Writing Out Loud


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What My Camera Sees

 

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I love writing about nature, and I also love taking photos of all the beauty I see when I am out and about. Way back when I was still using a film camera, even that didn’t deter me. Almost every week, I was sending film out to some developing company and then waiting the few days for the fat envelope containing the prints to arrive. I was always breathless with excitement to see how my shots had turned out, which ones had, and which ones hadn’t. I was just starting out back then, and it would be some time before digital cameras came into vogue.

When they finally did and became affordable, I bought an inexpensive little instant-shot digital camera that opened the door to a whole new world to me. As I got better at composition, my photos improved. And to this day, I haven’t lost the thrill of uploading my photos onto my computer program and seeing what my camera saw. Sometimes I’m disappointed. But more often than not, I am pleasantly surprised and sit here going “Oh!” over and over again when particularly clear and breathtaking shots pop up before my very eyes.

Unlike with my old film camera where I was limited to how many photos I could take on one roll, digital camera cards are capable of storing hundreds of photos. So it’s possible to start shooting and never stop until I think I’ve got enough. I take several shots of the same subjects, and then spend time selecting the right ones. I’ve been doing this now for nearly a decade, and I never tire of it.

At some point along the way, I upgraded to a better camera equipped with a video function. Since then, I’ve shot dozen short videos of things I’ve seen in nature. Rather than just store them away in a file on my computer, I decided to open a YouTube account and display some there. Taking photos and now videos is like anything other hobby: it’s fun to share the results with others, which is what I hope to accomplish on my YT page and sometimes on my Facebook pages.

People thank me for doing it, and I can honestly say that it gives me great joy to put things out there for others to enjoy. I’ve heard from people who moved south and who appreciate seeing images of what they left behind in Maine and from others who have never been here and who enjoy seeing what, for me, is simply routine here.

From this, I’ve learned that there are more ways to get paid for what I do than merely with money. Through my photos and videos, I get paid in the joy of letting others see what I see, and it’s like they’re standing right here with me when I press the shutter button. And that is worth more than all the money in the world!

You can visit my YouTube page at this link:

https://www.youtube.com/user/racheluvable

Thanks for visiting! And please check back from time to time, as I try to add new material to the page as often as I can.

 

 

 

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Something About Lighthouses

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Many years ago, I went to a local sidewalk art festival where there was the usual assortment of seashore art: paintings, drawings, shells with designs painted on them, and so on. Given that the state of Maine is known for its long coastline and all things associated with maritime living, booths displaying primarily lighthouse art are numerous at such events. After walking by several and spending the obligatory amount of time admiring the artists’ efforts, some more than others, I commented out loud, “There’s just something about lighthouses.” A woman standing nearby replied, “You’re right! There is, isn’t there? But you can’t put your finger on just what that might be.”

And she was right, of course. There is something decidedly attractive and appealing about a scene that portrays a lighthouse in some form or other. And here in Maine, we have plenty of them TO admire, from the southernmost town of Kittery to the easternmost town of Eastport. Here in the York County area alone, there are dozens of them that had served as the inspiration to many artists and photographers through the  years, yours truly included. And I’ve often wondered just why so many people are so in love with lighthouses.

I am not particularly so, but I have to admit that there is something fascinating about, not only how a lighthouse almost always stands out from its surroundings in a very dramatic way, but also the aura of steadfastness it exudes. Aside from the very urban Munjoy Hill Observatory, which is smack dab in the middle of a very busy Portland neighborhood, most lighthouses were constructed centuries as lonely outposts that cast light across the sea to get sailors and other seafarers safely to shore. Many of them have fascinating histories, and all, at one time or other, were home to keepers who kept the lights burning all night every night and during the worst weather. In time, as the properties that many of these lighthouses stood on was sold off, and modern technology crept in, ancient ways of illuminating the night gave way to electrified methods, and eventually to lights that no longer needed constant monitoring, which made the role of lighthouse keeper pretty much obsolete.

By its very design, a lighthouse can withstand tremendous oceanic energy, a fact attested to by the many that still stand in areas that have seen some pretty violent storms over the years. The sea can batter the tower endlessly, with no ill effect, embracing it with wave after crashing wave, that simply rush back to the sea for the next encore. The walls of houses are usually thickest at the bottom, measuring roughly 3 to 4 feet at their bases. This wall width decreases toward the top, where walls are generally a foot thick. The most impermeable lighthouses were built on solid bedrock, which made them even sturdier.

When I look at a lighthouse, different things come to mind. What was it like to live there during the days before electricity and automation came along and so isolated in most cases from the rest of the world? What must it be like to stand on the top deck and look out over the ocean, especially on a stormy day? Aside from all that, though, is this: when I look at a lighthouse, any lighthouse, I am drawn back to another time, another era. And the basic fact is that I just would love to be up there, and I suspect that this is what many, if not most, people feel when THEY look upon a lighthouse, either in a painting, on the side of a seashell, or in real life. Here in Maine, we’re very fortunate. For no matter where we live along the coast, there is a lighthouse within a reasonable distance to view.

A woman I know who lives in Colorado has never seen one. She has, in fact, from what I’m told, never been to either coast of the United States. I can’t imagine a landlocked life devoid of the experience of seeing and hearing the surf pounding on the rocks, smelling the salty air, feeling the sand between your toes, hearing gulls screaming high overhead, or seeing a lighthouse standing on its lonely outpost, its beam flashing in the distance. For me, they’ve been a way of life since the day I could run across the sand. So I hope she gets to experience them all someday.

Living just a few miles from the sea is one of the gifts in life that I have come to be most grateful for. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

(Photo is of Portland Headlight at Two Lights State Park)

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