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A Little Drive

Abandoned, overgrown houses and barns always make me think of what would the world look like if people began dying off, or an EMP hit, or some plague struck us down. (Not a zombie thing!). Half eaten meals on a table, VCR tape still jutting from a VCR, a coat draped over a now overturned kitchen chair. Trees and brush sprouting through the basement floors, edging up the stairs and into the 2nd story of the house. So I decided to go venture out and find a few of these places and just “look around”. I’ve been feeling very lackluster about writing lately, but passionate about taking photos, maybe I could get one to spark the other into gear.


















There is a sadness in places like this and a story. Why was the house left like that? Why is all their “stuff” still here. Of the odd things you see while traveling, that make no sense in the realm of the world. The WTF things.







Or the beauty that hides in the areas, the wild grass, the wayward trees, the hidden treasures in the overgrown brush that tangle your feet.

We did come across a car from yesteryear. To which my nephew, Rhys asked “Can we take the steering wheel!” What a guy!












Those places, those once-homes to humans or animals, are relics frozen in time with dust and cobwebs. Snapshots into time that has just transpired, the blink of an eye if you think of the age of this rock we live on.














‘Tis the Season

It’s that time of year when the blooms on the potatoes begin to emerge, letting us know what is beneath the earth.  Golds, blues, purples, reds – all different blooms. 


Skylite Drive-In



I have several great memories of the Drive-In. 

In 1982 I have a vivid memory of going to the Drive-In with my best friend, Jason, his mom and his little sister, Joy.  I remember watching Joy fight sleep and I’m not sure if she succumbed or not.  Not long thereafter, Jason and Joy moved to Florida.  The year after I watched Return of the Jedi, and while I’d watched the other two movies previously this one seemed to capture my 10yo imagination and I realize that imagination had no limits. 


There are very few good Drive-Ins that still exist; they are like the dinosaurs, slowly dying out, leaving their bones of fallen screens and broken speakers. 

In the 50s they were packed solid virtually every evening, in the 70s, many turned to porn to make ends meet.  In the 80s they began to fade away to the big cinemas and sit down theatres.   Summers were for enjoying time with your friends, socializing, but kids aren’t like kids used to be – twitter and facebook and text messages are their way of socializing.


We never realize what a little nugget of history we have here in Northern Maine with the Skylite, and how many people have never been to a Drive-in. It’s still family owned and family run, Evan or Devon man the dough boy making, Donna takes your cash. You can chit chat while you wait and catch up and share a few laughs.


When Jules and I began to “date” we never had a lot of cash, but we managed to go to the Drive-in a few times a summer. It was “date” night. Dough boys, soda, a movie. A rare late night as we are usually in bed early.


You can still sit outside and listen to the speakers (yes, they work!) Or sit in your car and tune into the radio (or use the speakers!) or do as many people do, bring chairs and enjoy the movie under the stars. 



I hope this wonderful place never disappears and turns into a relic as many of the other drive-ins in the US have.  That even if we drive out each night, that we can eternally drive-in, stay, have a fried Oreo (its good!  I SWEAR!), a dough boy, maybe even an gigantic pickle – bring the kids and have them experience a sliver of history.



Kasey’s House

Houses are far more than 4 walls and a few doors and a place to sleep.  They are homes, they are safe and they are the place we always yearn for. I’ve known Kasey for six or more years, and I remember during the 1st year of our friendship, we happened by the farm house and she said, “And that’s the house that goes with our farm.” 

It was one of those old homes with character and I thought it would have suited Kasey (and her family) just fine. 

The house is now hers (and Andrew’s of course!).  Make sure you check out the full albums Smile 


Jules and I bought an old house, but one that has already been “fixed up” in many ways.  I offered Kasey my Wednesday off to help out.  She said “only if you can.”  I consider Kasey family, so of course I could.  I came armed with my camera. 

I love doors.  I have a small door that leads to the cubby under our stairs.  I love doors.  I love door handles too. 


There is something about the dark, gleaming, wood doors and the old door handles with intricate designs. 


Oh that little peep hole.  The swirls and the black gleam of the knob, and when you turn the knob you hear the mechanisms shift and pop the door open, letting you thru. 

Door Collection


I love light switches!  I have this old, battered, turny light switch.  I will never replace that light switch.  Ever!  Kasey has some lovely funky push button switches.


In most of the upstairs rooms, each wall has a pair of lights on the inside wall.  Makes for a lovely perspective shot.


Each room is unique.  Which, is a lot like every member of the family.  Each member is unique and different, but part of a whole.



What do we do w/mason jars?  We drink from them of course – and I take pictures of them. 



The trim, and the swirls and lines and the shine.  All part of how an old house will never be out of date, or never be worthy of redemption. 


