What do lobsters and spring have in common?

They’re a little late this year.

The shedders are not crawling into the lobster traps as usual, a good source at a local pound tells me. That’s why, for example, we got hard shells last weekend at Sprague’s in Wiscasset.  Usuallly, in spring, we’re eating the crustaceans which have grown out of their shells to grow new ones. Aficionados say the shedders’ taste is sweeter. Your fingernail is the only tool you need to pry out the meat.

Why is the molting of the lobsters occurring later this year? Blame it on the ocean temperature. According to the Maine Lobstermens’ Community Alliance, colder water slows down the calcification that has to go on to help the molted lobster regrow its shell. According to NOAA, the average sea temperature in Ogunquit is 55 degrees - just what it is now.

Bottom line … my lobster guy says i may be mid-July before Lobster season has begun.

Moose comes a calling

A Moose came a-calling this weekend to Clarks Point.  

The first clue was when I took the dog out for her morning walk, I noticed what look  to be hoof prints of a very large animal.  Immediately I thought of a moose. After all, it’s Maine! But in fifteen years we haven’t seen one here, except in Grey at the Maine Wildlife Park. I just told Donna what I’d seen and began the day.

We drove to Portland to visit Trader Joe’s, dropped in at Running With Scissors where there was a craft show going on.  Then we went to the outstanding!!! Miss Portland diner for lunch and then to New England University’s campus to see Everyday Maine, a wonderful exhibition of nearly 100 images of Mainers doing what Mainers do - work, play, sleep, laugh, cry, eat and live.

Returning to Wiscasset at about 3pm, I dropped off Donna and went to do an errand.    Donna had been in the back, dead-heading some petunias when our dog, Pippa, went on point, not a usual stance for a herding dog. But she had sensed the moose and was watching.  On Donna’s command, Pippa came back to the house.  

Donna called me. “Remember those tracks you saw yesterday?  It was a moose.  And I’m looking right at him.”

I rushed back to Clarks Point, in about five minutes.  The moose was still there.  In fact she stayed an hour.  Moved very little.  Was not skittish,  Just calmly munched away on an organic spring salad of green shoots, branches and leaves.  As much as you know I wanted to get really, really close, even at 30 feet or so I could see that she was formidable ... about 3 1/2 feet tall and solid.  A woman on Facebook, who saw the pictures, said it looked like a 6-7 month old cow.

After I went away, so did the moose ... carefully walking down the steep, rocky landscape.  We can see the Sheepscot River, but we’re far back from the coastline.  It’s rough going.

All day, Donna and I have been looking out the window - looking for the moose.  So far, nothing.

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More than 31 flavors

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Maine and ice cream.  Just like "Baseball, Apple Pie and Chevrolet”.  They go together naturally.

I came across an article this week featuring the many ice cream makers and sellers in Maine. ( to some of them.) My first thought was to turn this into a project like I did with a few of Maine’s diners a couple years ago. (See A1, Miss Portland.)  My second thought was to go eat some ice cream :)  Which I did at Round Top in Damariscotta. 

More than 31 Flavors?  Heck, looks like they may have close to 70!  And ... this just in ... “Pumpkin” is back. 

I had a sugar cone, double dip of black raspberry.

Sensational! 

Maine.

Back in Chicago

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In late June, the Out of Chicago conference drew around 400 photographers.

I considered going last year, but we were in the midst of moving. Discretion and common sense prevailed, as a marriage counselor would have advised.

But this year I went. And for four days, I walked the city where I lived in the ‘70s.  I worked for NBC Radio, covered Richard J. Daley and exercised our Airedales in Lincoln Park.  It was a great time.

Now, shooting on the River Walk, a showcase for the city’s dramatic new architectural inspirations, it was clear just how much has changed.

The London House, where I saw Barry Manilow accompany Bette Midler in her nightclub act is just one of the things that are different.  “What the hell, Frank!,” I said as I walked by a floating wine bar on the Chicago River, “It’s been nearly 40 years.  Of course things have changed!"  The London House is now a Corner Bakery Cafe.

Click on the images below to see larger versions.

Annie was right

Despite Penn State and Northwestern losing their games Saturday, the sun came up this morning along the Sheepscot River in Maine.  Temp in the bedroom was 63, outside 59.

Sunrise along the Sheepscot

Sunrise along the Sheepscot

This its an HDR (High Definition Resolution).  Three exposures merged together to get the full spectrum of highlights and details.  A bit of this post-processing can turn a good photo into a jagged cartoon.  A little dab'll do you.

Hurricane's a photo op

In Maine, when there's a hurricane passing by lots of folks watch the roiling waters.  So, that's what happened Tuesday along the mid-coast. 

I drove to the Pemaquid Peninsula and its all-time great lighthouse.  I was not alone.

Getting shots of the pounding waves was not very rewarding.  The day was gray, and the light was flat.  To get contrast in the shot, I had to turn to tweaking and post-processing in Aperture (Yep, I'm still using it.)  Some sunlight would have been helpful in focusing, too.

Still, it's a gift to stand on the shoreline and see the ledge below, the powerful waves turning and rolling and cresting and crashing.

"The days grow short ...

... when you reach September."

So says the song, but these fewer days in Maine are still Spectacular.

Saturday was one, and we were gifted with the opportunity to sail on Casco Bay with friends.  There were a few other sailboats on the water, plus one lobster boat that came kinda close to our stern as it raced to check traps.

We are in a 'shoulder' season now.  Our days are glorious - cool nights and crisp mornings. The family vacationers have returned to home and classrooms.  The 'leaf peepers' are still a few weeks away.  

It's vewy, vewy quiet. 

Now that's good eatin'

             Marbled Rye toast, hash browns, and a sausage
                       and cheddar cheese omelet$8.50

    Had some business to do in Portland this morning, so before our meeting we stopped at Becky’s Diner, on Commercial Street. Breakfast served 4am-4pm, besides lunch and dinner.

    Becky’s has become a roll-up-your-sleeves basic breakfast experience for 25 years.  The menu is what you’d expect  - eggs, omelettes with sides, hash, pancakes and waffles.  It’s all bargain-priced.  You can eat and fill-up for less than $10.  

    Becky’s has been called an iconic diner, and I’m  a sucker for diners.  A few years ago, I did a photo project on these special eateries.  In this one, Gardiner, Maine’s A-1 Diner is the focus

Orange lemonade at Coastal Botanical Gardens

For more than a week, the weather forecast for today was gorgeous.  Sunny and 83 degrees.  But at 9am, as we leaving to meet our friends and their sailboat, the heavens opened up.

Voyage canceled!

But, of course, light appeared in the eastern sky and by Noon I was shooting in "shadow" mode.  The sun was peeping thru, and but when we began our visit to the Coastal Botanical Garden, the sun came out and the color was rampant.

There's no moral to this story, nor any photography lesson to be absorbed other than to be at the right place at the right time.  Instead of lemons today, we got lemonade.