Portland

Foggy Morning on Casco Bay by Todd Henson

Black and white image of lone sailboat anchored before island in the fog on Casco Bay. Portland, Maine.

This image, of a lone sailboat in the fog, is one of my favorite views from the train ride on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad along the Eastern Promenade in Portland, Maine. The morning was very foggy and misty, with brief periods of light rain. Many of the views of the bay were obscured, but I felt the fog added a beautiful sense of peaceful serenity, of calm. I captured some views with large numbers of sailboats anchored on the bay, but I was most drawn to this single boat with the island in the background.

Converting the image to black & white seemed an obvious choice given how little color there was in the scene. I was inspired by Michael Kenna in my post-processing decisions. I wanted to draw attention to the lone sailboat so I increased contrast around the boat by raising the intensity of both blacks and whites. I lightened the horizontal band around the horizon just a touch to draw the eye to that portion of the image. I darkened the island slightly to help it stand out just a bit. And I added graduated filters to both the top and bottom of the image to create darker edges that lightened as they approached the boat, again, drawing the eye more towards that region, and accentuating the patterns in the waves and clouds.

Foggy Morning on Casco Bay is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.


Ghost Ship of Fort Gorges by Todd Henson

Ghost Ship of Fort Gorges

This week I share a single photograph I created in Portland, Maine, from Fort Allen Park. It was a very foggy day. My father and I had just visited the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, riding the train along the coastline looking out at Casco Bay. We’d seen Fort Gorges appear and disappear in the fog. We’d seen ships docked in the bay, and ships moving through the fog from one ghostly location to another.

We hadn’t necessarily planned to visit Fort Allen Park, and really just happened by it on our way out of town. But when driving by I saw views of Fort Gorges in the fog and thought it might make a nice image. So we turned around and found a place to park and watch the continuously changing scene, a faint drizzle, like the fog, moving in and out.

The fog around Fort Gorges cleared slightly, making it easier to see its walls, trees and bushes growing along the top, a flag pole at the end of the dock, and the openings in the wall to the right where some of the 34 10-inch Rodman guns would have been mounted, facing out into Casco Bay. Smaller window slits can be seen on the wall to the left of the flag pole, on the back side of the fort, along with the entrance at the center of this wall.

A new heavy bank of fog began rolling in from Casco Bay to the right of Fort Gorges, and with it, almost seeming to pull it along, was a lone sailboat, my Ghost Ship of Fort Gorges. It moved slowly into the scene, pulling the fog with it, this ghostly apparition sailing by the old ghost of a fort, a fort where no battles were fought and no soldiers were stationed, obsolete before it could ever be used. A ghost ship for a ghost fort. Ghost Ship of Fort Gorges.

Ghost Ship of Fort Gorges is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.


Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum by Todd Henson

Working engine outside the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum (7 image HDR)

While visiting Portland, Maine, my father and I stopped at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum, off Fore Street, just down from the Portland Ocean Gateway, where cruise ships dock off Casco Bay. This was a small, but very interesting museum that also included a ride on their narrow gauge train.

Serenade of the Seas docked in Portland, Maine, with statue of George Cleeve (5 image HDR)

The ride began at the museum, where we had good views of Serenade of the Seas, a large cruise ship at dock. The train took us down to the Portland Ocean Gateway, where passengers from the cruise ship would enter and exit Portland. Some of the folks on the train were from the ship.

From the dock area the train reversed direction, passed by the museum, and then along the coastline paralleling the Eastern Promenade Trail, through Fort Allen Park. Around Fish Point we had very foggy views of Fort Gorges in the bay. One minute we could see the Fort, the next it was obscured in fog.

The train continued past East End Beach where we saw someone swimming in the cold water, and through the Eastern Promenade, stopping at the old railroad bridge. We were able to disembark from the train and walk around the area. The old bridge had crossed the water to the right side of the Burnham & Morrill Company factory, known for their B&M Baked Beans.

Looking through planks at old railroad bridge with Burnham & Morrill Company factory on distant shore

Old railroad bridge with Burnham & Morrill Company factory on distant shore

After we boarded the train it made its way back through the parks along the Eastern Promenade to the museum grounds. The view continued to change the entire ride, fog moving in and out. Some of the folks on the train were annoyed by this, but I found it fascinating to watch and photograph.

Luggage display in the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Interior of passenger train with stove (3 image HDR)

After the train ride we spent some time in the actual museum. It was small, but had a lot packed in the small space, including several full size narrow gauge train cars we were able to walk through.

There wasn’t a lot of light in the cars, but their interiors were very interesting, so I did the best I could to capture what I was seeing. I had to hand hold the camera since I didn’t have the tripod with me, so I raised the ISO on my camera to let me use faster shutter speeds, and captured a number of image sequences where I adjusted the exposure (shutter speed) between each image, holding the camera as still as possible between them.

I knew I would take each image sequence and combine it into a single high dynamic range (HDR) image, where I could better show the interior as I saw it. The camera just wasn’t capable of capturing what my eyes could see. One day cameras may have better dynamic range than our eyes, but for today we need to either decide what we want to compromise on, or capture multiple images and merge them into HDR. I don’t use this technique often, but it is fun and useful every once in a while. I worked to keep the images looking as natural as I could, trying to avoid the over-processed look of many HDR images.

Another interior of passenger train with stove (3 image HDR)

Interior of passenger train with individual seats (3 image HDR)

Horizontal view of passenger train interior (3 image HDR)

When we visited the museum it was located in Portland, but they told us it would soon be relocated to the town of Gray. If you’re interested in visiting be sure to check the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum website for the current status and location.

Train engine inside Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum



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