, a young woman approached me. She asked for a ride down the mountain. I blanched. I don’t give rides to strangers! rang through my head.  She said she had hiked up but now darkness would soon be upon her and she was quite cold. Hesitantly, I asked where she is staying. Jordan Pond House. Ahhh. An employee? Not this year but last. This year she is just visiting before heading to Germany in a couple of weeks. Having recently read passages noting how disconnected we have all become gave me pause. Strangers don’t speak anymore, much less look one another in the eye. What little nugget of wisdom might be missed? What gem would never come into my life if I passed up every chance to meet someone new much less help another in need? I overcame my fear and agreed to give her a ride. As we began descending the mountain, we talked about her other travels. Then suddenly I saw a bright spot in the sky. Quickly, I pulled the car over (ok, I practically yanked it off the road), grabbed a camera, and walked in the direction of Blue Hill. The fog had momentarily retreated and the late day sun, barely peeking over a ridge,  strongly illuminated the landscape below. In just a few minutes, we were again enveloped by an eery curtain. Roxie and I joked about the fingers of mist appearing as something out of a Stephen King novel (Maine IS his home ya know).  Back in the warmth of the car, my companion and I chatted about many things including travel and living dreams while young and free.   We each confessed how scared we were to ride together.  Either of us could have been dangerous.  She encouraged me to still take that backpacking trip across Europe–even at my age. She told me of a special place in Hawaii which just MUST be experienced. She expressed gratitude for my  “sage” advice. As I delivered her safely to the doorstep of her lodging, I gave her my card and wished her a safe journey. Now, hours later, as I edit my photos, I realize that I would have missed that brief moment of sunset in the clouds had it not been for the delay my new friend created while convincing me to give her a lift. While I was thrilled to get a few shots, I am truly grateful for the entire encounter. It restored my faith in other people and in myself.  What a gem indeed.

Be nice to each other,

Lyana

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Conversation

A local high school student has done me the great honor of asking that I mentor her through the creation of her senior class exhibit on photography. When we met yesterday, I talked with her about developing her style. I told her to think of each piece as a conversation between herself and the viewer. What does she have to say? Then of course that got me to thinking more about my conversations both with other artists and with those who take the time to study my own work.

Having been an artist all my life, others seem to find it fascinating that I don’t really have very much of my own work in my home. Early on, my labors of love, usually paintings, were given as gifts. Later, I began selling my sculptures through galleries. Now with photography, I have the ability to print as many copies of an image as I wish but I still don’t hang many of them at home. For me, if each piece of artwork elicits a conversation and I fill my space with my own work then I am just talking to myself. I much prefer to surround myself with the magnificent creations of others.

When it comes to art, it seems that most people gravitate towards a particular genre. What is it that draws us in? Can we even articulate the feelings which come over us? Art is not always beautiful. Sometimes it’s ugly and shocking. Does it make you stop and think?

Consider the work of Diane Arbus and Mary Ellen Mark with their compelling images of people on the fringes of society.  If you haven’t yet, please discover the work of Robert Knoth and his powerful photographs capturing the devastation of conflict and the dark side of globalization.  I’m sure you’ve seen, even if you weren’t aware, the industrial photographs of Margaret Bourke-White or her stunning, sometimes shocking photojournalism shots which were the cornerstone of Life Magazine.  Some of the observations of the human condition captured in the photos of Dorothea Lange are instantly recognizable.  Today we also have the ‘in your face’ type of work created by Lauren Greenfield as her criticism of societal body image.

When it comes to Landscape photography, most everyone will think immediately of Ansel Adams but what about Charlie Waite?  I love the urban landscapes of Luca Campigotto and the otherworldly images of David Burdeny.   Have you seen the amazing Impressionistic images of Colin Campbell and Eva Polak?  If not, do yourself a favor and look them up.

Another very famous name in photography is Richard Avedon.  While I do love his fashion work, I really prefer what he called reportage photographs.  “There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph.  All photographs are accurate.  None of them is the truth.”  ~ Richard Avedon.  Do you agree with him?

In today’s world of fast-paced sensory bombardment, it’s all too common to breeze past art.  We skim images and make snap decisions about them without ever questioning anything more than whether or not we instantly ‘like’ them.  I encourage you to slow down, breathe deeply and study art.  Ask yourself what the artist was trying to say.  What emotions are evoked when you really spend time with a piece?  Are there any memories recalled as you stare at an image?  Does a photo reveal your deepest hope or dream?  As you really begin to appreciate an image, you may discover more about yourself than you do the actual work of art.  Below is a collection of my own images to get you started.  Take your time and have a conversation with me.

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Images from the Beehive Collective’s 7th Annual Blackfly Ball

The Beehive Design Collective is a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit political organization that uses graphic media as educational tools to communicate stories of resistance to corporate globalization. The purpose of the group, based in Machias, Maine, is to “‘Cross-pollinate the grassroots” by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizing tools. The Beehive Collective is most renowned for its large format pen and ink posters, which seek to provide a visual alternative to deconstruction of complicated social and political issues ranging from globalization, free trade, militarism, resource extraction, and biotechnology.

Dancing on the Machias River at Bad Little Falls Park

Gazing at the giant mural

Beehive Design Collective posters

I was so struck by the blue, red, and yellow which just popped out at me in the night.

Love the swirling falls below.

This Blackfly backdrop is amazing.  Sadly, the stage was partially covered due to rain.

This guy’s only costume was his blue umbrella with ears.

Thought I’d play with some blur and color.  Love the way the power lines seem to skewer the puffs of smoke and fireworks explosion.

All the beautiful artwork printed on fabric “patches” were stuffed in pockets of these hanging quilts.  Gorgeous.

My last shot of fireworks over the river before removing my camera from the dangers of rain

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Photographing Architecture

Architecture has a magnetism which attracts a wide audience. We’ve all seen buildings and bridges which amaze us for one reason or another. We often want a picture to remember the place. It’s a thrill to share our experiences with others through photographs. The trouble is that often the photos just aren’t very interesting. Taking a full-on frontal shot of a structure will certainly remind you of what you saw but it’s boring. It’s especially tedious for others to peruse your shots and feel none of the emotion that you did at the time. Avoid the typical snapshot. Instead, look for interesting angles. If the structure is a bridge, try to get beneath it. Can you get a shot from the roof of an adjacent building? Zoom in. Pick some very interesting trim work or peeling paint. Capture funky windows up close. Use a wide angle lens if you want to get the whole building in the photo and shoot from a low spot. Opt for black and white. Play up symmetry. Take advantage of any reflections in the building itself or any nearby. Get creative. I hope you’ll find inspiration in the images below.

Lyana

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The Workout

Yesterday’s photo shoot included a workout session. One aspect of my client’s business is physical fitness. She wanted photos to illustrate incorporating exercise into a daily routine and lifestyle even when travel is involved. She advises her clients to use their smartphones for keeping workout routines and inspiration handy even in a hotel room. So glad the rain held off. I had so much fun. Here’s a peek at just a few of the results.













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