Wrapping Up the Taste of Fall Photography Workshop

Last week I hosted the Taste of Fall photography workshop here in the Midcoast. I stressed for weeks about whether or not there would be foliage and if the weather would cooperate. Looking back I realized that there is no use worrying about things that you simply can’t control. All you can do is 1) have faith that everything will work out and 2) be prepared to get creative if it doesn’t. Luckily for us, Mother Nature cooperated, both with the weather and with the foliage. But that didn’t mean that we could slack off and not get creative. After all, creative shooting was the entire point.

It’s too easy to take pretty pictures in Maine during this beautiful season so I encouraged everyone to go beyond the obvious and make photos that were uniquely their own. I’ve been on many a photography workshop where the attendees showed their favorite shots during the group critiques, only to find many people with nearly the exact shot. I try very hard to ensure that never happens at one of my workshops!

And how did we make sure of that? We experimented like crazy. We acted as if we were shooting digital shots rather than film . . . because WE WERE! We accepted the fact that there are no risks to creating what may, on the surface, appear to be ‘bad photos.’ We stepped outside of our comfort zone and tried things we never tried before.

We may have started off shooting the obvious pretty shot, but then we took it further to see what would happen if . . .

On the overcast days when there was no color in the sky, we used it to our advantage. The white sky was like shooting in a studio and the overcast skies allowed for slow shutters and great abstracts.

Even when we were pleased with our shot, we didn’t stop. We changed some camera settings and kept on shooting to later compare the results.

And my best story from the workshop is this . . .

One of the shooting locations was at a spectacular river walk. The recent rains created large amounts of gushing and cascading water that were easily captured along the river bank. I remember telling everyone, “the further you walk along the trail, the more spectacular the little waterfalls will get.” So everybody headed down the trail while I stayed very close to the trailhead. I little piece of me was convinced that I was missing “all the best shots” but I filled my time really working the very small area that I had to work with. The trail started on a bridge and that’s where I spent most of my time. I shot and shot and wasn’t really thrilled with the shots. I started to feel those thoughts of “this just doesn’t provide the best angle” and “there is too much debris near the waterfall to get a good shot.” I had all the excuses covered. Then, low and behold, one of the last shots I took turned out to be one of my favorites of all the shots taken during the entire three days! Proof that if you work it hard enough, you WILL get a nice shot.

There is no other time when I feel more grateful to be living in such an awe-inspiring beautiful place. I hope you are getting the chance to get out and capture the fall beauty wherever you may live. After all, beauty is all around us and if you don’t see it upon first glance, pick up your camera and look through you lens. It’s there if you look hard enough!

Please click the button below to view more photos from this recent workshop.

More Photos

The Fall Photography Workshop is On

This was supposed to be my “year off” from doing formal group Photography Workshops, but I decided that the fall is just too beautiful to pass up. I created a new 3-day workshop entitled “A Taste of Fall” that will aim to capture what the Midcoast has to offer during this very special season. Some of the highlights will include scenic drives to overlooks, farm stands, vineyards, farms, etc. We will visit hidden away roads, pretty rivers and streams, and maybe even a local glass blowing studio. And we couldn’t forget some strolls through our local pretty harbors including Rockland, Rockport, and Camden. You will get a true ‘taste’ of what it’s like to be in midcoast Maine in the fall by sampling some of the sights and treats of the area.

Taste of Fall Photo Workshop
Wed – Friday, October 3-5, 2018

Fall foliage photography tour

For more information or to sign up for this photo workshop, please click the button below.

More Info

Macro Magic

I really do think that macro lenses are magical and I love, not only the results, but I love to play with them. I can spend hours and hours crouched down in a garden exploring the endless possibilities for creativity. As always, I break most of the photography rules. I almost never use a tripod when shooting outdoors. I realize that just breathing changes the focus ground, but I’m OK with that. I often shoot in manual focus and I sometimes use my body to focus rather than the lens.

macro photography

I move slightly forward and compose a shot and then I move ever so slightly backward and the scene changes in my viewfinder without even touching the lens. Yes, there is wind and my body sway to contend with, but I always seem to get results that please me. The soft dreamy quality of the shallow depth of field just makes the flowers seem even more delicate and beautiful. There are times when achieving a tack sharp photo is what I want.

macro photography

But other times I prefer a slightly out-of-focus painterly look.

