Shooting hot and cold

Over the past year I’ve been playing with the auto settings on my camera. My aesthetic would normally be to go as natural as possible, but there are many times the result simply looks too flat for my taste, even after I sharpen the image or otherwise tweak it afterward. (In the early years of this blog, I didn’t even do that much. Rarely did I even crop the pic except in the camera as I was shooting.)

As I focused on New England foliage last fall, though, I was really struck by how much the supposedly natural settings differed from what I felt I was seeing. The vibrant colors seemed to turn cold by the time I viewed them on my laptop.

On the other hand, the “magic” setting often ran too hot, occasionally even turning lurid. Sometimes the image simply blew out in a burst of red.

Admittedly, often the foliage does appear subdued, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We want that “oh, wow,” to kick in. That brings up the matter of light, which can pop the leaves from so-so to absolutely glorious in a flash — not that the camera always captures that.

What I’m concluding is that cameras have a mind of their own, and sometimes you just have to respect that. Here are two shots from Dover’s Community Trail. Which do you prefer?

Hot …
… and cold.

 

 

Cocheco or Cochecho?

That is, one h or two? Even before we get to COCHECAW / COCHECOW amid a host of other Colonial spellings.

A 1771 map of New England has no Dover (settled in 1623) but Rochester and Durham, later offshoots, as well as the KOCHECKA RIVER.

Also, that map shows Cape Neddick, Maine, as Bald Point, and Winnipesauke Lake, the the north, as Winipissionket Pond.

There’s so much to untangle in such evidence.

The widely used one-h spelling, by the way, is traced to a clerk’s error in 1827 in the founding of the Cocheco Manufacturing Company, building on the cotton mills started in 1812 at the waterfalls downtown.

 

Sometimes, you need a bigger map

I’ve loved maps since childhood, so our new interest in Downeast Maine has whetted an appetite to investigate more of the region’s geography, which includes a lot of water. Not just the ragged coastline and bays, but also large lakes and many bogs, marshes, and swamps plus rivers and waterfalls.

One thing that’s rather boggled my mind is discovering of what’s cut off from U.S. maps on that edge of the continent.

For instance, I had no clue of Grand Manan Island, which is 21 miles long with bluffs rising 200 to 400 feet above the Atlantic just 15 miles east of Maine. It even has three lighthouses. Getting there’s a whole other matter.

Still, I doubt that many Americans think of anything lying in the ocean east of the United States until you get to the British Isles or European mainland. So is there anything else we’re missing?

Well, there’s tiny Machias Seal Island further south, claimed by both the U.S. and Canada, which has a long lighthouse presence there.

What’s really surprised me is how far the province of Nova Scotia extends south.

From the easternmost point in the U.S., Nova Scotia is more than 82 miles to the southeast.

From Bar Harbor, Maine, it’s 113 miles to the east.

And further south, it runs down past Portland, Maine, where sits more than 200 miles to the east.

Put another way, nearly anyone sailing from Maine has to navigate around this extension of Canada.

If you follow the news, it also puts some of our fishing controversies in perspective.

From Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, for instance, the distance to the tip of Nova Scotia is roughly 230 miles, versus 111 to Portland, Maine, meaning that the southernmost point of Canada juts that much further into what I had considered U.S. fishing grounds.

With the bigger map, one including both the New England, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia shorelines, you can see how a funnel is formed, one where ocean currents push into Fundy Bay to create the world’s highest tides.

For me, this is a reminder of how often our comprehension of a problem is limited by conventional thinking when we look at the situation.

Just how else do you get outside the box, anyway?