Engineer on Mount Washington’s Historic Cog Railway waits for the signal to begin moving forward again.
Recently, I’ve been forced to switch hard drives, leading me to the unenviable task of cleaning up my files. I knew that some day this would happen. What I didn’t know was the treasure chest of unlooked-at photographs buried in there. I had folders of pictures from trips around Maine that I knew existed, but had left behind as new projects came up. In most cases, the images hadn’t even gone through the usual process of digitally organizing them. Embarrassingly, some entire folders hadn’t even been looked at—or hadn’t been looked at in so long that they appeared new to me!
Stream flowing under the autumn leaves in the Maine’s White Mountains National Forest.
I’ve decided to go through them, organize the images and post them in my flickr account. Some of the real stand-outs will also go to my stock agency for sale.
The fist two batches to make the transition are from a trip into New Hampshire’s White Mountains and a drive through Acadia National Park (both with my parents.) Both sets of photos yielded pictures that reminded me of the effect of a great image to transport the viewer to another part of the world. Some photos came up that surprised me. There have also been pictures that have sparked my love of photography again.
A wave crashes against the rocks in Acadia National Park, Maine.
Over the next few weeks, I will be sorting through many of those “lost” files. As those pictures go up, I’ll be posting them here.
Here’s a link to Arteries of America’s post of my Lighthouse Tour Video. Enjoy!
Harbor Fish Market Video – Portland Travel Videos – Tripfilms.
I kneel down in the middle of a floor soaked in icy water, feeling the wetness seep into the fabric of my pants. The scent of fish hangs thick in the air. People around me make an effort not to pay attention to what I’m doing. I hit “record” and pan across the scene, following a woman named Patty as she packages lobsters up in brown paper bags. I stop recording and let the euphoric “I got the shot” feeling spread through me. It’s tempered by the fact that I don’t have time to replay the footage to be sure–and, of course, Patty has moved on to her other duties. I move into my next position to catch the next quick clip. The location is Harbor Fish Market on Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine, and this is my latest freelance gig: hometown video correspondent for tripfilms.com. For them, I’ll be shooting 10 1-minute films about Portland. I’m very excited to be working with these guys, since, in a very practical way, they put me on the path to living one of my long-forgotten dreams: Travel Show Host.
Not long ago, you had to be very cool, charismatic, and–most important–backed by a network to be a travel show host. For a while during the mid-90’s I would rush home to find out where Lonely Planet’s “Globe Trekkers” Ian and Justine were headed to next. I wanted to be one of these guys, jet-setting to exotic locals, meeting interesting people and eating cringe-worthy local delicacies. Eventually, my interests moved on to things that don’t require a production crew and I lost touch with my yearning to take people out into the world from their livingrooms. Last winter, the bike/ski shop I work at opened a new location at a XC ski center. Embedded in the center’s web-page was an amateur video made by a film student about the trails. This use of video on a webpage reminded me of a statement I heard several times while attending the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) Travel Writing/Photography Institute: because high bandwidth is becoming more common, video is THE THING to get into. I typed “travel, video” into a search engine and was deposited into TripFilms.com. I saw a bunch of people traveling, and creating travel videos. Though most didn’t have the polished feel of a “Travel Channel” production, they had every bit as much heart, were every bit as deep in the culture and appeared to have just as much fun. Plus, these filmmakers were fully independent! A few more clicks of the mouse led me to an extraordinary revelation. HD camcorders capable of creating decent quality video were less than a $1000! In less than 15 years, technology has completely altered the landscape. Since scraping together the money to buy my camera and software, I have signed on as an intern for Matador TV. Looking for “the best travel content on the web” led me to an overwhelming amount of awesome filmmakers from solo travelers looking into a camera at arm’s length to full-scale productions. I also found Web Series like “In Transit” and “Brainrotting” and “The Season.” These series showed me that a person can actually produce a TV show with multiple episodes themselves. People like David Adams and Peter Bragiel are stars. Now I’m a star, too–well, not yet. But I am living my travel host dream.
Writing stories isn’t always about sitting in a room, striking keys in solitude. Recently, I jumped at the chance to meet with Deputy Chief of the Portland Police Department, Joseph Loughlin to talk about police procedure for my current novel project. (This is one of the benefits of going to conferences, by the way. I would never have gotten time with a man as busy as Chief Loughlin had I not met Kate Flora at the New England Crime Writers’ Conference, who co-wrote the book Finding Amy with him.) I expected little more than a short question and answer session between meetings. What I got was one of the most interesting and informative research sessions I’ve ever had. Chief Loughlin is friendly and charismatic with a vast amount of experience to share. Not only did he answer all of my questions, he helped me think of ways around some of the roadblocks police procedure posed for my characters. He also gave me a comprehensive tour of the police station including the new regional crime lab just being completed.
I learned from the meeting that parts of the story I put a lot of time and effort into will have to be tossed out and redone. I also know that once that’s finished, the story will ring truer, and the reader will find far more texture to dive into.
The meeting was much more than just jotting down a few details for the story. The real experience was meeting a great guy who is passionate about what he does and who was willing to open a door to a world that is very different from the world I wake up and inhabit every day. Sitting down at a lonely desk to write each day can seem dull or frustrating at times, but moments like these remind me why being a writer may be the best job in the world.