This is a sill that is at the head of the stairs, so when we are all tramping down the stairs like a herd of elephants, we miss these details.  I love them. 


This is the hinge of one of the closets.  The detail and craftsmanship is always mind blowing. 


Our staircase at home looked a lot like this, but not in as good shape.  We opted to tear is down and put a build in book shelf instead.  This is the view if you lay down and rest the camera on the floor Smile

The house has this wicked, awesome place to sit and read.  I want it.  I may have to incorporate that into the extension we want to build in a few years. 



These are just shots of things that are unique and different and wonderful.  I bet I could walk thru the house a few more times and find different ways to take shots of things. 



I HDR’ed a few photos to pull out some of the stunning details.  It was worth the time to HDR and see what the camera saw that I had missed. 





Up Close

I love the marco option on my 70-300 lens.  I love getting close but being far away. 



Like Mr. Frog. Good luck getting a nice photo of Mr. Frog with a standard lens.  Either you’d fall in or Mr. Frog would take a powder. 


This is Dutch, taken from across the room.  She’s a cute cat, but try and get to close and that moment of cuteness is gone. 


At NMCC one day, Gail Roy comes to me and asks “Do you have your camera?”  Silly question, it is usually in my car.  Outside a small bat was nestled against the building.  The angle was odd, but this lil guy was cute!  


Out walking last winter and that lovely red in a sea of white.  And no reason to walk the quarter mile to get a nice closeup. 


To the naked eye, its just the air disturbance, but to a telephoto lens, it’s a plane in a full climb. 


Or you go off walking and come back to find your adorable nephew naked and in mid jump (the flower is post editing Smile)


One of my fave shots.  Taken on top of the mountain in front of my house – In the bigger photo, the shadows even display the webbing and patterns of the wings. 

That’s all for now! 

Jan Marie Smile



I’ve been going through my photos.  I’ve far, far to many and if it were up to me I’d take far more photos.  I’m waiting for a computer chip to put in my head where I can take pictures w/my mind.

You know that’s coming. 

There will be an app for that.

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Sometimes a great shot is about luck.  And having a cybershot in your back pocket. 



This one is just cute.  Remy the flying Canadian Cat, sometimes a shot is about seizing the moment. 


I like perspective shots.  From above or below.  Change of focus.  Things of that nature.

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On the drive home one afternoon, Jules looks up to see two moose in a small pond.  I pulled over and with my 80-300 lens I start to shoot.  Not wanting to spook the moose.  Changing a setting or three while the moose dunked its head down to find the greens at the bottom of the shallow pond.  Note: this was taken w/a film camera, not a digital.


The 1st photo I HDR’ed.  My photos aren’t true HRD.  Those are usually three shots, merged into 1, all with different shutter speeds and usually in RAW format.  I don’t own a tripod (yet!) and I don’t have anything that works with RAW photos (yet!).  Since, I’ve learned how to adjust my shutter speeds, etc to be able to “fake” a decent HDR shot. 


This is a far better HDR rendering.  Taking HRD photos on the run is, of course difficult.  But this one, for a “fake” came out rather well. 


As did this one. 


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Picture, however, don’t always have to be fancy.  Or overly pretty.  Pictures are meant to capture a moment in time for all eternity.  A message.  A moment.  A thought. 


A feeling of being together.  Even in the chaos of renovations, in the relentlessness of life that always keeps moving.  It doesn’t have to be taken with a 1000 dollar camera, sometimes a cell phone and a moment is all it takes. 



Chasing The Light

After a long day at work, all I want to do is sit down and relax.  That’s the light at the end of the tunnel, sit, kick back, read, study, relax put on some mindless TV show for a few hours and bask in the light thrown from the pellet stove.

Instead, today I went out in the chill and fading light to snowblow my drive, while my wife prepared supper. 

I took the dog out for a run, and saw that the sun was setting behind the mountain before the house.  Everyone knows I have a love affair with that mountain.



At this point, the wind started to whip and cool and all I wanted to do was go back inside, but I knew that the light, that ever elusive light was changing.  So I ducked back under some trees to get shelter from the wind. 



I was about to give up.  No.  Really.  I knew my lens was going to be peppered with snow but I really wanted to see if the wonderful clouds were going to yield something spectacular to look at and better yet, take a good picture.



Then it started to happen. The golden moment. 



I quickly played with one setting after another.  Trying different things.  My fingers frozen and shivering rather hard, but I was not moving until I got a few more shots. I like the cold anyway Smile 






A camera can never ever catch/capture/save for eternity what the human eye can see. The 3-D technocolored details.  A photo is flat (No 3-D printer here yet!) 





Sometimes sitting in the snow is worth it. 



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