macro photography

And sometimes I manage to get a combination of both looks in one image.

macro photography

One of my favorite things to do is to purposefully stick my lens right into my subject – so close that leaves or vegetation literally touch the lens. This creates a soft, hazy filter effect. The more leaves in the way, the more interesting the result.

macro photography

When I originally purchased my macro lens many years ago, it was for a specific purpose. I was shooting small objects in the studio, with the dreaded tripod and lights. I can’t say I enjoyed any of that shooting and never really gave the lens enough attention. It wasn’t until I brought it outside to just ‘play with it’ that I fell in love with it.

macro photography

Do you own a macro lens? And if so, how often do you use it? What are your favorite macro subjects?

Blurring the Lines Pecha Kucha

I’ve been shooting “blurry abstracts” for a couple of years now and it took me well over a year before I even showed any of the work publicly. It takes a lot of guts for a photographer to proudly post ‘out of focus’ photos on social media and be proud to stand behind them. I knew that not everybody would ‘get it’ nor would they appreciate it. My own husband would constantly say, “Paula, if you want blurry pictures why not just give me the camera.” I would respond with a big sigh. Even my own husband doesn’t appreciate the art that I personally saw in my “blurry photos.” But I didn’t let this stop me. I persisted and kept going down my abstract path.

Every once in a while I would sneak a blurry abstract into my Facebook or Instagram feeds and then later get disappointed when its response would pale in comparison to a pretty landscape, a lighthouse, or a lobster boat. There is no question what the majority of people want to see . . . pretty scenery and I live in a place where that is abundant. But, for some reason, I wanted to strive for more. I craved being different, even if it was not the popular thing to do.

Last year I joined a little bookmaking group that inspired me to put into words what my blurry abstracts were all about and that was the greatest experience for me. When I forced myself to do it, I was finally able to figure out the motivation behind what I do. Putting words to the photos was such a powerful experience for me and something that I wanted to do for a long time. I created a short book that got some great responses and that book is was motivated me to create a Pecha Kucha-style presentation.

What is a Pecha Kucha you ask? Pecha Kucha is Japanese and literally means “chit-chat.” It is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds, advancing automatically as you talk along to the images. The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, powers multiple-speaker events called PechaKucha Nights all over the world. Here in the midcoast of Maine, we have 2 of these events per year and ever since seeing the first one four years ago, I dreamed of doing one myself.

Well, my time came. Shortly after writing my little book (and putting the desire out to the Universe that I wanted to do one) the Center of Maine Contemporary Art contact me and asked if I would speak. I was both thrilled and terrified. Would I really have the guts to stand up in front of hundreds of people and tell the story of my bizarre photos? Would people ‘get it?’ Would they appreciate it? Or would they think I’m crazy?

I’m happy to report that, not only did the audience ‘get it’ and appreciate it, but they loved it. I got so many amazing comments afterward that I have really inspired people to look at the world differently. Normally, it’s just photographers that I try to inspire to shoot differently, but the fact that I was able to inspire non-photographers to open their eyes to the world of possibilities made me the happiest person on earth for that one night.

Please click the image below if you would like to view the entire presentation. I do hope you enjoy it and that you find it inspirational as well. (And please pardon the fact that the MC pronounced my name wrong . . . 4 letters, but seemingly so complicated!)

If you would like to download a free digital copy of my photo book “Blurring the Lines” which features many of these photos, please click here.

 

Introducing Pictour

I’m in the midst of developing a brand new photography app that just may change the photography industry . . . and possibly put Maine Photo Adventures out of business!

After my first year in business, I was very excited about the positive feedback I received on my workshops. It felt great to know that I was doing a good job and this business could really grow . . .

But then it hit me. If the business does indeed grow, that would mean I would be spending most of my time during the glorious “good weather months in Maine” working! Granted taking photos for ‘work’ is nothing to complain about, but the spectacular weather up here is short lived and to be honest, it’s hard to commit myself a year in advance to working. How could I solve this problem?

And that is how the idea of Pictour came to be. I started to wonder how I can develop “Self-guided photography tours” where I can do all the work to build a tour once and offer it for sale for people to do the tour on their own, in their own time, whenever they happened to be visiting Maine. So that got me thinking about how many tours I could create in Maine, but why stop there? Maybe I should travel around the world and build tours everywhere!

