BEN'S PICKS

A special year-end roundup of some of our photographer's favorite photos by other photographers taken in Maine.

Looking back at 2018, there were many wonderful images made by many different photographers. I had the pleasure of putting some of these images into the magazine in stories and features such as Where in Maine? and Maine Moments. While this list isn’t entirely comprehensive, these are a few photos that I came across that immediately caught my eye and got me excited. The essence of a great landscape photo, to me, is an amazing moment captured with the care and thought of putting it all together with beautiful design that communicates the emotional connection of the photographer to the scene. These images do just that. — Ben Williamson.

Chris Lawrence, Full Moon Over Portland

Full Moon Over Portland, by Chris Lawrence

This image was sensational from the moment it arrived on the scene to ring in the New Year. Full moon images were becoming popular, and Chris really took it to the next level in finding the perfect corner of Portland to showcase what makes these so exciting. The working waterfront with a tall masted ship and lobster boat, a touch of arctic sea smoke on the ocean, snow-covered brick buildings with windows reflecting the light of the rising sun, and the moon perfectly positioned behind a beautiful church steeple all work together brilliantly to tell the story of an idyllic city, Portland at its best. Timing is everything, and Chris chose the right moment with the moon being neither too bright, or washed out with the light of day, to capture this. This one is worth repeated views.

Colin Zwirner, A Perfect Storm

A Perfect Storm, by Colin Zwirner

When gathering images for this post, I was trying to stick to 2018, but this image from October 2017 was just too good to pass up. Bass Harbor Head Light is a popular location to photograph. In fact, it’s probably the most popular location to photograph in Maine, even beating out Portland Head Light and Nubble thanks to its location in Acadia National Park. Standing out from the great number of images I’ve seen from here is hard to do, but this does just that! Extreme weather is one of my favorite subjects, and this has to be some of the most extreme conditions I’ve ever seen someone capture. The sunset looks like it almost didn’t happen, but a small window on the horizon allowed the sun to come through and light up the foreground in the most spectacular way. I can just imagine all of the water in the air and the intensity of the moment of being in this very exposed perch, capturing one of nature’s finest moments.

Logan Hoover, Sunset Storm

Sunset Storm, by Logan Hoover

Another great storm image, this taken just a few miles from the previous, comes from Logan Hoover. I was floored by the careful attention paid to finding a perfect foreground to showcase this display of atmospheric beauty. The dock creates an incredibly strong lead-in to the scene with strong diagonal lines pointing directly into the center, giving it a great sense of depth and involving the viewer in a powerful way. This is really well balanced from left to right, with the storm being right at the moment of overtaking us. Notice the spots of the first raindrops on the wood, a really nice detail. The ominous texture and detail in the clouds is very well handled with this exposure, and the colors are attractive without being over-saturated. Just an awesome image.

Jack Milton, Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds, by Jack Milton

Do you see a pattern here? Yes, I’m a weather nut. I was lucky enough to be standing next to Jack with my friend Jon when he captured this beauty. We were all totally giddy with excitement at the incredible display of light unfolding. A thunderstorm had just passed overhead, and the cloud structure was just like nothing we had ever seen. The setting sun was casting beautiful light onto them, and below, a rapidly thickening mist was forming over the ocean. It all came together in Jack’s stunning composition, where he made the creative decision of pushing the iconic fishing shacks of Willard Beach and Portland Head Light into the lower right corner to keep our attention instead on the bank of clouds. This is the mark of a true photographic artist, knowing how to respond and react to a rapidly changing situation with thoughtfulness and poise. Nice work, my friend.

Jamie Malcolm Brown, Moored Boats

Moored Boats, by Jamie Malcolm-Brown

Here we’ve moved from amazing weather events to pure design brilliance. This distillation of lobster boats and the coast of Maine is perfect in my eyes. The boats are perfectly arranged, the seaweed-covered rocks provide a well-known transition to land, and an unbroken monoculture of fir trees provides an amazing texture. There are three distinct zones, and three corresponding tonal values that also work very well together, blue-green, muted orange, and green-blue. And, to provide the pop and wonderful detail that really makes this sing, you have a spot of red in the lobster boat at the top of the frame. Design, design, design. This has it.

Evan Leith, Boon Island Light

Boon Island Light, by Evan Leith

This is such a cool image. I can’t imagine Evan knew exactly what he would see when the sun rose behind Boon Island Lighthouse, over 7 miles offshore. Thanks to the wonders of technology, he did know where to stand. I imagine he had in mind the opportunity to capitalize on the thick smoke that was filling the air from wildfires out west at the time, and boy did he. The gradation of light as the perfect disc of the sun comes off of the ocean makes an incredibly attractive frame for this majestic pillar. The small bar of rock across the frame does not detract, but actually adds to the image with the few seagulls fortuitously perched directly in the center of the frame. Many of us had been trying similar ideas with the moon, but Evan had the great frame of mind to try something different here, with a rising sun that would not have been possible without the obscuring smoke in this very unique image.

Fredrick Bloy, Parting Stones

Parting Stones, by Frederick Bloy

Another example of impressive design, this image by Frederick Bloy captures coastal Maine geology in a beautiful way. Our weathered, smooth granite stones are a defining feature of the coast around here. We also have over 4,600 islands in Maine, and I don’t think I’ve seen more photogenic ones than in this capture. Freddy ties it all together with a brilliant composition, highlighting the split between the stones, and placing the foremost island perfectly in the line with these features. I also love the tones he’s chosen, with a harmonious color palette of warm pink highlights smoothly transitioning to deep cool purples. Such a beautiful image.

MORE OF BEN'S PICKS

Some favorite Maine shots by our photographer, Benjamin Williamson.

Cape Porpoise Sunrise

CAPE PORPOISE SUNRISE

It’s hard to believe how awesome the sunrise was this morning. This image felt like it was burning a hole on my memory card, I just had to share it!
Babb's Bridge, Windham, Maine

BABB'S BRIDGE, WINDHAM

Babb's Bridge in Windham is one of the few covered bridges in Maine. When it comes to locations to visit when the snow is falling, this is among the best!
Cliff Walk, Prout's Neck

CLIFF WALK, PROUTS NECK

Morning light shines on a park bench on the Cliff Walk, Prouts Neck.
Sparhawk Mill, Maine

SPARHAWK MILL, YARMOUTH

The Sparhawk Mill in Yarmouth is majestic in the snow. Ben loves this view across the Royal River no matter the time of year, but he says it's extra-special in the winter with heavy snowfall filling the air.
Wolfe's Neck

WOLFE'S NECK WOODS, FREEPORT

Wolfe's Neck Woods in Freeport is one of the best places in the area to explore classic Maine natural splendor. This time of year things have quieted down and the osprey have left, but so have the crowds. On this morning Ben was alone to witness this peaceful sunrise.

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1 Comment

  • January 8, 2019

    Russ Considine

    Most of the photos shown are obviously very good choices (one or two excellent in my opinion), but why was it at all necessary for Ben to go back to 2017 for his “best photos of 2018” ?

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