The Digital Photo Guy

Atlantic Puffins

by on Jul.03, 2013, under Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

Road Trip to Maine

Mary and I, along with T the Cat, recently took our first month long RV trip, driving from Wickenburg, AZ to Lubec, ME and back for a total of 7,082 miles. The first thing we learned was that we are not full-timer material (full timers live all year in their RV.) T went crazy from not having 30 feet of travertine to race up and down. He made up for it by leaping up and down from overhead bunks, running across every counter top/table, trying to escape out the door at every chance and, in general, being a pain. But, in the end, we all survived and still talk to each other!

The primary purpose of the trip was to photograph Atlantic puffins on Machias (Mah-chee-us) Seal Island, their prime breeding grounds off the coast of Maine. Along the way, we saw and learned things that we had never seen or known from all the years of criss-crossing the US in airliners. Between the two of us, we’ve probably flown across the US over 100 times yet we never really noticed the quaint, charming and unique quirks, customs and people in the USA.

First, some photos. After all, this is a photo blog and the reason we drove 7000 miles was to photograph these cute and comical creatures. I’ll post more over the next few weeks but these will give you an idea of what to expect.

Puffins-6 Puffins-5 Puffins-4 Puffins-3 Puffins-2 Puffins-1

The first photo is, of course, the star of this post, an adult Atlantic puffin. You’ll notice that both he and his cousin, the razorbill (photos 2 & 4) have very dark eyes that could benefit from some serious fill flash. The third photo shows why I couldn’t use flash. We’re in small 4×8 blinds with 2 or 3 others, shooting through 8″x8″ to 10″x10″ portholes. I had to give up on my Canon 300/2.8 because, at 6″, the front element is almost too big to maneuver in the portholes. The fifth photo shows Captain Andy Patterson of Bold Coast Tours leaving the 40 foot Barbara Frost to pickup 14 landlubbing photographers. I became intimately familiar with the stern rail of the boat as I repeatedly beseeched Rolf, the Norse God of Calm Seas to end my misery on the 10 mile ride. The last photo is the first photo I made upon arrival at Cutler Harbor. I thought the fog was a pretty but inauspicious start to our voyage.

All my photos are processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (yes, that’s the full name.) About 5% of my photos are taken out to Photoshop CS 4 to “pummel pixels” as it were but, in my old age, I’ve become a purist who prefers not to change pixels.

The very best Lightroom training is from George Jardine. I’ve taken many classes from George and always come away feeling motivated and confident that, “I can do this.” If you feel overwhelmed by all the choices on George’s site, first watch a few of his free videos. (I guarantee he won’t sell your e-mail or spam you.) Then, if you’re a newbie to LR, register for his LR4 Develop Module series. George would recommend the Library Series but I know most people think getting organized is boring so I’ll let you discover for yourself why you need the Library Series. Right now, George has a special offer so if you buy the LR4 Develop Series, you’ll get the LR5 Develop Series for free when it’s released in August. See his web site for details. I recently started his Image Correction Master Class and it is dyn-o-mite!

Notes On Maine

We parked at Sunset RV Park in Lubec, ME for two days before my rendezvous with Capt Andy Patterson aboard the Barbara Frost in Cutler Harbor, ME. Lubec is the easternmost point of the US. In fact, one can drive across the bridge to Canada from Lubec. The people in ME (waiters, waitresses, sales clerks, RV campground personnel, etc) were the friendliest, nicest people we met along the entire trip. They all seemed genuinely interested in assisting us however they could. Maine was also the state with the strangest National Park, Acadia. I couldn’t understand why Acadia was conferred National Park status until I read up on its history and actually visited. The park was created by Rockefeller and his cronies who owned property on and around Bar Harbor. Acadia’s purpose is to insulate the blue-bloods from us proletariats. Bottom line, Acadia is a monument to money!

In the next post, I’ll have some photos of all the perfectly manicured grass, rocks and trees at Acadia plus beautifully crafted rock culverts and stanless steel handrails. I think you’ll agree that, compared to Yellowstone or Yosemite or, even, Arches, Acadia is like Disneyland.

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