Hold everything! Now I’m back to working all the time and even worse, leaving the beautiful state of Maine. This idea was clearly getting out of hand. So I pondered some more and came up with the perfect solution – get photographers all over the world to participate. Allow them to create tours and post them for sale. This way we can easily offer tours all over the world and not only give traveling photographers inside secrets on the best places to shoot, but give the photographers that share their secrets some extra income.

We are still in the development stage, but we currently have a working prototype and will soon be looking for beta testers. If you are at all interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please click below to watch an informative video that explains the app in detail. And if you’re interested in learning more about when the app will be released, please join the mailing list by clicking the blue button below or by visiting www.pictour.co

Join Mailing List

The North Woods of Maine

There is nothing like the being in the woods of Maine in the fall. Actually, you don’t really have to be “in the woods” to appreciate the beauty of the fall season. No matter where you turn, the colors surround you. Some say that this year’s foliage wasn’t as spectacular as it usually is. Maybe that’s true. It’s hard to really tell and why bother analyzing whether or not the foliage is up to snuff? Why not just spend all your energy taking it all in and enjoying every minute and every drip of color it offers?

fall foliage

The foliage may not have been at it’s best, but this was the year that I experienced an extra special fall treat. I headed up to the Northern woods of Maine, just southwest of Mount Katahdin to a private camp called Camp Nahmakanta. I would tell you what town it was in, only there is no town name . . . no zip code. It’s just plain out there in the woods. Drive to the tiniest little town in the middle of nowhere and then hop on a dirt road for another 90 minutes and there you are – in the midst of paradise.

sunrise over the lake

The camp is situated on the shores of Nahmakanta Lake and every morning I awoke to watch the mist and fog rise off the water. We were treated to warm sunny days and cold crisp mornings which ensured an abundance of early morning fog. Every morning the scenery changed drastically offering a diversity of photos from the very same location.sunrise at Pollywog Pond Pollywog Pond in the fog

Whether you just sat by the shore to watch the water ripple and the wildlife pass by or laced up your boots and hiked along the Appalachia Trail, you were sure to be treated to gorgeous sights. Being in the isolation of the northern woods of Maine is an experience that I won’t soon forget and hope that I’m blessed with the opportunity to do it again someday.

In an effort to share a little bit of the experience with you I’ve created a slideshow of still photographs, as well as a short video of some of the scenery. I hope you enjoy them.

Boothbay Harbor Fest

Boothbay Harbor FestMaine Photo Adventures was one of the official event photographers for the 2017 Boothbay Harbor Fest. During this 10-day festival, Boothbay comes alive with live music, signature cocktails, special chef tastings, a fashion show, art sales, trunk shows, half marathon, trail run and more. As much as I would have loved to stay for several days, my schedule only permitted me to shoot during the first weekend. Despite only being there for 2 days I got to experience a whole lot of action.

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

The highlight of the weekend was the “Taste of Local Flavor.” Visitors were able to buy a special “tasting Passport” and with it, they could attend free special tastings at several of the local restaurants. What a ball this was. From noon till past 9pm we traveled to a different restaurant every hour to sample some of their specially prepared bites. From seafood chowders to pizza and everything in between, we got our fill of yummy treats.

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

In addition, many of the participating restaurants also competed in a cocktail competition trying to score the popular votes from attendees. Each competitor showed off the talents and creativity of their local Mixologists and offered up some delicious adult beverages. It sure was hard to decide on which drink was my favorite!

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

While nibbling on our food samples and sipping our drinks we had the pleasure of enjoying live entertainment at each stop. The great variety of music was such a treat and provided a fun and relaxing atmosphere at each stop throughout the day. It was hard to leave some of the spots and felt like the hour went by way too fast.

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017 Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

All of Saturday was spent eating and drinking so it’s a good thing that Sunday started off with a Health and Wellness Fair. With free yoga and Zumba classes, along with several vendors selling health-related products visitors were sure to feel better by attending.

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

As a special bonus, the American Heart Association was there to provide free CPR training to all attendees. Each person went home with a complete practice packet and it was the most entertaining training I ever witnessed. What a ball.

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

For those that were very ambitious, (or maybe they felt guilty after eating and drinking too much the day before) there was a half marathon on Sunday morning. If I didn’t have to shoot I would have been right there running with them. Good thing I had a good excuse!

