Thursday, May 29, 2008


... sucks! It takes up all your time, and no matter when you think you're done, there's always one more drawer to clean out. Anyhow, I thought I'd post a couple photos of our new home before I get back to the packing and unpacking.

Here's a shot from the main doorway. The new house is nothing if not spacious. It gets some great light in the afternoons. The roof could use a little work. We have some house cleaners coming in to take care of the random rubble left by the last tenants (it's on the left).

Of course, there are a few problems. The electrical system needs repairing, and the heating too (it's steam heated, so we have our own boiler stacks, which haven't been maintained). But we got a great deal on the place, so I shouldn't complain!

Unfortunately, the biggest problem is the uncapped mine shafts directly underfoot. But you know -- caveat emptor (which means, "we hope you like it!").

Anyhow, I guess I should get back to packing. The cleaning maids are coming soon!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunset at Breakers

Sunset panorama taken at breakers

A panorama I put together from last night's sunset out at Breakers.

There's an old saying about sunsets: "f/8 and being there". It's not quite that simple, but I was there! I spent a lot of time playing around with settings, filters, and long exposures -- so I'll probably have some more cool photos to post later.

Be sure to click on the photo and look at the largest size. It's much better that way!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The old North Kearsarge No. 1 rockhouse in greyscale.

A foundation of the old North Kearsarge No. 1 rockhouse.

I like the feeling of finding an abandoned mine: It reminds me of how much things change. Standing next to an abandoned mine shaft or a ruined hoist evokes the hundreds of people, stores, houses, hoists, engines, and railroads -- an entire town -- which existed only because of this mine. Now, it's just a few rocks, maybe some boards, or a bit of barbed wire.

The truly abandoned mines are the ones that really get me. I don't mean places like Quincy -- those buildings are being cared for and even restored. Not Mohawk, Centennial, or other places a bit off the beaten path. What I mean are places like Copper Falls, where there are shafts and ruins which are almost completely forgotten. I once found a Copper Falls shaft utterly lost in the woods, totally unmarked and unregarded, all alone. It was once the focus of an entire little civilization, and now there are perhaps a half dozen people who even know where it is.

North Kearsarge is halfway there. The mine is about a mile out of town, down an old two-track and well hidden in the woods. The rock pile next to the No. 1 is gigantic, with amazing views from the top. The shaft that went with the rockhouse is so well abandoned that I nearly walked right over it on my way around the pile -- unmarked, just a few rocks on the ground and some fallen barbed wire. I think that this photo evokes just a little bit of that feeling that I'm talking about.

Friday, May 16, 2008


One of my favorite pine groves up near Quincy, at sunset.

There's no particular story to go along with these. It feels like a stereotypical "wide angle looking up in a grove of tall trees," but I like the added color from the sunset.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's true!

An old snowmobile trail sign: Wet Area, in a swamp.
Click the image to see larger sizes.

I found this one on an old railroad grade (turned into a snowmobile trail) near the old Kingston mine, up by Allouez.

The best sign of the day was another snowmobile trail sign, also thrown into the ditch and nearly completely covered in water: "Stay on trail". Sadly, I couldn't get a good angle on it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I was there!

Lookout below!

Another (slightly) oldie from my "interesting" collection. You can't quite see it from here, but my snowshoe tracks are up there!

This is one of my favorite places along the Cliff range: The Lookout. Apparently different people have different lookouts, but this is what I think of as the Cliff Lookout.

It's a bit of a hike (no, you don't have to go straight up the side of the cliffs... but you can if you want), but the view is 100% worth it. You can even see the silhouettes of the Huron Mountains in the distance. The most amazing thing, to me, is that tree -- you can see it here. It's a big old pine growing straight up out of the rock, over the edge of the cliffs.

