I saw an ad from the MACC (Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions) seeking photographers to help protect and preserve Massachusetts Wetlands. May was Wetlands Month. Naturally, I wanted to help.
I did a bit of research on wetlands. In the 20th century, the world has lost 50% of its wetlands. But in the US, we've lost 80% of our wetlands since the 1980s. Wetlands act as the biological "kidneys" of the landscape by filtering out any water that would otherwise directly run into a water system. This chain reaction will affect well, everything. So I REALLY wanted to help. I grabbed my camera.
The wetlands are not pretty, to say the least, and they're flat too. White cranes are everywhere in the North Shore. They would present a nice contrast to the muddy backdrop. Perfect. Now to search for some birds.
Several times over the month, I tried. Thwarted attempts due to:
Finally, I found a group of White Cranes just over the bridge entering Plum Island. I pulled my car up quietly. Three other photographers had done the same. As we quickly, and silently, set up, another car pulled in. The moron slammed his door.
Our heads snapped around, glaring at him. "Sorry," he yelled as the birds took off in a flash. On the way home I chanted "om om om."
This is the only shot I took of birds that month. I submitted the photo, which was mediocre at best.
We drove about an hour and 15 minutes to Trap Falls in the Willard Brook State Forest in West Townsend, Massachusetts. I wanted to play with shutter speed for flowing water. Juliet and Maui went with me. She was going to walk Maui while I was shooting.
Fifteen minutes in, Juliet can nearly running towards me, carrying Maui. A very large dog had attacked them. Juliet had blocked Maui but Juliet had been bitten or scratched. There was a large wound on her side.
We hurried to the car and as we were leaving the park we found a police officer directing traffic due to a detour. He told us where the nearest police station was. I needed to sit with Maui in our car while Juliet filed a complaint.
The police already knew about this dog. He lives in a house next to the park. The police called animal control while an EMT was on its way. They cleaned and bandaged the wound and suggested that Juliet call her primary care physician. Meanwhile, animal control reviewed the vaccination record of the dog. Thankfully, he was up to date on his shots.
While Juliet was inside the police station, I found a tick on myself and had received three mosquito bites, though I had sprayed before we left the car. I brushed Maui but found nothing.
It was getting to be lunch time so we headed towards a cafe to regroup. I was so rattled by everything that I accidentally cut off a car in traffic. A cop saw this and pulled me over.
We finally made it home and held each other -- and Maui. That night neither of us slept. But by morning Juliet's wound was healing.
Moral of the Story: Some dog owners suck.
One of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it. -- Mark Twain
1) As a photographer I learned quickly to dress in layers – even in summer – and take rain gear. Plus, put a jacket and boots in the trunk of your car. Trust me.
But why does the weather change so frequently? Here’s one answer. The jet stream. New England sits in the middle of it. The cold Artic air and the warmer Gulf air are battling it out. Another reason is that New England is on the ocean with a lot of moisture. (Info provided by Quora).
There’s two websites that I often check before venturing out: Skippysky.com. It projects the cloud cover. Cape Ann Weather is a busy-looking site with a lot of info on tides, webcams and just everything weather related.
2) I enjoy all four seasons of New England! The brilliance of the bright leaves in the autumn is legendary but spring brings some of my favorite subjects to shoot – flowers! During blizzards I write posts or edit photos, put a log on the fire, pour wine, and start the slow cooker. Then dig out, burning calories! Ice makes for a wonderful subject. Summer is festival season and all of the parks are open. There are plenty of photo opportunities year round.
3) The distance between places is short. Driving across Rhode Island – the entire state – takes 45 minutes. You can take day trips across state lines in a snap. Living in Los Angeles it took hours to get anywhere – a lot of it was due to traffic. Then in Santa Fe the closest border (Colorado) was a two hour or so drive through the mountains.
4) Every place is historic. You could spend a lifetime reading all of the plaques – and I am. (Disclaimer: history nerd). And nothing is level because it’s so old. There’s little point in leveling a tripod.
See a couple of examples:
First is an older shop on Main Street in Essex. Take a look at the enlargement.
Level with the ground – or the porch – or the roof?
Example two, found in Marblehead. I don't know how this shed is still standing.
I level my tripod every time I shoot. So if the subject is wonky, it's NOT on me.
5) The variety of landscapes, from seashore, rivers, mountains, fields, forests and small villages to urban cities. New England has them all.
Though I wasn’t born here, New England is my spiritual home.
Here in New England, the character is strong and unshakable. -- Norman Rockwell
I'm a brain cancer survivor. Please visit and/or donate to this much needed charity.
ABC2.org: Brain Cancer Breakthroughs
My battle with brain cancer. Shot by Shot: Relearning Photography
Instagram: Quite the quandary. The co-founders of the hottest app wanted to create a platform for people to communicate through quick snaps. There were no filters in the original version or location tags. Simple daily images.
I was a purist. No edited, professional photos allowed. My tagline on my Instagram bio: "Life as a photographer. All of these everyday shots are taken with my iPhone."
But who wants to view everyday photos now? With filters and HDR and editing software everyday photos are left behind. So I'm testing fine art photographs on Instagram now. I'll see how this develops.
My first fine art photograph shared on my Instagram feed:
You can follow me on Instagram @lanebillingphotos here.
I'm originally from Ohio and went back to visit during Thanksgiving break. This was taken with my iPhone at the Franklin Park Conservatory (Columbus). There was an interactive exhibit with which three of my favorite people (Juliet, my wife; Brittany, our daughter; and Jerrod; our son-in-law) had fun.
I hope you have a great New Year
celebration and terrific 2019!
I’m always drawn to light and/or contrast. While lining up this shot I noticed the carving. Pissed about the tree, I took the shot anyway. Then I questioned if I should post this photo. I ran a poll on my personal FB page:
90% of my friends voted that I should post this on my portfolio. I slept on it overnight and decided to post "Initials of Idiots" here.
More thoughts on this subject: DON’T CARVE INITIALS ON TREE BARK
I wanted to give my background... and I hope that someone out there is inspired.
I'm Lane, a photographer living in the North Shore (of Boston) and a brain cancer survivor. You can read about my journey by clicking the Shot by Shot button on the front page.
I don't have deadlines or declare a schedule for shooting. I shoot when I can. You can see my RSS feed so that you don't miss a thing.
Map courtesy of WikiCommons.
This map is fairly accurate of what I consider the North Shore. If it hits the shoreline it's the North Shore. The pink area is definitely not the North Shore. It starts in Winthrop and ends at the New Hampshire border.
You can also connect with me on these social media outlets:
Take care and Peace,