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

There were many activities for kids of all ages at this Wellness Fair and the gray skies didn’t seem to make any difference to the amount of fun that was being had.

Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017 Boothbay Harbor Fest 2017

Sunday continued with more food tastings, but unfortunately, I had to head back home. I’m already looking forward to the event next year!

To see more photos from these two days of events, please click the button below.

View photos

Art is Everywhere Recap

Last week’s “Art is Everywhere – The Basics” workshop was a blast. After several seemingly endless days of clouds, rain, and overall drab leading up to the workshop, Mother Nature smiled upon the midcoast and graced us with enough sunshine to make lots of pretty pictures.

It was a true pleasure to spend a few days with the participants who came up from the Boston area. They were primarily landscape photographers so this workshop put them a little bit outside of their comfort zone – which is exactly where I want them! Their results were outstanding. A true testament to the fact that “they GOT it.” They understood my preaching loud and clear and my heart fluttered when I saw their gorgeous photos. Selecting just a few samples was tremendously difficult because they were all so great.

Art is Everywhere photography workshop

Of course, the also took a lot of breath-taking landscapes to add to their portfolios, but they were already amazing landscape photographers. There was nothing I could teach them to improve that work. This workshop was all about seeing differently, noticing and capturing the small things that normally go unnoticed and certainly un-shot. This quote from one of the participants really did sum up her experience. . . .

“Paula helped me take a little of the technical out of my photography and replace it with some heart and art! Her class was a photographer’s spiritual retreat.”

– Bridgette Mathews, Glouster, MA.

I just can’t close this article without showing a couple of the landscapes that were taken. I do want to point out that this was “extra credit” and was not part of the actual workshop. Time is allotted during the Maine Photo Adventures to shoot sunrise and sunset photos on your own. And as you can see, it’s worth getting up early and staying out late.

Sunrise in Rockland Harbor by Helen Cogan

Sunset at Marshall Point by Bridgette Mathews

If these photos were just a tease and you would like to see more of the kinds of things you would shoot during the Art is Everywhere Photography Workshop, the video below spotlights some of the photos that I took during the adventure. Enjoy.

 

For more information about this Art is Everywhere photography workshop, please click the button below and stay tuned for when we’ll run another one.

More Info

Art Is Everywhere Mexico Edition

Apologies for the serious lack of communication from Maine Photo Adventures lately, but I have a good excuse. I was very very busy . . . lounging under palm trees on a beach in Mexico for the past five weeks! We all know that Maine is spectacular in the summertime, but let’s face it, by the end of the long winter, not so much. Enduring the cold winters makes the summers all the more sweeter, but my theory is . . . cutting the winters short is the sweetest plan yet.

Mexico offers many photographic opportunities. I stayed in a city called Playa del Carmen and it’s bursting with colorful sights. It really redefines my saying of “Art is Everywhere.” I just loved all the color throughout the city. Whether it was the colorful buildings, flowers in bloom, pretty merchandise in front of all the shops, or people dressed in colorful summer clothing, it was just so nice to see something other than the typical gray sky and white snow that I’m now facing with a Maine spring.

Art Is Everywhere Mexico

I’m not sure if graffiti is the proper term for all the beautiful “street art” lining the avenues. Every blank wall is treated like an open canvas and it seems that artists come out of thin air to decorate these blank spaces. I am really going to miss seeing so much creativity everywhere I turned.

Art Is Everywhere Mexico

Street photography has never been my strong point, but it’s almost too easy in a place constantly bustling with so many interesting people. This was a much different experience as compared to trying to take street shots in Maine. During some months, it might take an hour just to spot a brave soul walking down the street! In Mexico you have so many choices it’s hard to decide which opportunity to grab first.

Art Is Everywhere Mexico

Art Is Everywhere Mexico

I really wish that I could hold an “Art is Everywhere” photography workshop in Playa del Carmen some day because it is just too much fun. It’s almost too easy to spot the art.

Art Is Everywhere Mexico Art Is Everywhere Mexico

For now we will just have to stick to Maine for the Art is Everywhere workshop and I promise, by the time June rolls around all the snow will be gone and there will be plenty of colorful sights to see and capture. Why not plan on spending a few days in the beautiful Midcoast and joining in on the fun? The next Art is Everywhere workshop will be June 7 – 9, 2017. Please click the button below for more details.

Workshop Details

hillsseafood

Rockland Harbor Hotel