There's nothing quite like the solitude at the top of the lookout. When I snowshoed out to the lookout, there weren't any tracks at all on the trail to the lookout -- nor on the trail to the trail! It was one of those feelings which I love when I'm hiking up here -- that I'm the first person in years to set foot here and see these sights. It might not be true, but this is still one of my favorite places to go whenever I really need some time alone.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Accidental Lift Bridge

Portage Lift Bridge at sunset
A colorful evening down by the lift bridge.
Like this photo? You can order prints of it!

Here's one I took a month ago, when we still had some ice on the Portage. We'd had a nice clear day, so I drove down near the Portage to try taking some photos of the lift bridge at sunset. I took a bunch of photos, but nothing was really turning out like I wanted.

Just then, I noticed an older fellow who had a camera set up on a tripod nearby, with a giant lens on it. He came moseying over and started talking about a rare owl which had been seen in the area, and which he was hoping to photograph on the bridge that night. This fellow was a real character. To begin, he was dressed in waders, Carharts, and flannel. He had been a logging truck driver for years before he sustained some sort of head injury, which left him with memory problems. He had trouble keeping a job, so instead he bought this giant 1000 mm lens and an old Nikon and headed north to do wildlife photography. He had the best attitude: "You know how you see a good movie, but the twist at the end isn't surprising after the first time you've seen it? Well it's new every time for me!"

We got to talking about cameras, and he let me give his huge lens a try. In return I showed him some neat features of digital cameras (like setting color balance and seeing your shots immediately). Along the way, I randomly shot another photo to demonstrate, and lo and behold, that was the one and only good photo from that shoot. Now you too can enjoy that accidental photo!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Two posts in a weekend!

Scotsman and Preppie
Click the image to see larger sizes.

My housemate Cal spent New Year's in Edinburgh with his family. While he was there, he ordered a full kilt. The big box o' kilt just arrived here a few days ago, and Cal's family has been clamoring for photos of him in full kit. When the weather turned nice yesterday evening (it was snowing earlier!), Cal, myself, and our friend Steve decided to head up to the Quincy Mine ruins to take some pseudo-Scottish photos. This one was taken in the old #7 Boiler House (if my research is correct).

After this photo, we made some family's day. I had Cal climb up on some old ruins near the highway, so that I could get his silhouette against the setting sun. I was shooting from the far side of the ruins, so from the highway all you could see way a big guy in full kit standing on some old ruins, holding a pike and looking slightly forlorn. As I was taking the photos, a mini-van pulled up, and a woman got out with a camera: "We were driving past and we saw you standing there and we just had to stop. Do you mind if I take some photos?" Apparently her niece had graduated from Tech, and they were spending the day touring around the Keweenaw. Cal probably made it into some family's scrapbook!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dusky Tree

Tree silhouette at sunset
A dusky tree, near Quincy.
Like my photos? You can order a print of this one!

This shot came from one of those random unplanned trips, just a few days ago. I was bored one evening, so I went up towards the Quincy Mine (it's so close, and the ruins there really tweak my imagination -- I end up there more often than not when I want to get out of the house). There's a small scenic turnout just before the mine. Just up from the turnout and down from one of the mine's poor rock piles is a big open area with a little two-track through it. I'd never been there before.

I had a great time poking around the open area, seeing some old ruins, flowers, overlooks, and even a few whitetails. This dead tree is right in the middle of the little field, with irises all around it and a great view of Houghton and Hancock. I did a good bit of editing to increase the silhouette effect -- it wasn't quite that dark yet, and the wind was cold.

That's the news from here. You can actually post comments on this blog -- unlike my old Troupe one. Please feel free to do so!

Something new

I've ignored my blog for long enough -- it's time for something new. Since I've been focusing so much on photography lately, I'm going to re-start my blog as a photo blog!

The idea is pretty simple -- every so often (hopefully more often than so), I'll post a photo that I've taken, along with some commentary -- where I took it, what was happening, maybe a story about the day. Hopefully this will keep me motivated to actually post!

While you're here, be sure to check out my photo gallery. Everything I post here comes from there, and there are a lot more to boot.

My first photo entry will be in the next post. Enjoy!